If you’re planning to travel abroad in the coming months, experiencing different cultural traditions can be one of the most enjoyable aspects. The cuisine of a country can often have a profound impact on a traveler, like digging into another culture’s beloved dish or discovering unique and local ingredients and coffee drinks. Since eating is something we all do multiple times per day, learning about a new dish or how to best order at a restaurant can help make your trip more fun—and of course this includes your morning coffee routine.
Many Americans may be surprised to learn that most other countries have very different coffee cultures and coffee drinks than we do. The habit is the same—wake up, grab a cup of coffee. But the way the coffees are brewed and served are quite different.
Deciphering the different drinks on the menu will help you get something you enjoy and potentially introduce you to something new—since finding a classic cup of drip coffee is not very common outside of the U.S.
European cafe culture centers around espresso and espresso-based milk drinks. The espresso is king in Italy and France. If you’re looking for something similar to the drip coffee you brew at home, an Americano is what you want to order. This is espresso with added hot water and is most similar to American drip coffee.
In Portugal, a popular drink is espresso and lemon juice served cold over ice.
Americans don’t often think of combining coffee and cheese, but in Finland this is common practice. The drink is Kaffeost, where hot coffee is poured over chunks of cheese curds.
If you prefer a sweeter morning cup, several country’s coffees will suit you. Vietnamese iced coffee is made with a darker roasted hot coffee brewed straight into a cup with condensed milk and ice. This is also similar to Spain’s Café Bombon, which contains equal amounts of condensed milk and black coffee. Brazil’s national drink is cafezinho. This is espresso with a sizable amount of unrefined sugar stirred in.
Several countries add spices to their favorite coffees to bring out the sweetness. In Arab countries, cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, saffron and ginger are mixed into the coffee. A similar mix is used in Morocco, and in Mexico the Café de Olla is coffee simmered with cinnamon sticks.
While every country and culture have its own signature drinks and ways of serving coffee, there is one common theme—we’re all looking for the best cup of coffee. We just get there in different ways.
Andrew Robertson, Director of Retail with Press Coffee, is a coffee expert and previously taught Press Coffee’s 101 coffee classes. Press has been Arizona’s own local coffee roaster since 2008. Quality driven and community focused, Press shares its passion for specialty coffee by providing the highest quality coffee products, service and knowledge with customers and community every day. Press Coffee has nine Valley locations in Scottsdale, Tempe, Phoenix, Chandler and Gilbert. Visit Press Coffee online at presscoffee.com to purchase beans, find locations and on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @presscoffee.