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Coffee Cultures Around The World

Drinking coffee is already a tradition all over the world. In a global scale, it has been a lifestyle or a way of living. However, each country has its own, unique way of preparing coffee. It’s even amazing how coffee seems to connect all people around the world.

The warmth, the freshness, and the feeling of sipping a great-tasting cup of coffee is something that’s shared between cultures. If you’re a coffee drinker and have traveled to different countries, you probably know how coffee is prepared in each destination or country.

But if you are curious to know what’s coffee like in some parts of the globe, then read on.

1. Vietnam – Ca Phe

Vietnamese coffee has already developed its own style after French colonists introduced it to them. The preparation involves using coarsely ground beans which then go into a French drip filter called phin. The phin, which is like a steel mesh, is placed on top of the cup.

Hot water is poured into the phin with the ground beans then the water trickles into the cup for a dark and strong brew of coffee. One will notice that most Vietnamese have a practice of adding condensed milk to their coffee.

In North Vietnam, people call it ca phe nau or brown coffee while in South Vietnam, it’s called ca phe sua or milk coffee.

coffee cultures

2. Indonesia – Kopi

You will probably not believe that one of the most expensive coffees in the world is extracted from the digestive system of Asian Palm Civet (also called a toddy cat) – an animal closely related to weasels. Yes, people. It’s coffee from animal dung.

This form of processing is called Kopi Luwak, but it’s been the term used to refer to civet coffee. Some find it exotic, while others find it plain gross. So how is this process done?

Coffee beans first need to pass through the digestive tract of a civet. The beans are harvested from the droppings, then washed, and roasted. The farmers say that the fermentation happening in the digestive system makes the flavor stand out and different from the rest.

A pound of Kopi Luwak is usually selling for around $150 and in some shops, it’s $35-$60 per pour. You need to be mindful of where it came from though because there are several fake ones in the market.

3.  Italy – Caffe

Italy is definitely the home of coffee. If Americans fill and refill the largest cup of coffee possible, Italians usually get a shot of espresso to start the day. Espresso, which is served in small portions and in tiny cups, is a quick way to address the Italians’ busy lifestyle.

Espresso in Italy can be drunk (or gulped) at any time of the day, mostly just standing. In some cases, a rub of lemon over the rim is an option to add more flavor.


4.  United States – Coffee

The US is considered to be a country of coffee drinkers. In fact, one can’t start the day without having a cup of coffee first. Large coffee shops, like Starbucks, make it easy for Americans to grab coffee especially that more and more of the workforce are getting into “home-based” or freelance jobs.

On the average, Americans spend around $3 for a single coffee drink. This also shows how they love coffee and how it helps them start and complete their day to day tasks.

5. Turkey – Kahve

In most countries, coffee is a morning drink but in Turkey, it’s almost like a dessert as it’s served after meals from cezve – a copper pot with a long handle. Turkey’s cup of coffee also usually comes with a chewy candy.

When talking about coffee in Turkey, you probably won’t miss this old proverb reference as it is often mentioned — coffee should be “black as hell, strong as death, and as sweet as love.”


6. France – Café

France has a passion for coffee and this plays a significant part of their national culture. Who can ever forget the French press? This coffee machine, which was invented some time in the 20th century, is often used to brew coffee at home.

However, the proliferation of coffee shops in France made it easier for the French people to go get the coffee drink of their choice. Un cafe or a small cup of espresso is considered the standard coffee in France. The larger cafe americaine is diluted with hot water.

To start the day, the French usually have cafe au lait or coffee with hot milk and it’s served in a wide-mouthed mug that’s perfect for dunking baguettes and croissants.


7. Ireland – Caife

Irish coffee is a famous after-dinner drink in Ireland that includes hot coffee and Irish whiskey mixed with sugar, and topped with thick cream. It’s been said that the original recipe uses cream that is not whipped, although there are already several stores today that use whipped cream and still call it Irish Coffee.

There may be variations in preparing this drink but the basic ingredients should always be present. Some of the variations are the choice of coffee and the type of brewing method. There are also some differences in how the cream is prepared.


8. England – Coffee (Specialty)

England might have been stereotyped as a nation of tea drinkers only. As early as 1650, coffee houses that served coffee have already opened in this country.

Looking at the rate of about 70 million cups of coffee consumed daily in the UK alone, it seems like England and the rest of the UK have already caught up with coffee culture.

From a nation of tea drinkers, England has already become a nation of coffee drinkers too. However since England didn’t exactly start as a coffee drinking country, it’s understandable that there’s really no traditional coffee culture. In this case, it’s easier for them to venture into specialty coffees with different flavors and styles.

The Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCAA) stated that, “coffee which scores 80 points or above on a 100-point scale is graded specialty.”

“Farmers and producers grow specialty coffees in special and ideal climates, and are different from the rest because of their full cup taste and little to no defects. Also, the flavors are a result of the special characteristics and composition of the soils in which they are produced.”

Source: Wikipedia Org

9. Ethiopia – Buna

From the land where coffee beans were discovered (as legend has it), Ethiopia has a very traditional way of brewing coffee. They even have traditional coffee ceremonies that signify a large part of their culture. They brew their strong coffee (buna) for several hours, pour it in several quantities, then flavor it with salt and butter, instead of sugar and cream.


10. Saudi Arabia – Qahua or qahwah

Coffee is the primary stimulant for most of Saudi Arabia. Their coffee is black and flavored with cardamom. Since it tastes really bitter, it’s often served with dates, nuts, dried fruits, or candied fruits.

Usually, coffee is served from a special coffee pot called dallah in small cups with no handle called fenjan.

11. The Netherlands – Kaffe

Coffee shops are a big part of Dutch culture. In fact, it ranks high up on the list of countries with the highest consumption. The Dutch kaffe is usually black (with milk and/or sugar), and served with a piece of cookie.


12. Greece – Kafés

Greece might be an Old World country but its coffee tradition isn’t so old. The traditional Greek coffee is similar in consistency to American instant coffee. It’s also known as the Turkish version of coffee.

Greek coffee is thick, strong, and black which is prepared in a small pot called briki. It is then served with foam on top and with the coffee grounds at the bottom of a small cup (the grounds are not meant to be consumed).

Also, just because their coffee is served in a small cup doesn’t mean it should be sipped quickly like an espresso. In Greece, coffee breaks are taken seriously and so they usually enjoy their coffee in long conversations.


Modern Greek frappe, on the other hand, includes freeze-dried instant coffee, sugar, and evaporated milk that’s served cold in coffee houses in the country.

Twelve countries, different ways and culture. It’s amazing how coffee brings happiness to people around the world.

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