Italians are an easy going nation. They will welcome you to their country and allow you to share their rich cultural traditions.
If you break the rules they will shrug and smile and not judge you. Only after you have left will they shrug their shoulder and think “crazy visitors”.
Nowhere is this truer than in the rules which bind their own coffee drinking.
Start the day with a milky coffee
This is the part of the day where you start with a cappuccino, the sort that can be made in a Delonghi esam3300. Variations are a latte, though they probably won’t call it that. The other option is a macchiato which is steamed milk with a shot of espresso.
From this point on a caffé means a shot of espresso, like that of the Delonghi Esam 3300. It is short, it is strong and it does not have any milk whatsoever.
You will usually want to add sugar to an espresso, and there will be a small twist of lemon because the oil adds to the coffee flavor.
In Italy, this is not about getting a shot of caffeine. It is a social construct. It might be downed at high speed, standing by the bar, often accompanied by a glass of water.
But it is that especially Italian idea of taking a break; a breath, a breather in the day. It is a moment in life to break for 5 and catch up.
You will often see friends or colleagues catching a caffé but it is not something to linger over. You are really welcome to sit at a table in the café and take your espresso, but if you do, it will be more expensive than the quick shot at the bar, and you should be prepared to tip, not quite to American levels but please tip.
Like much else in Italy it is the social aspect which makes life worth living, coffee is just another delightful expression of la dolce vita.