The Italian coffee culture


With an average consumption of 3 cups of coffee per day, we can safely call the Netherlands a coffee country. However, Italian coffee lovers will not agree. Can Dutch coffee be called “real coffee”? The Italian and Dutch coffee cultures are not really comparable, so here are four major differences for you.

The cappuccino 

The Dutchmen seize every moment of the day to drink a delicious cappuccino. In Italy, this is out of the question; you won’t see an Italian doing this after eleven in the morning. Partly out of tradition and partly out of habit. Italians like to drink a hot drink after a big plate of pasta or any other heavy dish in order to digest the meal faster; for example, an espresso. If milk (or foam) is involved, this process will be slower. Take it from the Italians: drink pure coffee to help your digestion. 

Only real espresso

Nowhere do they take espresso more seriously than in Italy. Before a barista can call his espresso an espresso, it must meet several requirements. The Instituto Nazionale Espresso Italiano watches over the quality of espresso coffee with military precision.

An espresso, for example, must be made from 6 to 7 grams of Arabica coffee before 30 milliliters of water at a temperature of 88 degrees Celsius is poured through it for exactly 30 seconds. Not to mention the exact odor and taste characteristics that the espresso must meet. So, one thing is for sure: in Italy, you are guaranteed a good espresso.


Whereas the coffee culture in the Netherlands has grown in recent years, baristas in Italy have been brewing the tastiest espressos for generations. These coffee purists are often loyal to one coffee blend for years, whereas in the Netherlands they like to experiment. In the Netherlands, they like to drink single origin coffee (from one particular area) one day and a specific blend the next. In Italy, they’ve been drinking the same blends for years that are made up of single origins, among other things. Why, you ask? Because of this, all this time in Italy, they have been drinking coffee of consistently high quality with the same taste and aroma characteristics.

Types of coffee

In the Netherlands, they like to drink a cup of coffee or filter coffee. In Italy, you’ll probably be looked at funny if you order this. Italian coffee drinkers like types of coffee that are prepared with little water – and preferably without milk. An espresso requires a maximum of thirty milliliters and a ristretto only twenty milliliters. And although latte macchiato sounds very Italian, it is not, according to Italian coffee purists. “Un caffè macchiato, per favore!”