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Coffee Etiquette: All The Best Kept Secrets Beginners Need To Know

Coffee Etiquette
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Let’s look at it this way, coffee etiquette for those that don’t drink coffee is a complete waste of time, some might say, reading the headline.

But what about when you are with people who love to drink coffee?

Think about the business aspect as well as the social aspect, of what learning about coffee etiquette, could do for you too.

This is a beginners guide to coffee etiquette.

Learning about the drink, could actually give you pointers for a great conversation when you need it at your local coffee shop, at work, on holiday, or perhaps on a date, and who knows, it could land you your next big number!!!

So, whether you like the drink coffee or you loathe it, always remember no knowledge is lost knowledge.

I’m about to explain the rules of that wonderful drink that, so many, consume, to supercharge themselves on a day when without it, nothing would get done, or nobody would be seen during an interview.

Coffee is one of the most popular and widely consumed beverages worldwide due to its stimulating effects on the central nervous system as well as its taste and aroma.

In a review of 21 prospective studies totaling over 10 million participants, drinking one cup of coffee (whether decaf or with caffeine) per day was associated with a 3% reduced risk of death, and drinking 3 cups of coffee was associated with a 13% reduced risk of death.

Research from Harvard Medical School found in an independent meta-analysis that coffee consumption is associated with a reduced risk of depression.

Knowing all of this, it is no wonder why we should embrace coffee etiquette.

Coffee Etiquette At Work

Coffee Etiquette
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  • Keep The Coffee Area Tidy -Always remember the golden rule of cleaning up after yourself. Nobody wants to make a cup of coffee at work and notice that there is granulated sugar all over the table-top, as well as spilled milk, put the milk back in the fridge if it’s fresh, and wipe down the table into the trash and not the floor. At least you come across as being classy, too.
  • Fill The Kettle For Those After You – When you make a cup/cups, fill up the kettle for the person who wants to make a cup after you.
  • Never Use Someone Else’s Cup – If you know you love to have a hot drink at work, it’s important for you to invest in buying your own mug. It’s rude to use someone else’s cup and distasteful.
    The only excuse to use someone else’s mug would be if the office has provided some in the break room. The solution to this problem would be to keep your cup on your table or in your office locker.
  • Asking If Anyone Else Would Like A Cup Of Coffee – While most of you would ask your colleagues if they were interested in a cup of coffee if you were making one for yourself, It is not compulsory. The reason being it slows down your work production if you are getting coffee for more than yourself and leads to idle chit-chat. Instead, if they ask, let them know you have an important report to finish and suggest they follow you.
  • Don’t Mix Up The Coffee – Always pay attention to what you’ve grabbed from the cupboard and where to use them. Someone expecting to drink a cup of decaffeinated coffee does not want to find out that they are drinking caffeinated because you mixed the coffee up.
  • Offer Treats – Every hot drink lover would love something to nibble on while having a drink. Lead the way in buying donuts, muffins or scones if it’s not being done and watch how the trend continues.

Networking Coffee Etiquette

Coffee Etiquette
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  • Come Prepared – Always come prepared knowing what you want to ask, don’t ask whether the other person has what you sent them, just provide extras just in case. It shows your commitment to the meeting.
  • Don’t Spend the Time Complaining About the Coffee – When you are trying to network, the least of your conversation should be the idle chit-chat of whether the coffee is good or bad. Concentrate on the points you would like to either learn or put out.
  • Put Your Phone On Meeting Status – Don’t spend the time picking phone calls or fiddling with your phone. It shows a sign of not being interested in the person or people you are trying to network with.
  • Compose Yourself – Never come across as if you are desperate, compose yourself and let the networking flow on its own terms.
  • Don’t Make It About Your Personal Life – Stay on track and don’t digress into talks about your sick pet at home or your babies teething problems, the car you just bought, or the shopping therapy you intend on pursuing. Networking is about what we can do to help one another, not about you in your personal life.
  • Journal – Keep notes on what you need to do after the meeting.
  • Thank You – Always send a thank you for your time email.
Coffee Etiquette: All The Best Kept Secrets You Need To Know
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Serving Coffee Etiquette

Serving Coffee at Home


  • Coffee must always be served by the host
  • It should be served in a coffee pot
  • You must serve it in a cup with a saucer
  • You must always use a serving tray, with empty cups, teaspoons, milk, sweetener, or sugar
  • Always have pastries, donuts, cookies, or muffin to accompany the coffee
  • Keep the tray in the center, so that guests may place their cups and saucers back on the tray when they have finished


  • If you like your coffee with sugar, so as not to flatten the coffee foam. The rule of thumb would be to stir the coffee by moving the teaspoon from top to bottom and not twirling it.
  • You should drink coffee when picking it up with the cup and saucer in your left hand and raising the cup with your right hand.
  • Never leave the teaspoon inside the cup. Once you have used it, place it to the right side of your cup and saucer.
  • When lifting your coffee from the saucer, grab the handle using your index and middle finger against the thumb, and curl the other fingers into the palm of the hand.

Coffee Etiquette In Italy

Coffee Etiquette
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Coffee culture in Italy is taken very seriously. And the best coffee in Italy can be selected from various kinds of Italian coffee, which you can have at home or at a bar known as an Italian Cafe.

In a place with so many lovers of coffee, and the origin of the first patented espresso machine in 1884, by Angelo Moriondo in Turin in 1884, needless to say, they have an etiquette, if not spoken about, the way things are done around drinking coffee.

From what to drink and at what time, how to drink it, where to put money, and so on.

Let’s get stuck in with coffee etiquette in Italy

  • Cappuccino – Locals drink cappuccino only in the morning, if you ask for it at any other time of the day, not only will the waiter be confused, they will know immediately you are a tourist. Anytime up to 11 am is fine.
  • Menu – Don’t expect to see a menu like you would at Starbucks, Costa, any other coffee outlet. Locals know what they want and order it accordingly. If visiting Italy, make sure you familiarize yourself with the names below, so you don’t get caught off guard.

    Caffe – Caffe means coffee in Italy. And the generic name used to refer to coffee when plain with no milk.

    Espresso – Espresso is the most popular kind of Italian Coffee, and if you go to a café and ask for un caffé, they will serve you an espresso. Another pointer to keep in mind is that they don’t refer to drinks like America as a double espresso if you want more, you should order a Caffé lungo.

    Macchiato – If you want your espresso with milk, then you need to order a Caffé macchiato. If you prefer a drop of hot milk, then ask for a macchiato caldo, or macchiato freddo, which would be served with cold milk.

    Caffé al vetro – This is similar to the regular espresso, but for the cup used in serving it in. The meaning of Veltro in Italian is glass, so this type of coffee will be served in a small glass cup.

    Cafe Corretto – This is espresso coffee with a shot of liquor of your choice. Either Grappa or sambuca.

    Decaffeinato – This is Italian decaf.

    Ristretto – This is one of the strongest coffees in Italy and like a super shot espresso.

  • Barista – Barista is a popular and well-respected profession in Italy.
  • Money Is placed On Trays –  Take note of money being placed on the counter or on a tray and not given in your hands.
  • Paying At The End – Locals usually pay for their coffee after they have finished at the café, rather than when they are ordering.
  • Queues – Queuing is not a necessary act at local coffee bars in Italy. If you fancy a cup and see a slot free with the barista or waiter, make your order, if not you’ll be waiting forever.
  • Drink Standing Up – If you’re trying to really fit in with the coffee-shop culture in Italy. Follow the locals and drink at the bar. Most times, Italians enjoy their coffee standing up.
  • Idle Chit Chat – In Italy, you’ll get no idle chit-chat when it comes to making an order. Baristas take their jobs very seriously and would only chat with locals they are familiar with.
  • Dunking – Never be caught dunking’ donuts, biscotti, or anything else in your coffee.

coffee etiquette

Coffee Etiquette FAQ

Can I drink Coffee at 12 pm ?

Consuming caffeine 3 or even 6 hours before bedtime can seriously disrupt your sleep. Refraining from caffeine 6 hours prior to sleep is the recommended time to stop drinking coffee. –

What coffee is best for beginners?

The answer to that question lies totally in your hands!

What may be good for one person may not be good for another.

The best way to get your answer would be to go to a coffee shop and ask to taste some favorites and then the not-so-popular ones.

If you are not completely sure by the time you leave that coffee shop, write them down and try the same in a different shop, and so on.

Eventually, you’ll be able to say convincingly what your taste buds prefer when drinking coffee.

How can you tell if coffee is good?

  • Aroma
  • Taste
  • Your personal experience with coffee
  • It’s not Instant!

Can you drink coffee with a spoon?

The correct etiquette in using a spoon for coffee is not to drink with it, but to stir the coffee. Once you have stirred the coffee, it should be placed on the right side of the cup and saucer. This is the best way to drink coffee.

What happens if you drink coffee every day?

According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) drinking more than 4 or 5 cups of caffeinated coffee every day may have side effects such as nervousness, restlessness, stomach upset, nausea and vomiting, increased heartbeat, breathing issues, and insomnia.

Conclusion Coffee Etiquette

By now, you should be able to remember all the different types of coffee available to you, especially coffee etiquette in Italy, coffee etiquette for work, coffee etiquette for a first date, etc.

The rules are the same no matter where you drink coffee.

Thanks for reading! Check out some of my other posts below and be uplifted daily.

You may also like to read:


  1. Global coffee production, 2016/17.  
  2. Dicum G, Luttinger N. The Coffee Book: Anatomy of an Industry from the crop to the last Drop. New York: The New Press; 1999: IX
  3. Caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee consumption and risk of all-cause mortality: a dose-response meta-analysis of cohort studies by Li et al., Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics 
  4. ‘Coffee Drinkers Are Less Likely Than Others to be Depressed — a Review of Current Research on Coffee, Depression and Depressive Sympoms’ by Dr. Alan Leviton, Harvard Medical School
  5. Angelo Moriondo
  6. Learn Pronunciations Here
  7. Drake C; Roehrs T; Shambroom J; Roth T. Caffeine effects on sleep taken 0, 3, or 6 hours before going to bed. J Clin Sleep Med 2013;9(11):1195-1200.
  8. Wikipedia

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