The Ultimate Guide to Coffee Culture Around the World • The Blonde Abroad
Happy International Coffee Day, fellow caffeine junkies! In celebration of the big day, I’ve decided to round up a collection of the best coffee destinations around the world.
There are so many different ways to prepare coffee and I love ‘em all. My heart skips a beat for a mild Australian flat white, a powerful Turkish brew, and super sweet Vietnamese coffee alike.
Whether you want to plan your next trip around a cup of joe or you are simply interested in learning more about how coffee differs around the globe, let’s get things brewing!
Curious about what coffee culture is like around the world? These are the ultimate destinations for any coffee lover!
Welcome to epicurean heaven! Italians have mastered the art of combining premium ingredients with simple preparation techniques to create something magical.
I’ve talked to you a bit about coffee in my guide to eating like a local in Italy, but now it’s time to dig a little deeper. Coffee in Italy, after all, is serious business. If you’re used to getting your morning brew from Starbucks, ordering coffee in Italy is a whole other ballgame.
The Italians invented espresso and this is their version of a to-go coffee. It’s what they’d consider a standard coffee. If you just go in and ask for un caffè, you are going to get this strong, shot-sized cup of coffee.
One of the most interesting things about Italian coffee culture is that they don’t take milk in their coffee in the afternoon. They actually believe that late-day leche is bad for your digestion. That’s why nothing screams tourist like a cappuccino at 4 pm!
Ready for a caffeine fix Italian style? Here’s a full guide to what you’ll see on the menu at a cafe in Italy:
Caffè: Strong, small glass of espresso
Cappuccino: Shot of espresso with steamed milk and milk foam at the top
Caffè Corretto: Add a shot of grappa in your espresso for a morning kick
Caffè Freddo/Cappuccino Freddo: Sugary iced espresso/cappuccino drink
Caffè Shakerato: Espresso and ice shaken cocktail shaker
Love it or hate it, Starbucks put Seattle coffee on the map. This ubiquitous coffee shop has transformed American coffee culture forever. I recently watched a fascinating documentary about the startup of the coffee scene in Seattle that I’d highly recommended (check it out here).
These days, specialty is the name of the game and Seattle is packed with boutique options for every tastebud under the sun.
Whenever I travel, I live for insider tips from locals. They help get you off the beaten path to see the real gems of the city. Now that I’ve pounded the pavement in Cape Town for a healthy amount of time, I am officially ready to start calling myself a local.
And, with that, it’s only right that I should share with you my insider’s guide to the best cafés around town. Whether you are looking for an espresso at a high-energy trendy spot or just a quiet place to sip a latte, there are primo options all over the city.
My passion to find the best brew has brought me all over the city and I’ve collected all the best spots in my guide to Cape Town for coffee lovers!
While I was traveling around Sweden, I was introduced to the concept of fika.
This unique Swedish concept describes the act of sipping a cup of coffee and enjoying the moment. Not pounding a drink while staring at a screen, but simply sitting with a drink and something sweet while chatting.
Fika is when Swedes catch up with their family, talk with colleagues, connect with friends, and sometimes even fall in love. A bit like British high tea but less about formality and more about unwinding. Want to take a moment to slow down and count your blessings? It’s fika time.
Melbourne is famous down under for its coffee culture and café scene. Nowadays their famous flat whites are taking over the world. With a strong coffee kick, a flat white is made with steamed milk and a thin layer of milk foam. It’s the quintessential Melbourne drink.
And come hungry! Melbourne is one of my favorite foodie spots!
Another culinary powerhouse, Vietnam is the kind of place that you can just eat and drink all day every day. I’m obsessed with Vietnamese food as you might have already seen.
Vietnamese iced coffee, also known as cà phê đá or cafe da, has become famous all over the world and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Yogurt coffee, egg coffee, and coffee smoothies will blow your mind on arrival.
Of course, you can’t talk about international coffee without taking Turkish coffee! Not only is Istanbul one of the most beautiful cities in the world (take a peek at these 20 photos and see for yourself), it is home to the world-famous Turk Kahvesi AKA Turkish coffee.
If you have never had Turkish coffee, come prepared.
There is a famous saying in Turkey that coffee should be “as black as hell, as strong as death, and as sweet as love.” We aren’t talking about your grandma’s watered-down brew here!
Famous for its spicy and rich flavor, Ethiopia produces some of the world’s greatest beans. On top of incredible java, Ethiopia has a fascinating coffee culture.
Coffee is actually such a big deal that there’s a local saying: buna dabo naw (coffee is our bread) and there’s even a local legend about how the coffee bean was sent from heaven to the goat herder, Kaldi.
The world has been so enthralled with the Viennese coffee culture that they actually declared the city a UNESCO World Heritage Site, partly due to its renowned coffeehouses.
Traditional coffee spots like Café Schwarzenberg have been Austrian icons since back to the nineteenth century. Meanwhile, Fürth Kaffee is creating a modern-day hotspot alongside longtime faves like Café Central and Café Prückel.
When you are there, check out Austrian’s amazing answer to cappuccino: mélange!
Wherever you go in the world, there’s a good chance that you’ll be sipping on Brazillian beans. One of the largest producers of coffee, Brazil is a true mecca for coffee lovers. The major spot to
When I was exploring Brazil, my top priority was to grab a bag of fresh beans. You really don’t have to travel to some far-flung coffee plantation. Any local market will have Cafe Brasileiro—a bag of some of the world’s best beans.
Tel Aviv, Israel
Coffee culture is constantly buzzing in Tel Aviv! You’ll find a diverse range of cafes for business people, hipsters, tourists, and everyone in between. These popular hangouts serve up a distinctly Israeli coffee.
There are two common Israeli coffee options: Kafe Shachor and Kafe Botz.
Kafe Shachor (black coffee) is also known as Kafe Turki (Turkish coffee) and it’s a thick, slightly bitter brew, similar to like Turkish coffee. Israelis call this type of coffee “cooked”, which means that coffee was brewed with the extra water already in it.
There is another option that is “uncooked” called Kafe Botz (mud coffee). This is sort of Americano style, where there’s a shot of strong coffee with boiling water is added just before serving.
It’s common to find coffee served with cardamom in it, which I’d highly recommend checking out!
Colombia is known for its “Coffee Triangle” which consists of Caldas, Risaralda, and Quindio. The little town of Salento is a major stop in Quindio for coffee tours and delving into the culture of Colombian coffee.
When I circled Iceland in a camper van, steaming cups of coffee kept me fueled. While the Icelandic aren’t exactly famous for their caffeine consumption, there are actually amongst the top five biggest coffee drinkers on the planet!
And Starbucks isn’t their cup of tea! Iceland has banished international chains in favor of local options. There are two main roasteries: Te & Kaffi and Kaffitár (plus the up-and-coming Kaffismiðja Íslands). You will find an endless line of cafes serving up their beans in uniquely Icelandic ways.
Bonus: Irish Coffee
I recently had an epic journey through Ireland and fell in love with Irish coffee. Creamy and sweet, this stuff will warm you to your core. Made with whiskey, cream, and sugar, this is one powerful drink.
Fun Fact: Irish coffee was actually invented in Ireland back in the 40s for when a clever Irish entrepreneur wanted to mix up a drink to warm up shivering American tourists.
Where else do you think should be on a list of places with serious coffee? What are the best drinks you’ve discovered abroad?