Yesterday a friend of a friend (now living in Italy) posted in her blog on the variety of standard coffee offerings you can find at a typical Italian caffè: How to Order an Italian Coffee in Italy — Ms. Adventures in Italy. Also included in the post are a variety of photos, instructions on how to order them in Italian, and the different ways you can sweeten them up. Call it Pimp My Espresso, Italian style.

While the Italians pretty much invented the art of the complicated and multi-faceted coffee order, I’m admittedly a simple guy who virtually always opts for the basic caffè: the unsweetened ristretto (perhaps all the standardized ratings for has been a bad influence). Yes, it even mildly irks me that the default espresso at one of my world favorites, Sant’Eustachio il caffè, comes pre-sweetened. (The Italians generally prefer their espresso con zucchero di canna — cane sugar, not that beet stuff we typically use in the U.S..)

And yes — even if you want your coffee Fair Trade in Italy, you can order it solo se viene da commercio equo e solidale (com-MER-tcho EH-kwo eh so-lee-DAH-lay). Just don’t insult the barista by ordering it “to go”.