I·ATE Food Term of the Week: Coffee

I-ATE coffee feature

TermCoord's Classic

Our journey among Food Terms brings us to Italy once again: today we will deal with coffee and all its varieties, in a comparison between the bel paese and the correspondent European versions of espresso-based drinks. Espresso is of course the first choice among Italian coffee lovers: short, dark, and bitter, purists don’t even add sugar to it. In Italy, it is usually drunk right after a meal, to end it properly and to set you up for the rest of the day as a way of preventing you from falling asleep. For this reason, never dare offer a cappuccino to an Italian after eating!

Espresso is also drunk in coffee bars, usually al banco, which means drinking it really quickly while standing at the counter. Italian people just call it caffè: it is the most popular drink to offer to guests, similar to tea in the UK.
In Italy, in traditional bars you can then find cappuccino, which is a must for breakfast, while you would rarely see it served during a break in the middle of the day.

coffee term

As we know, the are many other espresso-based varieties, which vary according to the amount of espresso contained in them; steamed milk and foam are also added to the different beverages. The mixture of ingredients gives birth to a wide variety of drinks, and each of them has its own specific term.

If you feel like trying it at home, here are the precise proportions you need to prepare a perfect café style beverage:

  • Cappuccino – 1/3 espresso, 1/3 steamed milk, 1/3 foamed milk
    The espresso, put as first ingredient in the cup, is toned down with milk, but you can still flavour the coffee taste;
  • Latte – 1/6 espresso, 4/6 steamed milk, 1/6 foamed milk
    This word means literally “milk” in Italian, and for this reason it is often reason of confusion among Italian people travelling abroad. It consists of a milk based drink with just a little coffee;
  • Mocha – 2/5 espresso, 2/5 chocolate, 1/5 steamed milk
    Literally, the “moca” is the machine used at home to make Italian espresso, also known as “Bialetti”, which is actually just a brand.
    The drink is made with a strong coffee with chocolate flavour added at the end;
  • Latte Macchiato – 1/3 espresso, 2/3 steamed milk
    It consists of a creamy milky coffee, very similar to cappuccino but with more milk
  • Mochaccino – 1/3 espresso, 1/3 steamed milk, 1/3 frothed milk, 1 tbsp chocolate syrup
    This tasty drink consists of a cappuccino with a hint of chocolate.
We hope you enjoyed this dive into the world of caffeine, a perfect post to kickstart any lazy Monday morning! Join us next week when we’ll be publishing the second part of this coffee special!


Doran Bodnariuc, Cappuccino vs Latte vs Mocha, What Are the Differences? available here (Accessed on November 2017)

12 Different Types Of Coffee Explained, available here (Accessed on November 2017)

Written by Carolina Quaranta – Schuman Trainee at the Terminology Coordination Unit of the European Parliament. Master Graduate in Public and Political Communication in the University of Torino, Italy; journalist.