Italy is a country of coffee aficionados. Drinking coffee is as much a part of the heritage as eating pasta! And just like Italian food, Italian coffee has unique differences from region to region. A coffee in one city can taste completely different than the next, and specialties change as you move throughout the country, which can make exploring the flavours of Italy a complete delight.
At ORO CAFFÈ, we offer a variety of flavours representing the unique regions across Italy. With such a wide range of capsules, each based on their city of origin, you are bound to find the ideal blend to suit your preferences. Here we’ll explore the different Italian regions that are known for their distinct local flavours.
The North vs The South
Regional climate and tradition highly impact the local flavours found in Italian coffee. In the North, you’ll find lighter notes with little acidity. The coffee tastes sweeter and is much smoother than the coffee in the South. Medium roast from Arabica beans is the preferred coffee of choice here. The southerners, on the other hand, enjoy darker, heavier-bodied roasts. Blends in the South tend to have more caffeine-rich Robusta that’s blended with Arabica to produce a stronger espresso taste.
Venezia or “Venice” to us North Americans, is where coffee was born in Europe. It was the first European port to import coffee beans in the 16th century, sometime before Trieste. Venetians learned how to make coffee from the Turkish traders and locals, and it wasn’t long before they had perfected the process. At first, it was very exclusive, expensive and was only consumed by royalty and the wealthy. To some, it was considered a medicinal herb, but it soon took off as a social beverage and cafes started popping up all around the city. The first coffeehouse in all of Italy opened in Venice in 1645, many following after. Some of the oldest cafes still stand today, most notably the Caffe Florian founded in 1720, and the Gran Caffe Quadri founded in 1775. Venice still celebrates its coffee culture and is the perfect place to enjoy a dark coffee or true espresso. Many Venetians also still practice the tradition of drinking coffee standing up at the bar.
Up in the far North East at the border of Slovenia, you will find Trieste, the most important coffee center in all of Europe. Trieste is where it all started – coffee being imported into Europe that is. It’s hard to believe that at one point in time coffee wasn’t a popular drink. In fact, it wasn’t until the 18th century that coffee became an important part of everyday European life. Before then it only came into Venice mostly from Turkey. It wasn’t until the 18th century, when the Dutch East India Company began to ship its beans overseas, did coffee start to really flow into Europe. Coincidentally around this time, the city of Trieste was granted as a “free port” which would allow it to become the biggest shipping point for imported coffee into Europe. In short, Trieste became the major coffee port for Europe and Italy.
As you can imagine, it didn’t take much time for a wave of cafes to follow once shipping had started. And today, over 2 million sacks of beans arrive in Trieste every year from all across the globe. The city is still known as “the capital of coffee” attracting coffee-connoisseurs from all across the globe to try a variety of coffee flavours and embellish in the rich history of the city. How do locals enjoy it? They drink coffee here in tiny glasses instead of cups. The favourites include espresso called “Nero”, Caffe macchiato called “Capo”, and “Goccia” which is coffee with milk foam in the middle.
Towards the border of France in the North West lies Turin, another coffee mecca. Here the locals prefer a blend of espresso, chocolate, and cream known as bicerin – a local creation and favourite. It’s so thick and rich you have to eat it with a spoon. It’s also a drink that has been around for centuries. In fact, local lore implies that bicerin was invented in the city in the early 1700s for those coming from the church. But it soon caught on, becoming a drink enjoyed by royalty and locals alike. Today, you can still visit one of the original cafés – Caffe al Bicerin, which has been serving the drink since the early 18th century.
Naples and Capri
In the southern part of Italy and just off the coast, the region is known for its strong coffee flavours. Ordering an espresso at a café and indulging in the warm sea air is what being in the south is all about. The weather is also nicer in the south, the food a bit spicier, and the coffee culture reflects that. Rich, heavy flavors are best on a slow morning and coffees with a hazelnut taste tend to be popular here. Don’t be surprised if the barista pours the cream into the bottom of the cup first and then tops it with hot coffee – it’s a common tradition in this region.
Experience the finest Italian flavours from ORO CAFFÈ. Get premium Italian coffee delivered right to your front door so you can try the classic blends that have transformed the coffee world, dating back centuries ago!