Coffee Cultures From Around the World

From the simple Italian espresso shot to traditional Turkish coffee ceremonies, see how people around the world take their cup of coffee.

By: Kathleen Rellihan

Zero Creatives / Cultura / Getty Images

Italy: Espresso
You’ll surely get an eye roll or two if you order a to-go cup at an Italian cafe, for espresso is the Italians’ version of to-go coffee. This strong brew served in tiny cups is commonly sipped while standing at cafes. And don’t order a cappuccino late in the day in Italy, either — the only appropriate time to enjoy that particular drink is in the morning.

Nico Kaiser via Flickr Creative Commons 2.0

Turkey: Türk Kahvesi
A famous Turkish proverb says that coffee should be “as black as hell, as strong as death and as sweet as love.” This thick brew is usually served after meals from a long-handled copper pot called a cezve, accompanied by chewy Turkish candy.

Rhiannon Taylor

Denmark: Kaffee
Perhaps because of the cold, dark Scandinavian winters, coffee consumption in Denmark has always been some of the highest in the world. Coffee is such a vital part of the Danish culture that packed cafes can be found on nearly every corner, especially in cities such as Copenhagen.

Jessica Spangler via Flickr Creative Commons 2.0

France: Café au Lait
The French begin the day with their café au lait –coffee with hot milk, served in a mug wide enough to allow the dunking of baguettes or croissants.

By Ivan2010 [CC BY-SA 3.0]

Cuba: Café Cubano
Cubans like their coffee strong, whether it’s first thing in the morning, after meals or at any chance they get throughout the day. An important part of the social fabric, the Cuban’s strong brew is served in shots and best enjoyed while socializing.

Nalf alOwais / Moment / Getty Images

Saudi Arabia: Kahwa
In Saudi Arabia and other Arab cultures, coffee ceremonies follow many rules of etiquette, including always serving the elders first. It is also a common custom to serve this cardamom-spiced drink with dried dates to counter the coffee’s bitterness.

Goncalo Valverde, flickr

Netherlands: Ladder

Not to be confused with Amsterdam’s infamous coffee shops, coffee-serving cafes are a celebrated part of the Netherlands’ culture. Also known as bakkie troost, the Dutch kaffe is enjoyed any time of day, usually comes black, and is served alongside a cookie.

bbq / Moment / Getty Images

Ireland: Irish Coffee

Coffee meets cocktail with this after-dinner drink. Irish coffee includes hot coffee, Irish whiskey, sugar and the crowd-pleasing whipped-cream topper. Irish coffee was actually created in Ireland in the 1940s to warm up American tourists on a cold winter’s night, and it remains as popular as ever today.

Leon Rafael / iStock / Getty Images Plus

Mexico: Café de Olla
If you like cinnamon in your coffee, this is your drink. Spiced café de olla is brewed with cinnamon sticks in earthenware pots, which Mexicans swear brings out the coffee taste.

    Tim E. White / Photolibrary / Getty Images

    Ethiopia: Buna
    In Ethiopia, the birthplace of coffee, traditional coffee ceremonies are a distinguished part of the culture, with the brewing and serving process lasting up to two hours. Historically, buna, as coffee is called here, was served with salt or butter instead of sugar.

    Lonely Planet Images / Getty Images

    Austria: Mélange
    Served in Viennese cafes, Austria’s traditional drink, mélange, is very similar to a cappuccino. It contains espresso and steamed milk and is topped with froth or, sometimes, whipped cream (which is what makes it different from a traditional cappuccino).

    Tilemahos Efthimiadis via Flickr Creative Commons BY-SA 2.0

    Greece: Frappé
    The Greek frappé is a frothy iced drink made with Nescafé instant coffee, cold water, sugar and evaporated milk. It’s best enjoyed in an outdoor cafe.


    “Amazing Coffee culture around the world”

    23 thoughts on “Coffee Cultures From Around the World

    1. How did you miss Abkhaz coffee? In Georian, “cezve” is called “jezva,” and if you ask for Turkish coffee, they’ll be offended. Akop (that’s a name) cooks his coffee in individual tine jezvas in hot sand, holding 5 long handles in each hand. When you look at the photo “U Akopa” in this link (, notice the all-male crowd. My appearance there caused a huge scandal, since I look somewhat Georgian. Tempers got even hotter when I did not answer in their language – I don’t know it. They figured that I was pretending not to understand! The fact that my companion was a totally Russian-looking man obviously made matters even worse. I had to produce my TV journalist ID, and so did my cameraman. Then they became our best friends, and we got invited to several homes.
      I apologize for a long comment, but this was such a trip down memory lane!

      Liked by 1 person

    2. I find this fascinating to read! It’s a “taste” of so many different cultures and the flavors they live life with. Lots of fun! I’m partial to espresso, myself. But that Irish drink looks pretty darn yummy!

      Thanks for sharing this. I really enjoyed the read! Hope your day is extraordinary!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you Holly for reading and commenting on our share. Coffee is definitely a world event. I love my coffee (many different kinds, especially dark and the espresso)! Glad the Irish traditional was a big attraction for you. Enjoy your coffee today!! Cheers!


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