You can explore the world by simply tasting a unique coffee that folks in other countries use to get supercharged in the morning!
Today, let’s celebrate as many cultures as possible by tantalizing our taste buds with some of the most unique coffee drinks on the planet.
Here is a quick graphical breakdown of the unique coffee drinks we will discuss:
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Also known simply as Turkish coffee, this is the measurement of how much you actually love coffee. Turkish coffee is brewed in a copper cup on a thin handle. You boil the coffee grinds directly in the water, and let them settle to the bottom of the cup before serving. There’s a thick layer of rich foam on top. Even in Turkish culture, this is served with a few spoons or sugar, or something sweet to eat because it can be very bitter.
Not to be confused with bonbons, this Spanish beverage is a 50/50 blend of espresso and condensed milk. Due to the oil in the coffee, the milk separates to the bottom of the cup and the espresso sits on top; give it a quick stir before enjoying, and you’ll never look at espresso-based beverages the same way again.
3. The Greek Frappe
No, this isn’t a menu item that’s found at McDonald’s. A true Greek frappe has a bit of real coffee or espresso, cold filtered water, sugar, and some evaporated milk. Blend this up with some ice, and you have a drink that companies in America have been using a variation of for years, but in far better form (with fewer ingredients/additives).
It literally means coffee cheese, which are two of the best things of the world mashed together. This is more of a dessert style beverage where espresso is poured over juustoleipa cheese, which helps balance out the bitterness of the coffee. Use a petite fork to hold the cheese in the espresso for a little longer to soften it up, and enjoy an interactive dessert that rivals the flavor profile of tiramisu.
Italy is one of the biggest coffee cultures on the planet. I mean, why else would the entire world decide to adapt cappuccinos and latte? Because they made it, and damn they made it good. But an affogato is different: it’s gelato in the bottom of a cold bowl with hot espresso poured over it, and a topping thrown into the mix (whipped cream, fruit spread, take your pick). It’s decadent, but it just goes to show how versatile coffee is and what you can include it in.
6. Cafe de Olla
Mexico’s take on coffee is something we never would have thought of. The coffee is brewed in a clay pot, which is important to remember because that’s what gives it part of its flavor profile. Toss in your dark brown sugar and spices, and you’ve got a health-boost coffee that can have cream or sugar added to it to sweeten things up. Depending on which recipe you find or what Mexican coffee shop you go to, you can find different varieties.
7. Ca Phe Trung
Let’s take a flavor trip to Vietnam, where they take something you would usually never pair with coffee and mix it right in: egg yolks. This drink contains egg yolks, condensed milk, and sugar that should be added to strong or dark roast robusta coffee. You’re basically creating a thin custard-like additive, and it really packs a punch. If you were to make this at home and add it to arabica coffee, it’s going to be strong and sweet.
Brazil is home to the largest coffee farms in the world, and it’s where we, as Americans, get most of our coffee from. This beverage is basically small shot-like cups of strong coffee, similar to espresso. Since the coffee is roasted practically right out of their backyards, there’s less of a processed flavor, and you get earthy, nutty elements straight in the shot. Mix in a few teaspoons of milk or cream to cut some of the bitterness, and get a glorious color.
If you ever visit Hong Kong, this is your caffeinated safe haven whilst on your trip. This blends a small amount of coffee with a large amount of milk tea, giving it a slightly sweet taste, as well as a variety of flavors to choose from. You can get fancy with additives, though you’ll most commonly see honey, sugar, and cardamom. The beauty about these is that they can be served cold or hot, so it’s completely up to your preference.
The spiced coffee of Saudi Arabia—it’s made by boiling the ground beans in water for ten minutes, first and foremost, and then adding in loosely crushed cardamom and cloves. In America, we try not to let coffee reach within ten degrees of boiling, so this is a hardcore beverage that your tastebuds are certainly going to feel. The coffee is strained before serving, but it packs a kick, and a ton of health benefits from the added spices.
Germans love their coffee, and they’ve made this beverage with a slightly alcoholic twist. Rum, coffee and whipped cream are all blended together to make a light beverage, and it’s topped off with another small dollop of whipped cream, which blends into the froth that’s created from mixing the drink up in the first place. You’re using a little less than a single shot of rum, so this is something you can have in the early afternoon without feeling tipsy afterwards. If anything, it’ll just relax you.
12. The Flat White
I mean, is there any better or more comical name for an Australian coffee? This is basically like a make-do latte mixed with an americano. About six ounces of water are heated, then a couple shots of espresso added, and some steamed milk on top. They’re not really fans of the froth, so you won’t find any cappuccino variant of this when you go to Australia.
13. Kopi Joss
We’ve discussed a few coffees here that can be described at hardcore, but this… this takes the cake. Make coffee, any coffee, in any way you want, but be sure to add some sugar. Drop it in your sturdy cup (not a glass), give it a little stir, oh yeah, and then add a sizzling hot piece of coal into your coffee. Let the coal sit for one or two minutes until the coffee basically caramelizes before your very eyes, remove the coal, and drink. It’s directly imbuing carcinogens into your coffee, as a heads up, but it’s got to be one of the most insane coffee we’ve ever heard of, coming straight out of Indonesia.
Fan of iced coffee? Portugal is about to make your head spin. Espresso has sugar dissolved right into it, then it’s mixed with water, rum, and some lemon juice. Pop a lemon wedge on the edge of the glass and a mint leaf in, and you’ve got your new summertime favorite coffee drink. There’s only a one ounce shot of rum in here, so you’ll feel a little zing, but it won’t slow you down.
15. Cafe au Lait
The French have a unique way to start the day, by making coffee a staple in their early morning breakfast. Coffee and hot milk are whipped together in a bowl or mug that’s wide enough to dip pastries or bread into. You just sip the mug and drink what’s left, and you’re supercharged to start the day.
Ethiopia is predicted to be one of the original birthplaces of coffee as we know it today, and they grow some of the best robusta coffee beans on the planet. Buna isn’t server with cream, but instead it has either butter or sugar mixed into it before it’s served. The process of brewing this can take up to two hours, ensuring an ultra smooth and strong flavor.
Why It’s Hard to Recreate All of These at Home
You can do your best to recreate these in the comfort of your own kitchen, but you’re going to run into some difficulties. Most of these countries source their own coffee beans, making them closer to nature and less processed, e.g. fresher in every sense of the word. It’s also culturally different. You couldn’t expect to pick up on a coffee making technique from halfway across the world, where they’ve practiced it for centuries, and just nail it on the first go.
There’s something about actually experiencing coffee in another country and the way that they brew it that’s truly magnificent. If you’re planning on traveling, sharing in the local morning coffee community is like dropping yourself into the day-to-day of your destination country. By all means, mix it up in the kitchen and attempt some of these delicious coffee variants, but if you get the chance, head to the country of origin to experience it firsthand