Coffee Around the World

By: Francesca S.

Did you know that coffee is the second most traded agricultural product on Earth? Meaning that coffee is a very common drink, which has been adopted in many cultures around the world. In fact, Italy is the twelfth country that drinks the most amount coffee; with almost 6 kg per person. Now, what makes Italian caffè  (refers to the caffè espresso) so famous around the world? It all lies in the process that follows the picking of the coffee beans; after aging for a maximum of eight years, the beans are roasted until a dark brown colour is reached and the size of the bean has doubled. Next, the beans are grinded until the powder is fine, then boiling water is “forced” under high pressure through the fine ground. The result is the drink itself, usually with some lighter coloured cream on top. Italian coffee isn’t the only way of serving it, just in Italy, there are hundreds of ways in which you can have your coffee served. Actually it is very uncommon for everyone at the bar to just have “un caffè,” the requests tend to be more specific: such as corto (shorter, usually more intense), macchiato (spotted, with milk), corretto (with a liquor), shakerato (shaken with ice)…

Yet, all around the world coffee is served and brewed differently! American coffee (not to be confused with Caffè Americano) for example is rather a long and diluted brew, the boiling water is added and filters through the coarse ground. This type of coffee is very common in North America and Northern Europe, yet Ireland differs with its own particular type: with coffee, whiskey, brown sugar and whipped cream. Meanwhile, in Central and South America there are other types like the one knows as Cortado, one part milk and another part espresso, which is very popular in Columbia. In Mexico, one can try the “Café de Olla,” with water, coffee, piloncillo (unrefined whole cane sugar) and a cinnamon stick. On the other side of the world in Australia and New Zealand it is common for locals to order a “flat white,” an espresso with steamed milk and foam; similarly, in Portugal “Galao” is made up of 3 parts foamed milk and one part coffee. In Portugal you can order at cafes “Mazagran” coffee, surely an interesting type since lemon juice and ice cubes are added to the shot of espresso! Austria makes coffee peculiarly as well, known as “Weiner Melange” it includes espresso, egg yolk, brown sugar and whipped cream; quite a heavy drink! Moving on to the Asian continent, in the autonomous region of Hong Kong, coffee, known as Yuanyang, is served with condensed milk and black tea, while in Vietnam it is served strong and hot, with condensed sweetened milk, making it rather a dessert and not a beverage.  Ethiopia has its own curious way of having coffee since it is considered a national drink. First of all it is a ritual to drink coffee, it lasts an hour and the drinker must inhale the aroma before sipping it slowly, it is also poured from three containers known as Awol, Tona and Baraka. As you can see, coffee is a crucial component of a nation’s culture, each region or country has its own way of processing, brewing and serving it.

Coffee has also been found to prevent breast cancer in women and according to the Harvard School of Public Health. Furthermore, studies show that people who drink 2 to 4 cups of coffee a day have a 50% less chance of committing suicide. Coffee contains caffeine, which after all is a mild drug that keeps your adrenaline level high and overall keeps you in a happy state!

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