Italy is the coffee mecca of the world.
The culture, process, freshness and taste of their caffè is unparalleled.
Americans love coffee. At least, we think we do. If we’re going to be real with ourselves, we love Starbucks and that’s not really coffee… it’s dessert. However, to be fair, there’s a growing craft coffee movement in the USA that goes beyond the “Frappucino”.
Spectating at a sporting event while traveling can be an amazing way to understand different cultures, but eating the local cuisine can be very educational as well.
It’s hard to fully grasp Italian culture without enjoying a delicious espresso in a local coffee bar. Below are the Italian coffee capitals that should be on your next itinerary:
Illy, arguably the best tasting coffee in the world, calls Trieste home.
If you’ve read my post Romance, Coffee & Football in Italy: Triestina Calcio, you may think I’m a little biased in putting my grandma’s home town at the top of the list. However, once you look at the history, you will have no doubt that Trieste is the most important coffee capital.
Without this beautiful port city, coffee may not even have much of an impact on the Western world.
Trieste was a jewel of the Hapsburg empire.
You don’t have to know much about history to figure out that the Hapsburg dynasty had an enormous impact on European politics, all the way up until the end of World War I. Using the port of Trieste, the Hapsburg’s essentially turned an historically African drink into the European delicacy we enjoy today.
Illy and Trieste represent the finest in Italian coffee, which should be enjoyed by every traveler exploring Italy.
Lavazza, a top competitor to Illy, is another well respected Italian coffee brand that exports its product around the globe. The company originated in Turin and is known for its blended coffee and unique taste. This city is a must visit if you’re a coffee enthusiast. While in a cafe, you will find that much like Lavazza, Turin’s coffee culture is a superior blend of modern innovation and traditional values.
Kimbo is one of the Italy’s finest tasting coffee’s that originated in Naples. The Neapolitan culture surrounding the “black stuff” is somewhat legendary. You must add sugar before, not after you pour your coffee and enjoy it standing, not sitting. Oh, and don’t forget, only sip the drink with your right hand.
These are just a few of the rules you better follow if you want to fit in to the Naples caffe scene. Sounds kind of like an introduction into some mafia ritual, but it’s not, it’s just coffee.
Milan has some of the worlds best cafes and coffee bars.
Caffè Cova of 1817 (loved by Giuseppe Verdi and Ernest Hemingway), the Caffè Savini of 1867, the Caffè Biffi of 1887 and the Camparino of 1915, are all located in the central Vittorio Emanuele II Gallery. There’s no better place in the world to enjoy a nice espresso and enjoy the ambiance in Milan.
I have to be honest, Venice has never been my favorite place in the world due to the huge crowds of tourists. However, it’s just like Disney World or the Old Course in St Andrews, it’s one of a kind.
Aside from the beautiful canals, Venice is also known as one of the first places coffee was enjoyed in Italy. You must visit the collection of amazing cafes in the city to experience the history.
It’s important to note that Naples, Turin and Milan all have amazing soccer (calcio) cultures as well. So, next time you’re in Italy, check out these Italian Coffee Capitals and enjoy your espresso.