Italy: to-go

Recently I posted a brief summary on some of the differences between the US and Italy as it pertains to coffee, and coffee culture.

Now, sometimes you notice things right away, and sometimes you don’t realize things until much later. This is a much later realization:

No need for a to-go cup.

The quick espresso, the quick shot of coffee, is a momentary event. It’s served, you may or may not add sugar, you chug it, you leave the bar. That’s it.

Since it’s a brief stop, there’s no need for a to-go cup.


I was standing at the bar waiting for my drink, hearing all the glass clinking, enjoying the sounds–I don’t know why but I like the hustle and bustle noise–when it dawned on me: there’s no paper or plastic anywhere.

In fact, once it hit me, I instantly started looking around for any sign of paper cups. Nothing. I looked for cardboard sleeves, wooden stirrers, drink stoppers, and everything else associated with a cup of coffee to-go. Surely, I was mistaken. But there was nothing.

Three weeks into my Italian stay, I started backtracking to every bar and restaurant, had I seen a to-go cup–anywhere? From this moment on, I started looking for signs of a coffee to-go. Any signs, any options, any markings for a to-go option; I looked everywhere. After 6 weeks in Italy, I recall one in Rome, which I attribute to the abundance of tourists, and I found one in Bassano del Grappa. Nothing in all my other travels (Galliera Veneta, Castelfranco, Vicenza, Cittadella, Treviso, Padua, Venice, Verona, Asolo).

Italians may drink a lot of coffee, but they’re not producing nearly as much paper and plastic waste with their caffeinated habit–not as much as we do in the States. It’s pretty amazing and quite the contrast, and while I love the idea and the concept of it all, I sure do miss my big American cup to-go. I miss being able to savor some added almond milk and flavor in the morning. 😉 ☕ So, it’s great for the environment, and I definitely appreciate it, but I’m not a complete convert. For now, it’s just another difference to note. 😊

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Blog at

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: