Soft Drinks in Italy

Information on Italian coffee and soft drinks...

Italians are the biggest consumers of mineral water in Europe - drunk fizzy (frizzante) or still (naturale) - even though their tap water is wholly palatable. Around 600 regional brands fight to compete with the big producers such as San Pellegrino and Ferrarelle. A glass of tap water is normally served with coffee.

Sicily is the prime source of Italy's citrus fruit, which is freshly squeezed (spremuta) and served in bars across the country. Chinotto, a small, bitter orange-coloured citrus fruit grown all over Italy, is used in various soft drinks of the same name. The fruit is thought to hail from China - hence the name.

Coffee Types in Italy

  • Caffè: Ask for a caffè and you'll get an espresso in a small, heated cup. The caffeine content isn't high, and Italians will often drink espresso coffee after dinner
  • Caffè doppio: A double espresso
  • Caffè lungo: Espresso diluted but with a higher caffeine content. Also called an Americano, after the American servicemen who found a standard espresso too strong
  • Caffè e latte: A lungo mixed with plenty of hot milk. Asking simply for a latte, as you might in the UK or the USA, will get you a glass of milk
  • Cappuccino: Caffè lungo mixed with frothy hot milk and powdered with chocolate. Traditionally taken as an accompaniment to breakfast pastries in a café, where the espresso machine has a special nozzle for frothing the milk. Usually only a morning drink, and never taken after a full meal (the milk would hinder digestion)
  • Caffè ristretto: Gulp-sized espresso and consequently stronger in flavour. Drunk in a single draught, often by people rushing to work
  • Caffè corretto: An espresso with added grappa
  • Caffè macchiato: Espresso with a mere dash of milk; macchiato means flecked
  • Caffè shakerato: Coffee shaken with ice cubes and sugar, popular in hot weather, especially in the south. Vigorous shaking creates a creamy froth akin to a milkshake even though no milk or cream is added (it looks like a small Guinness)
Extract from Speak the Culture Italy, a Thorogood publication Speak the Culture series website / Buy online Copyright © 2009 Thorogood Publishing