Milan has a long-standing relationship with coffee. People first began to discover it in the 1600s thanks to trade between the city and Venice that brought coffee beans from countries like Ethiopia and Ethiopia, the Middle East, and the Ottoman Empire. At the time, the common people would drink their coffee, served from pushcarts on the streets. It was called Caffe del Ginoeucc, a local slang that means “knee” (possibly because the carts could barely reach knee height). The first versions of the modern cafes were reserved for the intellectuals and those in high society. A few centuries later, and even though the manner in which coffee is consumed has changed, Milan’s passion for coffee remains the same and remains like a social gathering and an annual ritual.
Most readers know Italians love their coffee. According to a report from 2016, the majority of people drink at least one cup of coffee every day. Another study from this year suggests that the average consumption is between four and five espressos daily per person. The first cup is typically taken at home after waking in the morning, while the second is usually consumed mid-morning in a “bar” (a cafe). After lunch, it is essential to drink coffee for everyone. You might be surprised by the speed at which queues are formed in cafés near Milan’s main city center when customers are eagerly waiting for their espresso before heading back to work. The final espresso is usually consumed in the afternoon; those who are devoted drink their last at dinner time. Important to know: According to Italian drinking etiquette, cups shouldn’t be licked immediately after stirring. The research shows that many people will include sugar in their espresso, and a lot of women mix in milk to create a macchiato. Men, however, tend not to – almost everyone will drink it while standing on the counter. According to Italian drinking etiquette for coffee, teaspoons should not be eaten after stirring.
Afternoon and morning coffee socializing are different in that they’re slower-paced and, if seating is available at the location, the majority of people may be served an espresso and croissant at the beginning of their day and even a couple of pasticcini with their tea in the afternoon. (NB that An Italian will never have a cappuccino in the afternoon and especially not after dinner.) For me, I consume more than four espressos daily with no sugar and no milk. A disclaimer: I am a true coffee fanatic. There was not a single time in my 18 years in the United States that I purchased a coffee to go at a multinational coffee chain, and I’ve had a difficult time drinking Nespresso as well. I own several Moka pots and only purchase my coffee at certain stores, and regardless of the location I lived around the globe, I would always have coffee from Italy in my bag. In my suggestions below, What you won’t see are places that offer low-cost filtered coffee and its variants, nor will you find those which are well-known among travelers who usually don’t opt for a shot of espresso that isn’t sweetened. This isn’t the most comprehensive list, and it is not determined by any specific standards. However, these are the locations to which I am a keen coffee drinker and continue to return and to which I usually bring my friends and guests.
Torrefazione Ernani CORSO BUENOS AIRES 20, 20124 MILAN Great for: Experimenting with various blends and purchasing freshly ground coffee suitable for sitting down in winter (it is a tiny outdoor seating area) There is no seating inside. Hours of operation Monday through Friday, 7am-7.30pm; Saturday-Sunday, 8am-7.30pm Website; Directions Previously named Caffe Ambrosiano, Torrefazione Ernani has been an integral part of Milan’s scene since 1909. This historical coffee shop, previously named Caffe Ambrosiano before being sold to its current owners retains its original Milano style, with its old-fashioned counter made of wood and wooden interior. Since the beginning, roasting coffee was not allowed on the location due to changes in regulations; however, the beans are freshly roasted on a weekly basis from the Eranani factory located in Desio, which is located to the north of Milan. The company’s Blue Diamond coffee, made of superior arabica beans, was awarded an award of gold last year by the International Institute of Coffee Tasters. Baristas, who welcome the customers who frequent the cafe by name, turn the mix of beans inside the coffee maker with the various varieties they offer on sale: patrons will always have one of the fragrant arabica beans readily available as well as another blend that is strong robusta, full-bodied. A selection of Torrefazione Ernani’s beans was awarded an award of gold in 2022 at the International Institute of Coffee Tasters. Some of the kinds of beans available in the cafe.
The soft croissants make excellent breakfast choices as well as Fabio Arapi, who is also the cafe’s manager who has previously worked in London and London, has included dried fruits like candy jars, nuts, and candy to the menu and says they can be enjoyed with the coffees. “In London, we’d fill large cups that customers would take away and sip throughout the day,” the manager says while sipping his milk-based coffee that’s unusually long according to Italian standards. “It’s completely different culture of coffee . . . If you’re planning to drink coffee as you work all day, then it won’t be a shot. And If you’re planning to get a cup of coffee at the counter, it will not take long for you to sip.” Arapi and his younger, friendly staff are pleasant contrasts to the more traditional decor. Customers, which a majority are locals, are courteous but hushed; the younger crowd seems to be more comfortable being able to talk with staff members for more than an espresso. Pave Via FELICE CASATI 20124 MILAN Ideal for: Relaxed breakfasts and brunches on weekends Not recommended for a crowd of older folks seeking a quiet place Reservations are not required Expect to wait in line on weekends. Opening hours from Monday to Wednesday, 8am-7pm and directions Pave is a favorite among the younger crowd.
Pave was a huge hit as it was first introduced in 2012; it has since diversified its offerings to include a craft-beer establishment just across the street, a cafe, as well as two gelaterias located in the city. The newest café on the list, and the most well-known among young people. If you visit on an average day, you’ll discover the space and tables on the outside of the building crowded with a youthful global and diverse customer base. There aren’t many who stay for too long, however few customers have their coffee or bakery items on the counter. Luca Robotti, who has run Pave since 2013, says that Pave outlets since 2013, said that they’d prefer “one more person than a laptop”. Although there’s no laptop-free policy, the preferred method of use is stated in the menu, which means there’s a chance of those working at a table for long periods of time. It’s not designed to be an arduous or a sluggish experience. The vibe is lively and lively, and there are crowds of friends, youngsters, artists, and students filling the space with laughter and chatter.