How Italians drink espresso when it’s a scorching Summer

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It is called “caffè ghiaccio” (=“Espresso on the Rocks”). It’s an original way to drink espresso in the South of Italy. It’s the latest coffee lovers must.

Real espresso has to be served in a very hot espresso cup. When you get the best espresso, the cup is so hot it’s difficult to touch... Nevertheless I love it, no matter how hot it gets outside.

Now let’s talk about the real stuff. The reality is that all of us only think about gelato and iced drinks in Summer. So, if you are an espresso lover you have to know this easy, yet cool way, to drink and ask for coffee.

When you order a coffee in Italy and you say “un caffé, per favore!”, they will serve you the typical espresso. By adding the request: “in ghiaccio” (=in the ice, on the rocks).  the “barista” will give you an espresso along with a small glass tumbler  with two or three whole ice cubes, the trick is to let the coffee gets cold without watering down. It shouldn’t be half melted, watery espresso is very bad!

If you like it sweet you can add sugar, brown sugar, sweetener, honey or almond milk and after that pour the coffee in the glass with the ice.

NB: almond milk in Southern Italy is  different to that in other places: it’s very sweet, fresh and you can taste much more of the almond essence.

The pleasure

Coffee is a small break and even a small ritual. When it comes “caffè in ghiaccio” the pleasure is to feel the sound of the crack in the ice, while holding the cold glass in your hand and turning it while the ice melts. Ahhh, how refreshing!

The bottom line is that Summer is a chilled season in Italy. It’s so hot and humid that sometimes it can even be difficult to move. So much so that  the traditional 2 minute coffee break is stretched in the “caffé ghiaccio” ritual.

Now people, do it at home or at your coffee place and send us your pictures. How many “barista” in your area know this trick?

Photo: Davide Agazzi

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