Coffee Culture: How We Talk About, Order, and Drink Coffee All Around the Globe

You might like a plain black, with milk, or frothed up in a blender, but regardless of how you drink it, there’s no denying the power of coffee! Coffee plays a big role in many cultures around the world and has a long, and rich, history few people know about. Coffee culture can be found almost anywhere, whether you’re passing through Turkey, on stopover in France, or vacationing in Cuba. So read on to discover a few favourites from around the globe and how you can order, and drink them like a local!


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1. Italy

Coffee choice: Espresso

How to order: Un caffè

Italy is often considered the epitome of coffee culture and it’s not unusual for locals to pop into a bar (coffee shops aren’t called cafes in Italy) for a quick shot of espresso several times throughout the day. Although the word caffè actually means coffee, when you order un caffè it’s a given that you’re asking for an espresso. Remember, don’t loiter when you visit the bar in Italy. Drink your espresso quickly and hit the road!

2. Turkey

Coffee choice: Thick & dark

How to order: Khavesi

According to an old Turkish proverb, coffee should be “black as hell, strong as death, and as sweet as love.” Turkish coffee certainly lives up to these expectations, although sugar is often foregone when drinking khavesi. In Turkey, coffee is not usually drunk in the morning but rather as an after dinner dessert accompanied with Turkish sweets.

3. France

Coffee choice: White coffee

How to order: Un café au lait

France is yet another European nation with a strong coffee culture and even stronger café culture. It is said that one of the highlights of life in Paris in the spring is being able to sit at the outdoor tables of a café and slowly enjoy a café au lait (very Hemingway-esque, isn’t it?). Don’t be mistaken into thinking that a café au lait is the same thing as the American latte. A café au lait is made in a French press with steamed milk added, as opposed to the espresso-based latte.


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4. Ireland

Coffee choice: Irish coffee

How to order: Irish coffee with (specify the whiskey you like)

Irish coffee was invented in Ireland in the 1940s, so its history is perhaps a lot more recent than the coffee choices of the other nations mentioned above. However, this doesn’t take away from how amazing this beverage is. An Irish coffee is made up of coffee, whiskey, and topped with whipped cream. No need to feel bashful about ordering this when you’re in Ireland, the Irish love their Irish coffee. Just make sure you specify which whiskey you want in your beverage so that you get the taste you like.

5. Cuba

Coffee choice: Strong & black

How to order: Un café

Cubans love their coffee and it’s boasted to be so strong that it outdoes even Turkish khavesi! Your typical local will probably brew their morning roast in a stove-top espresso maker then drink a shot of it from a small glass. Due to its high caffeine content, trust me when I say that one shot is more than enough to get you through the day.

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6. India

Coffee choice: Coffee & boiled milk

How to order: Filter kapi

Watching kapi be brewed in India is a sight to behold. There’s a reason why people say it’s sold ‘by the yard’! Coffee, milk, and sugar are brewed ridiculously hot, then tossed back and forth between two metal containers at a distance of about three feet so that the coffee develops a good head of foam. The finishing flavour is strong but sweet and very, very addictive.

7. Vietnam

Coffee choice: Condensed milk with coarse ground coffee

How to order: Ca phe sua da

Vietnamese coffee is so famous that in almost any nation in Asia (even those without a strong coffee culture) it is considered a must-try. When you order your ca phe sua da in Vietnam, you’ll get a glass with condensed milk pooled at the bottom and a filter contraption to rest over it. Inside the filter is coarse ground coffee over which hot water is poured and it is allowed to slowly filter and mix with the milk. It’s sweet and delicious!


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8. United States

Coffee choice: Brewed coffee

How to order: Americano

Americans consume around 150 billion cups of coffee every year, making it a veritable nation of coffee drinkers. And while American coffee is sometimes slotted as ‘bad’ in comparison to the Italian or French versions of the brew, it’s undoubtedly a booming business and huge part of the culture. Remember, this is the nation that gave us Starbucks – a coffee chain that can now be found in almost every corner of the world!

What are your coffee favourites where you live? How do you order them? Drink them? Share with us a little bit of your coffee culture!