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Naples Coffee Guide | The Art of Drinking Coffee in Naples

The Naples coffee culture is unique compared to all the other cities that we’ve visited in the world. See what it’s like to drink the best coffee in Naples Italy at cafes throughout the city and check out our insider tips for drinking coffee in Italy.

The Art of Drinking Coffee in Naples Cafes

Important Update
Cafes may have revised their hours and menus due to COVID-19. Some may close, either temporarily or permanently, without notice. Be sure to check cafe websites for updated information.

We arrived in Naples as Italian coffee novices. Sure, we’d been to Italy before including visits to Rome, Florence, Matera and even Bologna. But this visit was different.

Previously, we traveled to Italy as typical tourists, sprinting our way through cities, staying just long enough to learn how to say hello and thank you in the native language.

This time, we lived like locals for a month in a Naples Airbnb apartment. We had a stovetop and a Moka pot in our Centro Storico flat near a number of coffee bars. Needless to say, drinking coffee was one of our favorite things to do in Naples Italy.

Pro Tip

Buy a Moka pot to make fresh coffee at home. Alfonso Bialetti invented the Moka pot in 1933, but it remains the easiest and cheapest way to brew up Naples style coffee.

Naples Cafes – Stuck in the 1950s

Smiling Barista in Naples Italy
Walking into a Naples cafe is like walking back in time. Baristas make espressos pulling manual levers the old fashioned way and with a smile.

We arrived with a plan to eat the best Naples pizza all month. Although our second priority was coffee, we didn’t have a specific coffee plan.

We assumed that we would find some great specialty coffee shops where we could work, use some free wi-fi and drink hand-crafted single-origin coffee drinks – just like we do in every other city in the world. We soon realized that we needed a new plan.

At least from the perspective of coffee, Naples is stuck in the 1950s. Many baristas wear army like hats, pulling shots of espresso to order from espresso machines with giant baton-like levers.

The electronic espresso machine, a common fixture throughout the coffee world, is rare, if nonexistent in Napoli. Customers quickly down their drinks while standing at long bars.

Though free Wi-Fi is common, there are rarely people sitting with laptops. And forget about choosing the coffee’s origin or roaster since, in a strange Neapolitan ‘coincidence’ – every cafe we visited used the same roasting company’s espresso beans.

Cappuccino in Naples Italy
We loved the coffee in Naples, and apparently the coffee loved us back.

By the end of our month in Naples, we were coffee drinking pros with our favorite cafes and baristas. For better or worse, we couldn’t get enough of the Naples cafe culture with those little cups of bitter yet rich espresso simply referred to as caffè (coffee in Italian).

Sometimes we stayed for a second cup of coffee. We even spent a full day drinking Neapolitan coffee to prove our Naples coffee love in a YouTube video.

Naples Coffee Video

Watch our Naples coffee crawl video for a sneak peek inside ten different Naples cafes. Yes, we drank ten espressos (and ate some tasty treats) in one highly caffeinated day. And, yes, we were up all night.

As an extra bonus, we eat in the video too. Since it’s Naples, we stop for pastries at Sfogliatella Mary, President Bill Clinton’s favorite fried pizza at Dal Presidente and gelato at Fantasia Gelati. Yum!

Naples Coffee Culture

Shakerato in Naples Italy
The Naples coffee culture is for real. This Shakerato at Caffe Mexico was a special afternoon treat.

Though we’re normally coffee connoisseurs (code word for snobs) who gravitate to third wave coffee shops like those we frequented in Amsterdam, Budapest, Bucharest, Dublin, Hamburg, Lisbon, Lyon, Paris, Seattle and Cape Town, we kind of love the classic Napoli coffee culture. Just like we ate pizza every day (when we weren’t eating pasta), we also drank at least one cup of kick-ass coffee daily, and sometimes more.

And why not?

A cup of authentic coffee in Naples rarely costs over a Euro. In fact, most Naples cafes only charge 90 cents for a perfectly brewed cup of coffee. Maybe this is why locals drink three to four cups every single day.

Pro Tip

If you’re paying more than a Euro for a cup of coffee in Naples, you’re probably in a tourist trap. Unless that’s your thing, just walk around the corner to a different cafe for a more authentic experience.

Certain destinations have unique coffee cultures. Such is the case with Cuban coffee and Vietnamese coffee. The same goes for Neapolitan coffee.

It’s a unique experience to drink coffee in Naples. Most cafes don’t have seats but instead serve coffee to patrons who stand at the bar – hence the name coffee bar.

The coffee in Naples is tasty, affordable and excellently crafted. The preferred coffee style is espresso, and locals tend to load their small cups of espresso with a copious amount of sugar. Naples cafes are busy day and night, filled with customers who are in and out in mere minutes.

If you order a special drink like a cappuccino in Naples, you’re in for a special treat since most baristas know how to steam milk to the ideal consistency of foam and liquid. We began many of our days with these wonderful, milky drinks which are generally served ‘wet’, meaning that the steam milk is poured directly over the espresso.

Interestingly, all of our favorite Napoli cafes use beans from the same coffee roaster – Passalacqua. Is it because this third-generation roasting company makes the best coffee in Naples Italy or is there another reason? We had our personal opinion since this is Naples after all.

Whatever the reason, we liked the robust flavor profile of the Passalacqua beans enough to buy bags of their Napoli coffee beans to brew back at our apartment. We’ll let you decide if Passalacqua is the best Italian coffee or not.

What to Drink in a Naples Cafe

Coffee Cup in Naples Italy
Coffee in Naples may cost under a Euro, but the quality is top-notch. Just look at the crema on this caffè.

As we mentioned above, Italians tend to like their coffee strong and sweet, or at least that’s the case in Naples. We often watched big, burly men add several spoonfuls of sugar into their tiny cups of coffee.

In Naples cafes, most people drink their coffee con zucchero (with sugar). Since, like many Americans, we prefer our coffee without sugar, we ordered ours senza zucchero (without sugar).

Though espresso is the standard Italian coffee offering, Naples coffee bars serve a range of drinks. These are our favorites coffee drinks in Naples:


Baristas serve single shots of espresso all day long and into the night. Rich and creamy, these little cups go down like liquid gold. The flavor of a good caffè should have the correct balance of flavor and acidity.


Cappuccinos are our go-to morning drink in Naples. We love to drink these cups of espresso topped with foamed milk, especially when the baristas add coffee art to the foam.


A shakerato is proof that the sum of the parts can be better than the parts themselves. Shaken not stirred, a shakerato has the simple ingredients of espresso, ice and sugar. Sometimes, if you’re lucky, the shakerato can also include chocolate.

Caffè Americano

When we made coffee at home with our Moka pot, we drank Americanos. Is it because we’re American or is it because we like adding hot water to our homemade espresso? Maybe it’s both.

Caffè Corretto

If you like your coffee with an extra zing, then the corretto is the drink for you. A correto is an espresso that has been ‘corrected’ with a shot of grappa or another type of liquor.

Pro Tip

Contrary to popular wisdom, you CAN order a cappuccino after 10 am at an Italian cafe in Naples. Though the baristas will make you a cappuccino at any time of day, Neapolitans tend to drink these milky drinks in the morning only. Be warned that you may get a funny look after noon.

How To Drink Coffee in Italy (especially Naples)

Coffee for Two in Naples Italy
Drinking Coffee for Two in Naples Italy

Despite rumors about the grittiness of Naples and its people, you won’t be killed if you order your coffee incorrectly when you visit Naples. Contrary to popular belief, the locals don’t bite! That being said, here is our recommended way of ordering coffee in Italy without getting the dreaded eye roll:

  1. Order your coffee and pay at the register. If you want a typical espresso in Napoli, just say “uno caffè per favore.”
  2. Take the receipt to the barista at the bar. The barista will likely give you a cup of water right away at no additional charge.
  3. Drink the glass of water, preferably sparkling, to cleanse your palate.
  4. Add sugar to taste once the coffee arrives.
  5. Drink the coffee at the bar. If you ordered food (see below), eat the food at the bar too.
  6. Thank the barista (Grazie!) and leave.

These instructions apply to the thousands of typical cafes in Naples. The city also has more formal cafes where you can sit while you drink your coffee. Note that coffee prices are often higher at sit-down cafes.

Where to Drink Coffee in Naples

Barista at Mexico in Naples Italy
Mexico is our favorite coffee bar in Naples. Here, our favorite uniformed barista shakes up two shakeratos for us.

As many pizza shops as there are in Naples, there are even more coffee shops. Although the best coffee shop in Napoli is often the closest coffee shop, sometimes a better coffee experience is in order.

For consistently good coffee with a friendly atmosphere, we recommend Caffè Mexico. Though a local chain, Mexico never disappointed us. Without a doubt, Caffè Mexico is our favorite Naples coffee shop.

Fancier Naples cafes like Gran Caffè Gambrinus and Il Vero Bar del Professore are popular with tourists, However, be aware that prices are higher at these Naples coffee institutions.

Sometimes we’re not sure if we want a coffee or an Aperol Spritz. For these times, Ba-Bar in the tony Chiaia neighborhood is a go-to destination. As a bonus, Ba-Bar also serves food and does a pre-dinner aperitivo service.

Another option is Caffè Letterario Intra Moenia located on centrally-located Piazza Bellini. Intra Moenia is a pleasant Naples cafe where you can take a break from touring while sipping coffee at an outside table.

Ba-Bar is located at Via Bisignano, 20, 80121 Napoli, Italy.
Caffè Letterario Intra Moenia is locaated at Piazza Bellini, 70, 80138 Napoli, Italy.
Caffè Mexico has numerous locations in Naples. Our go-to Mexico was located at Corso Umberto I, 30,80138 Napoli, Italy.
Gran Caffè Gambrinus is located at Via Ch.iaia, 1/2, 80132 Napoli, Italy.
Il Vero Bar del Professore is located at Piazza Trieste E Trento, 46, 80132 Napoli, Italy.

What to Eat in Naples Cafes

Sfogliatellas in Naples Italy
There are so many sfogliatellas for sale in Naples. Their shattering crunchy outsides with ‘just sweet enough’ ricotta fillings all taste divine.

Sometimes a hand-pulled cup of Napoli espresso is not enough. For those times, the best cafes in Naples have tempting options including some of the tastiest pastries in all of Italy.

These are our favorites:


Santa Rosa Soogliatella at Sfogliatella Mary at Galleria Umberto in Naples Italy
We ate this Santa Rosa sfogliatella from Sfogliatella Mary at the Galleria Umberto in Naples. In our opinion, it’s the best in town.

Our go-to pastry in Naples is the sfogliatella, a flaky pastry infused with a ricotta mixture that includes semolina, sugar, cinnamon, egg and fruit. Typical varieties are Riccia and Frolla, though our personal favorite is the Santa Rosa which adds cherries to the mix.

Eat a sfogliatella at Sfogliatella Mary for the ultimate sfogliatella experience. Better yet try a few to find your personal favorite.

Sfogliatella Mary is located at Galleria Umberto I, 66, 80132 Napoli, Italy.

Rum Baba

Rum Baba in Naples Italy
This display of Rum Babas at Caffeteria Ippolito looks fairly innocuous. However, these innocent looking pastries pack a delicious punch.

Before Italy became an independent state, French rulers like Charles VIII, Louis XII and later Napoleon Bonaparte’s brother Joseph held periodic provenance over Naples for the last half a millennia. Maybe that’s how French pastries like the rum baba (baba au rhum in French) gained their popularity.

You can find rum babas all over the Centro Storico, and the large dome-topped, cup-like pastry carries a serious alcoholic punch. Other than drinking a caffè cornetto, eating a rum baba may be the best way to counterbalance the bitter strength of an afternoon caffè.

Caffeteria Ippolito is located at Via dei Tribunali, 329, 80138 Napoli, Italy.


Pistachio Cornetto in Naples Italy
Pistachio Cornetto at Jamme Cafè in Naples Italy

Practically a twin to the French croissant, the Italian cornetto is a horn-shaped pastry that pairs well with coffee. Though just fine when served plain, the cornetto is even better when filled with fruit or topped with pistachio like the one we shared at Jamme Cafè.

Jamme Café is located at Corso Umberto I, 188,80138 Napoli, Italy.

Plan Your Naples Stay

Have we convinced you to visit Naples and drink all the coffee? Click here to research the best rates for hotels in Naples Italy.

Or, if you prefer having access to a kitchen, click here to find an Airbnb apartment.

Hungry for Pizza in Naples?

Check out our Naples Pizza Guide with all the best pizzerias in the city.

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About the Authors

Daryl & Mindi Hirsch

Saveur Magazine’s BEST TRAVEL BLOG award winners Daryl and Mindi Hirsch share their culinary travel experiences and recipes on the 2foodtrippers website and YouTube. The married Food and Travel content creators live in Lisbon, Portugal.


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We update our articles regularly. Some updates are major while others are minor link changes and spelling corrections. Let us know if you see anything that needs to be updated in this article.

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Tuesday 3rd of March 2020

I'm wondering -- did you manage to find a cafe where you can sit and work with a laptop? I'm moving to Naples in a couple of months and, as a remote worker, am hoping to find a few cafes where I can work. Thank you!


Wednesday 19th of February 2020

Actually, I see far more bars using Toraldo than Passalaqua. Other common brands are Kenon(which is also on the coffee filled cup in one of the pictures in the article), Kimbo and, to a lesser extent, Lavazza. Illy, although very common in Italy, is rare in Naples because of the inclination of Neapolitans towards stronger tastes. I find your implication, if I got it correctly, quite offensive.

Bon B.

Thursday 16th of November 2017

Just got back from a conference in Napoli. What a great town! Now, caffe: drank it everywhere. Even the automatic machines in the national parks and museums grind the beans fresh and produce a great little cup. I asked locals from Baia to Capri to Pozzuoli (one of my favorite towns anywhere) and at my hotel what they would buy to make at home if their Nona was visiting, or if they were bringing home a fiancé to meet the family. The almost universal answer was Kimbo Gold brand, which you can find in any grocery for a few euros. Didn't taste the same when I made it at home, alas. Something very, very special about Napoli and their smoky, crema-topped little cups. And sfogliatella is truly one of Italia's gifts to the world! Thanks for sharing your delight in your travels.

Daryl and Mindi Hirsch

Thursday 16th of November 2017

Italians certainly do coffee their own way. Most cafes in Napoli use beans from passalacqua (sometimes under the label "Mexico") which can be bought at various outlets around the city. Apparently the espresso machines used there are fairly unique in that they're gas powered. We just like the way the baristas maneuver those giant levers. Thanks for reading.


Tuesday 27th of June 2017

Ughhh this all looks incredible! We loved sipping on multiple cups of espresso while in Europe last spring, but this is something else altogether! The shakerato looks amazing and is an interesting concept, and once you threw in the pastries, I was done. Take me back!

T. John

Tuesday 27th of June 2017

stuck in 1950's, now this is what most people like me will look for. The coffee seems delicious in the image. I am a Cappuccino lover, but going to taste all of them now. I will be visiting next month.

Daryl and Mindi Hirsch

Tuesday 27th of June 2017

Awesome! Enjoy every sip in wonderful Napoli!