The first sacks of coffee beans in Italy came from Egypt, reaching the markets of Venice in 1570. Initially considered by the church as a dangerous drink, it didn't take long for even the Pope to fall in love with the Coffea bean. plant, and the first cafes in Europe were born right there, in the city of Lagoa. However, centuries passed before espresso coffee became a symbol of Italian quality and a beloved ritual, and it was only in 1884 that Angelo Moriondo invented the first espresso machine in Turin to help baristas prepare many more coffees in small quantities. of time. Another 20 years passed before the machine was reproduced for other bars. Even so, it wasn't until after World War II, when people finally had time to sit down and drink coffee, that the ritual really took off, making its way into people's homes as well.
Nowadays, the drink is an indisputable reference of Italian culture, where nothing better than starting the day with a classic pot of mocha at home or at the counter of the local bar. In Italy, the reference cup is a coffee with an intense flavor, obtained through the roasting process for an “all'italiana” dark roast. It is the favorite of the Italians, suggestsVincent Fogliano, director of the Department of Food Quality and Design at Wageningen University in the Netherlands, becausemakes coffee less acidic and less hard on the stomach.
A good espresso, even one made at home, should always be full-bodied, tasty and fragrant, served in small cups and drunk warm in just a few sips. The best Italian coffee brands manage to achieve this trio through their unique blends. Understanding these blends, how the coffee is roasted, and the difference in varieties will help any Italian coffee enthusiast choose the right bag.
- Overall Best:Lavazza 100% Medium Roasted Arabica
- Best Arabic:Illy Classic Medium Roast
- Best roast:Caffe Vergnano 100% Arabica Espresso Torrado
- Best espresso:Kimbo Coffee Neapolitan Espresso
- Best Artisan Roast:Mamma Mia Craft Company
Our best picks
Overall Best: Lavazza 100% Medium Roasted Arabica
Luigi Lavazza started selling coffee from his bottega in Turin in 1895, and one of Italy's first coffee companies is still a family business. Exporting nearly half of its production, it is Italy's best-known and best-loved coffee brand. Its fame is that the mixture of coffee, themix, as it is known in Italian, was invented by Lavazza himself. Their range includes whole beans, pre-ground coffee and coffee capsules. Their Crema e Gusto blend is an Italian favorite, 70 percent Arabica and 30 percent Robusta dark roasted for that bold, classic Italian flavor. Their Super Crema, meanwhile, is one of the most concentrated Robusta blends for that coveted crema on top of an espresso.
Best Arabic:Illy Classic Medium Roast
Based in Trieste, in northeast Italy, the Illy coffee brand is named after its Hungarian founder, Francesco Illy. Illy invented a coffee machine shortly before World War II, as well as a process that keeps coffee fresh for export in pressurized cans, something that still sets them apart from other coffee brands. In 1980, Illy became the first Italian coffee brand in the United States, where it remains one of the most famous Italian brands. Their Classico is named for good reason: it's balanced, smooth and rich, made with a blend of nine Arabica coffees. It's perfect for the Moka pot at home. As a bonus, the cans your coffee comes in are reusable.
Best roast:Caffe Vergnano 100% Arabica Espresso Torrado
Vergnano, one of the oldest coffee roasters in Italy, was born in 1882 when Domenico Vergnano opened his shop near Turin in Piedmont. TodayCafé VergnanoIt is still run by the same family and remains a favorite in Italy. Caffe Vergnano prides itself on its unique, artisanal, slow-roasting method, and on roasting each origin separately before blending, giving the beans a more balanced roast. The Arabica Espresso roast is a good example of their signature slow roast coffee, bringing out the delicate flavor and aromas of Central and South American Arabica coffees in a beautifully round cup.
Best espresso:Kimbo Coffee Neapolitan Espresso
This coffee roaster was founded by four brothers in 1963 in Naples, the undisputed capital of espresso coffee in Italy. Their signature coffee "Espresso Napoletano" has a decidedly Neapolitan character: strong, intense and smooth flavor with dark roasting and a percentage of Robusta that produces a crema "like what you find in a bar in Naples", as they like to say.
Best Artisan Roast:Mamma Mia Craft Company
Best Artisan Roast
Micro roasters are becoming increasingly popular across Italy, with many drawing attention to their craft not just for the quality of the coffee, but also for highlighting aspects of coffee production such as sustainability and biodiversity. Ditta Artigianale is a great example of how this perspective was welcomed in Florence. In the first year, they opened not one, but two stores, which became the most popular cafes in the city.
Founder Francesco Sanapo, world champion barista, created the Mamma Mia blend in homage to his mother, who dislikes the particularly acidic or fruity notes that can be detected in some coffees. To obtain the right balance of this 100% Arabica blend, Francesco was careful not to roast the beans, which come from Peru, Honduras, Costa Rica and Ethiopia, a composition that, according to him, was studied to give the best results for both espresso and for coffee. for those who prefer milk in their coffee. “In this glass you will find an intense flavor, a smooth body and a long aftertaste”, he explains. "The flavor is characterized by notes of roasted almonds, plums, dates, milk chocolate and caramel." Francesco says the name Mamma Mia was also chosen to recognize the all-female production behind this mix. “In fact, all the coffees in the blend are produced by exceptional women that I have personally met on my travels.”
Features to consider
Whole x pre-ground beans
Buying whole grains means you can grind them before you prepare them for the freshest taste every time. Whole beans also last longer. However, not everyone has a coffee grinder and the convenience of having pre-ground coffee appeals to many. When buying pre-ground coffee, pay attention to the size of the granules. Typically, there are two types: an extra fine grind is for the Moka coffee maker or espresso machine, while a regular grind is suitable for filter coffee, from automatic drip to pour and French press.
robust vs. Arabica
Understanding the differences between these two varieties of coffee beans explains the preference for certain blends in Italy and also helps you decide which coffee blend to choose for your preferred cup.
The Arabica variety tastes smooth and sweet, with fruity and slightly acidic notes, while the Robusta is (as they say, "robust") more intense, stronger, nuttier and more bitter. It also has a much higher caffeine content; almost double what is found in Arabica. Although Robusta is often considered the 'lesser' variety by coffee aficionados in terms of quality and taste, its presence in a blend is responsible for the prized hazelnut 'cream' color on top of a good espresso. Those looking for a higher dose of caffeine will also appreciate a blend with more Robusta.
In the northern regions of Italy, the ideal espresso blend seems to be mostly Arabica with perhaps a small percentage, around 20 to 30 percent, Robusta for a fragrant, not overly delicate cup. In the South, the preference is for a greater concentration of the intense flavor of the dark roasted Robusta. A glass of ice water is usually served with coffee in the central-south regions of Italy to accompany the espresso, and it is common to add a little sugar (to the point that some bars, such as the famousBar Mexico in Naples, will serve a coffee without sugar only if you request it in advance).
When choosing a coffee blend, you should always consider how the coffee will be extracted and served: short or long, with or without milk, and how much caffeine you like. If you like espresso, ideally a ratio of Robusta for good crema and a dark roast for full flavor, and if you can, grind your own whole beans for maximum freshness and flavor. If you prefer a long American or black coffee, you should opt for a 100% Arabica blend, where the delicate aroma and notes of berries and chocolate stand out. For cappuccino lovers or for those who like milk with their coffee, a mixture with a percentage of Robusta, just like for espresso, is a good idea. The stronger roast and flavor will be offset by the sweet milk.
Italian coffee regions
Italy's top coffee roasters are predominantly located in the southern region of Campania, which is not surprising given that its capital, Naples, is considered the center of coffee in Italy. Home to coffee brands like Kimbo and Motta, it's where you'll find the biggest coffee drinkers in the country, as well as the namesake of the first home brewer (a stove dripper where water passes through the coffee by gravity, thenapolitano). Naples is also the place where the charitable practice ofsuspense coffee(the “suspended coffee”) exists, an act of kindness, where those who can pay leave a payment at the bar, advancing the coffee for those who cannot pay.
The rest of Italy's coffee roasters are concentrated in the north of the country – Emilia Romagna and Piemonte (where you can find historic roasters like Vergnano and Lavazza, for example) in particular.
Artisanal coffee roasters are also gaining more popularity in Italy. Tuscany in particular has a very good offering, including our favourite, Ditta Artigianale in Florence; The coffee plantations in Livorno, Piansa; and Slitti Chocolate and Coffee near Pistoia.
How we choose these products
These products were chosen based on the reputation and quality of the products in Italy, as well as the availability of these Italian brands abroad.
ask the experts
Q: Do Italian coffee brands always make blends?
Talking to Carolina Vergnano of Caffe Vergnano about her family's long-standing brand, she explains that the concept of blending, rather than single-origin coffees, is very Italian: "Like the tiramisu recipe, so is the coffee. it's a recipe and in the end the coffee producer is an artist and each coffee has a different personality", he explains. The blend creates that perfect taste that the drinker craves. strong and bitter coffee that is drunk in a few moments.
Q: Why is espresso so popular in Italy?
There's typically an ounce of espresso in a cup, and “in that 30 ml [1 oz] of coffee there's content, there's values, raw materials,” says Verganano. “There is a whole journey in that cup, from the plant, to the art of roasting, to the coffee extraction method. Extraction is everything an Italian espresso machine is supposed to extract: the aroma, the flavor, the crema. There is a world, the journey, the family. It is much more than a cup”.
These Italian coffee brands are also historic; some of them still belong to the same families, built on the traditions, tastes and habits found in their respective Italian regions. Therefore, the coffee they produce is made for a particular style. Knowing how the blends are made, understanding how this information can be used when preparing your breakfast, and whether you need whole grains or pre-ground can all contribute to the ultimate Italian experience in your cup.
What brand of coffee is most popular in Italy? ›
Illy and Lavazza Dominate.
There are plenty of Italian coffee roasters, but two companies rule the roost. Illy and Lavazza. With over two centuries of experience between them, either of these coffee brands is a safe bet for coffee lovers after a surefire taste of Italy.
Cappuccino is probably Italy's most famous coffee. After all, while there's no such thing as a grande anything when it comes to types of Italian coffee, a cappuccino is a cappuccino the world over. It's basically ⅓ espresso, ⅓ steamed milk and ⅓ foam.What is the No 1 coffee brand in the world? ›
Starbucks. With annual revenues of $23.52 billion, Starbucks tops the list of best coffee brands in the world. The world's largest coffee retailer, headquartered in Seattle, US, was founded in 1971. At present, its operations span across more than 33,800 stores in 80 countries.Is Italian blend coffee good? ›
In fact, most coffee professionals would steer away from Italian Roast, due to unknown origin and quality. There's a whole world of delicious coffee out there—but Italian Roast coffees tend to be predictably bleh-tasting.What coffee do Italians drink at home? ›
Caffè Also know as caffè normale, caffè is the foundation of any Italian coffee drink. A caffè is simply an espresso, served black and only in one shot increments.What coffee do Italians drink at night? ›
The day is defined by coffee rituals: a cappuccino with breakfast, a caffè macchiato – or two – as an afternoon pick-me-up, and espresso after dinner.What coffee do Italians drink in afternoon? ›
When Italians need a little caffeine in the afternoon, they drink an espresso. But they don't call it espresso, because in Italy it's just coffee (or caffé). To order a shot of espresso in Italy, “you would just say caffè,” explains Milos. Espresso is the technical term and caffé is the drink.Do Italians put sugar in coffee? ›
Sugar is traditionally added to espresso by Italians, who invented the drink. Not all of them take it this way, but most of them do.What is America's #1 coffee? ›
|1||Dunkin' Donuts||J.M. Smucker|
|2||Green Mountain Coffee||Keurig Green Mountain|
- That's every day. (Starbucks and Dunkin' Donuts, USAT photo) ...
- Maxwell House. (Getty) ...
- Eight O'Clock Coffee. (Eight O'Clock Coffee) ...
- Café Bustelo. (Café Bustelo) ...
- The Folger Coffee Company. (Food Business News) ...
- Caribou Coffee. ...
- Peet's Coffee. ...
- Dunkin Brands Group.
How do you drink coffee like a true Italian? ›
- Drink your coffee standing at the bar, not sitting down, and don't linger over it. In some bars, there are no tables to sit at. ...
- Don't ask for your coffee 'to go'. ...
- Do not order a coffee with milk after 11am.
In summary, Italian espresso tastes better because it is always made from a fresh roast, which is never more than eight days old. In America, it is hard to find a fresh roasted coffee because there are not enough small-scale, local roasters and there are not enough coffee shops.Is Lavazza real Italian coffee? ›
THE FAMILY. Lavazza is a family-owned coffee roaster from Turin, Italy.Do Italians put milk in coffee? ›
Italians drink lots of coffee – they drink it small and they drink it fast. It's a pick-me-up and a quick caffeine kick. 'Caffé' is what we'd call an espresso. It's served, not too hot, in a petite espresso cup and saucer, thick, dark and without milk and comes with a complimentary glass of water.Do Italians drink American coffee? ›
There are very few Italians who would drink an americano. If they see you drinking one, most likely, they will ask you how you can drink that “dirty water.” As the Italian nickname suggests, it's a shot of Espresso with hot water. Cappuccino: another worldwide famous Italian type of coffee.How do Italians drink coffee in a day? ›
The morning cup is usually only the first cup that is consumed by almost all people. Italians drink an average of 3 coffees a day: 4 out of 10 oscillate between a minimum of two cups and a maximum of 3, while the same number consumes from 3 to 4 cups of coffee a day.Is Illy or Lavazza better? ›
Illy is perfect for you if you like the taste of your coffee more refined and smoother and you have more flexibility in your wallet. Lavazza is a good option for those with a modest budget who enjoy their coffee with a little more acidity and robustness of flavor.What is the oldest coffee brand in Italy? ›
About us. Barbera Coffee Co. is the oldest Italian coffee roasting company with a history of 150 years and distributes its products in more than 50 countries all over the world.How do Italians drink coffee so late? ›
Why do Italians drink coffee after dinner? “The espresso after dinner is ordered only if the meal was heavy, and they also 'correct' the espresso by adding grappa, known as 'the corretto,'” Milos says. The habit might also have to do with the fact that Italians stay up later.What time do Italians stop drinking espresso? ›
You can have an espresso any time of day. Cappuccino, however, is frowned upon after 11am. "In Italy, people will look at you very strangely if you have a cappuccino after 11.
What do Italians drink before lunch? ›
An aperitif is an alcoholic Italian drink served before a meal to stimulate the appetite. An aperitif is traditionally a glass of wine or a dry, bitter, low-alcohol cocktail. This drink is usually enjoyed with small bite-sized foods and snacks. Together, this is known as aperitivo.Why do Italians drink water after coffee? ›
This tradition has its origins in the ancient Italian coffee roasters, in which water was served to customers before they tasted the coffee. The roasters, in fact, wanted customers to appreciate all the aromatic nuances of coffee without having the taste of other foods previously eaten.Why do Italians not drink milk in the afternoon? ›
Italians have a thing about drinking cappuccino after noon. It's just not done (some say it's because the milk and foam makes it a replacement for a meal, and all that dairy upsets the digestion).What do Italians drink for breakfast? ›
Traditional breakfast drinks in Italian households are coffee, tea and cocoa milk for the kids and the main breakfast foods are bread with butter and jam, biscuits and cereals.What coffee do Italians drink in the morning? ›
The cappuccino is arguably the most popular type of coffee drink in Italy that includes milk, made with equal parts Italian espresso, steamed milk, and milk foam. Since cappuccinos have quite a bit of milk, Italians only drink this particular type of coffee in the morning.
Syrup is something you take when you have a cold. It is never added to coffee. However, in the north of Italy, coffee is sometimes “corrected” with liquor, il caffé corretto. The preferred choice is usually grappa but it varies between regions.Do Italians put cream in their espresso? ›
Espresso cremina: the recipe
This is definitely a classic tradition in and around Naples and Salerno, where even the bartender preparing an espresso adds the cream to his preparations. In the rest of Italy, however, it's much more of a family ritual. So here's the secret for making it really special.
Everything you need for a delicious cup at home. Good is brewing with the rich aroma and delicious taste of our 100% Arabica coffee, available in K-Cup® pods, bags and cans in a variety of blends.What coffee does the US Navy use? ›
U.S. Navy Blue Angels coffee is a precise blend of Costa Rican, Colombian and Sumatra coffee beans, perfect every day and to bring along to the next scheduled U.S. Navy Blue Angels air show. One sip of this delicious fresh roasted coffee, and you'll see why you'll want to keep refilling your navy coffee mug.Who makes McDonald's coffee? ›
Gaviña Coffee: A McDonald's Coffee Supplier | McDonald's.
Which US city has the best coffee? ›
Here's WalletHub's full list of the top 20 American cities for coffee lovers:
- San Francisco, CA.
- Seattle, WA.
- Orlando, FL.
- Honolulu, HI.
- Portland, OR.
- Tampa, FL.
- Pittsburgh, PA.
- Miami, FL.
America's favorite type of coffee is good old drip coffee, with 36 percent saying it was their favorite, followed by 11 percent who prefer cappuccino and 10 percent who root for iced coffees. Instant coffee was not far behind at 9 percent, however.Which US city is known for coffee? ›
With more roasters per capita than any other U.S. city, Portland holds its own as a top coffee destination.
1. Starbucks. With more than 30,000 retail stores in 83 countries, Starbucks clearly is one of the leading, most prominent and popular coffee chain in the world.What is the oldest coffee brand in America? ›
Eight O'Clock is the oldest coffee brand that continues to participate in the market today. The company was established by The Great Atlantic Pacific Tea Company to sell bags of whole beans to consumers. In its first few decades, the Eight O'Clock brand had won over more than a quarter of the American market.What is the best coffee that is not bitter? ›
Arabica beans: In contrast with the Robusta coffee beans, Arabica beans are known for their mild taste, so they are a better option for people who don't like bitter coffee. On top of that, Arabica beans have a sweeter taste, contrasting with the bitterness of coffee.Do Italians drink water before or after coffee? ›
10. Water Comes Before Coffee. To fully appreciate the flavour of a proper Italian caffè, first, you need to take a sip or two of water.How do Sicilians drink their coffee? ›
Sicilian typically don't drink milk coffee after 11 am or after a meal. You'll be instantly labelled as a tourist. During the day, you can order a pure espresso. Typically, it's a smaller coffee but darker and stronger.How do Italians make coffee in the morning? ›
Most Italian coffee orders can be made by uttering a single word. A caffè is a strong shot of espresso (the term 'espresso' is rarely used in Italian coffee bar parlance). A macchiato is an espresso with a dash of steamed milk. An americano is an espresso with added hot water making for a slightly longer drink.What country has the best coffee ever? ›
1. Brazil. The world's largest producer of coffee for 150 years in a row, Brazil is the reigning champion of the bean, offering a perfect climate for creamy, low acidity coffee with rich and subtle caramel notes craved across the world.
Which country has the best quality of coffee? ›
Colombia is probably the world's best-known coffee producer and ranks second worldwide in yearly production. A high standard of excellence is maintained with great pride and careful growing on thousands of small family farms across the country.Which country has the tastiest coffee? ›
Ethiopia, the birthplace of coffee
To a lot of people, Ethiopia would be where the best coffee in the world comes from. Because of the history of coffee production, location in the world and equality of opportunity, Ethiopia has everything many people believe makes for the best coffee in the world.
Lavazza's own description of this blend is that it's composed of Central and South American Arabica mild beans with the aroma and intense, liquorish flavours of Central American coffee beans combined with the delicate acidic aroma of South American beans. Mellow and thick crema.What makes Lavazza coffee so good? ›
And Lavazza Coffee espresso roasts taste precisely the way most people expect coffee to taste. They are rich with the flavors of bittersweet chocolate and toasted nuts; they have a heavy body and creamy mouthfeel, and they hold up well in milk-based drinks like lattes and cappuccinos.What is Lavazza most popular coffee? ›
1. Lavazza Super Crema Whole Bean Coffee. Lavazza Super Crema is one of Lavazza's most popular blends. It's a great choice if you love traditional espresso with a full body and rich flavor.Where do Italians buy their coffee? ›
Italy is Europe's second-largest green coffee importer
An estimated 97% of all Italian coffee imports are sourced directly from producing countries.
With these types of Italian coffee, you can experience sweet tasting notes with notes of cereals and toasted bread. In the past, 100% Arabica was preferred but nowadays Italian coffees are usually made of an Arabica/Robusta blend in order to obtain a richer and thicker crema with a heavier and powerful mouthfeel.What is the biggest coffee company in Italy? ›
sector reveals that, in 2021, Lavazza S.p.A. was the undisputed major player in Italy. In fact, the figures regarding the leading Italian coffee companies show that Lavazza S.p.A. generated revenues for a value of approximately 1.66 billion euros.