Get your caffeine fix from France to Turkey
Coffee is one of the most beloved beverages globally, with countless cultures infusing it with their unique twist. From frothy delights to spicy brews, each country has its distinctive way of celebrating the bean. Here’s a journey around the world in 11 coffee cups.
Cafe au Lait – France
Like all things French, the cafe au lait is at once stylish and timeless. It’s made up of espresso (the Euro way) or drip coffee (the American way) combined with steamed milk. It differs from lattes and cappuccinos in that the milk isn’t layered on top; instead it’s just poured into the coffee casually. In France, the milk is usually served on the side of the coffee. The perfect accompaniment for a croissant or a pain au chocolat.
Café de Olla, Mexico
Nestled in the vibrant tapestry of Mexican culture, with its colorful traditions and rich history, is the warming embrace of Café de Olla. This traditional coffee drink, often brewed in earthen clay pots, evokes the rustic charm and warmth of Mexican households. Infused with aromatic cinnamon and sweetened with piloncillo (raw cane sugar), Café de Olla is more than just a beverage—it’s a nostalgic journey to the heart of Mexico, offering a taste of its heritage with every sip. Whether enjoyed in the cool dawn of the highlands or during a festive evening gathering, this coffee serves as a reminder of the country’s enduring spirit and flavorful legacy.
Maria Theresia, Austria
In the heart of Austria, amidst its rich history and baroque architecture, emerges a coffee blend symbolic of regal elegance: the Maria Theresia. Named after the iconic Austrian Empress, this orange-infused coffee concoction captures the essence of Vienna’s sophisticated café culture. It’s a drink that transports you to opulent Viennese coffeehouses, where the grandeur of the past converges with the flavors of the present.
Cà Phê Trúng (Egg Coffee), Vietnam
Venture into the bustling streets and winding lanes of Hanoi, and you’ll soon encounter the aromatic allure of a special brew: Cà Phê Trúng, or Vietnamese Egg Coffee. In the 1940s Vietnam milk was scarce commodity, so a bartender in Hanoi’s Sofitel hotel invented the coffee with egg yolk whisked in for creaminess. His son now runs Café Giang, a 74-year-old institution filled with little wooden stools, where patrons crouch over their tables, stirring cups of hot egg coffee placed in ramekins of hot water. The place also serves cold egg coffee.
In the realm of coffee-based beverages, Germany’s Eiskaffee holds a special, refreshing place. Translated simply as “ice coffee”, it isn’t just the typical coffee served over ice as the name might imply. Instead, it’s a delightful concoction that perfectly bridges the gap between a caffeinated drink and a dessert, making it a favorite during the warm summer months in Germany.
Es Alpukat (Avocado Coffee), Indonesia
In Indonesia, a country celebrated for its coffee culture and enriched by volcanic terrains that produce some of the globe’s most fragrant coffee beans, a distinctive concoction stands out: Es Alpukat, an enchanting marriage of coffee and avocado. To the uninitiated, this beverage presents a captivating dance of flavors and textures, shining a light on the depth and diversity of Indonesia’s culinary heritage.
Café Bombón – Spain
Originating from Valencia, this decadent drink with condensed milk mirrors certain beverages from Southeast Asia. The method of pouring crafts a visually striking triad: a tan crema on top, followed by a layer of deep coffee, and anchored by white milk at the base. Commonly presented in a transparent glass, it’s best enjoyed after a thorough stir.
Türk Kahvesi, Turkey
Turkish coffee is less a drink and more an experience. Intensity is the hallmark of its flavour, and the copper cezve (pot) and fincan (cup) it is served in shapes your memory of it. Little wonder an old Turkish proverb proclaims that a cup of Turkish coffee is remembered for 40 years. The beverage dates back to the Ottoman Empire in the 15th century, but its place remains bolstered in the region’s identity till date.
Believed to have been invented by the French soldiers in Algiers in the 1840s, Mazagran combines everything that has the power to kick-start the grouchiest of mornings—espresso, lemonade, and rum.
In the cold regions of Scandinavia, where the northern lights dance across the skies and the winters are long and harsh, a unique coffee tradition warms the heart and soul: Kaffeost, or Coffee Cheese. Kaffeost has its roots in the culture of the Sami people, the indigenous inhabitants of the Arctic regions spanning across Norway, Sweden, Finland, and Russia. For these communities, where resources were often scarce, making the most out of available ingredients was essential. Thus, combining cheese with coffee became a delightful culinary practice.
Filter Coffee, India
South Indian filter coffee is more than just a caffeinated drink. It’s a sensory experience, an age-old ritual, and an integral thread in the rich tapestry of South Indian culture. The process of making filter coffee includes boiling milk to which a thick decoction is added—but never boiled—followed by sugar. The liquid is then deftly and repeatedly juggled between saucepan and mug to give it extra foam.
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