Imagine waking up, slipping on your shoes, and wandering down the cobblestone streets to enjoy your morning espresso surrounded by Renaissance and Medieval masterpieces. Sounds like a dream? Well, that’s exactly what you can experience in Florence.
But not just any old bar will do—it’s time we show you the best coffee in Florence.
Although Italy does worship our espresso—and we are known as a world coffee capital due to how much we adore this shot of caffeine—it isn’t actually true every bar will serve you a life-changing caffè. In fact, you might get one that’s burnt, or too bitter. That’s why choosing the best place to have your coffee experience is essential.
But before we dive into where to go, how about we talk about Italian coffee culture?
How to Order a Coffee in Italy
When you head out for your first espresso of the day, you might find yourself confused. Some people are standing chatting at the bar, and others are sitting. Do you need to order first? Pay first? Sit down? Stand up?
Even those of us who have lived in Italy for quite a while still play this guessing game! But here’s a little tip to help you out: At most bars in city centers, or nearby key monuments, the coffee will cost different al banco—that is, standing at the bar—or sitting down.
And this isn’t just a minor difference. Some places may charge you €1.20 for standing up, but up to €5 sitting down for the same cup of coffee. Take this into consideration when you’re questioning whether to sit down or join the group al banco.
When in doubt, aim for the bar, make an order, and ask the barista directly. They’ll be able to tell you if there is a price difference, or if you need to pay first.
So what should you order in Italy? Here’s a little coffee cheat sheet for you:
- Posso avere is “can I have” in Italian. You can also just ask for the type of coffee you want.
- Un caffè is just a normal espresso. Ask for it lungo if you want a little extra.
- Un macchiato is an espresso with just a dollop of foamed milk.
- Un cappuccino—or as you may hear some locals call it, a cappuccio—is your standard cappuccino: a shot of espresso with milk, foamed at the top.
- –Un americano, though tempting as it is to order, is not standard American coffee, but rather an espresso watered down with hot water. If you see American-style coffee at the bar, it will most likely be called filtrato.
And never forget your per favore (please) and your grazie (thank you).
Now that you’ve got a little starter kit on how to order coffee in Italy, let’s find the best coffee in Florence!
Where to Find the Best Coffee in Florence
1. Ditta Artigianale
Taking the long tradition of Italian coffee roasting and presenting it for a modern and curious clientele. Ditta Artigianale is beloved by locals and visitors alike for its incredible specialty coffee, and creative coffee-based drinks.
You’ll find a few locations around the city, each with a classic Italian style banco lined with espresso cups and their shiny La Marzocco espresso machine. In the back, you’ll find some welcoming seats and tables where you can pop down and take your time with no extra service charge.
Ditta Artigianale is more than a bar (the Italian name for a cafe)—it’s actually a traditional torrefazione, or roastery. They roast their own beans in-house, selecting specialty blends and single origins. Every coffee is meant to be savored and experienced.
While their classic espresso and cappuccino are delicious, we also suggest checking out their seasonal creative drinks. In the summer you can’t miss their espresso and tonic drinks!
SimBIOsi (Via de’ Ginori, 64r) brings together the best of both worlds: specialty coffee and fine wine. This rustic yet elegant cafe is a great place to swing by any time of day. The front entrance includes an Italian-style banco with the added comfort of bar stools, while the back and out front offer larger tables.
Here you will only find organic and all-natural products of the highest quality. They offer a range of specialty coffee from different brewers. You can enjoy a quick espresso or opt for pour-over, Aeropress, cold brew, and more.
This cafe is ideal for experiencing a warm side of Florence. Pull up a stool and have a chat with the friendly baristas, take your book to the back table for a relaxing moment, or settle in out front to watch the lively residents of Florence pass by.
Stepping away from the modern specialty coffee and back in time to a romantic period of Florence’s history, it’s time we head to Gilli. Gilli has been serving Florentines their morning shot of caffeine since 1733. It is, in fact, the oldest cafe still running in Florence!
Vintage wooden decor and warm chandelier lights welcome visitors to line up in front of the marble-lined bar, or to sneak into a more intimate corner at one of the small marble tables.
Here you won’t enjoy a specialty coffee, but a perfectly prepared shot of Illy espresso—an Italian classic. And if you ask for a cappuccino, you’ll probably get the extra delight of a little cacao on top.
At Gilli, you will find different prices al banco or sitting down. But if you do choose to sit, you should go ahead and complete the experience with one of their delicious baked goods or chocolates.
Skilled pastry chefs, the team at Gilli whips up traditional Florentine sweets daily, alongside delectable mono-origin chocolate creations. The combination of these sweet delights in Gilli’s elegant atmosphere is what truly makes this cafe a must for the best coffee in Florence.
4. Caffè Scudieri
Another one of Florence’s historic caffès, Scudieri has been around since 1939. Here you can sip on your caffè while enjoying the mesmerizing view of the Duomo.
The elegant marble countertops shine bright under the crystal chandeliers. Elegant china espresso cups and saucers are served to you by a smiling staff dressed to impress. The whole experience is a luxurious moment fully immersed in la dolce vita.
Scudieri serves coffee roasted by local Torrefazione Nannini, and all of their pastries are made fresh daily right in the house. If you get there early enough, you can enjoy a cornetto still warm from the oven.
This is another cafe where you will surely find differing prices at the bar and sitting down, but given its fantastic position, it is well worth it.
If these historic cafes seem a little too elegant for you first thing in the morning, maybe you’d like to experience a more humble spot hidden in Florence’s alleyways. If that’s the case, head straight for Chiaroscuro.
Chiaroscuro is an unassuming little cafe where you can find some of the best coffee in Florence. Step in through a small entryway where the barista welcomes guests at the bar, and if you’d like to grab a seat, there are just a few tables located in the back or out front.
At any given time, Chiaroscuro offers up to ten single origin coffees roasted by a local torrefazione called Mokaflor. The enthusiastic staff is happy to take you on a journey through the world of coffee, exploring flavors from South and Central America to Africa and Indonesia. And if you find one you love, you can buy the beans to bring home!
Another excellent thing to note about this particular bar: they even offer a selection of gluten-free snacks for breakfast and aperitivo!
One last luxurious stop for those of you craving a little chocolate with your coffee. Rivoire are master chocolatiers—in fact, they were once chocolate makers for the Italian royal family itself.
Rivoire has been a sweet staple in Florence’s center since 1872. The prices will reflect the location: the indoor space welcomes guests with elegant vintage decor, while the outdoor seating offers beautiful views of Piazza della Signoria.
You can enjoy a coffee here anytime of day or swing by in the evening for a cocktail. But the best treat to order from them are a little selection of handmade chocolate pralines. Enjoy them on the spot, or take home a little box as a souvenir.
An Italy local for nearly 10 years, Evelyn has traveled to nearly every region getting overly excited about cute doors and nonni cafes. She’s an archaeology and art history major who fell in love with Italian wine, getting her Sommelier and Italian Wine Scholar certifications. She’s transformed her passion for La Bel Paese into a travel planning and relocation consultancy with Colline Alle Montagne. You’ll find her on Instagram @collinemontagne, always sipping a glass of wine and sharing the authentic life in Italy.