a hot drink made from the roasted and ground seeds (coffee beans) of a tropical shrub.

October 1st is the International Coffee Day! To celebrate this day dedicated to one of the best drinks on earth, I thought to publish this Guide to Italian Coffee I had created some time ago for Smeg Nordic, whose espresso machine is by the way still everyday in use in our home and makes great coffees and cappucinos.

The Guide to Italian Coffee created for Smeg Nordic | on The Adagio Blog by Thais FK

The king of Italian Coffee: Espresso

/ eˈspresˌō /

There are four different kinds of Espresso: 

  1. Ristretto (or corto), 20 ml
  2. Normale, 25-30 ml
  3. Lungo, 35-50 ml
  4. Doppio, a double shot

The difference lies in how much water you will let pass through the coffee filter. If you go to an Italian cafeteria, or bar, and ask for a coffee with no other explanation, you’ll be served a small cup of espresso. It’s very strong and concentrated, so it’s usually drank sweetened with sugar.

Caffè Macchiato

/ ˌmækɪˈɑːtəʊ /

It is served in an espresso cup and it is an espresso with a dollop of steamed milk.

Caffè corretto

/ ko’r:ɛt:o /

An espresso “corrected” with a little amount of liquor, usually grappa, cognac, sambuca or brandy.

The Guide to Italian Coffee created for Smeg Nordic | on The Adagio Blog by Thais FK

Caffè con panna

Espresso with a tablespoon of non-whipped heavy cream on top.

Caffè Viennese

An espresso shot with whipped cream on top.



Deliciously chocolatey,  this coffee drink is a shot of espresso in a small glass, foamed milk and cocoa powder.

Tip! Try to add a teaspoon of hazelnut spread at the bottom of the glass before adding the milk for a richer texture. 


/ˌɑːfəˈɡɑːtəʊ /

A shot of espresso with a scoop of ice cream (usually fior di latte or vanilla) in it.


/ ˌkæpəˈtʃiːnəʊ /

What the majority of Italians will ask for in a bar in the morning is a cappuccino. This famous coffee drink requires practice and patience to master it. For a cappuccino, make 1 shot of espresso (two for a stronger flavour) and steam 1dl+1tbsp (around 120 ml) of milk, so that ⅓ of the milk will become a thick, velvety foam and the milk will reach 65°C.

The Guide to Italian Coffee created for Smeg Nordic | on The Adagio Blog by Thais FK


/ ˌmɒkəˈtʃiːnəʊ /

A cappuccino with a little amount of hot chocolate added in it.

Caffè Latte

Every Italian’s breakfast at home requires caffè latte, which has a shot of espresso in a mug or glass and 1dl+1tbsp (around 120ml) or warm milk.

Latte Macchiato

For latte macchiato, foam about 1dl of milk, pour it in a glass and add a shot of espresso.


This is a shot of espresso in a glass or cappuccino cup with 90°C warm water.

Caffè freddo

Iced coffee can be done in so many different ways. Almost every Italian region and many other countries in the world have their own tradition about it. Whether cold or hot brewed, black or with milk, sweetened or not, the main idea is to make a refreshing beverage with coffee as the main ingredient.

My personal version of Iced Coffee

Makes one iced coffee


  • 1 shot of espresso
  • 1-2 tbsp (15/30 ml) of simple syrup, to taste*
  • 100 ml of milk of your choice
  • 1/4 tsp of vanilla extract
  • Ice


  1. Prepare the espresso and combine it with the simple syrup*
  2. Fill a glass with ice
  3. Add the sweetened espresso, the vanilla extract and the milk into the glass, mix well and enjoy!

*In case you don’t have simple syrup, just sweeten the espresso with sugar to taste.

Caffè shakerato

Served in a cold martini glass, caffè shakerato is a long, sweetened  espresso shaken in a cocktail shaker with few ice cubes.

Crema di caffè

This delicious coffee cream is something you can order in every italian cafeteria (aka bar) all year round, but especially in summertime. Since in the rest of the world is not such a common beverage, I thought to share with you the recipe for this velvety creamy coffee cold drink. It’s actually very easy to make!

Crema al caffè

Prep Time10 mins
Cooling time30 mins
Course: Drinks
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: coffee
Serves: 4


  • 1 dl espresso
  • ½ dl milk
  • 2 dl heavy cream
  • 2 tbsp powdered sugar
  • A small piece of vanilla bean or ¼ tsp vanilla extract optional


  • Add the sugar and, if you want, the piece vanilla bean to the warm espressos
  • Add the milk to the espressos and mix
  • Chill the espressos
  • Whip the heavy cream
  • Remove the vanilla bean and add the espressos into the whipped cream
  • Mix well and chill in freezer for three hours, mixing the cream every half an hour
  • Serve cold in small glasses


Tip! Substitute the milk with almond milk or the heavy cream with coconut milk for a lactose-free and vegan version .
Did you enjoy this recipe? Pin it for later! Tried this recipe? Mention @adagioblog or tag #adagiorecipes!

I hope you enjoyed this guide to Italian Coffee! Most of those coffees are really easy to recreate at home, just use dark roast, good quality beans and use a Moka Pot in case you don’t have an actual coffee machine!

Thais FK

Italian photographer, recipe developer and content creator, Thais came to Finland by chance, but stayed for love. Through photography she tells stories about traveling, eating, cooking and living sustainably, in order to discover new cultures and not to forget her origins. Thais FK's portfolio:

September 26, 2020



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