Coffee, café, caffè, kaffe, kahvi, ca phe. Coffee is something that many cultures share, yet the local traditions and flavour preferences can be very different. In many countries coffee is a self-evident part of the morning routine: black, with milk or very sweet — coffee is the chosen hot beverage around the world. Today we will explore different coffee cultures around the world, join us to the World of Coffee!
First stop: European coffee culture
Scandinavia’s Love for Coffee
The colder it gets, the more coffee seems to be consumed. Scandinavians are heavy coffee drinkers and Finland has the record high coffee consumption per person in the world. Filter coffee in a large mug, either black or with milk, is the most common coffee drink in the North. Nordic countries and Germany have an increasingly big specialty coffee industry.
A common way to spend time with friends is to invite them over to your house for a coffee, which can at first seem weird to foreigners. In Sweden “fika” is an important part of the culture. Fika is a short afternoon break from work or from whatever you are doing. At fika you drink coffee and have something sweet on the side, like a kanelbulle, a cinnamon bun.
Italian Coffee Culture
When in Italy, do remember that milk coffees, such as cappuccino or latte, are only drunk in the mornings. When ordering a coffee in the afternoon or in the evening, you will always get an espresso. How to get a coffee in Italy? Just go stand by the bar, order your coffee (espresso), and quickly drink it down while standing. For some locals the event might resemble drinking a shot, it’s that efficient and quick. If you do want to sit down to drink your coffee, remember that the price is a little bit higher. Nowadays more and more coffee roasters are interested in Third Wave Coffee and drinking sustainable coffee.
When going towards Southern Europe, coffee tends to get stronger and is often enjoyed black. You have probably heard of the famous Turkish coffee? A traditional Turkish proverb describes the national beverage as follows: “black as hell, strong as death, as sweet as love”.
Coffee culture is very strong in Turkey, and coffee is often seen as a dessert itself. When preparing Turkish coffee, the coffee grinds are often very fine and brewed in a pot, resulting in a rich and strong coffee drink. Turkish coffee is drunk black with sugar, and the coffee grinds usually sink to the bottom as the drink is not filtered.
Coffee Culture in the Asia-Pacific
Vietnam was introduced to coffee when it was a French colony. The French preferred to drink their coffee with milk but not enough of fresh milk was available, hence condensed milk was often used as a substitute. The end result is the famous Vietnamese coffee, a deliciously sweet drink! If travelling around Hanoi, you will also encounter Vietnamese egg coffee — be sure to try this. It’s prepared with robusta coffee, egg yolks, sugar and condensed milk — it’s almost like drinking a tiramisu.
Australian Coffee Culture
Coffee was first introduced to the Australians after the Second World War by the Italian immigrants, and slowly it became adopted by the whole country. Today one could say that Australians are spoiled with excellent coffee!
Australians love their flat white and long black. Flat white consists of an espresso shot with smooth milk — the coffee to milk ratio is higher than in a latte, and the milk is really smooooth. What about long black? Well, that’s a double espresso with added hot water — gives you some extra zazz.
Across the Pond to America
Coffee in the United States
The USA is the promised land of Instant coffee. One of the most common ways to prepare coffee is to use instant coffee and make a big, big mug of coffee, served either black or with milk. Flavoured sweeteners and creamers are also very popular, unlike in Europe. Takeaway coffee culture originated in the US, which is home to many world famous coffee chains, such as Starbucks.
The World of Coffee is so big, do you want to hear more about it? Which coffee culture surprised you, and what are your favourite coffee traditions? Comment and share your story with Slurp below!