Italian coffee definitely lives up to its name, although I must admit, I'm still partial to Swiss coffee. Swiss coffee is so rich and creamy tasting and often served with a nice piece of dark chocolate. Okay, chocolate shouldn't be in the equation for liking it better, but it certainly does help.
Italians tend to serve their coffee "tiepido" or lukewarm. At least this has been my overall experience...although there have been some places where it was served a little warmer than tepid. Lukewarm coffee is not something that I expected, so although the flavour was wonderful, I suppose I was hoping for something that would warm me up and cut the chill a little. I was told that the heat destroys the rich coffee flavour, and perhaps they are right as I have had far too many bitter North America coffees, you know, the type that is rather hard on the stomach, will give you the shakes and keep you up all night. It is interesting to note, that despite the copious amounts of coffee I drank while in Europe, that didn't happen once. Most of the coffee I had in Italy is what we in North America call Espresso, so as you can well imagine, such a small shot would hardly hold the heat anyway and when it's served lukewarm, well, you may almost as well chill it.
Now their cappuccinos (or cappuccinni as the Italians would say for the plural) were amazing. Although not super hot, they were served warmer and the milk was wonderfully frothy (just the way I like it) and the cocoa sprinkled on top was simply an added delight for my already over stimulated taste buds. What a fabulous way to fight off the jet lag or start the morning.
The best cappuccino I had: well, that would have to be at the Jumping Cafe in Milano. The worst coffee in Italy: the hotel where I stayed just a hop, skip and a jump from the Jumping Cafe (typical bad American coffee).
Please note... I do not think all North American coffee is bad and will at some point get around to posting about where you can get some exceptional cups of java in the area...unfortunately, my experience has been that much of what we try to pass off coffee here is simply a poor excuse once you've had the real thing. Okay, I concede, I'm a coffee snob.