Coffee piccolo, does it exist or not?

What kind of drink is hidden under the name piccolo?

Whatever barista you ask the question: "What's a piccolo?" they'll happily answer with the barista's favourite phrase: "Piccolo doesn't exist."

Even so,we encounter this term very often in Czech cafes and we hear this term all too often among local cafe-goers. Often customers don't even know what they are ordering.

When ordering a piccola we can get either espresso, a small strong coffee of 30 ml, or an even smaller coffee - ristretto.

If we use this designation in foreign coffee shops, we should expect that the barista will not understand us.

In most cases he/she will not know what to prepare or will prepare something completely different than we are used to from Czech cafes. Pure Piccolo is a rize Czech designation.

Where did the name piccolo come from?

Despite the fact that piccolo is anItalian word, we can't even get away with it in Italy. In fact, literally translated from Italian it means small, but it is not used in connection with coffee in Italy.

If we look for the origin of this word, we come back to Italy. In fact, there is a theory that the term was brought by tourists from Italy sometime after the revolution. In the period when the coffee scene started to take off in our country, and besides the popular turquoise, coffee shops started to try other kinds of drinks.

Espresso machines began to appear in cafés, but few people knew how to use them and noone knew what good coffee looked like.

This resulted in a variety of drinks of different volumes and sizes, which did not appeal to Italian tourists who were used to small espressos.

So when an espresso the size of a lungo landed on the table, Italians scorned the staff for not ordering this and for wanting a smaller coffee, a "piccolo". This is most likely where the name was picked up and took hold in Czech cafes for many years to come.

The "Piccolo does not exist" campaign

Piccolo is not the only problematic coffee term in the Czech Republic. We often hear the term "presso" or even "expresso" in local cafés. Surprisingly, neither of these terms is correct.

The Czech coffee scene in general hasproblems in terminology and typology of coffee, so in 2010 the Coffee Club was founded to respond to the need to promote knowledge about coffee preparation in cafes and homes in the Czech Republic.

They launched a popular campaign called "Piccolo does not exist" with the ambition to eradicate piccolo and other instances of nonsense coffee drinks and establish a new coffee order.

Piccolo Latte - maybe piccolo does exist

Remember when I wrote that if you ordered a piccolo abroad, chances are the staff would bring you a completely different drink? Well, it's time to take a closer look at this mystery drink .

Thepiccolo latte - a small milky drink, sometimes referred to as a "low tide latte", can be hard to find and is often misunderstood. With its punchy espresso and smooth milk, it can be a delicious alternative to classic coffees.

A piccolo latte is a milky drink that is usually served in an 85-114ml glass. Saša Šestic, 2015 World Barista Champion, describes it as "one part espresso and two parts whipped milk with a layer of silky foam on top". He more accurately defines the ratio as "a shot of espresso, about 20-30 ml, with 40-60 ml of milk".

I've answered your basic question. Piccolo as we know it in the Czech Republic does not properly exist. In conjunction with coffee, there is only piccolo latte, but that is more often enjoyed abroad.