Coffee is a drink that is ubiquitous around the world. Most of us can’t start our days without it – and when traveling, a good cup can jumpstart your adventures and help mitigate lingering jet lag. Coffee culture, however, varies from country to country. Some nations even have it embedded in the popular consciousness – cafés are places where artists flock, business entrepreneurs hammer out deals, and regular people sit to relax with their friends. As you continue to check off locales in your personal travel bucket list, don’t forget to take a moment to relax with a nice cup of the local coffee specialty! Here are some of our favorite coffee destinations from around the world.
Café culture is perhaps most synonymous with France and many tourists come with dreams of sitting in a Parisian café sipping on a café au lait and munching on a croissant. While that certainly may be a wonderful time, it also screams “tourist” to the locals! Want to blend in more with the Parisian crowd? Order a café crème like a local would – it is an espresso drink with a lot of steamed milk. Definitely worth it if you’re a fan of cappuccino!
Ireland’s contribution to coffee culture is the Irish coffee, supposedly created at Shannon Airport in the late 1940s to appease a group of stranded passengers. Made with coffee, brown sugar, whipped heavy cream, and Irish whiskey, it’s the perfect drink for a relaxing nightcap after a nice meal at the pub.
Coffee culture is strong in Italy, although there are a few things you should know before ordering. First, while you can get yourself a cappuccino or latte in the afternoon, most Italians will look at you funny as it is generally believed that coffee mixed with milk isn’t good for your digestive system after 11AM. Second, ordering a café will get you a straight espresso drink, which may make your hair stand on end if you’re expecting a drip coffee! Pair with sweets to lessen the bitterness.
It might surprise you to learn that Japan drinks the 4th most coffee of all countries in the world and has a very robust coffee culture to go along with it! While chains such as “Sutaaba” (Starbucks) and Tim Horton’s are everywhere in cities like Tokyo and Osaka, for an authentically Japanese take on coffee you should seek out a kissaten. These small coffee shops are often built on a theme, the most common and famed of which are jazz-themed. Take a break from the hectic pace of Tokyo at a jazz kissa, sipping on a coffee and listening to classic jazz music from a vintage turntable system.
A thick blend of coffee, water, and sugar, Turkish coffee is an experience in and of itself. There is an almost ceremonial aspect to its preparation, and it is usually served with Turkish Delight, a confectionary treat that comes in several flavors, to complement the bitter coffee.
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