Coffee Culture Around the World
From the simple Italian espresso shot to traditional Turkish coffee ceremonies, see how people around the world take their cup of coffee.
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You’ll surely get an eye roll or two if you order a to-go cup at an Italian cafe, for espresso is the Italians’ version of to-go coffee. This strong brew served in tiny cups is commonly sipped while standing at cafes. And don’t order a cappuccino late in the day in Italy, either — the only appropriate time to enjoy that particular drink is in the morning.
Turkey: Türk Kahvesi
A famous Turkish proverb says that coffee should be "as black as hell, as strong as death and as sweet as love." This thick brew is usually served after meals from a long-handled copper pot called a cezve, accompanied by chewy Turkish candy.
Perhaps because of the cold, dark Scandinavian winters, coffee consumption in Denmark has always been some of the highest in the world. Coffee is such a vital part of the Danish culture that packed cafes can be found on nearly every corner, especially in cities such as Copenhagen.
France: Café au Lait
The French begin the day with their café au lait –coffee with hot milk, served in a mug wide enough to allow the dunking of baguettes or croissants.
Cuba: Café Cubano
Cubans like their coffee strong, whether it's first thing in the morning, after meals or at any chance they get throughout the day. An important part of the social fabric, the Cuban’s strong brew is served in shots and best enjoyed while socializing.
Saudi Arabia: Kahwa
In Saudi Arabia and other Arab cultures, coffee ceremonies follow many rules of etiquette, including always serving the elders first. It is also a common custom to serve this cardamom-spiced drink with dried dates to counter the coffee’s bitterness.
Not to be confused with Amsterdam’s infamous coffee shops, coffee-serving cafes are a celebrated part of the Netherlands' culture. Also known as bakkie troost, the Dutch kaffe is enjoyed any time of day, usually comes black, and is served alongside a cookie.
Ireland: Irish Coffee
Coffee meets cocktail with this after-dinner drink. Irish coffee includes hot coffee, Irish whiskey, sugar and the crowd-pleasing whipped-cream topper. Irish coffee was actually created in Ireland in the 1940s to warm up American tourists on a cold winter’s night, and it remains as popular as ever today.
Mexico: Café de Olla
If you like cinnamon in your coffee, this is your drink. Spiced café de olla is brewed with cinnamon sticks in earthenware pots, which Mexicans swear brings out the coffee taste.
In Ethiopia, the birthplace of coffee, traditional coffee ceremonies are a distinguished part of the culture, with the brewing and serving process lasting up to two hours. Historically, buna, as coffee is called here, was served with salt or butter instead of sugar.
Served in Viennese cafes, Austria’s traditional drink, mélange, is very similar to a cappuccino. It contains espresso and steamed milk and is topped with froth or, sometimes, whipped cream (which is what makes it different from a traditional cappuccino).
The Greek frappé is a frothy iced drink made with Nescafé instant coffee, cold water, sugar and evaporated milk. It's best enjoyed in an outdoor cafe.