Italian Coffee culture

Being told i have to drink a coffee to keep my low blood pressure up every so often by the Doctor got me thinking about coffee in general.

Being an expat in Italy im living in a culture that loves coffee! I have never liked the stuff ever and being English i have Always been a big tea drinker. (I get grumpy without a few cups of tea in the day!…ok maybe 4 cups)

So when i first moved to Roma and announced to Alex i didnt like coffee he thought i was very weird!  ‘But everyone drinks coffee here’ he would say. caution-may-be-hot

I like the sprinkle of coffee on the dessert tiramisù and sometimes even a coffee flavour icecream isnt to bad or something. But drinking coffee has Always been a big no no for me!

Even going into Bars here i would get strange looks from the Italian’s as i would never order a coffee and if i did order a tea i was given strange looks for asking for milk with it!

Italian’s if they drink tea prefer it black with sugar or a bit of lemon and if you try to add milk to their tea they give you a horrified look.

But i think this is becuase of the way they have been used to having there tea black! I know several Italian’s who have tried tea with milk and found they really like it! So sometimes its the way you have been bought up to see things that is the factor!

Italy is a very big coffee drinking culture and living anywhere here you Always find tons of coffee bars etc so you cannot really escape it.

They drink coffee alot during the day from what i have seen maybe 7 or 8 cups from morning til evening and even after dinner.

Im not talking about the huge weak English/American cups of coffee im talking about real italian coffee which is small like an expresso and very very strong!


Taking Alex to the UK for the first time some years ago was an interesting experience for my Italian coffee lover. I knew we were going to have problems when on the plane there he asked for a coffee and they gave him a huge weak English coffee.

He gave it a strange look tasted it then had a look of disgust the rest of the plane trip lol He complained it was to big and that the coffee was very weak!

Alex is very polite and even had to bear the instant coffee my parents gave him to drink even though he hated it!

It tooks us a day in the UK to find something slightly similar to an Italian coffee which was a little expresso. Although it wasnt completely the same it made him happy. The water difference also effects the taste of the coffee where ever you go so im not sure he would ever be happy with an expresso there.


Over the years now though visiting the UK hes kind of learned to bear the week or two of weak English coffee! And he tends to drink alot of the instant coffee there as its weak so i think he tries to drink alot to get a stronger coffee rush!

I really hope we can find something stronger for him next year when we visit! maybe even take our own coffee over.

So now i am being forced in a way to face my hate of coffee because of my low blood pressure that can drop even lower now im pregnant. I wont be drinking it all the time just when i feel faint or my blood pressure drops to low.

Alex has giving me a milky coffee with sugar twice so far and tuesday it wasnt that bad so maybe i can over come my dislike of it. Although i never think i will want to drink a full normal italian coffee ever im still to much of a teadrinker at heart 🙂

UPDATE: Just had a big discussion with other Mom’s i know on FB and some of them say their Doctor’s told them to cut out caffeine completely. I have read up and found if you drink to much caffeine it can restrict blood flow to the baby.

I am on blood thinning tablets and have been since day 1 of pregnancy so i dont think thats a problem!

But alot of the them say you can have 200mg of coffee a day and this is safe. So do i listen to my Doctor or do i go by the advice of other Mom’s and my books etc! hmmmmmm its a hard one!

But my Doctor is Italian who im sure has to deal with caffeine and pregnancy alot so she probably knows best.

Apparently 4 cups of tea which im drinking a day is 200mgs of caffeine in it! Chocolate and alot of other things contain caffeine in them and you dont realise! So theres no way any pregnant woman only sticks to 100mgs of caffeine a day with cravings etc!

Things containing Caffeine:

  • Coffee
  • Espresso
  • Cappuccino
  • Tea
  • Low calorie, non-cola carbonated soda containing aspartame
  • Low calorie colas containing aspartame or saccharine
  • Energy drinks
  • Some types of alcoholic liqueurs
  • Chocolate
      • Baking
      • Dark
      • Sweet and semisweet
      • Pudding
      • Cereals
      • Fudge
      • Milk chocolate
      • Syrup
      • Mousse
      • Soymilk
      • Fat free cookies
      • Cookies
      • Cake
      • Frozen Yogurt
      • Ice cream
      • Frosting
      • Shakes

Doctors warn you about not to drink coffee, coca cola and limit your tea because of the caffeine but no one says anything about these foods which contain them! So does that make it ok? As i said when your pregnant you get cravings and so far i have had cereal, chocolate and cookie cravings!

This pregnancy business can be very confusing sometimes! So many different ideas and advice on these subjects it gives you a head ache!



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