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Coffee in Trieste

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Generally, in Italy coffee is something you take on the run, a quick cappuccino with a cornetto for breakfast, taken standing at the bar or, later in the day, an espresso. In Trieste coffee is taken at a more leisurely pace. The coffee houses of the city are an inheritance from its Austrian antecedents and there are many dating from the 19th century. The oldest is Caffè Tommaseo but other notable institutions include Caffè degli Specchi - specchi is Italian for mirrors - and Caffè Pasticceria Pirona, which was frequented by the writer James Joyce.

The language of coffee is different here as well. In the rest of the country ordering a cafè will get you an espresso; if that is what you want in Trieste, then request a ‘nero’. If a macchiato is more your style then ask for a ‘capo’ and finally a cappuccino becomes a caffelatte’. But that is not all - you can specify a glass by asking for it ‘in B’ and so an espresso in a glass becomes ‘a nero in B’. This is important, as local coffee aficionados will explain, because it lets them enjoy the colour and that the thinner rim of the glass allows them to better appreciate the taste. If, however, a glass is not for you then you should specify tazzina.

Having successfully negotiated the niceties of the local cafè mores, relax and enjoy the laid-back ambience of the city.

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