The Humiliating Coffee Mistake Every Australian Makes In Italy

Java snobs beware.

The Humiliating Coffee Mistake Every Australian Makes In Italy

Australian Instagram star and long time coffee aficionado Shaun Birley @shaunbirley

Australians take pride in their java addiction more than any population in the world. And – whether you normally spend the week in a caffeine fugue state or you just dabble at your local hipster joint – when we return from overseas we all tend to proclaim, “Makes you realise how good the coffee is in Australia.”

You might think being coffee snobs would serve us well in Italy. But this is not the case: as most Aussie tourists who visit will (grudgingly) attest – this attitude actually lends itself to an embarrassing faux-pas: seeking out the latest, most modern, highest TripAdvisor-rated cafes to add that sheen of ~cultural capital~ to your Instagram ‘foodie’ blog (or your Tinder profile).

Unfortunately, this is not where the best coffee is actually found in Italy. Why? Well much like bad spelling is often the indicator of a truly authentic (and tongue tantalising) Thai restaurant here in Australia, run down charm (and a surly barista) is often the mark of a proper Italian cafe.

Not only that, but if you are looking for an even more #authentic experience, skip your hotel’s complimentary breakfast and head to the busiest purveyor of black gold on your street around 7am, where you can merge into the local crowd, slamming back your beverage at the counter and getting the hell out.

Further tips include going all or nothing (Espresso, Machiatto, Americano and Cappuccino are all acceptable, Soy Lattes are not) and never ever ordering anything in a takeaway cup. There are two reasons for this.

Firstly: if you are in a cafe worth its beans (i.e. not a modern one) they will likely serve your takeaway beverage in a polystyrene cup that cracks at the slightest grip, and a lid you have to remove completely every time you want to take a sip (or with yet another piece of plastic – a straw – to jam through it).

And secondly: the experience is so unwieldy no-one asks for it except tourists – who then complain it is wasteful. Of course, the irony is European cafes are more environmentally friendly than Australia or America’s: people sit down to drink, they leave and their mugs get washed up.

It’s not a NASA engineered Keep Cup, but it works.

Not to mention, drinking your coffee like this also means you return (or arrive) at your office refreshed, having taken a mental break, rather skulling your beverage on the go, or supping it mindlessly at your desk.

The takeaway? Put your coffee in a ceramic cup and drink it.