Milan Cappuccino: Dos and Don'ts
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Milan Cappuccino: Dos and Don'ts

Never drink it in the afternoon! Good manners and other things Italians never do:
A drinking-cappuccino-for-dummies guide so you don't look a fool in Italy

Italians are less offended at the thought of a Hawaiian pizza with pineapple and ham than a foreigner ordering a cappuccino in the evening, like after dinner – or worse, during it. Cappuccino is a morning ritual, to be sipped at breakfast and not to be ordered after 11am, and certainly not after lunch or dinner. It isn’t an etiquette rule, but an unwritten law that every Italian knows.

While overseas coffee drinks range from Australian flat white to frappuccino, but Italy maintains a more conservative approach. Cappuccino is made with whole cow milk, 125 grams of milk and 25 grams of espresso. Milk is frothed to get a dense and fluffy foam and some baristas may add a dusting of cocoa on top… but it is needless to ask for big or small – there is only one size for a cappuccino cup. You can order a latte macchiato (espresso served in a glass with milk and no foam), the old-fashioned caffè latte.

The milk issue is challenging. Beware of long-life milk, and check if the carton is fresh milk – a great guarantee of quality for a bar. Some bars now offer soy, oat, rice and almond alternatives, but never the choice between whole or low fat milk.

Some basic etiquette tips for all

Once served, cappuccino is better consumed without sugar, or possibly just a hint, and it is stirred with a teaspoon. Do no lick the teaspoon and put it on the saucer and do not use it to scoop up the foam from the bottom of the cup. Although at home you can dip cookies or a croissant into the cappuccino, avoid doing so at the bar; there is no specific reason, but it doesn’t look very refined.

Orsonero coffee

Brent is Canadian and Giulia is from Milan; together, they opened this café dedicated to specialty coffee – a corner frequented by neighbourhood people walking the dog or passers-by for a quick coffee, since there are only a few tables. In addition to an excellent espresso by selecting different blends and freshly grounded single origin coffee beans, prepared with the iconic Marzocco coffee machine, you can also have a V60, Chemex and all types of “coffee nerd” preparations – something quite unusual in Milan.

Orso Nero
Sevengrams Coffee

This lab-shop-school has recently opened and offers the finest blends and single origin beans, coffee tasting accessories, mugs, espresso machines, barman articles and many other gadgets. The coffee, of course, is prepared to perfection.

Sevengrams Coffee

Found in the Navigli district and slightly hidden from the hustle and bustle along the canal, Taglio was one of the first places to combine food, a kitchen, a bar and a shop all in one room. Skillful barmen offer specialty coffee and cappuccino made to perfection.