Insights

The Perks of Coffee Breaks: 7 amazing secrets from special places

“I know my coffee, my mother’s coffee, and the coffee of my friends. I can tell them from afar and I know the differences among them. No coffee is like another, and my defence of coffee is a plea for difference itself.”

When Mahmoud Darwish wrote so lovingly of coffee during the bombardment of Beirut in 1982, it’s unlikely he would’ve expected his reflections to have rung so true in 2018 Australia. Coffee culture, it seems, runs throughout the world.

In celebration of the hallowed coffee break, we’re looking at different coffee traditions around the globe. Maybe it’s time you changed up your 10am routine?

Ethiopia has coffee ceremonies

Recognised as the global birthplace of coffee, it seems right to start with Ethiopia. A coffee ceremony is performed on every time coffee is served throughout the day; up to three times. It’s an intimate ceremony, involving three rounds of coffee – to refuse one is not an option. It facilitates gossip and conversation, taking from thirty minutes up to a few hours.

Italy has Espresso culture

Possibly the country most likely to have brought coffee culture down under, coffee in Italy is not like its laidback Aussie counterpart. A cappucino is only to be drunk early in the morning. The coffee of choice is a strong and dark espresso, served in a small mug. It’s drunk stood up at an espresso bar, where one can skim the headlines – if they’ve got the time.

Brazil drinks cafezinho

As the world’s largest coffee producer, “do you want a cafezinho?” is a greeting in Brazil – and hosts will not hear a no. Small, dark and strong, cafezinho is served all day, and always in a small mug. When coffee appears at a Brazilian workplace, even mid-meeting, conversation is expected to switch topic whilst drinking.

Turkey drinks Türk kahvesi

Turkish coffee refers to a certain method of preparing unfiltered coffee, served with the grounds in the cup. Rumour has it that they can be used to tell your fortune. Turkey’s coffee preparation and surrounding culture is so prevalent that it’s made its way on UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage list.

Sweden has Fika

It roughly translates “to have coffee,” but it’s far more than that. It’s about taking time to socialise over coffee, often served with a slice of something sweet or a pastry. There’s no specific time for fika; it often happens numerous times in a day. Perhaps this is why Sweden has pipped Australia to #9 on the World Happiness index?

The Dutch have Koffietijd

The fifth largest consumer of coffee worldwide, the average person in the Netherlands drinks 8.4kg of coffee per year. Its drunk throughout the day, but between 10 and 11am it becomes Koffietijd: coffee time!

Vietnamese café culture is sweet

With a French colonial tradition, Vietnam’s café culture is long established. Vietnamese coffee is a little different: it’s served thick, strong, and sweetened with condensed milk. Travellers are often given extra hot water to thin down the local brew. A few cafes serve up egg coffee: a cappuccino-style coffee that’s had egg whipped through the steamed milk to give it a custardy texture – and it tastes far more delicious than it sounds!