How to order the perfect coffee around the world

Travelling? Here’s our guide to how to get your coffee fix around the world, along with what to ask for and what to expect.


The Italians love their coffee, and many of the coffee drinks we know and love in the UK have an Italian origin. This makes it easy to order drinks in Italy!

Espresso: this term has become universal and means a single shot of strong, black coffee. Espressos are used as the base for many other coffee drinks.

Cappuccino: This is a shot of espresso mixed with twice as much milk. Ideally, ratio is 1/3 coffee to 1/3 milk to 1/3 foamed milk, to give the distinctive foamy appearance.

Latte: ‘latte’ means milk, and that is what this drink mostly consists of – around three times as much milk to coffee.

Mocha: a mixture of espresso, hot chocolate and milk.

Macciato: an espresso with a small amount of foamed milk added.

Other types of coffee around the world

France: as in Italy, if you order ‘a coffee’ in France you might get different results depending on the time of day! Sweet, milky coffee is a breakfast food, which espressos are normally drunk later in the day after meals.

Cafe au lait: This is a mixture of coffee and milk, around half milk to coffee.

Cafe creme: very similar to a cafe au lait, this is slightly less milky

Turkey: ask for ‘a coffee’ in Turkey, and you’ll get a very strong, black drink made from finely ground coffee. It’s normally unfiltered, so the drink will contain some grounds which should be left to settle before you sip.

As well as ‘normal’ coffee, many countries also have their own specialities such as Wiener Eiskaffee (Vienna ice coffee), made from a mixture of coffee, milk, ice cream and cream. There’s also Vienna coffee, an espresso shot topped with whipped cream. Asking for an ‘Irish coffee’ will get you a mixture of black coffee, sugar, Irish whiskey and cream, while a ‘cafe con hielo’ in Spain is iced coffee.

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