Coffee Lesson #19


  • coffee drink, Italian in origin
    • coffee that is often thicker than coffee brewed using other methods of preparation
  • concentrated thick coffee with a layer of dense foam
  • coffee prepared by forcing nearly boiling water under pressure through finely ground coffee beans
  • strong black coffee
    • strong black coffee made by forcing steam through finely ground coffee beans
Espresso from Caffe Greco in Rome, Lazio, Italy

Coffee Lesson #16


  • also referred to as caffé latte (Italian name/word origin)
  • coffee drink made with espresso and steamed milk
    • variations of the drink can include replacing standard steamed milk with other types of milk such as soy, almond, cashew, etc.
    • can be served cold–an iced latte is espresso with chilled milk poured over ice
  • considered a morning drink, especially in Italy/Italian culture
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Hazelnut Latte and a bagel with cream cheese at Sunrise Coffee in Las Vegas, NV

Milan, Lombardy, Italy: Starbucks

Okay, hear me out, because I know what you’re thinking: Starbucks in Italy? She’s crazy!

I will admit that there is some level of insanity in me, though that is mostly contained in things outside of coffee recommendations (think resigning from my job before finding my next job, traveling solo, buying a one-way ticket to another country without a firm return or a destination beyond the initial destination–this is lunacy).

Therefore, refrain from instant dismissal, stick with the shock, and just read:

There are certain things you have to see in a city–the Eiffel Tower in Paris or the Strip in Las Vegas. Their fame is legendary, and well-established.

Starbucks is everywhere. Their fame is legendary and well-established. Equally legendary and well-established: coffee in Italy. So, what happens when you put these two iconic brands, tastes, and cultures together? Magic. And this is why I recommend going, wholeheartedly, to the Starbucks Reserve in Milan.

Milan is an incredible city, rich with history, architecture, and, most notably, fashion. Milan is one of the busiest and most crowded tourist destinations on the planet. I marveled at every turn.

The Duomo took my breath away. Sempione Park was lush, spacious, and beautiful. The Da Vinci Museum was one of the most interactive, informative, and most fun museums I have ever patroned. Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II was filled with a ton of people, and some of the most expensive, lucrative fashion designers in the world.

Incredible. All of it.

That’s not all though. On a photo shoot and tour, I was reminded that the first Starbucks, and the only Starbucks at this time, to enter the borders of Italy was standing in Milan. I remembered hearing about it on the news, at home in the US, and laughing. I remembered Italians making fun and practically mocking the idea. I asked about its welcome and business–it had been a hit! The coffee, the food, the decor, the concept, had all been well-received.

Since it is the first Starbucks in Italy. Since it is the only Starbucks in Italy. Since it received great reviews among locals and tourists, I had to check it out.

The place is massive, and opulent. It’s not a regular coffee shop but a reserve. There’s an upstairs area for coffee and small pastries. The main floor has two sections to order coffee and food–food menus differ on each side. The main floor is also home to a roastery. There are places to buy beans, speak to experts, and purchase all kinds of coffee-related items. There is outdoor seating on the front patio–it’s located in Piazza Cordusio so lots of traffic and people to view on said patio.

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Unlike most other locales in Italy, it’s incredibly spacious–there’s plenty of seating to take that much-needed extended break. Food options are plentiful. Wifi is available, and due to food, space, and Wifi, working individuals are a regular sight.


Now, I realize there are a few select reserves in the world that mimic much of what I saw, tasted, and enjoyed in Milan. However, the spectacle is rare and beautiful; moreover, it’s the first of its kind in Milan and truly novel in the whole of Italy.


So, with all of that, I have to say: if you’re ever in Milan, in between all your shopping and sight-seeing, make sure to check out Starbucks Reserve. It’s the only one in Italy. The drinks and food are delicious. The decor is spectacular. The ambiance is vibrant.

Starbucks in Milan? Yes please!



Vicenza, Veneto, Italy: Caffé Roma

Vicenza is a city in the north of Italy. Look at a map of Italy, find Verona, find Venice–Vicenza is in between these two famous cities.

I was repeatedly encouraged to visit Vicenza. I was unsure about my visit, and purpose, I had two significant locales on either side of the city that were calling my name. Luckily, I took the local recommendation.

Vicenza is a cute city. It has less international name recognition, but it’s definitely worth a visit. There’s plenty to see, and a lot less crowds, which makes for a wonderful experience.

Vicenza is known for its beautiful buildings–Palladio, a famous Italian architect, dominates the city. I visited several times; I saw only a fraction of what was possible–there are a few shopping areas, a number of churches, museums, gorgeous buildings, and some truly beautiful parks.

With so much to see, a coffee break will be in order. While I’m sure that any coffee place in an Italian city provides good coffee, I have my heart set on Caffé Roma.


I discovered Caffé Roma through two new American friends I met on my travels–Vicenza is home to an American base, their partners were stationed at this base, so they were exceptionally familiar with the area, and I let them be my tour guides one visit. They are the ones that took me here, and I will forever be grateful.

Caffé Roma has a small outdoor seating area, in that area they included blankets which I really appreciated as I visited during winter. I enjoyed my coffee outside and stayed warm with beautiful, thick, soft blankets. The indoor seating had a few tables and the most adorable coat hangars at the bar. There is a giant mirror located next to the bar itself where I wrote alongside others from all over the world. Finally, the customer service was superb; the people were patient, kind, and friendly.


All of this was on top of the fact that they had great coffee, and some superb brioche. In fact, my friends took me here specifically for the brioche–they said it was the best they had tasted in all of their travels. I have to agree, it was pretty spectacular.


So, if you’re ever in Vicenza, visiting this architectural and Italian gem, make a stop at Caffé Roma–get cozy with some blankets, coffee, and brioche, it’ll be just the break and treat you needed.

Cittadella, Padua, Italy: Caffé Al Pozzo

For 6 weeks I lived in Galliera Veneto, Padua, Italy, with an Italian family. It was a very small town, in the north of Italy–a completely different experience than 13 years prior when I had studied abroad in Rome.

In a different part of the country, under different circumstances and obligations, at a different point in my life, my life and adventures took a different course. I had done the big cities (Rome, Venice, Florence). Now, it was time for lesser known cities . . .

. . . like Cittadella!

Cittadella was a military outpost in the 13th century, so when you get off the train, you walk a bit, and within 5 minutes you’re in the heart and center of a walled city.

According to what I read and learned, it’s the only walled city in all of Europe! So, it’s a perfect stop to not just walk the entirety of the walled city, it’s enough time to check out the wall itself–that’s right, it has a fully functional walkway nearly 50 feet (15 meters) above ground.


Once you’re done walking the walls, checking out the shops, and feeling like a local, make a stop at Caffé Al Pozzo.


Every coffee shop, every coffee bar, is lovely. Every gelato place is excellent–you can get coffee there too. Nevertheless, I have a special place in my heart for Al Pozzo.

It’s small, but most bars in Italy are small. It has a lovely outdoor seating area, which on a sunny day must be magical; I was there during the winter, so I stayed indoors. The decor is a little fun, orange is one of my favorite colors. The coffee is superb; I got something different each time, and every time, it was delicious. Al Pozzo was also the first place I had brioche, a chocolate brioche, during my travels. This is heavenly. Finally, and I cannot stress this enough, the customer service was superb.


I truly appreciate anyone who patiently waits as I try to think of the right words, and fumble through my coins trying to figure out exact change. Al Pozzo does all of that–and more.

So, if you’re ever in Cittadella, stop by Al Pozzo–they’ll not only treat you well, but you’ll be able to enjoy some great coffee and brioche too.


Rome, Lazio, Italy: Antico Caffé Greco

You’re in Italy, where do you go for coffee?

Technically the answer is anywhere. It’s Italy. It’s known for its coffee. However, if you’re in Rome, there’s one must-see: Antico Caffé Greco.

Established in 1760, located on Via Condotti, a high-end shopping haven, Caffé Greco is the oldest coffee bar in Rome. Whereas all its neighbors are selling modern fashion trends, Caffé Greco stands out for its longevity and traditional landscape.

It’s near the Spanish Steps, so if you’ve been climbing those steps, or climbing the hill to get to that area, or simply need fuel to be able to browse all the famous designer shops, it’s the place to make a stop.


Need more reasons to go?

It’s the oldest bar in Rome, but it’s also famous as the second oldest coffee bar in Italy. It’s a historical landmark. So go and taste a bit of history.


It’s spacious, clean, and serves not just delicious coffee, but delicious treats. There’s plenty of room at the counter, and a lot of places to sit–in a city filled with cafes where there’s often just a counter, a seat is a welcome treat. Furthermore, it’s impeccably clean, even the bathrooms are golden–literally, it’s got gold trim decor. Rome has a bit of a cleanliness problem, and it’s hard to find a bathroom, so Caffé Greco definitely feels like a treasure in this department.

And, of course, there’s coffee and treats.

There’s a counter to order coffee, and any pastry on display. Order, pay, show your receipt to the barista. Enjoy it standing up, and walk away. If you want the added experience, the seated experience, be advised that seating is delightful, but makes everything more expensive. It’s up to you: if you want to just check it off your list of things to do, the counter is great. If you want to get the fuller experience, have a seat. Whatever you do, just make sure to check it out, you won’t be disappointed. Bon appetit! 😉



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. 😊

November 29, 2018: Quote of the Day

“I know many people have said it before, but there is nothing a cup of coffee and a new pair of shoes can’t fix!”

–Marissa Jaret Winokur


I feel like this is the most perfect quote for me, in Italy–a coffee and fashion powerhouse. Yes, coffee and shoes are definitely the answer! 😀

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