Italy: Cappuccino not an afternoon drink

Rome: First off, apologies to the purists because the plural form is cappuccini. And no self-respecting Italian would dream of drinking a cappuccino after 11 in the morning.

After a meal? “Ma perche?” – “but why?” an Italian might say – a rich and heavy, milky drink after food? Inconceivable. “But why not?” you might ask. It’s just not done, end of story. It is only seen as a drink for breakfast.

I once heard a pair of unfortunate young women tourists ask for “a cappuccino coffee” in mid-afternoon at a bar in Rome.
The sigh of exasperation that accompanied the telling-off from the barista was louder than the hiss of his espresso machine.