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How Coffee is Enjoyed Around the World

by
Nov 19th, 2021

How do you take your coffee? With cream and sugar? Iced? A venti PSL with eight shots of espresso, five pumps of pumpkin sauce and a pump of maple pecan sauce?

However you like your coffee, there are people all over the world who enjoy their coffee in ways you may have never imagined! From rich, spicy Mexican drinks to smooth tea blends in Hong Kong, here are some of the most popular ways coffee is enjoyed around the world!

Coffees of the world

Turkey

Kahve

Turkish coffee is made by boiling finely-ground coffee beans in a traditional coffee pot called a cezve and is usually served with sugar or flavored with cardamom or ambergris. It’s much stronger than regular coffee because the grounds aren't filtered out of the water before serving,  giving the drink a thick and foamy texture. It’s usually served with sweet Turkish treats like lokum or baklava. 

Traditionally, the cezve is heated by immersing the small metal pot in hot sand, allowing the maker to control the spread of heat over the pot’s surface. 

Italy

Espresso Romano

Espresso is popular all over the world nowadays, but it’s the Italians who’ve perfected the powerful brew. It’s where we get the word “espresso” from, after all, and in Italy espresso takes on a whole other meaning. 

Espresso means “fast,” and ordering an espresso in Italy means that you’re wanting to drink it right then and there; as in, right at the counter when you’re served! Baristas prioritize espresso orders over others because it’s obviously for those short on time, and a barista’s skill in balancing both speed and quality is held in high regard. Espresso is served in small glass cups and paired with biscotti, sandwiches, nuts or croissants, and is considered to be the most popular coffee drink in the country. 

Australia & New Zealand

Flat white

There are conflicting stories behind the origins of this popular drink, with both Australians and New Zealanders taking credit for its debut sometime between the 1960s and the 1980s. 

Either way, the flat white is immensely popular in the two countries and has since spread across the globe, although it's well-known that Australia’s very own Melbourne coffee culture has perfected the drink. 

Essentially, the drink is made by pouring steamed milk or microfoam (not quite fully foamy) over a shot of espresso, similar to a Latte but a little smaller.

Vietnam

Cà phê đá

This Vietnamese iced coffee drink is made using a simple-yet-effective system of filtering and flash-freezing, which makes sense given the name literally translates to “iced coffee.”

Medium-to-coarse ground coffee — usually a dark roast — is placed in a small metal drip filter called a phin cà phê over a cup. The hot coffee drips into the cup, then it's all poured over ice to cool down and serve. Many also add a few tablespoons of condensed milk to the cup under the filter to sweeten the still-hot coffee before it's cooled! 

Hong Kong

Yuenyeung

Translated to “coffee with tea,” yuenyeung is a popular drink originating in Hong Kong, though it has variations common in surrounding countries such as Malaysia. The drink is made by mixing seven parts Hong Kong-style milk tea with three parts coffee, which is then sweetened with sugar or condensed milk and served either iced or hot. 

Mexico

Cafe de Olla

This traditional coffee drink is strong, spicy and full of flavor and depth! Simmered with cinnamon sticks and dark sugar, Cafe de olla is made and served in a clay pot and clay cup, as the clayware gives the brew a touch of earthy tones to compliment the many spices. Many add star anise and orange peel to the brew, too, which is generally either a medium or dark roast. 

Finland & Sweden

Kaffeost

Curds and coffee, anyone?

Kaffeost is a popular drink and snack in Finland and Sweden, made by pouring hot coffee over a sturdy cheese called “leipäjuusto.” This cheese absorbs the coffee while remaining intact, giving it a soft, tofu-like texture that’s slightly sweet. The overall taste is very smooth, buttery and smoky: the perfect winter drink!

Spain

Cafe bombon

This is the kind of coffee to go for if you’re looking for something sweet, strong and special! Cafe bombon loosely translates to “confection coffee,” and it’s just as beautiful as it is sugary!

The drink is simple: one part espresso to one part condensed milk that’s served in a clear glass to show the stark layers between the two ingredients. The condensed milk must be added to the espresso very carefully so that it settles underneath the hot liquid, or one can add the espresso after the milk. Either way, it’s a beautiful, sweet drink that’s enjoyed all over the world in many variations!

Ireland

Irish coffee

Bless the Irish for creating this warm, cozy drink! 

Most sources say that Irish coffee was invented in 1943 in an airport near Limerick, Ireland, but there are also variations of coffee cocktails dating back to the mid-century all over Europe. The Irish coffee as we know it today, though, is now one of the most popular of these drinks, and it’s been a worldwide hit for nearly 80 years now. 

To make the drink, dissolve a teaspoon of brown sugar in a dash (the amount is up to you!) of Irish whiskey in a warm Irish coffee glass. Once dissolved, pour strong, dark, hot coffee until the glass is almost full (about ⅓  inch from the rim). Top with lightly whipped cream, making sure to float the cream on top of the coffee (and DON’T stir!). Enjoy by drinking the coffee through the cream!

Yemen

Qahwah/Arabic coffee

This is a drink enjoyed all over the Middle East and the Arab World, stretching from Mauritania to Lebanon to Somalia to the U.A.E. and more, though each region prepares it slightly differently.

Arabic coffee comes from the Arabian coffee plant that many believe to be the first species of coffee plant to ever be cultivated, originating in Ethiopia and first cultivated Yemen where, according to historians, coffee was being brewed as far back as the mid 15th century!

Arabic coffee is bitter on its own, and the beans are usually combined with cardamom and roasted either very lightly or quite heavily. It’s served plain from a coffee pot called a dallah into decorative cups and is an important part of Arab tradition. 

So, change up your coffee routine and try some of these coffee traditions from around the world! 

Enjoy!

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Featured photo courtesy Pixabay/Activedia

Author of Article

Colleen Ford is a South African who now lives in Spokane, Washington. She loves to travel, camp (in warm weather) and bake.

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