Culture in a Cup
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Coffee! is one of the world's most socialbeverages and also one of the most diverse. Your simple morning pourover can literally be sipped in dozens of different ways, accompaniedby an assortment of delicacies (popcorn anyone?) and in both sweet andsavory varieties. So what does a cup of coffee look like around theworld? Mind a quick tour? We promise you'll love the buzz!
1. Ethiopian Buna
Ethiopia is the birthplace of coffee and while Italianoccupation has influenced the flavor profile, coffee here is garnishedwith salt and butter and accompanied by freshly popped sorghum kernels(which resemble tiny, cute popped corn).
Ethiopia is also home to one of the most beautiful andintricate coffee rituals in the world and their elaborate coffeebrewing ceremony can take many hours to conclude. During an Ethiopiancoffee brewing ceremony, it is considered a blessing to hit the magicalnumber three in helpings of coffee.
2. Italian Espresso
Italy is the birthplace alter of the espresso and everyone knowsthat a perfect cup is the epitome of simplicity and craft. A realItalian espresso should be topped with a firm layer of dense, yet lightmilk foam tested by the weight of a single teaspoon of sugar. The sugarshould sit on top of the foam for a good three seconds before filteringthrough table
In Italy, it is considered extremely rude to take your coffeeto go; an espresso should be ordered, shot back in a single gulp, andpaid for in one quick go at the counter. You'll also notice that anespresso is always served with a glass of water- this is to cleanseyour palate before and after the shot.
3. Saudi Arabian Kahwa
Before we knew it as "coffee", it was called kahwa, meaning"that which prevents sleep". In Saudi Arabia, kahwa is still known byits original name and it is spiced with cardamom and served besidedried dates.
The simple flavor combinations of Saudi Arabian coffee culturerely on contrast. Coffee is always made strong, bitter, and savory andserved beside subtly sweet deserts like dried fruit, rosewater custard,and almond pastries.
4. Mexican Cafe de Olla
Real Mexican coffee is boiled in a traditional clay pot andinfused with spicy cinnamon sticks. The coffee has been pre-sweetenedwith a chunk of piloncillo, a Mexican sweetener made from raw, reducedsugar cane.
While some enjoy their coffee with a 1:1 ratio of coffee andwarm milk, tradition calls for a simple jarro of black, sweetenedcoffee accompanied by pan dulce (sweet artisan bread).
5. Chinese Yuanyang
Perhaps one of the most interesting combinations so far is theChinese Yuanyang, a milk tea and coffee combination that makes fordouble the caffeine and twice the flavor of your regular cup of Joe.
Made in the traditional method, yuanyang coffee should beprepared with proper Hong-Kong style milk tea, a combination of strongblack tea mixed with warm milk, and then topped with a strong brew ofblack drip coffee (not espresso).
6. Turkish Kahvesi
The Turks like to make their coffee thick, sweet, and gritty.Turkish coffee is made by grinding coffee beans into a very fine powdermixed with sugar. The coffee is then placed in a traditional cezve (oribrik) coffee pot along with a small amount of water and brought to aboil. The whole concoction is then poured into a cup, grit and all andallowed to sit for just enough time to clear some sipping space.
It is ancient tradition to leave the coffee grounds at thebottom of the cup for fortune-reading after you've sipped the last bit.
7. Greek Frappe
The great thing about a Greek frappe is that it is a no-fuss,cold, caffeinated drink that is enjoyably simple to prepare. Made witha simple combination of instant coffee (even coffee snobs agree to thisone exception), cold water, milk, and sugar- shaken, not stirred. Also-you get to drink it through a straw- bam! Modern as Starbucks!
8. Vietnamese Ca Phe Sua Da
Ca Phe Sua Da is very fun to order because you can watch themagical coffee metamorphosis right in front of your eyes. Traditionallyprepared tableside, you can watch as hot water is poured over a filtercontaining finely ground coffee drips slowly into a creamy pool ofsweetened condensed milk to form a rich, caramel-colored coffeebeverage that can be enjoyed hot or cold.
9. Indian Kaapi
Indian "meter coffee" or kaapi is a simple drip coffee/chicory combination made frothy by the cooling technique of passing thecoffee from one tumbler to the next. The chicory makes the coffeeslightly darker in taste with a bitter aftertaste and cooling thecoffee is a technique that encourages the drinker to enjoy the coffeeimmediately.
1 0. Cuban CafeCubano
Cuban coffee is a sweet take on the traditional Italianespresso. Instead of acquiring the foam from steamed milk, Cubans liketo mix about a tablespoon of hot water with demerara sugar and thenproceed to shoot in the espresso. This technique makes for a sweet shotof very strong espresso topped with a delicate layer of brown foam.
11. Moroccan Cafe des Epices
Cafe des Epices can be translated to "spicy coffee", as in,"coffee with a whole bunch of spices". Born of the aromatic andflavorful Moroccan spice markets, each brew is improvised on theindividual merchant's whim.
Moroccans also have a very unique take on sweet or bittercoffee: while the former is often served on light occasions such asweddings or birthdays, the latter is reserved for funerals- sweet forsweet and bitter for bitter!
12. Finnish Kaffeost
One of the most unique coffee preparations in the world is theFinnish Kaffeost, the chunky residue of submerging a thick chunk ofreindeer milk curd into a cup of drip coffee. This drink is a homemadespecialty and you will be hard-pressed to find it in any shop- you can,however, buy the reindeer curd and prepare the drink yourself- if youdare.
13. The American (USA) Frappuccino
Americans love the good, comfort stuff and that's exactly whatthe frappuccino (popularized by Starbucks) is- a milkshake/ coffeecombination with all the fixin's.
A frappuccino is basically a huge, customized drink made withliterally anything your heart desires: chocolate, cookie chunks,ice-cream, hot fudge syrup, and a heaping dollop of sweet, whippedcream. A monster of a drink super-packed with caffeine and sugar, thefrappuccino is not only a drink- it's a way of life.