Monday May 06, 2024

Exploring Italy's Coffee Culture: An Expat's Guide with Catalin Varela

This episode of The Real Life in Italy is all about one of our favorite topics: Coffee in Italy.

Living in Italy coffee probably shows up in your daily life - either you're like me and you're addicted, or it's not your thing but you find yourself trying to navigate the social aspect of it.

Together with our guest Catalin Varela, we’re exploring local coffee culture and what that means to us expats in Italy: how coffee is important to daily life, what our favorite Italian coffee is, and how to navigate the Italian bars as both a foreigner and female.

We’re calling bull on the no cappuccinos after 11 AM and the overpriced coffee of historic cafés. But also, yes we’re telling you how to find Iced Coffee in Italy.

Welcome to the Real Life in Italy.

00:52 Italian Coffee 101 
01:55 Exploring Iced Coffee Options in Italy
03:02 The Art of Preparing Coffee in Italy

03:52 Coffee Conversations with Catalin 
05:29 Coffee Habits and Socializing in Italy
28:51 Exploring Specialty Coffee and Ditta Artiginale
30:20 Navigating the Coffee Scene as an American in Italy
32:16 The Evolution of Coffee Shops and Their Global Uniformity
32:56 Addressing Sexism in Italian Bar Culture
36:48 The Quirks of Italian Coffee Bars and Payment Customs

38:24 Debating the Quality of Italian Coffee

50:23 Navigating Coffee Culture in Italy: Tips for Newcomers

That pod about Instagrammable Cafés can be found here:

Gambero Rosso’s report on coffee in Italy can be read here:


You can find Catalin at:


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 Thanks for listening to the Real Life in Italy.

This podcast is for foreigners living in Italy, who are all just trying to make sense of it all.

Listen in to learn all about a side of living in Italy everyone else forgot to tell you about. But don’t expect us all to be better, I promise. Expect some good laughs, helpful tips and cultural explanations, and expat stories to remind you that you aren’t alone, and it’ll all work out.

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