International Coffee Day, is celebrated across the globe, as this rich and bittersweet beverage has won over the hearts and minds of millions. It doesn’t matter if you drink it as a morning routine or if you are addicted to or if you are simply a coffee aficionado who knows their coffee beans, coffee is surely loved by many. It’s the second most exported commodity after crude oil, and the second most preferred beverage after water.
Travelling from its origins in Africa and making its mark all over the world, coffee has blended into social customs and created diverse coffee cultures everywhere. So, let’s embark on journey and experience the coffee cultures from our top 5 countries that have left a mark on this beverage.
We have to begin with the coffee capital of the world. The Italian coffee culture is strong, just like their espresso. The invention of the espresso machine in 1884 marked the beginning of the espresso trend in Italy. The Italians keep working to make the espresso stronger, quicker, and consistent.
Served in small, ceramic cups, an espresso is consumed quickly, at places the Italian’s refer to as bars. Most bars in Italy serve coffee along with alcohol, with a variety of snacks or pastries. Italian’s don’t waste time when drinking coffee, instead, they’ll visit these bars a couple of times a day for a quick cup, and finish it while standing at the counter. Bars tend to double the price if you drink your coffee seated at one of the tables. Italians also do not drink cappuccino after 11 in the morning.
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Brazil has been the world’s largest coffee producer in the world for over 150 years. It is home to 40% of the coffee consumed globally. Therefore, it’s easy to assume that people here love coffee as well. In Brazil, they have their own version of espresso which is a really sweet and hot drink called a Cafezinho. A lot of sugar is added to balance the natural bitter coffee that the locals grow for their consumption. Cafezinho also plays an important role in their hospitality, as it is offered at people’s homes, and also free of charge at many small roadside restaurants and gas stations to traveler’s.
Brazilians drink their ‘Cafezinhos’ throughout the day, but majorly in the morning. They normally drink from small thimble cups. Even though there has been a growing interest in new versions such as Ice coffees, and ‘Frapuccinos’, the ‘Cafezinho’ still has the upper hand in this country. When curating its blends, how could ‘Coffeeza’ miss the plantations of this land? The Classico blend has its origins in the Arabica coffee plantations of Brazil.
The birthplace of coffee, Ethiopia produces the largest amount of coffee around the world and yet exports the least. They consume so much coffee themselves that it is nearly impossible for them to export and meet local demand. The coffee ceremonies in Ethiopia are famous all around the world, as it is a means of welcoming guests and is usually performed young women.
Green coffee beans are cleaned and roasted over open fire, till they are a rich-brown color. Then, they are crushed with a mortar and pestle, followed by brewing in a traditional coffee pot called a Jebena, which is filled with water. The coffee is poured from a height of approximately 1 meter in all the cups in a single stream. The resulting coffee is a surprisingly smooth brew, and is usually sweetened with several teaspoons of sugar, depending upon individual preferences. In some rural areas, sugar is replaced with salt, butter or even honey. It is sometimes flavored with spices like cardamom or cinnamon.
There are three levels of coffee obtained from this brewing process. The first one is called ‘Abol’ and it is the strongest one and takes up most of the condensation. The same coffee grounds are brewed again to obtain ‘Tona’, the second round. For the last round, more water is added to the brew and is called the ‘Baraka’.
Vietnam is the second-largest coffee producer in the world, and this beverage is a huge part of the daily Vietnamese life. The French introduced coffee to Vietnam in the 19th century, and after the Vietnam War, the government instituted a massive coffee production program. Vietnam is famous for its Robusta coffee beans, which reflects in the unique, bitter taste of the coffees cultivated locally.
Fresh milk in Vietnam was not easily available, so the 'Cafe Au Lait' of France had to be improvised. The Vietnamese poured their coffee over sweetened condensed milk that came in cans and served the drink over ice.
Vietnamese coffee stands out because of its strong concentrated flavor, which has a tinge of alcohol in it. This is because the coffee beans are roasted on low heat for about 15 minutes before making the coffee. A trip to Vietnam would be incomplete without tasting the special varieties of coffee there such as the egg yolk coffee, yogurt coffee, and fruity coffees.
Sourced from the plantations in Vietnam, the Decaf blend is a perfect representation of the fragrant and full-bodied coffee with a mild acidic flavour.
The country makes the list, for a very special reason. Finns are the world's largest consumers of coffee, at 9 -12 kilograms of coffee a year per person, according to the International Coffee Organization. Finnish people consume more coffee per capita than any nation in the world. Eight or nine cups a day is an accepted social norm in the country. The working class are blessed with legal coffee breaks. It’s common to have two 10-minute coffee breaks in a day, in addition to a half-an-hour lunch break.
This trend likely originated due to the extreme cold, which makes a warm cup of coffee extremely essential. Coffee in Finland is almost always served with cake. There is even a word in Finnish, Kakkukahvi, which means “coffee and cake.” A type of sweet bun topped with vanilla icing known as pulla is a popular accompaniment with coffee
On a concluding note, there are hundreds of countries serving up coffee uniquely, other than these 5 for sure. Find out which coffee culture is best suited for you