Drinking and brewing coffee isn’t just a hobby anymore – it’s a way of life. That’s why many coffee traditions around the world have started to be practiced by people, even from other cultures. For many coffee lovers, experiencing coffee-related traditions and cultures in every country is a dream. So, to whet your appetite, we've curated them exclusively for you.
Take a journey with us as we introduce you to coffee from all over the world.
Coffee Traditions and Culture Around the World
From South America, Europe, Africa, and Asia, here are coffee rituals around the world you’ll want to try!
Ethiopia is known for its elaborate coffee ceremonies involving roasting, grinding, and brewing coffee beans in a traditional Ethiopian clay pot called a jebena.
Ethiopians do the process in front of guests. Women light incense and decorate the floor with flowers and grasses to kick off the ceremony. Afterward, they move on to the coffee beans. They roast the beans over an open charcoal flame in a large pan until the husks pop and the aromatic oils release. Some people like to add spices like cardamom, cinnamon, and cloves at this point to make the drink more comforting.
After that, the beans are ground with a zenezena, a heavy metal rod, and boiled in a jebena with hot water. Before it's ready to be served, coffee is typically strained several times through a fine-mesh sieve. Women pour coffee from a foot above the cups in a steady stream to avoid getting grounds in their drinks. To show respect and to symbolize the bond between generations, the oldest is served first, and everyone else follows.
Women accompany coffee with roasted barley, ambasha bread, peanuts, and popcorn. This coffee ritual from Ethiopia lasts for at least two hours, and it isn’t polite to drink less than three cups. According to Ethiopian tradition, a spiritual transformation occurs as one progresses from the first to the third cup, and a blessing is bestowed.
This next entry on the list of coffee traditions from around the world follows similar steps to those in Ethiopia. Each step, from roasting the beans to grinding the grains to brewing the liquid, is performed ceremonially and in full view of the audience. Cardamom, cloves, cinnamon, and saffron are commonly added to Arab coffee. The hosts also follow strict rules of manners, like serving the oldest guest first.
In contrast to Ethiopian ceremonies, where the cup is filled two-thirds of the way, Arab rituals fill it only one-third of the way, and it’s considered rude to drink more than three of them. Dates and other dried fruits are served alongside the coffee to complement its bitter flavor. This has been done since the 15th century when the first wild coffee plants were domesticated on the Arabian Peninsula.
Because Saudi Arabian coffee customs are regarded as an essential part of modern Arab culture, this has even been put on the UNESCO List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
How about a coffee tradition from around the world that’s often consumed in the morning and at night?
Mexico’s café de olla is perfect if you like cinnamon with your coffee. The beans and cinnamon sticks are brewed together in earthenware clay pots – with clay plots supposedly making coffee brewing much more flavorful. After brewing, the coffee is strained through cheesecloth or a fine mesh sieve and served with piloncillo, an unrefined brown sugar that has a similar flavor to smoked caramel.
Now, let’s go around the world and travel to Sweden, where the tradition is taking a coffee break.
Fika is the Swedish style of a coffee break. The Swedes use Fika at various times of the day to help them refocus and make the most of their time. During Fika, people gather to drink coffee, eat cakes or other light snacks, and relax while having small conversations.
Want to experience Fika at work? Grab a Hario pour-over starter set to make a brew, take a break, sit down, and savor the moment!
We’ve been telling you about different coffee cultures worldwide, but did you know where espresso originated? In the beautiful country of Italy, of course! Espresso was first brewed in Venice, Italy, in the early 20th century. A businessman named Luigi Bezzera came up with the drink while tinkering with coffee to speed up the brewing process. Now, espresso has become the most famous base for several popular coffee blends.
For Italians, coffee is an essential beverage next to water. Italian mornings often begin with a coffee brewed in a Moka pot, followed by one or more espressos at a local café. In fact, when Italians want to make connections or host a gathering with their friends, they’ll usually invite them for a cup of coffee.
France is the birthplace of the café au lait or hot milky coffee. It’s a beverage known around the world where coffee is mixed with hot milk. It's different from white coffee, which is brewed coffee diluted with cold milk. The French often start their day with this fancy drink, usually served in a large mug. It’s also more common to drink it first thing in the morning rather than after meals.
You can brew your café au lait using a French press coffee maker. Pair the brew with croissants to feel like you're experiencing your mornings in France!
Have you ever had a cup of Irish coffee? Most people won’t be too keen on mixing alcohol with coffee – but the Irish would be an exception to that! Irish coffee was invented in the 1940s as a way to warm up passengers. It’s a fusion of hot coffee, whiskey, sugar, and whipped cream. This is a coffee famous all over the globe that’s ideal for social gatherings!
If you're curious about the flavor of coffee with alcohol, give this drink a try.
Socializing over Turkish coffee has a long history in Turkey, which began with the establishment of the first coffee houses around the year 1500. Modern versions of the drink are consumed similarly, and they continue to stand as a symbol of camaraderie, fun, and hospitality.
Turkish coffee is famous in many places. The brewing process starts by roasting Arabica beans and grinding them finely. After the grounds have been finely ground, they are combined with cold water and sugar in a unique pot called a cezve and allowed to steep for several minutes. The resulting drink is highly concentrated, foamy, and dark. Some also believe that the grounds that settle at the bottom of the cup can be used to tell your fortune. Talk about a very cool coffee tradition around the world!
For Vietnamese people, consuming coffee is how they socialize and spend time together. Vietnamese coffee is traditionally brewed by placing a phin, or a metal filter, over a glass of brewed coffee. The brew has a strong, robust flavor with nutty chocolate undertones; it is thick and concentrated like espresso. This is because robusta beans are usually used to make it. Robusta beans are well known for their flavor and strength, thanks to their high level of bitterness. This makes them the ideal choice for instant coffee, espresso, and, of course, the strong brews of Vietnamese coffee.
Vietnamese coffee is served in three styles: black coffee (cà phê đen), coffee with condensed milk (cà phê sữa), and iced coffee combined with condensed milk (cà phê sữa dá). This classic coffee is a great way to start if you're up for the adventure of sampling coffees from all over the globe.
The Filipino coffee lifestyle is something we shouldn’t forget. The Philippines is known for many things, and drinking coffee is one of them! Most Filipinos start their day by drinking coffee for breakfast. Some can’t even function without caffeine touching their veins. And you'll never run out of coffee thanks to the abundance of coffee maker machines in the Philippines!
What’s more incredible is that the archipelago also produces coffee beans that are popular all over the world. Places like Benguet, Mt. Apo, Sagada, and Batangas are among the provinces where coffee production is rampant.
Kapeng Barako is a prime example of Philippine coffee. It was first planted two centuries ago in Lipa, Batangas. Most Filipinos believe drinking Kapeng Barako improves their health and reduces their risk of contracting type 2 diabetes.
Get Ready to Experience Various Coffee Cultures Around the World
The ten countries listed above are only the tip of the iceberg regarding the depth and breadth of their coffee cultures and traditions. All around the world, there are still many countries to explore. So, if you’re planning to take your love for coffee to the next level, visit these nations and experience their rich coffee cultures.