11 Ways the World Drinks Coffee


For many people, a morning cup of coffee is a deeply-ingrained ritual that can’t be budged. This holds true for many cultures around the world, in which coffee plays a role not only in the day-to-day lifestyle but also in historic tradition.

Every country has some sort of coffee culture, but no two are the same. The following 11 ways the world drinks coffee show you different takes on the morning “cup of joe.”

1. Italy – Espresso

In 1884, Angelo Moriondo registered a patent in Turin for a precursor to the modern day espresso machine. Several improvements later, the espresso machine is now churning a regular morning pick-me-up for Italians and espresso lovers worldwide. Espresso is sipped in the morning, on-the-go and standing at cafés. Espresso is also the base for a latte, cappuccino, macchiato, mocha or americano, because it is a strong brew that many prefer to be spread thin. But for the Italians, espresso is best enjoyed as it is.

2. Turkey – Türk Kahvesi

According to an Ottoman chronicler, the world’s first coffeehouse was opened in Istanbul. While tea outshines coffee in social importance in Turkey, “Türk Kahvesi” is still a cultural fixture. Turkish coffee is truly one of a kind. Beans are roasted, finely ground and then boiled with water and sugar in a brass or copper pot called cezve, which is designed specifically to make Turkish coffee. It is served in a small china cup and paired with a shot glass filled with water to help neutralize the coffee’s intensity as you sip.

3. Denmark – Kaffee

In a 2008 study, Denmark ranked fourth among all countries for the highest annual per-capita consumption of coffee. With café corners consistently packed with patrons, especially in large cities like Copenhagen, it’s no wonder how each Dane manages to take in some 8.7 kilograms of coffee per year. A typical Danish breakfast consists of “Kaffee” aside rye bread.

4. France – Café au Lait

Unlike the American version of white coffee, which involves adding room temperature cream or milk to black coffee, Café au Lait is a combination of black coffee and hot milk. Café au Lait is served in a wide-rimmed mug and enjoyed aside a croissant or pastry.

5. Cuba – Café Cubano

The Italians aren’t the only ones with a distinct affinity to espresso. In Cuba, espresso is prepared with the addition of demerara sugar, which is a large grained, unrefined variety. The espresso drips into a container where the sugar has already been added, allowing the two to mix while the espresso is being brewed. The result is a smooth and sweet espresso with an extra kick.

6. Greece – Frappé

The world has come to know and love frappé, but it was actually invented by accident in Thessaloniki, Greece in 1957. The story goes that a Nestlé employee, Dimitris Vakondios, was unable to find hot water to prepare his usual instant coffee. Improvising, he mixed the instant coffee with ice cubes and cold water in a shaker, and then the frappé was born. The frappé has been called the national coffee of Greece and is especially popular among the youth. It’s made with Nescafé instant coffee, cold water, sugar and evaporated milk.

7. Saudi Arabia – Kahwa

Kahwa is prepared much like Turkish coffee only with the addition of cardamom and, less often, saffron, cloves or cinnamon. This coffee is served with dates and candied fruit.

8. Ireland – Irish Coffee

The Irish certainly know how to add a bit more buzz to regular coffee. The Irish coffee is actually a cocktail made of hot coffee, Irish whiskey, sugar, and thick cream. It was originally concocted by Joe Sheridan, the head chef at Foynes in the county of Limerick in the 1940s to warm American passengers on a Pan Am flying boat. It is best enjoyed after dinner.

9. Mexico – Café de Olla

Coffee arrived to Mexico from Africa in the late 18th century. By the 1790s, it was being cultivated in Vera Cruz. Café de Olla is a traditional Mexican coffee that is brewed with cinnamon sticks and brown sugar in earthenware pots.

10. Ethiopia – Buna

Coffee is such a crucial part of Ethiopian culture that its language’s expressions reflect just that. “Buna dabo naw” translates to “coffee is our bread,” demonstrating just how elemental of a role coffee plays in the Ethiopian lifestyle. Coffee is looked at as a symbol for socializing and is honored most festively with traditional coffee brewing and serving ceremonies that can last up to two hours.

11. Austria – Mélange

Mélange contains a mixture of espresso and steamed milk, which is topped with froth or whipped cream. The milder coffee and topping is what makes it different from a cappuccino. Mélange is popular in Viennese cafés.

Photo Credit: Aylin Erman