Every day, most people wake up, hop out of bed, and head to the kitchen to start brewing their morning coffee. This ritual exists amongst cultures worldwide, but where it differs is in the specific preparation of the coffee.
In the US, there is a subset of the population whose go-to order is a Cortado, Latte, or Macchiato. However, I think most agree that the average American will opt for a good ole cup of black joe with the option for cream and/or sugar. Drip coffee defines the US, but how does this differ around the world? And, is there a best coffee style?
When I travel, I always attempt to keep to my routine, and being that part of that routine is a morning cup o’ Joe. I typically head out of my hotel on a mission to find a good cup of coffee. What I have found through my travels is that coffee changes drastically, in both taste and style, from place to place.
Below are the different ways that coffee is consumed around the world.
Colombia - Cafe
Not only are Colombians fans of coffee because of its delicious taste, but also because of the effect coffee production has on their economy. With over 560,000 coffee farms throughout the country, Colombia is South America’s biggest export of coffee, and they have what many consider to be the best coffee beans in the world. Many of the world’s best coffee brands source their popular roasts from Colombian farms, like Commonwealth Joe’s Guston Willows roast. This passion for coffee goes far deeper than just the brew. Colombian’s are able to pinpoint the regions that their coffee comes from based solely on the bean’s unique characteristics. The concept of a cafe is a new trend in Colombia, offering new ways to consume coffee, like through pour-overs. The norm however, is to sip coffee unfiltered and black. More important than how they drink their coffee is who they drink it with. Rather than for the caffeine boost, Colombian’s see coffee as a ritual to share within their community, where coffee is often consumed in intimate groups of family and friends.
Italy - Espresso Romano
No surprise here - Italians like their coffee strong and quick. Italy puts an importance on the quality of its coffee, using top-rated coffee beans that have been roasted and ground specifically for espresso machines. Once brewed, espresso is served with a lemon rind to help evoke the sweet flavors within the traditionally bitter taste of espresso.
Brazilians likes their coffee sweet! So much so that they even brew their coffee with sugar. Cafezinho is considered to be Brazil’s national drink, making it a favorite among the locals. Very similar to espresso, it is served in smaller quantities and provides a strong buzz (with a hint of sweetness).
Cubans prefer their coffee strong and often drink it consistently throughout the day in shot form with sugar. Similar to Colombians, Cuban’s see coffee as a way to socialize and make time to meet with friends and family when they enjoy their shots of Café Cubano.
An old Turkish proverb says coffee should be “as black as hell, as strong as death, and as sweet as love.” Keeping up with the proverb, turkish coffee is brewed thick and strong from finely ground coffee beans. Türk Kahvesi is traditionally served unfiltered from copper pots called cezve, along with with a chewy Turkish candy, after meals.
In many Arab cultures, coffee is a ceremonial activity that follows many set rules, such as serving elders first. In Saudi Arabia, it is custom to brew coffee with cardamom and dates to add spice and sweetness to counter the coffee’s bitterness.
In the birthplace of coffee, Ethiopia also follows ceremonial coffee practices, with brewing and serving lasting up to two hours. In most parts of Ethiopia, this ceremony takes place three times a day (morning, noon, and night), making it a main social event within the village. Historically, Buna was served with salt or butter, rather than sugar. However, today the coffee is taken with plenty of sugar, but no milk.
United States of America - Coffee
In America, it is no secret that we have taken coffee style above and beyond its traditional roots. With several popular cafe chains, hundreds of different roast options, and dozens of brewing machines, it is apparent that coffee plays a huge role in our day-to-day rituals. Like many other countries, Americans often see coffee as a means to socialize. This is often done at popular local cafes that offer a wide variety of drink options, including some of the worldly styles mentioned above. We are lucky in that we are able to source coffee beans from around the world and have the information at our fingertips to learn more about each bean type and common roasting and brewing techniques. This ability to explore has left us curious and eager to learn more about coffee and get creative with different flavors and style, hence, the specialty coffee movement. Heck, we are drinking our coffee cold with nitrogen, even blending our coffee with butter, and making fancy latte art now-a-days.
In all the coffee types I have tried, I haven't found a “best coffee”, but rather, an appreciation of each style for its own uniqueness. The more I learn about coffee, it’s benefits, and the various styles of consumption, the more connected I feel to my daily coffee ritual.
Visit our retail location to see how we prepare coffee influenced from traditions around the world!
We love to hear new ideas and coffee styles, so continue the convo with us and comment below to let us know your favorite way to drink your Joe!