How Do You Take It

Coffee beans are enjoyed the world over with an estimated 40 billion cups consumed each year.  In Britain, almost £1bn is spent annually on coffee, and this country isn't even in the top 10 drinkers in the world.


We all know how we like to drink our own coffee our own way, but below is a look at how other coffee cultures around the world do it.

2021 #1 - Glasgow

Coffee's origin in the city of Glasgow can be dated to October 11, 1673, when records show that a man by the name of Colonel Walter 'Whytfoord' was granted the liberty to "sett up to sell, top and vent coffie within the samyne burgh, for the space of nyntine yeares nixt after the dait heirof."


That very same day, and being a shrewd businessman, he not only secured a licence for a duration of 19 years, but also a monopoly right to the sale of coffee within the city for the same amount of time.


The first coffeehouse in Glasgow and in Scotland was believed to be located at the corner of Trongate and Saltmarket, and followed the establishment of the first coffee-house in the UK in London back in in 1654. Rather, the coffee-house was seen as a place for open political debate and discussion among the richer classes, with the very places themselves becoming as fashionable as the warm, bitter drink served within them.


The city's first roaster, Thomson’s Coffee, was founded almost 200 years later in 1841 when 24 year old David Thomson, a tea and coffee merchant from Edinburgh, moved withhis young family to open his first shop on St Vincent Street in Glasgow. Thomson’s quickly became a Glasgow institution, supplying freshly ground coffee to Glasgow’s coffee houses where stockbrokers and bankers gathered to discuss business and read the journals of the day. David Thomson passed away in 1892 aged 75 and the business was taken over by William Addison, who had been managing the shop on behalf of the Thomson family for some time.


Over the years the business was handed down through two generations of the Addison family, with the operation moving from 5 Renfield Street to 102 St Vincent Street, before arriving at 79 Renfield Stree and then, due to increased demand, Thomson’s built a custom-fitted roastery on Glasgow’s Southside where the business still resides today.

2020 #3 - Spain

When we think of Spanish coffee we tend to think of a steaming mug of coffee with rum or other alcohol and topped with whipped cream, but the Spanish influence on the coffee industry reaches much further than the bar in a ski lodge.


Spanish ships carried coffee plants and seeds to many remote areas of the world where coffee was not native but soon became central growing hubs. Descendants of Spanish conquistadors settled in Central and South America where they created huge plantations for growing Spanish coffee.


Coffee originally came to Spain with Turkish immigrants. Not much, if any, coffee was actually grown in Spain but they developed a method for roasting that produces very dark, almost black oily beans that make very strong coffee that is known as Spanish Roast, or Dark French Roast.


Drinking coffee is a way of life in Spain. The Spanish people will typically have a coffee first thing in the morning with their breakfast to get them started for the day. This first cup of coffee is usually accompanied with hot milk, this coffee is known as café con leche.


Then at around 11am many Spanish people stop for a short break known as the Almuerzo. Often they order a coffee known as a café solo and they eat a small snack such as a bocadillo which we would know better as a sandwich.


Coffee will also be consumed at lunchtime (Comida) and after dinner (Cena). As you can tell, the Spanish love their coffee and the best way to experience this is in those rundown, rustic and very traditional Spanish bars where you stand at the counter.

2020 #2 - Norway

Two Norwegian phenomena worth experiencing above all others? White nights and black coffee.  In the height of midsummer, the sun doesn't set for months in Norway's Arctic north -- and nearly 11 p.m. in the southern capital Oslo.  Norwegians seize their short summer with both hands.  They head to their cabins, to forest, mountain or fjord, and enjoy alfresco meals topped off with kokekaffe -- steeped coffee -- prepared over an open fire.


Like their long summer days, Norwegian coffee is a little lighter than the rest of us are used to.  The light roast is a Norwegian tradition.  It suits single-origin coffee, and illuminates the fruity flavors and unique characteristics obscured by darker roasts.
As the rest of the world gets serious about coffee origins and roast profiles, the Norwegian way is spreading.


A 2013 report by Euromonitor found that Norwegians get through 7.2 kilograms of coffee per person per year -- making them the world's biggest consumers of the dark stuff after their neighbours in Finland.  Coffee-drinking flourished in Norway when the country began trading its plentiful fish supplies for American beans in the 1800s.  A period of prohibition, followed by high alcohol prices that remain today, maintained its status as the social drink of choice for many.


And in the era of AeroPress, pourovers, single-origin beans and roasting profiles, what's the secret to making a good home-brewed coffee?
"It's not really about actual preparation technique. You can make good coffee on most of them, you just need to learn how.
"Use the equipment that you have, make sure it's clean, then go to the web and look at the techniques for that particular brewing method.
"The only thing you need to focus on then is buy good coffee. Also get a grinder, because you need to grind your own beans." 

And if you're having some "cowboy coffee" kokekaffe on your campfire this summer?
"Just boil the water, put the coffee in the pot and let it steep for four minutes and then pour.
"It tastes incredible. You get all the oils and much more viscosity and also a little bit of grit."

2020 #1 - Coffee Christmas Trees

Want to make one of these trees? You could even use white filters for a pretty white tree, or paint the filters with green water color paints for a green tree. If you paint the filters, they may lose some of their ruffle, so be prepared for that.


You will need: foam cone, regular stick pins, 9-10 natural coffee filters, white round topped stick pins, red buttons, 2 white flowers glued back to back, scissors, hot glue gun & something flat for the base (optional but adds a little weight).


First, fold a few coffee filters in half and cut the center circle out.

Open a filter and place it over the top of the foam cone, like a ring, and bring it all the way down to the base of the cone. Use the stick pins to tack the filter to the cone, pushing the pins in at the top of the filter, not down by the ruffles.

Repeat this step, working your way up the cone.


When you get about half way up the cone you will need to trim a little off the filter ring. Since the cone will naturally get smaller toward the top, you will need less and less filter as you work upward. Just trim off what you don’t need, but set those pieces aside and use them at the top of the tree.

Use one of the center circles that you cut out of the filters to cover the top of the cone, securing with stick pins.


To decorate the tree, push round topped pins into the tree in various places, but don’t push the pin all the way in. This will allow the ruffles to look more natural. If you push the pin in all the way it will flatten the ruffles against the cone. So push the pin in halfway or three quarters of the way, then gently pull the filter toward you to hide the pin section.


Use hot glue to add buttons. Glue the two flowers together, back to back, so that either side of the tree had a flower face. Glue that to the top of the tree. Then just glue it to your base (even just a round slice of wood).

2019 #3 - Costa Rica

Costa Rica's coffee tale began in 1798, when acreage and coffee plants were gifted to anyone willing to cultivate the crop for export. The country's mineral-rich volcanic soils, cool mountain climates, and shaded fields provided ideal conditions for growing the sweet, red "cherries" that could be roasted into the rich, caramel elixir so valued in Europe. Over the next several decades, coffee became the principal export – and a major source of income.

By the time Costa Rica had gained independence from Spain and declared sovereignty from the Federal Republic of Central America, the nation's coffee barons were the new elite. In the mid-19th century, the United States and European nations were the main importers of Costa Rican java. Coffee earnings – and the taxes derived from those profits – helped finance a national postal service, printing press, and the spectacular National Theatre in downtown San Jose. Costa Rica's first railroad was established thanks to, and because of coffee: profits from the crop financed construction, which in turn enabled coffee farmers to quickly export their goods abroad.

Coffee was not just the basis of Costa Rica's economy; it also played an important role in local culture. Historians noted, "Drinking coffee became a ritual of Costa Rican society, a society that was free of economic and social distinctions; everyone drank it, from the simplest farmer or labourer to the most prominent politician." Today, coffee remains the country's second most profitable commodity – tourism is number one – and Costa Ricans still treat coffee, or "cafecito," as a treasured daily tradition.


For a traditional taste of this local delicacy try using a chorreador, Costa Rica's simple method for brewing coffee. This old-fashioned system yields a strong flavour without the hassle of electric coffee makers or paper filters. A chorreador consists of a stand that can accommodate a cloth coffee sock. Simply place the coffee grounds in the sock, add near-boiling water (boiling water can burn coffee grounds and create a bitter flavor), and let the brew filter into a cup or pitcher below. Enjoy!

2019 #2 - Camp Coffee

Roast HQ2 – destiny!!  When the foundations of Roast HQ2 were being dug in early 2017, the builders came across a small domestic midden which consisted mostly of broken china and glass fragments but, as destiny would allow, it included one complete bottle.  Upon cleaning off the dirt, this glass bottle was found to be stamped with “Paterson” and “Glasgow”.  It was of course an empty, old bottle of Camp Coffee!


Camp Coffee was invented, in Glasgow, after the officers of the Gordon Highlanders requested a coffee drink which could be brewed up easily by the army on field campaigns in India.  The sweetened coffee and chicory essence was first brewed up in 1876 by Paterson & Sons Ltd., at their plant on Greendyke Street, down by Glasgow Green.

Legend has it that Camp Coffee was originally developed as a means of brewing coffee quickly for military purposes. The original label is classical in tone, drawing on the romance of Empire. It includes a drawing of a Gordon Highlander (allegedly Major General Sir Hector MacDonald – known as “Fighting Mac”) and a Sikh soldier sitting together outside a tent, from which flies a flag bearing the drink's slogan, "Ready Aye Ready".  Translated, this slogan means “Ready Always Ready”.

2019 #1 - The Netherlands

When you think of coffee, you don’t necessarily think of Holland as one of the leading European coffee countries, but did you know that the Netherlands consumes the most coffee in the world per person at 2.41 cup a day?!  The most common way of serving koffie (Dutch for coffee) in Holland is to make up a big pot of filter coffee that serves many people over the course of the morning.


This article from Dutch Review implies that the Dutch don’t care too much for the taste, or preparation, of coffee stating “The taste can vary from ‘pretty nice’ to ‘OMG where is the spitting bowl?!’  It does have it’s merits; fresh coffee can make the house smell really nice.  And you can make a whole lot of coffee in very little time.  Actually that’s the best thing about it.”


Reading that, you’d expect that coffee is just wake-up fuel in the morning for the good people of Holland, not caring too much about how good the coffee is but just wanting coffee to be readily available for them to get their fix of caffeine.  In many countries around the world, the trend of meeting for coffee or gathering at a coffee house to socialise has grown at a very quick rate.  The Dutch go against the curve, however, with most people consuming coffee in the home.  Although ‘trendy’ coffee bars are growing in popularity in Holland, only 30% of Dutch people drink coffee outside of their own home.  Even then, most of the coffee drinking done when you’re not at home is when you’re at work.  Although, in the Netherlands coffee breaks are taken very seriously, up there with the likes of the Spanish siesta, and are considered to be a key part of the working day.


One area that has seen real growth among the Dutch market are coffee pods like those ones George Clooney drinks, although they’re called ‘pads’ in Holland.  We’ve already discovered that the Dutch like to have their coffee readily available, readymade and ready to pour, in fact you’ll often see signs outside shops that say “coffee is ready” so people know they’re not waiting for someone to make it.  So it’s easy to see why pod-using coffee machines have become popular in Holland: minimal preparation, low making times and easy clean up – simply throw the pod away.  This gives Dutch people the best of both worlds; good tasting coffee and the convenience of quick coffee.

2018 #3 - PSL

Starbucks' Pumpkin Spice Latte (PSL) first came out in the early 2000s - 2003 to be precise.


The PSL is Starbucks’s most popular seasonal beverage.  More than 200 million have been sold since its inception, and it has been estimated that the company earned around $100 million in revenue from the drink alone in 2015.


Pumpkin spice is a combination of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg, ginger and sometimes actual pumpkin. It’s a polarising flavor, mainly because of the variety of pumpkin-spiced foods on the market each year gets a little more weird.

Still, the nostalgia surrounding the return pumpkin spice is hard to beat. Combine that with the ultimate marketing tool — the limited-time offer (LTO) — and you’ve just created a must-have product...especially in the US.


Most customers buy only one, though. Despite all the hype surrounding Starbucks’ PSL, 72 percent of people only buy one latte per season, according to the market research firm NPD Group.


Limited-time offers also make brands seem hip, which brings customers back in the door, and that’s great news for Starbucks whether they’re ordering the PSL or not. The study from NPD group also found that consumers spend more per visit when they buy a seasonal product.


All in all, it's a win-win!

2018 #2 - Greece

Drinking coffee in Greece is not just a habit. It is a daily ritual that you can enjoy alone while reading a newspaper or with friends in a busy cafe, in the summer outdoors next to the sea, during winter in a cozy saloon or on a roadtrip. Coffee breaks in Greece are serious affairs and last long.


Coffee is a vital part of the Greek culture and it is remarkable, yet not surprising, that Greek cafés are mushrooming instead of loosing ground from the big international coffee chains that have opened in Greece. The country is littered with local cafés, which in Greece can take two forms. The first form is a kafeteria. A kafeteria is as a quite trendy and popular hangout for Greeks, gathering especially people under 35 years old. During spring and summer most of the kafeterias provide outdoor tables and also serve as bars at night. A kafeteria usually offers many types of coffees, other beverages and snacks. The other type of Greek cafe is the "kafeneio", the old traditional café that existed decades before and used to be and still is the meeting point of the elderly men in every village or town, though everyone is welcome and treated courteously.


To begin with, the traditional Greek coffee, also known as "ellinikós kafés", is a brew similar in consistency to American instant coffee and is actually a version of the Turkish coffee, as it made its way to Greece during the Ottoman occupation. It is a thick, strong, black coffee prepared in a special small pot called a "briki" and served with a unique foam on top and the grounds in the bottom of a small cup. The small size of the cup does not imply that the coffee is meant to be drunk as a shot. Instead it is meant to be sipped slowly, fitting perfectly with the Greek coffee culture. The grounds settled at the bottom are not for consumption.


A cup of coffee is supposed predict the weather. If bubbles gather in the middle of the cup's surface, then the weather will be sunny and nice. If bubbles form around the outside of the cup, the weather will be changing to rain or snow. But it seems that some superstitions have a bit of physics involved in them. In this case the high atmospheric pressure, which usually comes with a sunny fair weather, forces the bubbles on the surface to go to the centre of the cup. At low pressure, which according to physics can lead to rain or snow and predicts a change in the weather, the bubbles burst to the outside of the cup.

2018 #1 - Kenya

Though coffee is a staple of the West, we’re indebted to Africa for supplying us with our favourite perk-me-up bliss.  Kenya is an especially prominent name, and even Starbucks has been sporting a Kenya brew since 1971.  Kenyan beans are some of the world’s most treasured, as they have a very distinct flavour.


You’re finally on your way to Africa on your first big safari adventure and Kenya is on the list.  You don’t consider for a moment that a cup of sub-grade coffee might exist in Kenya.  Sadly, it’s very possible.  Until fairly recently (considering that Kenya has been producing coffee for more than a century), little of the coffee produced in Kenya was served in Kenya.  The beans were mostly saved for the export market.  The west was happily flooded with Kenyan coffee, but the Kenyans served instant coffee in airports and at restaurants.  Why? Because Kenyans have long preferred tea.  The British brought tea-drinking culture when they colonized Kenya in the late 1800s, and since then, black tea has been the obvious choice for locals.  Even the people who worked in the fields planted with some of the best coffee in the world would carry a flask of tea and sip it during the early morning.


The one exception was the ancient — albeit limited — coffee culture that exists along Kenya’s coast.  In and around Mombasa, men sit on low benches in the hot, humid day sipping on kahawa chungu, a bitter coffee drink said to be an effective aphrodisiac.  This concentrated black coffee is traditionally brewed over a charcoal stove in beautiful tall brass kettles.


A stunning tradition, still practiced by the older men in the evening before they go home to their wives, kahawa chungu isn’t popular among the younger generation.  They’re simply not interested in this potent, bitter drink.  As such, in the capital and a few tourist centres, you’ll be able to sit in a coffee shop and order your double latte or a cup of sweet black coffee – however you like it.  Yet the villages beyond Nairobi still prefer their tea.

2017 #3 - South Africa

Not so long ago, if you ordered a cup of coffee in South Africa you needed to specify "filter" to avoid getting instant.  A decade ago, there was no cafe culture, nowhere to go for a flat white and certainly no expectation of locally roasted beans.  Those days are gone. Specialist coffee shops did nearly four times the business here in 2012 as in 2007.  The epicenter of the country's coffee revolution is Cape Town, whose population has a reputation for being trendy and aspirational.  These days, to-go cups from the right coffee shop are displayed like choice accessories.


Coffee expectations, till recently, have been very low. Instant coffee, often cut with chicory, was a vehicle for lots of milk and sugar to warm the body and provide a minor buzz.

Capetonians who used to drink instant coffee, tea or no hot beverage at all, have since discovered the cappuccino.


Coffee beans are one of Africa's premium export products.

"Coffee has a long life of about a year," says José Vilandy, who won the country's 2008 barista competition, and who now works for Truth, one of the city's new boutique roasters.  "But once it's been roasted, it only lasts four or five weeks."  In other words, buying coffee roasted in Europe means paying premium prices for stale coffee.  Customers have a keen interest in beans from Africa.  Just as chocolate is often associated with Switzerland rather than Ghana and Madagascar where cacao beans are actually grown, coffee has long been synonymous with European culture -- even though no coffee beans grow in Italy or France.  There's been a shift away from this Eurocentric perspective.  "People are starting to recognize that Africa is the mother of coffee," says Vilandy. "That's something that people appreciate a lot."

2017 #2 - Olympics

Although caffeine is not currently 'banned' from the International Olympic (IOC) list of ergogenic compounds, it was placed on the list after a Mongolian athlete was found to have elevated levels during the 1972 Olympics.


Although caffeine is technically not on the list, it is still believed to function as a "performance enhancer" in athletes. But with caffeine found in practically ever beverage now, how does its 'performance enhancing' science work?  According to researchers, caffeine increases the migration of reserved fats into the bloodstream, thereby making them available during strenuous exercise and leaving a higher level of reserved glycogen in the muscles/liver.  As a result, the athletes 'burn' fat during a significant portion of their competition while providing them with a quick and readily available source of energy (in the form of a sugar: glycogen) that they can quickly make use of - say during the last 10 seconds of a race. Think of it as the 'nitrous oxide' commonly used in drag racing and the extra boost in horsepower during the last moments of a race.

So how many cups of coffee would one need to take to be over this limit?


The caffeine limit as imposed by WADA/IOC has varied over the years from 12-15 mcg caffeine per litre of urine or approximately 1,000 mg (or 6-8 cups of coffee, 8-12oz) consumed within a relatively short period of about 1 hour.

But because caffeine's metabolism varies significantly from person to person based on gender, weight, etc., caffeine concentrations in the urine can still remain elevated even if the coffee was consumed within a 2-3 hour period.

2017 #1 - Italy

When coffee was first shipped from the Middle East to Venice, it caused a furore and was almost banned from entering the port. Coffee houses were already established in Istanbul, but the fate of this stimulating drink was in the hands of Islamic preachers, who at first considered it on a par with alcohol. Eventually, it was accepted under Islamic law and trade began briskly in the 16th century. Coffee houses in Venice sprung up and very quickly the black liquid, which was until now solely consumed as a medicinal drink, achieved cult status, making it a luxury item, out of reach for most of Venetian society.  However, as coffee plantations became established within the European colonies in South America and Asia, availability increased, the price decreased and as it became more accessible to the poorer population, it ceased to be seen as purely medicinal.


The day is defined by coffee rituals: a cappuccino with breakfast, a caffè macchiato – or two – as an afternoon pick-me-up, and espresso after dinner. And like any culture, that of Italian coffee comes with seemingly mysterious laws. Order a latte, and you’ll receive a glass of milk (which is exactly what you ordered). Ask for a to-go cup or order a cappuccino after 11 a.m., and risk an instant tourist label.


Each of Italy’s 20 regions boasts its own unique coffee culture. Espresso may be ubiquitous, but there are many regional twists to the caffè. In Trentino ask for a ‘cappuccino Viennese’ and you’ll be served a delicious frothy coffee with chocolate and cinnamon. In the Marche region, stop for a ‘caffè anisette’ for an aniseed-flavoured espresso, in Naples enjoy coffee flavoured with hazelnut cream and, while in Sicily, why not indulge in a ‘caffè d’u parrinu’, an Arabic-inspired coffee flavoured with cloves, cinnamon and cocoa powder .


Finally, a Neapolitan tradition that is slowly dying out is the practice of ‘caffè sospeso’, meaning suspended coffee: it’s the practice of paying for two coffees but only consuming one, leaving the other for a stranger to enjoy for free. Because every Italian loves good coffee, and there is no better feeling than that of sharing a cup with a stranger.

2016 #3 - Turkey

There's a reason Turkish coffee is famed throughout the world – the Turks were enjoying a vibrant coffee house culture as far back as the 1500s, long before the first specialty coffee shops gained popularity in Europe or North America.  The Turks like their coffee strong, dark and sweet, with the grounds settling at the bottom of the cup.


The term “coffee” is derived from the Arabic word “qahwa” by way of the Turkish word “kahve.”  The word for breakfast in Turkish is kahvaltı, meaning “under or before coffee”.  It is so much part of Turkish culture that at one time men would judge whether a woman would make a good wife based upon her ability to brew it.  A few hundred years ago a Turkish law made it legal for a woman to divorce her husband if he did not bring home a daily quota of coffee.


Turkish coffee is made in a cezve, a metal pot that tapers toward the top.  The foam is precious, and much like the foamed milk atop a cappuccino, it is an integral part of the experience.  For this reason, coffee is prepared with a cezve that accommodates exactly the number of servings that are being prepared.  If there is too much room in the cezve, the foam climbs the sides of the pot and sticks there when removed from the heat.


When you polish off your coffee, don't toss the grounds - they can be used to tell your fortune.  Tasseography, or fal in Turkish, is the fine art of telling one’s fortune from a cup—in this case, a coffee cup.  With Turkish coffee, the grounds are what tell the story.  To find your fortune you must put the saucer over the cup, give it a few gentle whirls, and then deftly flip it over and let it cool.  Your host will then lift the cup to read the patterns left behind.

2016 #2 - Cuba

The morning cup of java is practically a religion for Cubans, so visitors here must make sure to enjoy one of the local brews.  Don't be in a hurry about it either - morning coffee is meant to be a leisurely event spent socializing with friends and family.


Like your coffee sweet?  Order a Café Cubano (also called a Cafecito), which is an espresso brewed with demerara sugar.  Traditionally, it is made using the darker roasts, typically either Italian or Spanish Roasts.  It is identical to Italian pulls, except for the addition of sugar directly to the espresso pitcher.  The heat from the coffee-making process will hydrolyze some of the sucrose, thereby creating a sweeter and slightly more viscous result than a normal pull or adding sugar at the table.


If you don't have a sweet tooth, try a Coradito, which is espresso topped with steamed milk.  Cortadito, is a standard espresso shot topped off with steamed milk.  It can be between 50/50 to 75/25 espresso and milk.  It is similar to a cortado served in other Latin countries, but pre-sweetened


The best place to enjoy a cuppa is in the home of a local family, but if that's not an option, one of the many elegant cafés in the classically romantic capital city of Havana will do.

2016 #1 - Portugal

Few people bother to have full espresso machines at home in Portugal, preferring the social atmosphere and superior espresso of a local café.  Portuguese coffee culture brings people together. “Let’s go for a coffee” is a Portuguese tradition, similar to Sweden’s “Let’s fika!”  Mid-morning and after lunch are the traditional times for taking a coffee break.


The Portuguese like their coffee strong, so if you're up to the challenge be sure to order a Bica - a shot of tart espresso served in a demitasse cup.  The drink was named from the acronym of “Beba Isso Com Açúcar” (literally, "drink this with sugar") and it you're not accustomed to strong brews, you may want to take the advice.  In Portugal, even McDonald’s serves the “bica” in a porcelain cup!


Favourites to go with the coffee are ‘torradas’, delicious toast buttered on both sides, Tosta mista (cheese and ham grilled sandwich), bifana ( fried pork sandwich) and prego (fried beef sandwich).


Even if you go into the supermarket and buy the instant Nescafe (as all instant coffee is called generically in Portugal) you will find the Portuguese jar vastly superior in taste, aroma and flavour to the Nescafe you buy at home.  This is a country that knows its coffee, and won’t settle for anything but the best.

2015 #3 - New Zealand

Over the last few decades, New Zealand has been refining its coffee culture and these days, the Kiwis have it down to an art. If you want to seem like a local in this down under country, be sure to order a flat white - their signature brew is composed of one third espresso, two thirds steamed milk and a touch of textured rather than frothy milk. If you prefer your coffee without milk, you can try a short black (a shot of espresso) or a long black (similar to an Americano.)


New Zealand coffee connoisseurs will go a long way to get their daily caffeine fix and favoured cafés can be anything from a ‘hole-in-the-wall’ or mobile outlet just big enough to accommodate a good coffee machine and its skilled operator, to stylish venues with lounge-style seating serving gourmet treats and meals.

Children are generally welcome in New Zealand cafés with many offering toys, high chairs and a kids menu. Many young mothers partake in a daily ritual of meeting up with friends at their local café to chat over coffee while the children play or indulge in their own special Kiwi brew - a ‘fluffy’ (a demi-tasse filled with foamed milk, sprinkled with chocolate and served with marshmallow on the side and a small chocolate fish).


As well as social venues and places to catch up with friends, New Zealand cafés are used as corporate meeting rooms and offices with wireless connections turning downtime into uptime for business people and their laptop computers.


New Zealand has more roasters per capita than anywhere in the world - and some even argue that New Zealand also has the best coffee in the world.

2015 #2 - Ethiopia

Historically speaking, Ethiopia is where coffee was first discovered, and these days it's still an important part of the culture. But drinking coffee in Ethiopia isn't just a matter of ordering at a counter - it's a full-on cultural experience. The Ethiopian coffee ceremony is a spiritual practice that encompasses every step in the process from the roasting of the beans to the eventual serving of the drinks, and not surprisingly, it takes several hours.

The way of preparing and serving coffee varies according the occasion and also the region of the country:

  • In Kaficho and Shakicho zones where coffee was first domesticated, coffee leaves collected from wild coffee plants are brewed and spiced with pepper and ginger. The drink is a favourite one and is used as a medicine.  Kuti is another special infusion prepared with roasted coffee leaves and spices like ginger and cinnamon.
  • Bunakela is a mix of coffee husks, and oils or animal fats together with wheat or barley. Used mainly by the hunters and travellers of Borena and Gedio zone, it provides a highly nutritious food preferred even from bread. Bunakela is also served as a holy food during the birth of the first child in Harar.
  • Mostly drunk in the areas of Hararghe, Hoja is prepared from coffee husks which are dried and fried over an iron pan. Then they are boiled with milk and honey.

Coffee plays such a heavily ingrained role in Ethiopian culture that it appears in many expressions dealing with life, food and interpersonal relationships.

  • One common Ethiopian coffee saying is "Buna dabo naw." This literally translates to "Coffee is our bread." It demonstrates the central role that coffee plays in terms of diet and illustrates the level of importance placed on it as a source of sustenance.
  • Another common saying is "Buna tetu." This is an Amharic phrase that literally means "Drink coffee." It applies not only to the act of drinking coffee, but also to socializing (much like the way people use the phrase "meet for coffee" here).
  • If someone says, "I don’t have anyone to have coffee with," it is not taken literally, but assumed to mean that the person does not have good friends in whom they can confide. This relates closely to the enormous social role that coffee consumption plays in Ethiopia, and the fact that people often gather over coffee for conversations that cover daily life, gossip and deeper issues alike.
  • Similarly, if someone says, "Don’t let your name get noticed at coffee time," they mean that you should watch out for your reputation and avoid becoming the topic of negative gossip.

2015 #1 - Brazil

Brazil produces roughly one third of the world's coffee so it's no surprise that Brazilians love their brews.


Here, the café com leite - double strength coffee served with plenty of hot milk - is the drink of choice in the morning.  The coffee to milk ratio significantly diminishes the strength and the bitterness of the coffee, so sometimes it feels that a café com leite is more like a desert than a standard energy jolt to throw back in a sip or two.  In Brazil, there is a strong marriage with food - much of the best brews are served by padarias (bakeries).


Another Brazilian favourite is cafezhino, a strong and dark coffee that's served with lots of sugar.  At petrol stations and in offices, there is always a thermos with coffee available, which sometimes stands next to the cashier. You can also walk inside restaurants and just ask at the counter for a cafezinho, which is most likely free of charge.  This hospitable culture where coffee is offered free is not about not being able to afford a cup of coffee; it’s the gesture, the culture, the tradition.


Brazilians never walk and drink a coffee at the same time: there is no coffee-on-the-go lifestyle here.  Although brief, Brazilians seem to enjoy their small window of time while they down a cafezinho.  And of course, they enjoy their cup for breakfast every day.  Brazilians love their way of making coffee: boiling water and mixing the coffee in and slowly cooking it in order to extract as much flavor as possible.  Afterwards the coffee is strained into a thermos that everybody will drink from.  Or sometimes they’ll just boil water and pour it on coffee grounds in a filter directly into the thermos.


Coffee drinking is so prevalent here that it's even served to school kids ages five and up.


The Réveillez Blend is a dark roast that is smooth with a full body and excellent aroma.  It makes a sensational espresso but is also sufficiently versatile to stand out very boldly under French press preparation.

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