New York, Melbourne and London coffee connoisseurs sip on almond latte’s, mocha’s, americanos and matcha soy cappuccinos with agave sweetener. Baristas will tell you that their Columbian hand-picked dark beans have been processed with the finest grinders and most innovative brewing techniques. If this is what you’re searching for in Milan, you may be sadly disappointed.
In Milan coffee means one thing only: espresso.
Ok, ok… Maybe cappuccino’s too. But only before 12 pm.
A typical Milanese coffee day will have a quick on the go espresso in the morning (probably at they’re local) just before work. Maybe on the weekends a sit-down cappuccino and croissant. This is usually followed by an espresso straight after lunch; you know the second recharge of the day… And again, usually the third one at around 4 pm, just to recharge again.
To embrace Milanese coffee culture means to accept that here coffee is a quick, simple treat during the day. Most of the locals will laugh at the thought of a long black or Americano’s that are so popular in western culture. Despite the lack of variety in the coffee scene, there’s a reason Italian coffee is so renowned – it’s delicious!
With hundreds of coffee shops, it’s hard to know which one to choose. So, we’ve narrowed down our favourite coffee spot’s.
Best for: variety and authenticity
This coffee shop was opened in 1946 and since then has been at the forefront of traditional coffee. Here, coffee beans are still cooked on carbon, just like they used to be in the ‘40s – a procedure that is unique to Milan and is rare to find elsewhere. This allows the beans to have a unique flavour. Mr Rossi, the owner, explained that he toasts his beans every week and can personalise them based on requests.
Coffee Tips? The Milanese like to order a mixture of 80% Arabic coffee and 20% robust coffee – giving a creamy blend that isn’t too bitter.
If coffee isn’t your cup of tea, Torrefazione also serves over 70 different varieties of tea.
Address: Via Piero Della Francesca, 8.
Best for: Romantic and Classic Atmosphere
Cova is situated in the heart of Milan’s most luxurious street and the atmosphere you breathe in this patisserie is nothing less: the baristas wear white jackets, are of exquisite politeness, and the mise en place in impeccable. Honestly, even just the tazzine da caffé (coffee cups) in which the espresso is served are worth the visit: pure porcelain with beautiful designs of Cova’s first location in Piazza della Scala in 1817. Their espresso is smooth, full-bodied and almost has a chocolatey aroma (which is further emphasised by the little milk chocolate they give to accompany their coffee).
Address: Via Montenapoleone 8
Best for: coffee variety
Now, I know we mentioned coffee variety is hard to find in Milan, but Caffe Napoli’s innovative approach to coffee shocked us all. Although there aren’t that many espresso shot options, caffé napoli ingeniously provides over 30 different types of original coffee’s. This place is a must if you want to experience a completely different style of coffee.
If you look closely this store also has another peculiarity, the coffee can be drunk from the street. Yes, you heard it right. Caffe Napoli’s counters are strategically positioned so that customers can order without walking in and drink the coffee from the counter whilst still standing outside. The only Caffé Napoli that has a sitting space is in Largo La Foppa 1.
Address: Viale Montenero 71, Foro Buonaparte 53, Via Gaetano Giardino 1, Corso Magenta 29, Corso di Porta Ticinese 14 or Largo La Foppa 1.
Best for: Everything Sweet and more..
Marchesi is more than a coffee shop; it is a historical patisserie founded in 1824. Every local knows it, and almost every tourist doesn’t. This Patisserie was founded exactly where it still stands today by Angelo Marchesi and is now run by his nephew. Here, you should have more than just a coffee. Locals also know this joint as one of the best Panettone store’s in Italy; it’s considered the original home of modern panettone and pandoro.
Oh, and if this wasn’t enough to convince you to visit Marchesi it’s also in the heart of Milan’s historical centre. Their espresso is slightly bitter with a long lasting aftertaste; the body is light and thin.
Address: Via Santa Maria alla Porta 11/a.
Best for: Tradition
Torrefazione Ernani has been a cult place for roasted coffee bean lovers since 1909, date in which it first opened. You can sense the passion and dedication of the staff, as soon as you walk in you’re warmly greeted by “Buongiorno, vuole un caffé?” (Hi, would you like a coffee?) And by the incredibly strong aroma of coffee, biscuits and chocolate. Their coffee has a smooth and rich texture and a pleasantly sharp and crisp undertone (almost acidic). Their croissants are simply delicious (the pistachio croissant is a must!).
Address: Corso Buenos Aires, 20
So what are you waiting for! Try out our top picks and reach out to let us know which one’s your favourite and why. We can’t wait to hear from you.