Coffee Culture Around the World

From Brazil to Vietnam, there’s never been a better time to experience this beloved beverage

As legend has it, we can thank a herd of lively goats for our love for a cup of joe. 

The story goes that centuries ago, a goat herder in Ethiopia noticed that his herd grew super energized and would not sleep at night whenever they ate berries from a certain tree. The goat herder later mentioned this to the local monastery abbot. The abbot—eager to find a way to stay alert during long prayer sessions—sought out the tree and gathered up some of its berries. He made himself a drink, and the rest is caffeine history.

Today, coffee is the second most traded commodity—second only to oil—with about half a trillion cups consumed per year.

In honor of National Coffee Day or International Coffee Day (celebrated respectively on September 29 and October 1), let’s take a look at some of the distinct ways coffee is served around the globe. 

Spain

The café bombón, one part espresso and one part sweetened condensed milk, craze grew out of Valencia, Spain, and is both a culinary and visual delight. Aficionados serve the drink in a glass to better show off its contrasting color bands that form as the milk is slowly added. Stir before enjoying.

Brazil

For Brazil, the biggest producer of coffee in the world, cafézinho is extremely popular among locals and visitors alike. The beverage is a strong, dark blend of coffee brewed with loads of sugar.

Vietnam

Called cà phê đá, this delicious Vietnamese iced coffee uses a drip filter method to marry coarsely ground dark roast coffee with sweetened condensed milk. The beverage is then poured over a glass of ice. 

Malaysia 

Wishing your coffee included a hint of tea? Kopi cham, also known as yuenyeung in Hong Kong, takes the best of both beverages by mixing espresso with milk tea. Try it hot or cold. 

Saudi Arabia 

Called qahwa, coffee in Saudi Arabia is made with a mix of spices including cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, saffron and ginger. Because of its strong flavor, the beverage is typically poured into small cups and served with dates.

Turkey

Known as Türk Kahvesi, Turkish coffee begins with finely ground coffee beans simmered in a pot called a cezve. And unlike other popular coffee preparation techniques, Turkish coffee isn’t filtered, meaning that it’s consumed with the grounds, which settle to the bottom. To avoid weak coffee at the start of your drink and strong sips at the end, keep stirring as you drink.