Steamed milk, straight black, iced–different parts of the world are very particular about their traditional coffee choice.
If you’re a coffee fiend like so many, learn about some of the different ways other countries serve their coffee so you can get your fix and try a new kind of java when you’re traveling somewhere new.
Italian coffee means espresso. These high-concentrated coffee shots, sometimes with a frothy top layer, are popularly consumed by Italians standing at the counter just for a bit. In the morning they’ll down a cappuccino (espresso with steamed milk foam) to start their day, but you’re also just as likely to find them having an espresso after dinner. Note that Italians rarely drink milk after lunch, never a cappuccino. They order an espresso or a macchiato (espresso with a small amount of steamed milk) if you don’t like it straight.
Türk Kahvesi: Turkey
This thick, very dark and very strong Turkish coffee is served in a copper pot called a cezve and usually after meals with something sweet. It’s boiled and unfiltered, so you’ll find some fine grounds still in it at the bottom–beware of its strength. You can decide on no sugar (sade), medium (orta) or sweet (sekerli). It’s served in a kahve fincan cup and is a symbol of hospitality for guests.
Café de Olla: Mexico
Mexicans drink café de olla, which is coffee brewed in a clay pot called an olla with cinnamon and piloncillo, a rare form of sugar cane (day-to-day it can be swapped for brown sugar). Mexicans believe the clay pot and mug it’s served in brings out the coffee’s flavor. It was also popular during the Mexican Revolution to keep up soldiers’ energy. It’s a delicious and energizing option but beware of its high sugar content.
Egg Coffee: Vietnam
If you’re looking for a protein-packed sweet treat, look no further then Vietnamese egg coffee or Cà Phê Trứng. Made with egg yolk, coffee, condensed milk, and sugar, egg coffee is strained through a traditional stainless-steel Vietnamese coffee filter and is especially popular in Hanoi.
Café au Lait: France
Also called a cafê crème in Paris or to really order like a local, “un creme”, a coffee served with steamed milk café au lait is the French way to start the day. It’s made with French coffee and served in a big enough mug to dunk a pastry. Like Italy, it’s generally only served at breakfast. It’s not to be confused with the American version of the café au lait popularly served in New Orleans, which includes chicory and scalded milk (milk heated to just below boiling point) versus steamed milk.
Flat White: Australia and New Zealand
A flat white is basically a latte but with less steamed milk and less milk foam. Flat whites are smaller than lattes (traditionally two shots of espresso) and made by pouring microfoam (steamed, velvety milk) over a shot of espresso, giving it the flat white layer on top.