Coffee Culture From Around the World

Global Coffee Trends

Coffee arrived in our country when pilgrims made their way to the “New World.” Along with them came a lot of their cultural traditions that included the brewing and drinking of coffee. As time elapsed and the economy changed, so did the way Americans drank it. What may seem traditional for us, might not be customary for others. Because this rich drink is transcendent, we wanted to take a look at how other cultures indulge in a delicious brew.


There isn’t a country more synonymous with coffee than Italy. While it’s not known for growing and roasting, every other aspect is contributed to the Italians. Coffee drinkers can walk into any establishment and know they will get nothing but the best. It was here that the espresso machine was invented and where their talents truly shine. However, you ask for anything with a bit of milk and you will understand their true creativity. The traditional drink is Espresso. Served in tiny cups and sipped slowly. Culturally, Italians only drink it in the mornings.


The birthplace of coffee. Ethiopians have been drinking it for over 1,000 years and take this bean seriously. Called buna, it is still served in the traditional method. There are table-side ceremonies where the host will toast, grind, and boil the drink before serving it to the guests. The entire process can take a couple of hours. Initially, the coffee was served with salt or butter rather than ladened with sugar like many countries do today.


The culture in Spain is a unique one. Large cities will be crawling with cafes. But, if you are fortunate enough to travel to more rural destinations a church might be the best indicator of the nearest brew. Most churches will have a plaza where a cafe is located. Just look for the steeple, and you’re well on your way. Many countries have established a culture around coffee shops. It’s where people come to relax or engage with friends. In some parts of Spain, this isn’t accurate. They drink resting against the counter and leave once they’ve finished.


We’ve talked about the history of coffee and Turkey appears many times. It was instrumental in the global spread. Once England had resumed trade posts, it wasn’t long before merchants brought it back with them. Today, the Turkish drink a lot of tea they call “chai.” But, coffee is still a custom. There is a proverb that says coffee should be, “black as hell, as strong as death and as sweet as love.” Much like the Italians, they serve it in tiny espresso cups. Brews are thick and served after a meal and with Turkish candies.


Quite possibly the inspiration for an American drink, the Greeks love to have their coffee in the style of a frappe. A frappe is made with Nescafe, and frothed milk poured over ice. If you prefer to have a sweeter drink, you can have sugar added. What makes this Greecian is having it poured over ice. On long, hot summer days having it cold is very refreshing. You can find many locals sitting outside while sipping their frappe.


A gorgeous emerald island, the Irish were responsible for turning this drink on its head. They dared to combine a mixture of beverages to create the ultimate cocktail. Irish coffee was invented in the 1940s and is a blend of whiskey, sugar, cream, and coffee. They say it was created to warm American tourists who weren’t quite used to their chilly weather. Regardless of why it’s still popular today and is often served after dinner. Although, some might decide that it’s an excellent way to get the morning started.


As a whole, the Vietnamese don’t like to drink it sweet, but they love to have it poured over ice. Coffee made its way to the country via the French somewhere in the 1800s. There isn’t much in the Vietnamese culture, so they put their own spin on the cafe au lait. Instead of cow’s milk, they decided to use sweetened condensed milk from a can which is then served over ice.  


Ecuador throws out all the rules when it comes to ordering. When planning a visit, you’ll need to pay close attention to what you are choose. There is a lot of instant being served, and if that’s not your drink of choice, you’ll need to ask for cafe filtrado. Almost all coffee is served with some form of sweetener unless you specify otherwise. Cappuccinos might come with mocha, so be on the lookout. There’s an opportunity to discover something new when you order and let come what may. But, if you have something specific in mind, you will need to articulate that to the barista.

Global Coffee Beans Roasted in Nashville

Traveling the world will open you up to new and exciting experiences. Coffee is one avenue in which you can dig deeper into other cultures. Stop by one of our Tin Cup locations to broaden your coffee experience!

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