Many people can’t survive without a cup of coffee in the morning.
More than just a jolt of caffeine, it’s part of a ritual that sets us up for our day.
But did you know that how you serve that caffeine can be very different based on where you are in the world?
From the brewing process and the type of bean to the way it’s served, coffee culture and the ritual surrounding it can vary between countries.
But there is one thing that is similar throughout.
Coffee brings people together.
It’s a connector, a conversation starter, a culture builder and sometimes even a relationship mender. Coffee truly creates community.
Here’s a whistle-stop tour of how the ritual of coffee is enjoyed and brings people together around the world.
Coffee Rituals in Sweden
When was the last time you sat and truly enjoyed your coffee? Or made an occasion of it?
For the Swedish, this is part of their everyday life with a tradition called “Fika”.
“Fika” is the Swedish word for a coffee break.
The word derives from the 19th- century slang word for coffee “kaffi”. Inverted, you get “fika”.
Fika isn’t just a coffee break, it’s a ritual.
Typical enjoyed twice per day, it’s a moment to slow down and appreciate the good things in life. Served typically alongside a sweet treat, Coffee represents a true break, a moment to sit and contemplate on your own, or to gather with friends.
Coffee Rituals in Italy
Italy ranks 18th in the world with per-capita coffee consumption of 3.4 kg.
For one of the originators of the world’s Café culture, you would think Italy would consume more coffee! But in Italy, it’s about how you do it, not about how much.
In Italy, coffee is an excuse to talk, to have a connection with people.
Coffee “on-the-go” referred to as an American is typically only sold to tourists.
Instead, Espresso plays a central role in the Italian daily coffee ritual.
The word “Espresso” means ‘fast”.
And this is exactly how it is consumed. Served hot, and drank while standing at a the coffee bar, al-banco in Italian.
Coffee Rituals in Mexico
Mexico is one of the largest coffee-producing countries in the world, producing 60% of the world’s coffee!
Café de olla, a brewed coffee served in a clay pot, is the traditional caffeinated drink of choice in Mexico.
The coffee is prepared in a stainless steel saucepan and then filtered with a fine strainer or cheesecloth. It is typically served with piloncillo, an unrefined brown sugar, that has a smoky, caramel flavour. It is also common to enjoy your café de olla with a cinnamon stick or orange peel for added flavour.
This way of preparing coffee is said to have originated in revolution times when women gave this drink to soldiers to wake them up and provide them with energy.
Coffee Rituals in Ethiopia
Dating back to as much as 1200 years ago, Ethiopia has a rich coffee history and is famous for its elaborate coffee ceremonies where the beans are roasted, ground and brewed in front of guests using a clay pot called a jebena.
Women performing the ceremony often dress in traditional costume.
They wash the green coffee beans before roasting them over hot coals in a pan, until almost black in colour before being coarsely ground in a pestle and mortar.
During the ceremony, there are typically three levels of coffee.
The first cup is called abol– the most condensed and the strongest coffee.
The same grounds are then brewed again with fresh water to make the second round of coffee, tona, and again to make the final round, baraka.
Roasted barley and popcorn are often served alongside, and guests can flavour their coffee with sugar, salt or various spices such as cardamom or fenugreek.
Coffee Rituals in Japan
Most people would be surprised to find out that Japan is one of the largest consumers of coffee in the world.
In fact, it rates about 4th in the world and now outsells the traditional drink, tea!
Coffee in Japan has had its own unique evolution in both flavour and function.
It is typically found in traditional coffee houses, kissaten, modern gourmet coffee chains, or bottled/ canned, available in vending machines.
Visits to coffee shops tend to be brief which stems from the “grab and go” mentality – the all-business approach seeing coffee as the functional boost to the productive day.
Using drip coffee makers is popular in Japan. You can’t write about Japanese drip coffee without talking about the iconic Hario V60, a cone-shaped dripper which is highly regarded around the world.
Japanese coffee is also synonymous with creative 3D latte art where cutesy foam creations of cats and decorative fish are commonly found adorning the morning brew.
Coffee Rituals in Turkey
In Turkey, coffee is known traditionally as the “milk of chess players and thinkers” and dates back to the 16th century when coffee was first served at coffeehouses in Istanbul.
The traditional method involves bringing very finely ground beans with water and sugar to the boil in a “cezve” coffee pot.
Once the mixture comes to a boil, about one third is poured into small porcelain cups called “kahve finjan” while the rest is returned to the fire served as soon as it starts to boil again.
Turkish coffee is sweetened while it is brewing and is typically served with Turkish Delight or cardamom seeds on the side.
Coffee Rituals in France
Ah, Coffee & Crossaints.
Name a better breakfast duo. We’ll wait.
From people watching to revolutions, the French café is about far more than great pastries and coffee!
The oldest Café in Paris is Café Procope.
Le Procope opened in 1686 and is still in operation today. It was one of the first businesses to align with revolutionaries and was a regular hangout of folks like Voltaire, Ben Franklin, and John Paul Jones.
Today, Cafés continue to serve as meeting places and conversations centres for friends, families and lovers.
We’d love to know, have you experienced any of these beautiful coffee rituals from around the world? Let us know in the comments below!
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