9 coffees you need to try from around the world
Upgrade your morning ritual with these fun coffee ideas.
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Let’s be honest—every day is a day to celebrate coffee. Whether you’re at work or at home, there’s a good chance you’re drinking the same latte, cappuccino, or a plain cup of joe on a regular basis.
While artisanal lattes are more widely available than ever, we seldom stop to think about how our beloved beans come from hard-working coffee farmers around the globe. To celebrate International Coffee Day on September 29, let’s take a moment to explore some of the most sought-after coffee drinks around the world—and learn how to make them right at home.
1. For people who prefer their coffee dark and intense
Turkish coffee is not only an afternoon afternoon staple in Turkey and Eastern Mediterranean countries, but it's also popular across Europe for its sweet, spicy aroma. Cooked in a small copper pot called a cezve, Turkish coffee uses very finely-ground Arabica coffee and a pinch of cardamom, which gives it a distinctively refreshing flavor.
Turkish coffee is strong, intense, and is served black with sugar or Turkish delights on the side. At cafés, it’s typical to have a fortune-reading session after first cup, because Turkish tradition says the unfiltered grounds left on the bottom can reveal your future. If you prefer not to have your fortune read, I would always suggest using an electric grinder to get the most even grounds possible.
2. For those who enjoy their coffee sweet and smooth
Vietnam is the world’s second-largest coffee exporter, and the vast majority of its population drinks coffee every day. However, the coffee beans they produce are predominantly robusta, a variety sometimes considered inferior to arabica, as it features higher acidic content and is less smooth on the palate.
To counter the sharp taste of robusta, people often drink Vietnamese coffee with sweetened condensed milk, which may seem strange in the rest of the world. The year-round hot and humid climate of Vietnam makes dairy prone to spoilage, so people opt for the canned condensed milk as it has a longer shelf life than fresh milk.
When I tried this insanely popular sugary coffee drink, I was blown away by how rich and creamy it is. To make your own cup of Vietnamese iced coffee, you’ll need this cute filtering device that’s inexpensive and portable. Many of my friends recommend this tool for camping because it allows them to brew coffee on-the-go—as long as there’s access to hot water.
But if you're hesitant to add one more coffee gadget to your cabinet space, give our favorite pour-over dripper a try to create the same creamy and delicious Vietnamese iced coffee.
3. For people who like their coffee foamy and strong
To compete for consumers’ short attention spans, artisanal coffee shops have been racing to include the newest, trendiest drinks on their menus. That’s exactly how I got to know the cortado. The word cortado means “cut” or “dilute” in Spanish, which explains how to make the beverage: Dilute a double shot of espresso with an equal amount of lightly frothed (or steamed) milk. It’s actually easy to make at home, as our favorite pod espresso maker does both jobs really well at the same time.
The petite coffee drink is incredibly strong, but the milk foam counterbalances the bitterness of the espresso shots to give it a smooth mouthfeel.
4. For the aficionados who like their coffee with creamy toppings
The Viennese are famous for their love of life and commitment to relaxation. For that reason, the city takes pride in its rich coffee house culture. One of their signature drinks, the einspänner, which means "single horse carriage," was initially a drink for the coachmen as they waited for ride hailers.
It typically consists of two steaming-hot shots of espresso on the bottom and dreamy whipped cream on top. The purpose of adding whipped cream was originally to retain the heat so that the drink wouldn’t get too cold as the coachmen waited for customers.
5. For those who have considered combining coffee and milk tea
You’re not alone. In the bustling international hub that is Hong Kong, work culture takes priority. As a result, local vendors came up with this ingenious idea that mixes tea and coffee together, as the combined benefits of both beverages can boost productivity for workaholics.
The new drink was dubbed “yuanyang,” after the Mandarin ducks who always swim together in pairs. To prepare a cup of yuanyang, you’ll just need seven parts Hong Kong-style milk tea and three parts brewed black coffee. For people who believe nothing can compete with homemade milk tea, this recipe provides a great guide for beginners. I personally prefer serving it with ice cubes, but some people might like it hot.
Intrigued? Get your hands on one of the best French presses and start brewing.
6. For the ones tired of pumpkin spice lattes
As we transition from hot to chilly weather, all the cinnamon-related products are making their way back into our local shops. The traditional Mexican beverage café de olla, which has been popular for generations, calls for two of the most essential fall ingredients—cinnamon sticks and cane brown sugar—to be boiled with hot coffee and water. Similar to the preparation of Turkish coffee, you can make café de olla in a saucepan or a small pot over the stove.
7. For the citrus-lovers who like their coffee refreshing
Mazagran, or iced coffee lemonade, might sound a little strange at first—but it’s actually delicious, especially on a hot summer's day. The addition of lemon juice doesn’t overpower the overall sweetened coffee taste, and it helps people stay awake. Having originated in Algeria, this coffee drink soon found its fanbase in Portugal and the innovative locals started experimenting with adding rum and mint to intensify the flavors.
8. For that friend who can’t decide what to get
As you’ll understand if you read our article championing this spiked affogato drink, there’s no better way to celebrate International Coffee Day than with a scoop of ice cream. Affogato, which means "drowned" in Italian, is a scoop of vanilla ice cream doused in hot espresso. A shot of rum is optional, but the main point is that you get to energize your day with both espresso and a scrumptious cold treat. Top it with shaved dark chocolate or decorate it with hazelnuts, and the result is sublime.
9. For the adventurous coffee and cheese enthusiasts
As someone who dares to put the pungent fruit durian in her coffee, I wasn’t really surprised when I found out about kaffeost, which translates as "coffee cheese" in Swedish. The cheese itself tastes like nothing out of the ordinary, but the magic happens when you drop a cube of kaffeost into your coffee. The curdled and dried cheese acts as a sponge, absorbing the bitterness and acidity of the coffee and soon turns it into a tiramisu-like creamy dessert.