The Art of Italian Coffee

Coffee Bar

You may have heard of our Coffee Bar Collection, but how much do you know about Italy’s coffee culture, which inspired this authentic line of white coffee cups?

The name Coffee Bar actually comes from the term used to describe an Italian café. In Italy, when someone goes to the bar, it means they're treating themselves to a tazza, or cup, of strong, steaming hot espresso. 

An Italian coffee bar is much different than your average American café or local Starbucks. Italians are extremely passionate (and extremely particular) about their coffee and have a set of practices all their own. 

Since these coffee rituals can be difficult to comprehend, we’d like to share with you a few unwritten rules and fun facts about Italy’s vibrant coffee culture:

Barista1. In Italy, locals prefer to have their coffee first thing in the morning. Coffee beverages containing milk, such as cappuccinos, are meant to be enjoyed before noon and never past dinnertime. Italians believe that the milk on a full stomach interferes with digestion.

2.  Most Italians have a favorite bar they frequent every day, as well as a preferred barista (person who prepares their coffee). Baristas are revered in Italy for their espresso-making abilities.

3. Italians like their espresso quick. A stop at the bar might take less than five minutes total – order, pay, drink, and you’re out the door. Ideally, an espresso should be consumed in no more than three sips.

4.  Italians drink their coffee standing at the bar. Sit down, and you’re likely to be identified as a tourist!

Here’s a list of commonly used words that are helpful in understanding Italian coffee:

Espresso CupCaffé: Plain espresso, which is the basis of all Italian coffee beverages. Served in a small espresso cup with foam on top called crema. 

Doppio: Describes a double shot of espresso.

Cappuccino: Espresso topped with hot, foamed milk. Cappuccino cups are rounder and wider.

Latté Macchiato: Literally translated as “stained milk,” the latté macchiato consists of espresso poured into hot milk. 

Caffé Latte: What Americans refer to as simply a latte (if you ask for that in Italy, you’ll receive a glass of milk!). Steamed milk with a bit of coffee, served in a tall glass.


The Picture Dictionary of Dinnerware

How well do you know your dinnerware? Discover the particular purpose of each dish on your table with this handy reference guide.

Dinner Plate – Used for serving entrees or main courses, generously-sized dinner plates are usually 9” to 11” in diameter. Rim shaped plates such as these have a flat, distinct edge. 

Salad Plate or Dessert PlateSide plates typically range in size from 6” to 8” in diameter. Perfect for serving side salads or appetizers. Does double-duty for desserts; small enough in size for breakfasts.

Accent Plate – Specially decorated, accent plates sit on top of the dinner plate and serve up sides or small desserts. 

 Charger – Slightly larger than a dinner plate, the charger fits beneath the place setting for an added touch. The visible rim complements your dinnerware pattern.

Soup/Cereal BowlAll-purpose bowl is an easy choice for soup, oatmeal, ice cream, etc. Coupe-shaped bowls like this one do not have a distinct rim.

Soup Bowl – This shallow soup bowl, sometimes with a wide rim, is perfectly crafted for courses such as pasta, stew or soup.

Serving Bowl – Comes in a variety of sizes. Goes from serving salad at the dinner table to popcorn on movie night! You can even use your serving bowl to display fruit. 

Oval Platter – Serves meats, bread, vegetables, fruits and cheeses. Comes in a variety of sizes; may or may not have handles. An oval serving platter is essential at every feast!

Cup & Saucer – The round cup and saucer are traditionally used for serving tea or coffee. Cup fits into the recessed center of the saucer, which catches any drips (or holds a cookie!). 


Mug Large-sized mug with easy-grip handle is perfect for early-morning coffee and other hot beverages. 

Dipping Bowl – These small condiment bowls are great for dips. Dip your chips, crackers or bread into your favorite concoctions, or use for oil and vinegar. 

Oil Bottle – Used for pouring olive oil, vinegar or other sauces. Oil bottle may be made of glass or other materials.

Creamer – The creamer is the piece of the tea service used for pouring cream into coffee or tea.  

Sugar – Also included in a tea service. The covered sugar bowl with lid makes a charming accessory and is used for serving sugar or other sweeteners.

 Teapot – With its stout shape, the teapot is used to serve hot water or steep tea. A beloved tradition around the world, the teapot an entertaining essential.