The Cappuccino rule: fact or fiction?

September 22, 2009 3 comments , , ,

If you’re visiting Italy sooner or later you’re bound to come accross one piece of advice: do not order a cappuccino after 11am and definitely not after midday.


Coffee break. Image credit: ::..LK..:: on Flickr

But is this really true or is it another travellers’ legend? We asked a selection of real life Italians about their coffee drinking habits.

Here’s what they said (names have been changed):

Massimino, Rimini: “I don’t drink cappuccino. I prefer latte macchiato and I would order it in a bar at any time of day. But in a restaurant, never”

Giuseppe, Lecce: “I would have no problem ordering cappuccino in the afternoon. In fact, I will have one now” (at 6pm)

Laura, Genoa: “The worst is when foreigners order cappuccino in the restaurant”

Luca, Naples: “Cappuccino is seen as breakfast mainly, this is why it is ordered in the morning. I think I have never ordered a cappuccino in the afternoon in Italy.

So my answer is NO, there are lots of other thing to choose … like coffee alla nocciola (coffee with hazlenut paste) etc., then Cappuccino is very warming and in Napoli (where I’m from) it is warm enough!”

Paola, Rimini: “Only foreigners drink cappuccino at all hours of the day. The average Italian (including me) only orders it in the morning: cornetto cappuccino e quotidiano (pastry, cappuccino and a newspaper) makes a perfect breakfast”

Giandaniele, Rome: “Cappuccino is only meant for the morning but nobody should be offended if you have one whenever”


Not your everyday cappuccino. Image credit: Andy Wade

The verdict? Looks like opinions are mixed.

The hard and fast rule is that you should never order cappuccino in the restaurant at the end of a meal. After a meal you will look out of place drinking anything but espresso.

In a bar? Some people might think it’s an unusual choice but it seems others won’t mind at all. If you really want one, why deprive yourself? You’re in the country of la bella vita, after all.

Read more:
Food of the World: Arrosticini – Italian street food
Milleuristi – the losers in new look Europe
Italian blogs on Blogs of the World

About the author

Lucy (Liz) Chatburn
Lucy is English and first ventured out of the UK she was 19. Since then she has lived in 4 different countries and tried to see as much of the world as possible. She loves learning languages, learning about different cultures and hearing different points of view.
Other 501 posts by

3 Comments

  • Asking for a cappuccino at a bar(snack bar) in the afternoon is not a problem in Italy…the terrible thing is to order it with sandwiches or any salad food… and the worst thing of all is to take it after lunch or meal….it’s absolutely strange and awful.

  • I only found this out when I got home! Luckily I only ordered it on it’s own or with cake!!!

Leave a reply

(will not be published)

optional