Posted by: Debra Kolkka | February 6, 2015

Cappuccino senza schiuma

A cappuccino senza schiuma is equivalent to an Australian flat white…a cappuccino without the foam. It has less milk than a latte , not quite as much milk froth as a cappuccino and no chocolate sprinkled on top. (By the way, if you order a latte in Italy you will get a glass of hot milk, you must ask for a caffe latte)

It seems that the flat white is spreading around the world. Australian coffee culture was started by Italians (thank you) but has developed a life of its own and now we are sharing our coffee style with coffee lovers in other places.

There was an article in our local paper (in Brisbane) recently telling of the introduction in the 1980s of the simply named “flat white”. It has spread like wild fire here and now it has moved to London and Paris and is heading to USA via Starbucks.

I would never order a cappuccino senza schiuma in famous Italian cafes such as Tazza D’Oro, Caffe Greco or Caffe St Eustacchio in Rome, or the wonderful Giacosa in Florence, their coffee is perfect,  but if I am in an unfamiliar place I do. I don’t like to get half a cup full of froth.

Coffee at Giacosa

Coffee at Giacosa

cappuccino at Caffe Greco

Caffe Greco Rome


Tazza D'Oro Rome

Tazza D’Oro Rome

cappuccino senna schiuma and apple sfoglia at Il Monaco in Ponte a Serraglio

cappuccino senna schiuma and apple sfoglia at Il Monaco in Ponte a Serraglio

So…if you are an Australian accustomed to drinking a flat white, ask for a cappuccino senza schiuma in Italy. You may be looked at a little strangely, but it will happen.

Many years ago, when I lived in a tiny village near Sorrento, my then husband’s sister in law used to bring me a delicious espresso topped up with milk still warm from their cow…that was a good coffee.

How do you like your coffee?


  1. I’ve always wondered what in the world you would get if you ordered a cappuccino sense schiuma because the cappuccini I get here in Milan are so beautifully cremosi and not at all frothy. I guess I sort of get it now. But I don’t think it will be necessary for me here. Italy does spoil you though. Now the cappuccini in the US don’t appeal to me often. They are frequently way way to frothy and bubble. Like foam sitting on top. Not at all creamy.

    • Most cappuccino in Italy is perfect, and the foam just right. I don’t like it when I get a cup full of foam, the coffee is too strong. I also don’t like powdered chocolate interfering with my coffee, but that doesn’t usually happen in Italy. I will be back in a week to enjoy my cappuccino every morning in the village.

  2. My boyfriend works in the coffee industry and he is pretty much the reason I started to drink coffee in the first place! In fact, I’ve become really strict about the quality of my espresso, haha. Finns are one of the biggest coffee consumers in the world, but a ‘coffee culture’ doesn’t exist in Finland – people don’t really care about the quality, as long as it keeps them awake over the long, dark winter!

    • I have found a few places in Helsinki where they serve good, Italian style coffee. I was surprised to learn that Finns are big coffee consumers.

      • There are a few these days indeed! Finland is slowly waking up to the concept of Italian coffee 🙂 the first Starbucks also opened in Helsinki recently!

      • I am not a fan of Starbucks with their huge vats of milky coffee. I prefer La Torrafazione for a more Italian style.I will be in Helsinki next week for some cold weather and hot coffee.

  3. The “schiuma” that they serve at a good coffee shop is not frothy, but creamy. My favourite is Sant’ Eustachio and then, Il Monaco, particularly after they bought the new coffee machine. They say that at St. Eustachio they add some bicarbonate of soda to the milk to create that creamy texture. Whatever they do, it’s magic!

    • I agree, the foam well done is excellent, but if it thin and airy it just fills the cup. Caffe St Eustachio is always on my list when I go to Rome.

  4. I agree with you on the perfect taste, temperature and look of the cappuccino served at your favourite place in Florence, Giacosa, why do so many people want it boiling hot. The Italians serve it perfect to drink not to have to wait for it to cool down. Tell me Deb, does that ‘shot of caramel’ option apply in Italy or is that an American idea we have picked up on.

    • It would be sacrilege to put a shot of caramel in coffee. I have never seen it in Italy. Giacosa swirls a bit of liquid chocolate through the top, and it is delicious.

  5. Yes Debra “Flat white” is here in the US at Starbucks and the advertisements say it is from Australia

    • It is good to see a bit of Australia in the world.

  6. Umm.. I like an espresso (illy preferred) with some cold milk on the side. Brown sugar, just a tad. Of course at home I ruin all that and add rice milk!!

    • I like the occasional espresso, especially after lunch or dinner. I have never tried rice milk.

  7. A flat white here in the US at Starbucks is the closest thing to any coffee served in Oz, but it’s still far far away from the real thing. I miss Oz cappuccinos and flat white.

    • Starbucks is bland and just too big, far too much milk, but at least you know what you are getting. We have great coffee here in Australia, but I can’t wait to be back in Italy next week.

  8. I think I need a fix now Deb. Some great coffee here in Brissie too which you introduced me to.



    • You must mean Marchetti in the city…great spot. I miss my favourite places when I leave Brisbane.

  9. Isn’t that interesting! I recall being in Vancouver and they served Flat whites there and they explained that it was an Australian thing.

    • We have spread our coffee all over…great!

  10. smelling 🙂 I really wished to be there dear Debra, Thank you, have a nice weekend, love, nia

    • There is nothing as wonderful as the smell of coffee. I love to be able to walk across the bridge every morning when I am in Ponte a Serraglio for the great coffee and a sfoglia.

  11. Thanks to you Jim ordered his cappuccino senza schiuma whilst in Italy and enjoyed every one of them….I am just a plain cappuccino girl.

    • Annalisa does a great cappuccino with or without schiuma.

  12. When I have friends visit me from o/s they can never get enough of our aussie coffees. Your photos of coffees are gorgeous. Happy flying on Monday back to your beautiful Bagni di Lucca

    • I am looking foreword to being back in the village. It is snowing…I hope it lasts until I get there.

  13. For me, it’s macchiatone, senza schiuma. Tonolo in Venice make it perfectly. I’ll see how Giacosa compares. 🙂

    Which airline will deliver you back to Italy?

    • I must try Tonolo when I am back in Venice. I fly Finnair, via Helsinki. I go through Hong Kong and stay in Helsinki for a day, then London for 3, 2 days in Oxford and on to Italy.

      • If you’re on time, try their fritelle with zabaglione, have one for me.

  14. Had no idea we had ‘exported’ the long flat white to the rest of the world from Oz! Did some homework on Mr Google after reading Saana’s comments, coming from Tallinn on the other side of the Gulf! Finland is still very much world’s number one in the coffee drunk and Estonia number six and fast growing. A café on every corner but all the cups shown also usually show a flat white or long black!! And the latter is still the one I mostly like 🙂 !!

    • We drink lots of coffee here in Australia. There are cafes everywhere. We are certainly spoiled for choice.

  15. I just saw a sign advertising “flat white” coffees here in NYC. I was wondering what that was. Now I’m in the know thanks to you. 🙂

    • I think there are a few Australians in New York who started the flat white thing.

  16. Thank you Deb for teaching me how to get the ” flat white in Italy”. And yes Helsinki now has many places that do great coffee and even flat whites. One place had it on their board so I asked if they get many Aussies and the answer was yes and then he proceeded to tease me by saying it was a NZ invention. Well, I had to set him straight. His reply was that you people also argue about the pavlova, told him that I don’t care about that argument. All good fun. Kirsi

    • Both the flat white and the pavlova are ours, so there.

  17. That’s really helpful. A cappuccino is something people drank in the 90s in NZ but what I always ask for in Finland as it’s as close as you can get to a flat white. Some baristas here do a flat white if asked but it’s not on the menu. Great post ☺️

    • Thanks, there are some good places in Helsinki for coffee. It has really improved even in the last few years that I have been visiting.

      • Yes, there are some really good places here now & they seem to do flat whites. Have you been to Freese? Kalle, the owner, lived in NZ for a while & is now on what he calls his coffee crusade to bring good coffee to the people. Worth a visit if you haven’t already been ☺️

      • I haven’t been to Freese, but I will definitely look for it next week. Thanks for the tip.

  18. Lovely images, Debra. I take my coffee black, one sugar. 🙂

    • I’ll see what I can do.

  19. Great post Debra. I’m a cappuccino gal and wonder why we just can’t get one in the US that even resembles what you can get all over Italy. It’s always two distinct layers instead of being creamy all the way through. Until May…

    • Yes, it should be the same all the way through. It that light layer of foam I don’t like. May is not far off.

  20. Ahhhh, that unmistakably chocolate drizzle at our mutual favourite, dear Cafe Giacosa. As pretty as it is, i always take my cappuccino ‘senza cioccolato’. and the best thing is you only have to ask once. The barista there has an excellent memory for faces and coffee!

    • I could do without the chocolate, but I don’t want to upset them.

      • They love it. Just another way they can show off when you come in the next morning and they present your cappuccino without choc and you didn’t have to say a word…. 😛

      • OK, I will try it.

  21. I can’t wait for the opportunity to try out these requests!

    • The coffee is great in Italy, you will love it.

  22. Actually not a big coffee drink … but when I do, it only with a touch of cream.

  23. These are beautiful! I love good coffee!!!

  24. Hi Deb , it is nice to hear fron you. I’ll just have a long black thank you ! See you sweetheart.


  25. Love the pictures! I myself prefer the simple espresso, a single shot of intense pleasure although now I take it decaffinated, not the same, believe me.

  26. […] has many variations, but the most famous ones are Cappuccino Senza Schiuma or, in English, The King of […]

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