During my recent trip to Finland, our guide proudly declared that the Finns drink the most amount of coffee in the world but preferred lightly roasted blends. This tidbit got me thinking about coffee cultures, both around the world and back home. From the well-known Italian espresso to our own Madras ‘filter kappi’, coffee is a part of social culture and traditions.
Glimpses of global coffee habitsOrder a latte in Italy and probably all you will get is milk. Italians like having a different type of coffee according to the time of day. Cappuccino is usually consumed in the morning or along with breakfast and not after meals. Espresso on the other hand can be enjoyed at any time of the day. An interesting point: Italians usually prefer drinking their coffee while standing! The coffee culture in America is extremely diverse. Most of the coffee is consumed in the morning. Many Americans prefer brews from single cup machines and add cream and sugar to their coffee. In Australia, people love having ‘flat white’, which is made using steamed milk and a concentrated shot of espresso. The French drink café au lait that is made with very hot and strong brewed coffee or a double espresso and half milk. The café au lait is served in a thick bol (bowl) and is often accompanied by a plain croissant. During the day, the French prefer petit noir (espresso) or café noir (black coffee), which is occasionally diluted with water. The Dutch also drink a lot of coffee. They start their day with freshly brewed coffee and sometimes enjoy a koffie verkeerd or “wrong coffee” which is made with lots of milk and served in a glass. Did you know that Colombia produces some of the best beans in the world? Colombians drink a black, inky coffee called tinto. Generally made with commodity quality beans, tinto is sold out of thermoses on the street. In Mexico, coffee is known as caffe de la olla. This is traditionally brewed with piloncillo (raw sugar shaped into cones) and cinnamon sticks.Ethiopia boasts of a traditional coffee ceremony known as Jebena Buna. Green coffee beans are washed and roasted over hot coal and ground to a coarse powder. The beverage is then prepared in a traditional clay pot, sweetened with sugar and served in tiny cups.