Take a Shot of Culture With These International Coffee Concoctions
Looking at the local coffee shops and Starbucks that inundate the streets, you forget coffee has its origins far away from the concrete blocks of urban centers. Coffee’s roots go back as far as the 10th century at what’s thought to have been Ethiopia. Since then, the beloved drink has evolved into a variety of forms across the globe—far more than your basic cup of joe. Leave your passport at home, and expand your caffeinated horizons.
Sweet, strong and flavorful, Vietnamese coffee offers a dreamy blend of condensed milk and dark-roasted coffee. It can be served hot or iced, but this coffee will always come with sweetened condensed milk. Don’t try to substitute condensed milk for a low calorie option; because of the limited availability of fresh milk in the tropics, condensed milk doesn’t spoil in the heat. Traditionally, the coffee undergoes a classic, very slow drip method, creating black coffee that is so strong and bitter, you’ll want the thick and incredibly sugary balance.
The Italians aren’t the only ones that know espresso. Cubans have their own variation, known as Café Cubano or Cuban coffee: an espresso sweetened with brown sugar after being brewed, a traditional staple of the regional cuisine. Sometimes sweet cream is layered on top of the espresso for consistency. Café Cubanos are usually a mid-afternoon fare, so if you ever need a sweet jolt, try something else than your regular bitter espresso shot.
Greek frappes—or the original frappuccino—are foam-covered iced coffee made from instant coffee. They are the hallmark of the summer. The foamy drink can thank its origins to an accident, when a Nescafé representative mixed regular Nescafe Classic with water in a shaker to create the first frappuccino. Whatever its origin, the Greek frappe offers a spontaneous break to an otherwise conventional routine.
What looks like a classic latte, is, in fact, a velvety mixture of espresso and foamy, steamed milk treasured in Australia and New Zealand. The drink has since made its global mark, and for good reason. The flat white holds its own with its higher proportion of coffee to milk than a traditional cappuccino. Go to any Australian café or even large coffee shop chain, including Starbucks, and you’ll likely to find this Oceanic treat.
The literal translation of this Germanic drink is “ice cream coffee”. Interestingly enough, the ice coffee itself isn’t brewed, but is offset with vanilla ice cream, whipped cream, and occasionally, chocolate chips. Eiskaffees are a dream combination between a sundae and milkshake that is, without a doubt, coffee-flavored.
When it comes to Turkish coffee, the Turkish proverb says it all: “Coffee should be black as hell, strong as death, and sweet as love.” The Turkish don’t filter their coffee. They roast and then simmer the finely ground coffee beans in a pot for a crazy strong, bitter brew. You can specify how much sugar you want in your drink, but keep in mind Turkish coffee isn’t meant to be taken like an espresso. The Turks fashion coffee as a social affair. Sip, talk, and enjoy.