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The Traveller's Magazine
  •   3 min read

If there’s anything we love more than travel, it’s coffee. Paris, Rome and Barcelona are famous for their cafes, coffees and culture so what better place to get your travel and caffeine buzz than in these caffeinated cities? Here’s your guide to Europe’s coffee capitals.



Coffee is such an integral part of Italian culture that it’s a rarity to find a local that doesn’t drink it. Imagine, finding an Italian that doesn’t love pasta! That being said, not every espresso is a good one. Italians have been resisting taking on new barista techniques for ages, techniques that have put other cities like London on the coffee map. Rome is your best bet for a good one though, being home to most all the country’s top baristas.

What to order: Caffè ristretto (short espresso shot) or a caffè doppio (double shot) is what the locals drink.

Top tips:

  • Remember, Italians don’t drink milky coffees after eating. If you order one, you’ll certainly garner some strange looks.
  • Whatever you do, don’t order a “latte,” unless what you really want is just a glass of milk.
  • On a budget? Avoid grabbing a table and enjoy your coffee at the bar instead.



It’s pretty easy to decode Spanish coffee culture. In the morning a croissant and a café con leche is the norm (coffee with milk). After lunch it’s a quick cortado and in the evening it’s usually a café solo to ward off any hunger until dinner is served. Today the coffee scene in Barcelona is changing quickly as chain-names and boutique places move in with better quality coffees, pushing the old, smoky cafe/bars to the side.

Top tips:

  • Remember, in Spain you’ll often be asked if you want your milk hot, warm or cold when ordering.
  • There are few cafes that aren’t also bars. A lot of places serve alcohol and coffee alongside each other.



If there’s one thing that will help you lose the “tourist” label while on holidays in Paris, it’s how you order your coffee. Parisians always drink an espresso after lunch or dinner, never a milky one. Ordering un café will get you a simple, little black cup. For breakfast, go for a petit café crème instead of a café au lait.

Top tips:

  • Remember, in France coffee is only served with breakfast and food.
  • At restaurants, they’ll often serve it after desert, not alongside it.
  • The French coffee scene has always been more about ambient coffee shops and bars, but the arrival of speciality coffee is changing all of that.

Did you know…

  • Coffee first appeared in Europe in the 17th century when Venetian traders brought it to Italy from Muslim merchants.
  • Europe’s first coffee house opened in Venice, all the way back in 1683.
  • In November 2013, a whopping 7.94 million 60kg bags of coffee were exported all over the world.

Like this? Check out our guide to discovering Berlin’s coffee culture.

Imgs: daxis, derekskey, mozillaeu, phin stubbs / Flickr cc.

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