11 weird and wonderful ways to consume your caffeine around the world
There are two kinds of people in the world; those who love coffee, and those who are just wrong.
Fortunately, caffeine addiction is a global phenomenon and as rising consumption levels continue to break records, there are few places on earth that you can’t get your fix. Having picked the brains of coffee packaging specialists over at The Bag Broker EU, here’s a rundown of eleven unusual ways to enjoy your java like a global citizen.
The custom in France is to drink coffee with scalded milk, known simply as café au lait. If you ask for one in an authentic French café, don’t be surprised if it’s served in a vessel that’s a cross between a mug and a bowl – the idea is that the drinker can easily dunk their croissant into the top.
In the birthplace of coffee, Ethiopian buna is a central part of the culture. In fact, there is an extensive ceremony to brewing and serving traditional coffee, which is said to transform the spirit (and can take up to two hours). Unusual variations of Ethiopian coffee include roasting it with cinnamon and cloves, or serving it with salt or butter instead of sugar.
If you’re after a coffee (or Kaffe) in Amsterdam, you’ll probably find it comes strong and black, with a complementary biscuit, stroopwafel or small piece of cake on the side. In most areas this is referred to as bakje troost, which loosely translates to “tray of comfort”. You’re not kidding.
Not known to muck around, most Italians enjoy their coffee Espresso. That means that it’s served quickly (supposedly taking no more than 25 seconds to make), and needs to be consumed with equal promptness. If you’re faffing around trying to find a table then the crema on the top will dissipate, meaning you’ve left it too long and the cool Italian kids are going to know you’re not one of them.
The “Tim Tam Slam” is an Australian coffee ritual revolving around a hot cup of Joe and a chocolate-covered biscuit with a cream-filled centre (we’d call it a Penguin in the UK). The method is simple; you bite off the very ends of the biscuit, and use it as a straw to suck your coffee up through the middle. In the process you draw up a combination of chocolate cream and coffee, while the biscuit eventually disintegrates. Messy, but delicious.
If you head to a café in Hanoi, you’re likely to get the opportunity to try cà phê trúng, or “egg coffee”. This sweet drink is made by pouring black Vietnamese coffee over a combination of condensed milk and egg yolk whipped together. Often enjoyed over ice, the mixture of flavours is said to be dessert-like; similar to a coffee custard or ice-cream.
Turkish coffee goes through a very specific process, where the ground beans (and sugar, if you want any) are slowly – really slowly – boiled in a copper pot called a cezve, until they begin to froth. At this point, the top third of the liquid is divided between the cups and the rest is returned to the heat. Once it starts frothing again the remaining coffee is shared and it’s ready to drink. Apparently, there’s a Turkish proverb stating that coffee should be “as black as hell, as strong as death and as sweet as love”. Hmm.
The Irish recipe for coffee was devised in the 1940s to keep American tourists from feeling the winter chill. Swerving stereotypes with the grace of a giraffe on ice, a true Irish coffee is served hot, sugary and topped with a dollop of whipped cream. Oh right, and a shot of whiskey.
Often known for their unconventional choices, it shouldn’t really be a surprise that the Finnish enjoy a coffee like no other. What makes it so unique? Well, in the eastern region of Kainnu, they prefer to line their cups with chunks of juustoleipä (that’s cheese curds to you and me), before the hot coffee is poured on top. After the drink is finished, you’re supposed to spoon out the cheese and eat it.
If these strange combinations have got you craving your regular cappuccino, then this might be right up your street. A wiener mélange, or Vienna Blend, is simply a shot of espresso mixed with steamed milk, milk foam, and almost always a generous squirt of whipped cream and cocoa powder. Is this a coffee or a dessert?
Finally, for the discerning few, Kopi Luwak, or civet coffee, is a caffeinated delicacy for which they are willing to pay $50 a cup. Why is it so expensive? Well, because it’s rare.
Why is it so rare? Oh, because the beans have been eaten by a cat-like mammal called a civet, before being dug out of its droppings and roasted at 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
On that note… do you fancy a cuppa?