The most obvious thing to do in most European cities when you want a short break from all the hustle and bustle is to sit down at an outdoor café. But that’s not how the Milanese do it. Italy is the homeland of espresso and cappucino, but the prices are a mere fraction of what you see at e.g. Starbuck’s. You can get your coffe exactly as you like it, baristas here are used to special requests.
Most other places a cup of coffee costs the same whether you enjoy it standing up at the bar, sitting down inside or taking it outside at the tables in front of the café. It doesn’t work that way in the south of Europe.
The cheapest version of coffee is €1, if you drink it standing up at the bar, but it can cost up to €5 if you need to sit down and want it served at a table.
There are countless variations of coffee; an espresso can be lungo (long), ristretto (concentrated), macchiato (stained- with a drop of milk) macchiato caldo or freddo (wit warm or cold milk), cappuccino with eiter cow milk, soy milk or rice milk.
You can also get a Latte macchiato, which is the closest you can get to a latte
During summer it is nice and refreshing to get an ice coffee or “caffè shakerato” (shaked coffee) instead of the traditional espresso.Prices range between € 3-7 depending on where you drink it and whether you stand or sit outdoors .
There is also Affogato (drowned) coffee, a coffe based dessert with a scoop of vanilla or tartufo ice cream “drowned” by a shot of espresso coffee. It costs around €4-5.
Then there is Cioccolata calda con panna – hot chocolate with whipped cream, which is a very different drink from the one you are used to, in Italy it is avery dense drink, more like a hot chocolate mousse, it’s delicious bbut be prepared for the difference. It costs around €2,50-3.
Oh, and by the way Barista is just Italian for bartender 🙂
We have lots of suggestions for where to drink your coffee in the different areas in Milan here.