How the World Drinks a Cup of Joe

There are many different ways to order your morning coffee around the world

Photo Modified: Flickr / LWYangCC BY 4.0

Today, coffee is a multi-billion dollar industry that has set up shop in scores of countries across the globe and is drunk in hundreds of different ways.

Almost anywhere you might find yourself in the world, chances are you’ll start your day off with a cup of coffee. Everyone has a 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 drunk differently across the world, so it helps to know the lingo when you’re traveling before you try to order you morning cup of Joe.

How the World Drinks a Cup of Joe (Slideshow)

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, but most Italians drink a simple shot of espresso, with or without sugar — usually very short, or ristretto — or with steamed milk.

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 fifteenth century. It made its way to Europe, finally, in the seventeenth century, when the Dutch started growing the plants in greenhouses. Today it’s a multi-billion dollar industry that has set up shop in scores of countries across the globe and is drunk in hundreds of different ways

Read on to find out more about the ways people drink coffee around the world.


Flickr/Katherine Lim

What has long been the rage in Australia has now officially made its way to North America and is being introduced to Starbucks across America and Canada: The flat white. It is said to have originated in Australia in the 1980s, yet the true origin of it is heavily disputed, as New Zealand lays claim to its creation as well (recalling the two countries' ongoing dispute over the origin of the fruit-studded meringue called Pavlova). A flat white calls for either a single or double shot of espresso, milk that is steamed to a smooth texture, and is served in a cappucino cup.


Photo Modified: Flickr / BanalitesCC BY 4.0

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Wiener Melange is a specialty coffee whose name means "Viennese blend" in German, and it’s very similar to a cappuccino. It is customarily served as a double espresso shot, or sometimes a weaker brew, in a large coffee cup that is topped with steaming milk and milk foam. Other versions involved adding an egg yolk topped with two sugars to the double espresso before adding whipped cream.