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No matter if I’m traveling or at home, I’m always searching for the best cup of coffee.
There are many coffee traditions around the world. This caffeinated beverage is versatile, not to mention comforting and delicious. If you’re a coffee lover and you travel, be sure to try a cup that’s prepared in a traditional manner. Live like the locals do. In my experiences, I’m thankful to have tried a brewed cup of joe from a few countries on this list. As for the rest of them, I hope to get my caffeine fix everywhere, eventually. Here are some dream destinations where you’ve got to order a coffee.
In Italy, ordering a cup of coffee “to go” (or an Americano) is mostly reserved for tourists. To enjoy an authentic cup, you must order an espresso (a strong shot of coffee served in a small mug). Drink it while standing at the café bar. You can get that quick jolt of energy and be on your way. Cappuccinos are only ordered in the morning and they are not consumed later in the day. Learn more about coffee in Italy in this guide to Naples coffee culture.
In Rome, you can take this half day espresso and gelato tasting tour. It’s the perfect combination and this tour will take you to all the best spots.
The café au lait, or coffee with hot milk, originated in France. The French often begin their day with this sophisticated beverage, served in a wide mug. It is not usually ordered after lunch or dinner, but only in the morning. It’s also common to dunk a plain croissant into the coffee for breakfast.
Austria’s traditional drink is the mélange, which is like a cappuccino. It is espresso with steamed milk, topped with foamed milk and sometimes whipped cream.
The coffee beverage, frappé, is popular in Greece. It combines instant coffee with evaporated milk and ice cold water. It’s a great drink to devour on a hot, summer day!
Ethiopia Coffee Ceremony. Photo Credit: Steve Evans.
Drinking coffee originated in Ethiopia. Traditional coffee ceremonies are a longstanding and distinguished part of Ethiopian culture. The process takes two to three hours. The process involves roasting the beans, preparing the coffee, and serving it. Back in the day, “buna” (coffee) was prepared with salt or butter instead of sugar. There is a popular saying in Ethiopia: “Buna dao naw”, or “Coffee is our bread.”
In Mexico, café de olla is coffee brewed in clay pots with cinnamon sticks and piloncillo, the rawest form of sugar cane. The coffee is brewed in clay pots. Both the earthenware and the cinnamon sticks bring out more of that bold, coffee taste.
Ever heard of an Irish Coffee? I know that you can order them at bars and restaurants here in Canada. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that the Irish Coffee originated in Ireland. It’s coffee and booze, together for the perfect after-dinner hot beverage. In the 1940s, American tourists were visiting Ireland during the chilly winter season. This drink was invented to warm them up. It’s a combination of hot coffee, Irish whiskey, sugar, and whipped cream on the top.
The coffee of choice in Australia and New Zealand is the flat white. It’s similar to a latte, but much more velvety in consistency. It’s made by pouring microfoam (steamed milk containing small bubbles) over a shot of espresso. There is a higher proportion of coffee to milk than a latte or cappuccino.
Turkish Coffee. Photo Credit: Jorge Cancela
There’s a proverb in Turkey: “Coffee should be black as hell, strong as death, and sweet as love.” Turkish coffee is so steeped in tradition that it was inscribed by UNESCO in 2013 on their Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. To prepare Turkish coffee, you must boil finely-ground coffee in a long-handled copper pot called a cezve. Boil the coffee with sugar and water, and then pour it into small cups. Serve the coffee after meals. It is often accompanied by chewy Turkish candies.
I’d absolutely love to take this half day coffee tasting and tour in Istanbul to watch the experts at work (and drink lots of coffee!).
Cubans love their coffee. Their preferred method is a strong brew, served any time of the day. Cubans mix their coffee with sugar while it brews, and serve it black. Then, they pour it into small mugs, and drink it while socializing with friends and family. Check out this beginner’s guide to Cuban coffee for more details.
Coffee, or kahwa, is spiced with cardamom in Saudi Arabia. Dried dates, served with the coffee, help to combat the bitterness of the coffee. Their coffee ceremony follows many rules of etiquette, such as serving the elders first.
“Kan Kohi”. Photo Credit: David Pursehouse
First introduced in the 1960s, the Japanese flock to buy “Kan Kohi“, or canned coffee. You’ll find these small cans of coffee at the supermarket, the corner store, or even inside vending machines. You can buy both hot and cold drinks.
Egg coffee is growing in popularity in Vietnam. It is rich like a dessert. This coffee combines hot coffee with condensed milk, sugar, and an egg yolk. For this vegan girl, I’ll stick with an ordinary cup of coffee, thanks!
Morocco has a special spiced coffee called café des épices. It is created by mixing together coffee beans and a blend of spices. The spice blend includes sesame seeds, black pepper, nutmeg, cassia bark (cinnamon) and cumin seeds. Everything is ground up together, creating a fragrant and spicy brew.
As you can see, there are so many different coffee traditions around the world, even though everything is made with coffee beans. Whether it’s a traditional ceremony or method of brewing and serving, coffee is universally enjoyed by the people of so many nations worldwide.
At home in Canada, we love coffee just as much as anywhere else in the world. Whether it’s meeting a friend at a coffee shop for conversation and drinks, or enjoying a cup of coffee first thing in the morning at home, drinking coffee is part of my daily routine. I’ve started writing about my favorite coffee shops in Canada. Right now, I have a guide to Ottawa coffee shops and my favorite cafe in Quebec City.
If you’re interested in brewing coffee on the road, check out my guide to the best travel coffee makers.
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