Being a coffee lover, this post is one of my favourites. Coffee, for me, is a soul soothing panacea – something that adds freshness to my mornings and charm to my evenings. And yes! It is an anytime welcome drink for me. A lot of coffee lovers may agree with me on this.
A Brief History of Coffee
Coffee was originally discovered by the cowboys of Scotland who noticed some peculiar hyperactive behavior in their cattle after they ate berries and leaves of a certain plant. When they consumed those berries themselves, they felt an increased level of alertness and energy. Guess what? These berries were from a coffee plant and hence, coffee came into existence. From eating the ripe berries of the coffee plant to making a beverage out of it – our dear coffee has seen many stages of evolution.
My love for coffee has made me explore various coffee cultures around the globe and different ways of drinking the beverage. The result is a list of 15 must-try unique coffees from around the world. Hope you’ll enjoy reading this overdose of caffeine as much as I enjoyed writing it.
1. Indian Filter Coffee (Kaapi)
Filter coffee is popularly known as ‘Kaapi’ in South India. Locally grown coffee beans are roasted, coarsely ground and brewed in a traditional metal filter. The decoction is then mixed with sugar and topped with boiled and frothed milk. It is then pulled between the cup and the saucer in huge arch-like motions of hands. This serves the purpose of aerating the coffee, mixing the ingredients and cooling down the drink to the sipping temperature. Served in a traditional metal tumbler, filter coffee is a perfect blend of soothing taste and heady aroma. Definitely a must-try!
2. Arabic Coffee
Arabic Coffee is an aromatic and flavourful drink made from Coffee Arabica beans that grow at a height of upto 2000 metres. It is prepared by lightly roasting the coffee beans and grinding them coarsely. The ground coffee is then boiled on low heat along with cardamom, cloves and a pinch of saffron. A teaspoon of rose water is optionally added. Arabic coffee is made and served in a traditional vessel called Dallah. Conventional way of drinking this coffee is without milk and unsweetened. It is fragrant, strong, robust and bitter and generally served with dates to balance its bitterness. So, all coffee lovers must try Arabic coffee at least once
3. Kopi Luwak
Kopi Luwak is one of the most expensive coffees in the world. Luwak is a hyper-active nocturnal Asian civet cat that feeds mainly on berries and pulpy fruits. Luwak selects and eats the best coffee berries for their pulp. The berries undergo natural fermentation in the digestive tract of Luwak and are then defecated in clumps. These clumps are then collected and the coffee beans are separated from them. These beans are cleaned, roasted and ground in a fine coffee powder which is further used to make a heady cup of coffee. The ability of civet to select the best beans and the natural fermentation of the coffee beans potentially impact the flavour of Kopi Luwak.
4. Vietnamese Egg Coffee (Cà Phê Trứng)
Cà Phê Trứng is a clear coffee with unique taste and is one of the most satisfying snack on any day. Preparation includes brewing a cup of over-roasted Vietnamese Robusta coffee in a traditional Vietnamese filter. It is then poured in a cup and is topped with a mixture of beaten egg yolk, sugar and coffee. Egg coffee is the traditional drink of Vietnam and is known for its stronger taste. It is a bitter-sweet blend of clear coffee shot topped with mildly sweet egg cream.
5. Irish coffee
Irish Coffee is a coffee-cocktail hybrid. It is prepared by pouring black coffee in a mug and mixing Irish whiskey and at least one teaspoon in sugar in it, stirring the liquid continuously till sugar is completely dissolved. Thick cream is then poured carefully in the cup and is raised a little. The cream is meant to float on the surface of coffee. The coffee is drunk through the cream. Irish coffee can be served as an after-dinner beverage to warm up a cold winter night.
6. Italian Coffee (Caffè Marocchino)
Marocchino is a delicious drink made with coffee, milk froth and cocoa powder. It is served in a small glass dusted with cocoa powder. Thick hot cocoa is optionally added to the drink for additional taste in some regions of northern Italy. Coffee and cocoa – a must-try heavenly combination!
7. Finnish Coffee (Kaffeost)
Kaffeost is one of the unique and weirdest coffees around the world. It is quite popular in Northern Finland and is prepared by pouring freshly brewed coffee on sweet and spongy cheese cubes. This cheese is traditionally made from reindeer milk and is baked until brown. Once the coffee is poured on the cheese cubes, they absorb it like a sponge. You can then take out these little sponges with a spoon and relish them with your coffee. What a combination!
8. Greek Coffee (Frappè)
Frappè is a yummy, frothy and iced drink from Greece. It is a hallmark of outdoor Greek coffee culture. The drink was accidentally discovered by a representative of Nescafe in 1957, when he was demonstrating a new product to children and used ice cubes and cold water instead of hot water for the preparation of instant coffee. Frappè is made by mixing instant coffee, water and sugar in a cocktail shaker or a hand mixer to form a foam. It is then poured in a tall glass and served chilled by adding cold water and ice cubes. Evaporated milk can be optionally added to the beverage.
9. Moroccan Spiced Coffee
Moroccan spiced coffee is one of the most flavourful coffees one must try in Morocco. It is a fragrant blend of strong coffee and warm spices- cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, black pepper, ginger and nutmeg. Sugar and cream can be optionally added to enhance the taste. The coffee is known for its distinctive fragrant aroma and health benefits.
10. Hong Kong Coffee (Yuenyeung)
Yuenyeung is a creamy, sweet and delicious drink made by mixing three parts of freshly brewed strong coffee and seven parts of Hong Kong milk tea. The drink can be served cold or hot. With a significant amount of caffeine, the beverage is known for its taste and energizing effects. This heady shot is definitely not to be missed on your trip to Hong Kong.
11. Spanish Coffee (Café Bombón)
Café Bombón is a delicious treat to your taste buds. It is a mixture of espresso with sweetened condensed milk in equal proportions. The beverage is generally served with layers of espresso and condensed milk in a glass for visual appeal created by contrasting colours. It has to be ultimately mixed with the stirrer before drinking.
12. Espresso Romano
Espresso Romano is coffee with a twist of lemon. It is known to be the drink of sailors. Preparation includes mixing a shot or two of espresso with little lemon juice and sugar. The rims of a cup are rubbed with lemon and the freshly made coffee is then served in it with a slice of lemon. Lemon softens the bitterness of espresso and adds a distinctive taste to the drink.
13. German Coffee (Pharisäer)
Pharisäer is one of the most popular drinks of Germany. This variety of German coffee is prepared by mixing strong coffee, rum (ideally with 54% alcohol content) and sugar for taste. It is then served in a large tumbler or a high cup with whipped cream on top. While having the drink, you’re not supposed to stir it. You simply need to take sips of it. The taste of rum and coffee with whipped cream on top is definitely a worth try.
14. Portuguese Iced Coffee (Mazagran)
Mazagran is a light and refreshing drink on a hot summer’s day. It is a weird yet innovative combination of coffee and lemon juice. Cold sugar syrup, cold brew coffee concentrate, freshly squeezed lemon juice and sparkling water are mixed and stirred together. Some rum can be optionally added for flavour. It is then served in a tall glass with ice cubes and lemon slices.
15. Turkish coffee (Türk Kahvesi)
Turkish coffee is a surprisingly delicious version of coffee. Finely ground coffee beans are brewed black, thick and strong in a traditional coffee pot called Ibrik. Sugar is added before the brew. Cardamom and cinnamon can be optionally added for a flavoured version. It is then served unfiltered in small cups with some froth on top. The coffee sits for a few moments before serving so the grounds settle at the bottom. This heady drink from Turkey is something you must try for once.