Drinking Coffee Around the World

Close up of a hot cappuccino in a white coffee cup with heart shape latte art on dark brown old wood table at a cafe.

Between National Coffee Day on September 29 and International Coffee Day on October 1, one could say it’s a big week for the popular morning beverage. Coffee is the driver of workdays across the United States, but how is it enjoyed in other cultures around the world?

Many of the terms we use for espresso-based drinks are Italian, and espresso is an integral part of Italian food and drink culture. If you’re used to ordering a cappuccino, latte, or macchiato at Starbucks, you may need to read up on what those drinks are in Italy before you head there for a trip. What we think of as a macchiato is different from how it is traditionally prepared at coffee shops. (How do you think the Americano, a shot of espresso with hot water, got its name?) And while we might enjoy a cappuccino any time of day, in Italy it’s rarely ordered after noon.

And it’s not just Italy. The French, too, mean espresso when you order un café

Did you know that Turkish coffee culture and tradition is on UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage list? According to UNESCO, “freshly roasted beans are ground to a fine powder; then the ground coffee, cold water and sugar are added to a coffee pot and brewed slowly on a stove to produce the desired foam. The beverage is served in small cups, accompanied by a glass of water, and is mainly drunk in coffee-houses where people meet to converse, share news and read books.” The practice of preparing and drinking Turkish coffee is not a quick one, as it is a tradition that is about hospitality and connecting with others, so the art of making it is part of the process of enjoying it as well.

When it comes to where we get coffee beans, we often think of countries like Mexico, Ethiopia, Nicaragua, Kenya. Though these countries, and others, are major producers of coffee, they are not often thought of as countries with strong coffee cultures. That doesn’t mean that it isn’t enjoyed by people in each of those countries, however. In Mexico, a favorite way to prepare and enjoy coffee is cafe del olla, typically brewed with piloncillo and cinnamon, as well as orange peel. In Ethiopia, the coffee ceremony called jebena buna is a slow process that results in multiple cups of very strong coffee, usually sweetened with a lot of sugar. They also enjoy a drink called spris, which is a mix of coffee and tea served together in one cup. When served correctly, the coffee will float above the tea.

Where have you enjoyed coffee, and what made the experience special to you? Let us know on Facebook or Twitter. Want to learn more about tea culture? Check out our blog on tea culture and tradition around the world.

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