Coffee Traditions Around the World

How do you like your coffee? Here in America, we drink it hot or iced, at cozy coffee shops, homey diners, in our own snug kitchens, and on-the-go (yay cupholders!). We are fairly new to the whole culture part of coffee, however. It wasn’t so long ago that a good old cup of joe was a dishwatery mug of instant grounds and boiling water, slugged down before a hard day’s work. The now-ubiquitous rush of the espresso machine and frother, fair-trade and locally roasted beans, and blends savored with a scone was unheard of just two decades ago.

Americans are nothing if not enthusiastic adopters. We dive right in and make traditions our own. But where do they come from? Why do we order an Americano or Macchiato from our neighborhood hangout where tattooed teenagers add creative flourishes to the foam in our lattes? How are people in other places drinking their daily dose of caffeine? Let’s take a quick trip around the world to see how our foreign counterparts measure out their lives with coffee spoons, to paraphrase the poet T.S. Eliot.

When in Rome (or, really, any part of Italy)

We are, perhaps, most familiar with Italian coffee traditions here in the States. Italian immigrants brought with them their dainty cups, stovetop percolators, and pastry pairings. Italians take their espresso very seriously, and ritualistically. In the morning, Italians drink their coffee with milk, whether as cappuccino, macchiato, or latte. But they never, ever order those after 11 a.m. And it would be incredibly tacky and in poor taste if you did (but, you do you). In the afternoons, Italians take their coffee quickly but socially, standing at the counter of their favorite cafe. An espresso shot is the typical choice, served with a twist of lemon peel, which brings out the vibrant taste of the strong roast.

Nobody’s Business but the Turks

Turkey is a country of two continents, at once very European and steeped in the mysterious wonders of the East. Traders and travelers have frequented this land for thousands of years, and many traditions have been invested at this cultural crossroads. Turkish coffee is quite strong, as it is unfiltered. To prepare it, the beans are simmered in a distinctive little pot called an ibrik. Sugar and exotic cardamom are added during the brewing process, but never milk or cream. It is served in a demitasse cup, as in Italy. When you have taken the last sip, the remaining grounds can be used to divine your future, if you wish to see a glimpse of your fate.

Your New Favorite Trend from Sweden

Fika encompasses so much more than coffee. It is both a noun and a verb, and it is baked into the everyday life in that country. In Sweden, community and friendships are very highly valued, and so is fika, a break from the busy day. It means taking a moment to slow down, have a good cup of coffee and a bite to eat. You can practice fika alone, at home, but it is imperative to savor the experience, to not scroll through social media, or take work emails. Fika is respite from the day’s obligations.

Whether you like your coffee milky or strong, sweet, savored with a donut or a dear friend, we have got your caffeine needs covered. Contact an associate at BostonBeaN today!

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