How People Take Their Coffee Around the World
Here in America, there are 29 -- and only 29 -- distinct types of coffee drinkers. But when you step off American soil, coffee drinking habits vary dramatically. To demonstrate just how much these customs and preferences vary from culture to culture, we dug up facts on how other people consume coffee around the world. From the root of coffee hipsterism to a literal root that some love ground up in their Joe, here are nine international coffee habits to give you a new perspective on your morning cup.
Australia loves the flat white
The cousin of the "small black" (espresso shot!), the flat white is made using steamed whole milk and a short concentrated shot of espresso. We learned all about it right here, but had we grown up throwing shrimp on the barbie and indulging in other stereotypically Australian activities, we'd already know all about it since it's been popular there since the '80s. Starbucks is credited with introducing it to Americans, which is ironic, as the chain's expansion to Australia has been met with fierce resistance and most of the stores they've opened down under have been forced to close due to poor sales.
Siphon coffee baristas are like rock stars in Japan
Barista competitions exist all over the world, but in Japan the weapon of choice is the siphon: a scientific looking contraption brought to Japan by the Dutch in the 1600s. It made a big pop culture appearance most recently in Gales's lab in Breaking Bad, and you'll occasionally see them in fancy coffee shops, but this brewing technique is basically an artform in Japan.
Norwegians like it light
While Americans tend to favor roasts with bolder, darker characteristics (think the smokey and chocolatey of Pike Place blend from Starbucks), Norwegians prefer a lighter roast that helps showcase the unique flavors found in different varieties of beans. This style has caught on Stateside with the coffee snob set, and these days espresso nerds are known to use “roasty” as a derogatory term.
India takes it with chicory
Chicory is a purple flower with a savory root, and adding it to the grounds is the most popular style of coffee for the 1.8 billion people living in India. They favor it because the brewing method calls for a long slow filtered drip, and chicory is said to help lengthen flavor extraction from the beans. In America, it became a popular additive to coffee grounds in New Orleans during the Civil War when the port was blockaded from coffee imports, but you still won't see this many other places here.
Most Colombians drink an inky coffee called tinto
Colombia certainly produces some of the best beans in the world, but most Colombians actually drink a black inky coffee called tinto. It's generally low quality, often made from instant coffee powder, and sold out of thermoses on the street for just a few pesos. There has been a local push in recent years to improve and expand on the coffee culture, and it's resulted in Colombians actually getting to enjoy the high-quality stuff their country generates.
The Dutch have the world's most serious coffee addiction
According to reports, the Dutch consume 2.4 cups per capita every day. That's nearly twice as much as the second most addicted country, Finland, and nearly three times that of the average American's daily intake of .93 cups. Despite the wealth of both bean- and bud-focused coffee shops, pod-based coffee has become immensely popular in the average Dutch home. Thankfully that waste footprint is offset by the fact that 50% of the coffee is sustainable.
The Spanish were the original coffee hipsters
These days, if a graphic designer in selvage denim with serious opinions about washed versus natural coffee beans is caught ordering a milk-based espresso drink, odds are it's a cortado. The hipster drink of the moment is basically a miniature latte: a shot of espresso cut with a small amount of steamed milk. It's recently started popping up on the menus of American coffee shops, but has been an afternoon staple of Spaniards for years.
Italians don't drink cappuccinos in the afternoon
The cappuccino originated in Italy and is considered a well-balanced breakfast unto itself, but you'll almost never see an Italian drink one after noon because they consider it hazardous to digestion.
Brazilians brew with sugar water
Brazil is the world's largest producer of coffee and the second largest consumer and traditionally the most popular preparation results in a cup called a cafezinho. It translates roughly to little cup, but what makes this different is that sugar is mixed into water before its boiled, resulting in a much sweeter cup.
Sign up here for our daily Thrillist email, and get your fix of the best in food/drink/fun.