When it comes to coffee around the world, every country claims that they have the best. From the Italians to the Irish (who spike their cups with whiskey!), coffee is a source of pride, and often a very passionate subject.
Coffee culture around the world varies greatly, from the specific qualities of taste, smell, and even presentation; so much so that many people have a coffee specific travel bucket-list!
So, if you’re a die hard coffee lover, the following are some of the different and most unique cups around the world you should aim to sip!
Unique Coffee Around the World: Every Coffee Lover Must Try These!
Indonesian Specialty – Kopyok
Every coffee lover is familiar with that slightly harsh, crusty film of loose grounds at the bottom of your cup. Most people wish there were a way to get rid of it.
In Gresik (Indonesia), however, it is actually encouraged!
This specialty drink is served with all of the coarse grounds still in the cup, floating at the very top of the glass. To drink it, you put your lips to the glass and sip the coffee through the freely floating grounds.
This gives a really unique sensation; the grounds tickle your upper lip and imbue the coffee with an intense, slightly bitter flavor.
It requires patience, but it is definitely worth trying at least once! Click here for more unique Indonesian coffees you can try.
Greek Coffee (Ellinikos)
Read Your Fortunes
Greece has an incredible coffee culture, though this isn’t like coffee you’ve tasted in your home country. Greek coffee, or Ellinikos, is served in the traditional long handled coffee copper pot known as briki.
Greek coffee is traditionally brewed to be sweet and strong, and comes with foam on the top, and grounds in the bottom of the cup. You’re not supposed to drink the grounds, though you may find locals using them to read their fortunes.
If you can’t handle your coffee strong, you can go for a cold version like the frappe, or try a freddo cappuccino, which is a cold expresso served over ice.
People in Greece sit for hours over coffee, so don’t think you’re going to jet into a cafe and order one to takeaway. To truly immerse yourself in the coffee culture, give yourself enough time to sit down and watch the world pass by.
Image credit: Joe Szilagyi (CC BY-SA 2.0) via Flickr
London Specialty Designs
Coffee With Your Face on It!
Coffee has typically been seen as a very self-important drink in London, something for only busy people who need both energy and intense flavor to get them through the day (tea is a more cultural leisure drink in the UK).
However, it isn’t just for those on the move, and a very hipster coffee scene has emerged in London recently, with Instagrammers scrambling to snap the perfect shot of those stylish swirls on the top of the foam from talented baristas.
If you go to the right coffee shop or hotel in London, you might get even more than that. Using the Ripples beer & coffee printer, some baristas in the city make a coffee with personalized designs, messages and images.
You can choose beautiful designs and illustrations, fun trending themes, or even have your selfie printed by sending your photo through the Ripples mobile app and the Ripple Maker will imprint it onto your foam.
After all, who doesn’t want to drink something with their face on it?!
Image courtesy of Ripples
Café San Alberto, Colombia
The World’s Largest Exporter of Coffee
Colombia is one of the most beautiful countries in the world, but it is also one of the largest exporters of coffee. Of all Colombian coffee, Café San Alberto is probably the very best.
With innumerable awards for taste and purity, it is grown on the slopes of the Quindio department of Colombia.
All of their coffee is grown on plantations springing up around their signature café, allowing you to attend tours and tastings experiences.
You just need to get to Colombia first!
Italian Specialty: Espresso
Gulp It, And Don’t Sit!
Italy doesn’t exactly lie within the necessary region of the Earth to allow for coffee plantations to thrive, however, that doesn’t mean the Italians can’t create incredible coffee!
Italian baristas are constantly brewing up new and exciting drinks and allowing for its unique, bold flavors to shine. Italian espresso dominates much of the country’s coffee-drinking habits, with a very strong taste about it.
There is no better place to enjoy an Italian coffee than in a quintessential Italian café. A friendly barista, older Italian men reading newspapers and the ring of church bells are the perfect accompaniment to Italian coffees.
That said, the Italian way of drinking coffee is very quick – they drink it standing at the bar counter, and have paid and left within 2 minutes. And there’s no sipping allowed – the local way is to gulp it!
Espresso can also be used to make unique concoctions like macchiatos and mochas. The coffee shop culture / atmosphere is well worth taking in, so feel free to sit at a table and enjoy the experience. However do keep in mind that the minute you sit, your bill is likely to double, which is why locals tend to drink standing.
Would You Like Whiskey With That?
Coffee is amazing first thing in the morning, but the Irish drink it as part of a night out.
The world famous Irish Coffee is a simple cocktail of freshly brewed coffee, whisky (which MUST be from Ireland) and sugar; this little slice of Ireland can be found all over the world, but is best enjoyed in Dublin.
If you are in Ireland for any reason, for any length of time, go to any pub in Dublin that isn’t completely empty and make sure you try Irish Coffee at least once in your life.
Black Ivory, Thailand
Elephants Get to Taste it First!
This Thai drink comes from high-quality Arabica beans, though it has a unique twist; elephants get to taste it first!
Coffee beans get fed to special elephants, which allows the beans to be broken down and develop a more complex flavor. After they have been refined through the digestive process, and have come out the other end, they’re then made into coffee!
Though this might sound insane, it actually has an incredibly robust and complex flavor. With notes of chocolate, malt, spice, a hint of grass and without the burnt or bitter taste of regular coffee, Black Ivory Coffee will be the most distinctive cup you will ever have tried, even if you are not a coffee expert!
This is the world’s rarest coffee, so unfortunately it comes with a price tag to match! It will set you back about $50 per cup, and is typically only sold to five star hotels for guest consumption.
That said, your purchase of Black Ivory Coffee will support The Golden Triangle Asian Elephant Foundation as well as the families who care for the elephants. So it’s for a good cause!
The Truest Way to Enjoy Coffee
Turkish coffee has a special place in the world, not for any specific type of bean, but for the style of drinking. To make Turkish coffee, you leave the incredibly finely ground beans in the brew, drinking it completely.
It is intensely bitter, yet also incredibly fragrant and intense, offering up what some people consider to be the truest way to enjoy coffee.
If you find yourself in Turkey, it is absolutely imperative you give this a try – while it is still just coffee, it is an experience like no other.
Image credit: LWYang (CC BY 2.0) via Flickr
Vietnamese ‘Milk’ Coffee
Vietnam has more to offer than cheap meals. It also has delicious coffee. The French introduced coffee to Vietnam, but since then it has taken on a life of its own.
Vietnamese coffee beans are coarsely ground and placed in a press. Hot water is poured over the top and it trickles slowly through the beans, producing a very strong, flavorful brew.
Typically, sweetened condensed milk is added to the mixture to make a drink commonly referred to “brown coffee” or “milk coffee”.
Other coffee concoctions involve the addition of fruit, yogurt, egg yolks, or cashews. Each one is unique, so don’t be afraid to try a little bit of everything!