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Coffee Culture Across the Globe

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All over the world, coffee brings people together every single day. Waking up with a great cup of brew every morning is a special routine in itself for most coffee lovers here in the U.S., but in several other countries around the world, coffee is often experienced alongside culturally significant rituals and gestures that are steeped in tradition.   Whether you’re interested in visiting one of these coffee destinations for the full experience, or just curious to know how coffee is enjoyed in other countries, this list of coffee traditions from all over the world will surely inspire you to think outside the box and try something new with your next cup of coffee.  

1. Ethiopia: Buna

Ethiopia is known as the birthplace of coffee, and traditional coffee ceremonies are still a significant part of Ethiopian culture today. The process, which takes anywhere from two to three hours, includes roasting the beans, brewing them in a special spouted pot called a jebena, and serving the finished product to friends and family on one large tray that holds all of the cups.   Fun fact: Ethiopian coffee lovers are known to add salt to their coffee in place of sugar. Are you brave enough to try it at home with your next brew made from Ethiopian beans?

2. Mexico: Cafe de Olla

  The traditional drink of choice in Mexico is Cafe de Olla, which is coffee brewed in clay pots along with cinnamon sticks and piloncillo (raw cane sugar). The combination of ingredients and clay pot brewing method brings out the coffee’s bold, earthy flavor. It is served with colorful sweet breads, and typically enjoyed in the afternoon.

3. Turkey: Turk Khavesi

There is a Turkish proverb that declares the following: “Coffee should be black as hell, strong as death, and sweet as love,” which is a good indication that the Turks take their coffee seriously. Turk Khavesi is made by boiling finely ground coffee beans along with sugar and water in a long-handled copper pot called a cezve. Coffee is so important in Turkish culture that it was inscribed by UNESCO on their Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in 2013.  

4. Saudi Arabia: Kahwa

  Coffee ceremonies in Saudi Arabia and other Arab cultures feature detailed rules of coffee etiquette, including that coffee must be served to elders first. Coffee in Saudi Arabia (Kahwa) is frequently brewed with cardamom, and traditionally served with sweet dates to compliment the beverage’s bitter flavor.

5. Ireland: Irish Coffee

  Irish coffee is now commonplace in North America, but the drink was originally invented in Ireland in the 1940s to warm up American tourists afflicted by the country’s chilly weather. Irish coffee is a combination of hot coffee, whiskey, sugar, with whipped cream on top, and is still a popular way to enjoy coffee in both Ireland and the U.S. today.

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