Around the World in Coffee Preferences
From the plateaus of Ethiopia to the artisan coffee shops in Bristol, coffee is consumed world-wide and in a variety of ways. Whether you drink straight espresso or linger over a caramel cappuccino (my guilty pleasure), everyone has their own preference. Here’s how coffee is drunk in different cultures and countries:
When you think about the origin of your coffee beans, Brazil often comes to mind and rightly so: it produces over 30% of the world’s coffee. It stands to reason that they also have their own way of making coffee. Perhaps try the following method with our Brazil Dulce Natural Dark Roast, a nutty, toffee flavoured bean.
Brazillian coffee is referred to as Cafezinho and is made with sugar, water, and espresso grounds. Heat the sugar and water together in a pan that’s for reserved coffee only and wait for the sugar to dissolve. Bring the water to the boil and add add the coffee powder as you remove from the heat, stirring well. Strain the coffee into a small cup using a cloth filter and serve with a microspoon decorated with Brazillian stones - considered the height of fashion.
Coffee is drunk all day long in Brazil and the most popular coffee spots flavour it with anything from cachaça to rum to condensed milk and cinnamon.
Coffee originated in the plateaus of Ethiopia and if you’re interested in learning a little bit of history, more information can be found here. Ethiopians consider it a sign of respect and friendship to hold a coffee ceremony for their guests and it’s an honour to be invited. The entire process can take two to three hours, starting from the roasting of the beans on a flat pan over a charcoal stove, to the grinding, which is done by hand, then the filtering and brewing process. Coffee is brewed three times and it’s impolite to leave before the third cup, as it’s considered to grant a blessing. Sugar can be added, but milk is often not.
Each round of coffee has its own name: the abol, tona, and baraka. It’s important to praise the skills of the person brewing the coffee and express your enjoyment of the process. Keep that in mind next time your overworked barista produces a perfect coffee in under three minutes.
If you’d like to try a bean from the home of coffee itself, our most popular Ethiopian coffee is our Yirgacheffe Medium Roast.
Finnish people consume more coffee than any other country in the world when looking at individual coffee consumption: eight or nine cups a day. It’s a social ritual and often served with cake, however they do also have a unique way of drinking their daily brew.
In my opinion, this is the most unusual way of consuming coffee on this list. Apparently, in Finland, they pour a brewed cup of coffee over chunks of cheese curd, in a tradition called kaffeost. The cheese they use is leipajuusto, which is known as ‘bread cheese’ as it absorbs liquids like bread does.
Coffee culture is laid back and relaxed in Greece. It’s an opportunity for friends to meet and catch up, for families to linger around an afternoon drink, and communities to gather. Often the locales that are cafes during the day become bars in the evenings with an informal atmosphere and music playing throughout. They’re a perfect place to sit with a brew and soak up the sun.
There are several different ways the Greeks make their coffee, but the two notable styles are ellinikos kafes and frappes.
Ellinikos kafes is a strong black coffee prepared in a briki and served with a foam on the top. This is made in a similar style to Turkish Coffee (below). It’s possible to ask for varying levels of sweetness and the most common choices are sketos (without sugar), metrios (with a teaspoon of sugar), glykos (two teaspoons), and variglykos (very sweet). If not specified, coffee is usually served either metrios or glykos to balance the strong bittersweet flavour. Although this produces a small cup, this is meant to be lingered over, not to be finished in one-shot.
Frappes are a combination of spray-dried coffee, sugar, cold water, and milk. Mix together, shake thoroughly, and pour over a glass of ice. The perfect cold drink for a hot country!
The Irish are often stereotyped as partaking in a tipple or two and this is reflected in their taste in coffee. A good Irish Coffee consists of hot coffee, whiskey, sugar, and thick cream. This is enjoyed as a pick-me-up on a cold winter’s evening, or as a post-dinner treat after one too many sherries.
The first Irish coffee was invented by Joe Sheridan in 1943 to cheer up a group of travellers who had to turn their aeroplane back late one evening to Foynes Airbase. Since then it’s become a popular cocktail and everyone has their own recipe and preferences. We suggest combining our Colombian Huila Dark Roast with orange liqueur to bring out the citrus. How do you drink yours?
Italians love their coffee; one of the most famous Italian desserts is tiramisu: coffee soaked sponge cake. However, they also abide by strict unspoken rules when drinking their coffee.
In the mornings, cappuccinos and other milky coffees can be drunk, but don’t consume them after 11am. After that, or any time of the day, really, they drink ‘caffe’ or what we know as an espresso: a strong shot of black coffee. Sometimes they add frothy milk to make a macchiato, but that’s the extent of their addition.
Espresso should be strong and bittersweet, with a crema on top. Their coffee shop culture isn’t the same as in the UK: they don’t linger, catching up or reading a book. A coffee break is literally called una pausa ‘a pause’. Your typical Italian orders, drinks, and leaves. Try our Dark Italian Blend - but feel free to savour it!
Mexican coffee is a combination of sweet and spicy, much like a lot of Mexican cuisine.
Combine boiling water with piloncillo, a type of unrefined sugar cane. Once that’s dissolved add coffee, a stick of cinnamon, and an orange peel (for flavour). Take off the heat and steep. Once it’s cooled for ten minutes, filter with a mesh strainer or cheesecloth. A traditional earthen clay pot is used to give a special flavour to the coffee.
This is served and enjoyed with extra sticks of cinnamon or orange peels for decoration.
Turkish coffee is rich in both flavour and history. Turkey was one of the first countries to produce coffee when it was imported from Africa and they developed their own unique method of brewing it.
Turkish coffee is made by boiling powdered coffee with water and sugar in a special pot called a cezve, which looks like this:
As soon as the mixture begins to froth but before it boils over, it’s taken off the heat. This is repeated as necessary to increase the amount of froth to the desired level. The coffee is then served in small cups called kahve finjani. Turkish coffee produces a very strong, flavourful taste, with varying levels of sweetness depending on how much sugar is added at the brewing phase.
You’ll find that Vietnamese coffee is unique for its sweetness. It’s made from condensed milk with dark roasted coffee slowly dripped over the top through a special type of metal filter called a phin which is a process that takes several minutes. Once all the coffee has dripped through, the mixture of coffee and condensed milk is thoroughly stirred. It’s then poured into a glass full of ice and served. This practise originated in the 1800s when coffee was introduced to Vietnam as access to fresh milk was rare.
Does your culture have a unique way of drinking coffee? Feel free to let me know in the comments below!