It’s UK Coffee Week, which will see coffee sellers and drinkers of the nation unite to raise money and awareness for some local charities. It isn’t just a favourite brew of the Brits, though, and to get into the spirit of things, we thought we’d take a look at how some coffee-loving countries around the world prefer their morning cup of joe.
Coffee is something of a national treasure in Turkey – quite literally, in fact, as it’s been recognized by UNESCO as an ‘intangible cultural heritage’ of the country. The Turkish love affair with coffee began way back in the 16th century, when two men opened the first coffee shop in the ancient region of Tahtakale. The rest, as they say, is history. Traditionally, the method of making Turkish coffee involves pouring a small amount of water into a copper cezve, adding finely ground coffee beans followed by sugar, before heating up the pot, and stirring. Expect a strong taste, small cups, and a glass of water on the side, to cleanse the palate pre-coffee.
As the world’s eighth largest producer of the beloved arabica bean, Mexico is a country that’s synonymous with coffee. Mostly, it’s grown on small farms in the southern state of Chiapas, before the Fair Trade coffee beans start their long journey into coffee shops and supermarkets around the world. When it comes to a typical Mexican brew, it’s all about the café de olla. This local hot drink has a very distinct taste, flavoured with piloncillo sugar and cinnamon spice. It’s traditionally served in clay pots to add extra flavour – ‘café de olla’ literally means ‘coffee from the pot’ – and some modern variations even like to add orange peels to the mix for an extra kick. Either way, the café de olla is loved in Latin America, and has been at the heart of Mexico’s growing coffee culture.
Forget cigars and classic cars – you only have to order a coffee to get a taste of Cuban culture. It’s still a major provider of arabica and robusta coffee beans, all grown in the Sierra Maestra mountains, and dispatched to coffee-loving countries all over the world. Unsurprisingly, it’s a popular drink on this Caribbean island, and there are plenty of ways to enjoy a Cuban cup of joe. Cafecito, or café Cubano, is the local favourite – it’s essentially an espresso with demerara sugar. Cortadito is much the same, just topped with steamed milk. If there’s a group of you that all happen to be coffee-lovers, you’re in for a treat – order a Cuban colado, a 5-shot espresso made for sharing.
As the birthplace of the espresso, it would be unthinkable to miss Italy out of anything coffee-related. The coffee plant may have originated in Africa, but it was in Italy that the brew was brought to life, and coffee connoisseurs the world over have a lot to thank Italy for – even the names you say in the coffee shop every morning are Italian. As such, forget about fancy syrups and special flavours – while ‘pumpkin-spiced’ might be an acceptable order at your local coffee shop, Italians like to keep things simple, and traditional. Espresso is the staple – though locally it’s just ‘un caffe’ – as well as the faithful latte and classic cappuccino. Should you ever visit Italy, it’s worth bearing in mind that the locals only ever drink milky coffees in the morning, so try to avoid ordering a macchiato after a meal.
If anyone knows their coffee, it’s the Dutch. Regularly ranked as some of the world’s biggest coffee drinkers, a morning brew is sacred in the Netherlands. Historically, strong filter coffee has always been the drink of choice, and a staple of the Dutch diet, but the recent advent of the Senseo coffee pod machine was a game-changer. Dutch coffee culture has gone through another reinvention, too, thanks to the recent boom of local coffee shops. The most popular brew in the Netherlands is known as ‘koffie verkeerd’ – the name literally means ‘wrong coffee’, but taste-wise, it’s actually a lot like a latte.
Whether you like your coffee black, milky, or double-tall with pumpkin-spice, it’s the perfect week to show your love for your favourite cup of joe. If you fancy shaking things up a little, these coffees from around the world can easily be made in your own kitchen, so why not grab a few ingredients and get creative with your coffee beans?