Last Updated on June 22, 2020 by Laura Cooper
With more than 50 countries around the world producing coffee, and coffee being the second highest traded commodity after oil, we’re celebrating the drink with six countries that have perfected their coffee game into a delicious drink.
1. Italian coffee
Almost as popular as pasta, coffee in Italy is an art and a treat. Here, find coffee culture as rich as the drink itself, and coffee shops on every corner. In Italy, the “default setting” for a coffee is an espresso which is normally downed quickly at the counter: you’ll be able to do this easily with the smaller sizes served. A regular coffee is served in a 3oz cup, and it’s rare for Italians to sit down to drink their coffee unless being enjoyed after dinner: tables at coffee shops are commonly occupied by tourists. For proper Italian coffee etiquette, only opt for a cappuccino or latte in the mornings, rather than after a meal. For something not as strong as Italian coffee or “caffe”, order an “American” for a cup with more hot water for something not as strong. Italian coffee is part of everyday life here, and a normal part of breakfast and meals rather than consumed as a social beverage like North Americans are accustomed to. With many options for types of coffee drinks, and a long list of coffee etiquette to follow, Italy is a mecca for caffeinated tourists – or those looking to indulge.
2. Turkish coffee
Coffee aficionados should plan a trip to Turkey for some of the best coffee around the world: served thick and strong, coffee is truly part of Turkish culture. In 2013, coffee was added to the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO. Known for its special preparation and brewing techniques which include a long, slow brew, coffee is mainly enjoyed in coffee houses as a communal social meeting place. Turkish coffee represents hospitality and entertainment, once known for its inclusion in elaborate ceremonies throughout the Ottoman Empire. While visiting Turkey, you’ll be served a glass of water to clear your palate before enjoying your cup of joe. Here, you’ll enjoy a thick cup of coffee with froth at the top: grains will settle in the bottom of the cup and fortune-telling with Turkish coffee is a tradition in many circles.
3. Coffee in Vietnam
Last year, Vietnam produced 1,650,000kgs of coffee: this country knows how to do coffee right. Famous for its sweetened condensed milk added to make this thick drink, Vietnamese coffee is both strong with sweet undertones. Vietnam is one of the top coffee producing countries in the world, of which there are over 50, and the brew here is strong: ordering it without milk might leave a bitter taste in your mouth – literally. Coffee culture here means coffee is brewed individually in filters and small cups in front of you: waiting for your slow drip coffee means you’ll enjoy time to sit back and relax, or catch up with friends. Looking for something totally different? Try an egg coffee in Hanoi: egg yolks, condensed milk, sugar, and butter are whisked until fluffy and thick and served on top of hot coffee. A perfect cup for dessert.
4. Coffee in Thailand
Though Thailand may not commonly be known for its coffee, but rather its elephants, a new brew has people turning their heads and dishing out extra coin for the world’s most unique cup. Black Ivory coffee, made from beans eaten by Thai elephants and later collected from their dung, is taking the world by storm for its unique taste, and steep price tag. The enzymes in the elephants’ stomach break down the coffee’s protein, which is what makes some coffee bitter. With fewer proteins, coffee lovers will enjoy a smoother cup of coffee. Though this coffee has limited availability, some luxury hotels sell it at steep prices: expect to pay approximately $13 for an espresso-sized up (not to mention your plane ticket to Asia to try it). Now that puts a whole new meaning to coffee giving someone the runs!
5. Ethiopian coffee
Coffee was first discovered here in the 11th century, and the drink is no stranger to Ethiopian culture today. Like many North Americans meet friends over coffee, the drink plays an important rule in social gatherings in this eastern African country. Coffee drinking isn’t a quick activity here: coffee is roasted in a flat iron pan before being ground and stirred in a clay pot: incense burns and every step is savoured in this hospitable and ceremonial event. Coffee shops and cafes continue to pop up throughout the country, making coffee a quicker, on-the-go ritual for many, while others hold the special process close. Some of the best coffee in the world comes from Ethiopia, and there’s no shortage of cups for your next visit.
6. Coffee in Singapore
Order coffee in Singapore and you’ll be given a cup of instant coffee. Order “kopi” and you’ll enjoy traditional Singapore coffee with its dark and rich flavours. Coffee here is traditionally made with robusta beans which are normally hardier and cheaper than Arabica beans known for their flavour. Traditional coffee is roasted with butter or lard, a touch of sugar, and brewed in long-spouted pots held inside a cloth or sock to infuse the flavours further. Resulting in a richer, darker flavour, kopi is normally taken with sweetened condensed milk. For something a little less sweet, order “kopi c” for a drink made with unsweetened evaporated milk and sugar: the resulting flavour will be a little closer to what you’re used to at home.
Leave us a comment below and tell us how you take your coffee.