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Do Italians drink coffee after their dinner????

New York City, New...
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297 posts
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Do Italians drink coffee after their dinner????

Okay, I actually did try to turn up the answer to this in the Italy forums to no avail--maybe I'm not using the correct keywords. I've heard and did read in one of these forums that Italians do not drink cappuccino much after 10 am. I read that if you order one after this, you will get strange looks--much like if you requested a "doggy" bag!

Is it customary to drink--say, caffe latte after you finish your dinner meal????? If not, what do Italians drink after the meal and/or with dessert????

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Chorley, United...
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for Venice
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1. Re: Do Italians drink coffee after their dinner????

Standard after dinner is a very, very strong espresso served in a tiny cup, with lots of sugar and frequently either with a grappa or laced with grappa.

If you want it con latte, you will have to ask, wheen you will be able to add as much or as little milk as you wish. A caffelatte tends to come in a long glass as a very milky drink.

New York City, New...
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3 reviews
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2. Re: Do Italians drink coffee after their dinner????

Ciao Robert,

Thank you for your advice. You would not believe how many of your posts I have saved in my trip folders--esp. your long lists of restaurant recommendations! You'd die if you saw how many trip folders I have for Italy....I hope TA doesn't cut me off when I reach a certain number 'cause I'm surely on my way.

Personally, while I would've liked to have had cappuccino after my meal, as many of us do in US, I also like after-dinner drinks!

Dallas, Texas
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283 posts
22 reviews
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3. Re: Do Italians drink coffee after their dinner????

If you have a restaurant review for Tuscany I would rally love a copy. We are going the frist 2 weeks of April. Thanks

Florence, Italy
Level Contributor
9 posts
1 review
4. Re: Do Italians drink coffee after their dinner????

Cappuccino is good only for breakfast or in the morning, after lunch or dinner we use to drink caffè espresso, becouse capuccino is too heavy to digest.

About espresso you are not obliged to add a lot of sugar on it, a spoon can be enought. If you think espresso is too strong for your taste you can ask for a "caffè decaffeinato" that is lighter,

without caffeine, but equally good!

When we see someone order a cappuccino in a restaurant we know for sure that he's a tourist, italians never take it!

With dessert you could order one of our sweet wines like vin santo, moscato or passito.

Seal Beach...
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5. Re: Do Italians drink coffee after their dinner????

I felt the same way you do regarding the preference for cappuccino after my meal. But when I got to Italy I "did as the Romans did" and ordered my espresso after dinner. I was so surprised to find out how much I enjoyed it! It was not the burned tasting, overly bitter espresso of our local Starbucks, et al. it was stronger and a bit more bitter than we are used to but with a packet of sugar it is simply a different experience. I didn't really get to love it until about my 3rd or 4th one and now I almost NEVER order a cappuccino when in italy - the coffee flavor and their skill at brewing is just too good. In fact, I travel there often for business and in the hotel restaurants when I order "un cafe doppio" or "una doppia" (a double, meaning a double espresso), they often looked surprised and then clarify with "espresso" or Cafe Americano? To which I reply with relish, "Espresso, certo!" They love that I love it and it never fails to win over the heart of the server or cafe barista.

Then after many years I expanded to trying a "cafe coretto" or "corrected espresso" after dinner -with grappa, as suggested. Often the grappa is served on the side and after you've finished your espresso there's a little residue of sugar and coffe in the cup. Pour your grappa in and swirl and it's a new taste sensation! I am also known for occassionally ordering an Amaretto side to go with my coffee - probably touristy but it's so darn good with the espresso!

The moral is that you should definitely try it "their way" a few times and see if you get into it. I can't tell you how enriching it is to approach things from this attitude - especially when concerning meals and coffee in Italy! Hope you grow to enjoy as much as I have!

Ciao! LL

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6. Re: Do Italians drink coffee after their dinner????

When we were in our first Italian restaurant ever, we did order 2 cappuccinos and it was happily served. Since then, we order espressos - I like to add sugar as well. I'll have to try the double espresso next time. A single cafè or espresso seems to go down too quickly even if you sip it slowly.

When we were in Firenze recently, we usually went for an after dinner walk to Piazza della Repubblica and had either a cappuccino, cafè (espresso), or caffè macchiato at Caffè Gilli(some of the best sweets around) or Caffè Concerto Paszkowski while our kids had a hot chocolate. Doing it Italian style - standing at the bar. They're both a great place.

Seattle, Washington
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1,147 posts
27 reviews
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7. Re: Do Italians drink coffee after their dinner????

We had also read about the coffee norms in Italy before traveling there last year. My wife doesn't care for coffee, but I also came to like the espresso after dinner, although I never ordered the correto. However, my (and my son's) favorite coffee memories are sipping double cappucino's on the dining deck of the Palazzo Sasso in Ravello of a morning, overlooking the sun drenched Amalfi Coast from our perch at 1250'. Touristy or not - that was amazing. We still order double cappucinos with breakfast over here, and reminisce about our Italy experiences.

Level Contributor
3,239 posts
7 reviews
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8. Re: Do Italians drink coffee after their dinner????


I definately agree with LubaLorine, you have to try it the Italian way, espresso after dinner. They sure know how to brew their coffees and it is totally different to the espresso we get here in the UK. I loved it too. A couple of years ago we were in Taormina in Sicily in August. It was really hot and I ordered a cafe ghiacciato (iced coffee) expecting the milky coffee with ice-cream you get here but no it was the most exquisite tasting very cold espresso. I was hooked immediately. Enjoy

Level Contributor
21,548 posts
83 reviews
75 helpful votes
9. Re: Do Italians drink coffee after their dinner????

To all who found the espresso too little - think twice before you order double espresso - it has double the quantity of coffe, thus it is likely to keep you all night awake if you drink it for dinner - order espresso lungo (with a touch more water) instead.

A (sensitive to caffeine)

Huntsville, Alabama
Level Contributor
170 posts
3 reviews
19 helpful votes
10. Re: Do Italians drink coffee after their dinner????

Have to laugh... my boyfriend and I were in Florence last week and on the afternoon we got there we wanted something to eat but it was after 3pm so most restaurants were closed. At the suggestion of our concierge we walked to the Piazza della Repubblica and wound up eating at Gilli even though we had read that it was overpriced and overrated. (We liked the food and thought it was fine... we ate outdoors and enjoyed the people watching.)

But the laugh is this... my boyfriend loves espresso and drinks it all the time... whenever he wants. (We have one of those espresso machines that costs more than a small car at home... he's hooked.) Well, there was a bit of a nip in the air so as soon as we sat down and were approached by a waiter we told him we wanted still water and boyfriend said he wanted an espesso. The waiter fixed a disgusted look on him and stated "It's better afterwards... you have it then." With that he turned with a flurish and disappeared.

Well, we laughed to ourselves and then I laughed even harder as my boyfriend muttered under his breath "Oh! I thought you were taking MY order! I didn't realize I was taking yours!" That became our little catch phrase over the rest of the trip and every so often one of us would mutter "Oh... I thought you were taking MY order."

Yes, they take their coffee and its protocal very seriously.... *smile*

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