No matter where you find yourself in the world, chances are you’ll start your day off with a cup of coffee. Everyone has their preference: cappuccino, latte, black with a little sugar (or not), but your choices will be slightly different depending on what country you’re in. Coffee is prepared and drank differently across the world so if you’re traveling, it helps to know the lingo before you try to order you morning cup of Joe.
You want an espresso in Madrid? Well the Spanish have many different types of traditional espresso drinks including cortado, which is cut with a little steamed milk, or a café bombón, which is made with one part espresso and one part condensed milk. If you’re in Australia, you may want your espresso as a “flat white” which is a shot with a splash of steamed milk and milk foam (sounds a lot like the U.S. latte, doesn’t it?).
In Italy, meanwhile, coffee is serious business. There are many different coffee creations and specialties, each with its own name. A city favorite is the café Romano, which is an espresso shot served with a slice of lemon that offsets the bitterness of the strong coffee and makes it taste a little sweeter without you needing to add sugar. And if you want an espresso but not an entire shot, then try a ristretto, which is a very short shot of espresso.
And if you can’t decide whether you want a cup of tea or a cup of coffee in the morning, well then China has an answer for you — coffee is combined with tea here in a drink called yuanyang (named for the Mandarin duck whose males and females look so different from each other it’s like they’re two different species of duck). It’s so popular that Starbucks has a limited edition Frappuccino based on it and it’s now drank across the world.
Coffee may be fairly ubiquitous these days, but many don’t know it originally came from the Horn of Africa and, according to legend, the Ethiopian province of Kaffa. Slaves would chew the coffee cherries for energy and took them to Yemen where it was cultivated in the early 15th century. It made its way to Europe, finally, in the 17th century where the Dutch cultivated the plants in greenhouses. Today it’s a multi-billion dollar industry that’s set up shop in scores of countries across the globe and is drank in hundreds of different ways.
Read on to find out more about the ways people are drinking coffee around the world.
Yuanyang — China
This beverage is popular in many parts of China, especially Hong Kong, and is a mixture of three parts of coffee and seven parts of Hong Kong-style milk tea. While initially only served by vendors and in street cafés, it’s now also served in many restaurants.
Café Touba — Senegal
This ground coffee is flavored with grains of selim (Guinea pepper) and cloves. The pepper is specially imported to Senegal from Côte d’Ivoire and Gabon, mixed in with other spices, and roasted with the coffee beans and ground intro powder to give it a distinctive flavor. The drink used to only be consumed during ceremonies and commemorations but is now widely enjoyed by many.
Originally published on May 5, 2014.