ITALY’S COFFEE CULTURE
Invigorating sounds of spirited conversations, the hissing of the milk steamer, the thumping of filters being emptied, the clatter of the cups and saucers uniting, the clinking of tiny spoons, the shaking and stirring of sugar packets, and the heavenly aroma of fresh ground coffee beans…..You must be at an Italian “Bar” right now?
In Italy, the Italian "Bar" (what we call Café) is the center of social life, a sneak peek into "La Dolce Vita" (the sweet life)... Starting from a quick stop on the way to work, for a cappuccino or espresso and a cornetto (sugar-coated croissant) to several times during the day.
By the way, you'll never see an Italian order a cappuccino as an after-lunch or after-dinner drink. Cappuccino is proper only at breakfast, but far too heavy for later in the day. For the Italians it's like having a milkshake after dinner.
Also, Espresso means just that, express (fast) while standing at the bar, in and out in no more than 6 minutes. There's no time to be sipping a .3oz espresso slowly while reading the morning paper. During the day, a coffee break is known as 'una pausa' (a pause) because that's literally what it is... A quick pause from running errands, getting back to work post-siesta or meeting a business associate to swap paperwork.
Rarely do Italians have their after-lunch or after-dinner espresso at the same trattoria where they just dined. They scope out which locale in the area makes espresso the “right way”, argue over varying opinions, finally agree on “the one” and proceed to walk for miles to get that perfect .3 ounces.