International Coffee Day is coming up this Sunday, but I wanted to celebrate early and share a new blog post with everyone. Plus, its actually National Coffee Day in United States, so I have a good excuse. This amazing holiday is actually a day dedicated to raising awareness about fair trade practices in the coffee industry as well as sustainable coffee cultivation. But it's also a day for savouring your favourite coffee beverage! :)
I love coffee. I love in the morning, at night or any other time of the day. I love the taste of coffee, but most of all I love all the different rituals of coffee drinking. I love drinking it alone, or with friends and family. Either way, it’s an excuse to slow down, socialize and even daydream. And if not, well at least it will wake you up in the morning. :)
So why is coffee one of the best parts of travel?
YOU CAN PEOPLE WATCH AND GET TO KNOW A PLACE
Having a cup of coffee and people watching is my favourite pastime and it's one of the best ways to familiarize yourself with a new city, or neighbourhood. It's amazing how much you can learn by just observing. Not only are you taking in everything around you for the first time, but you're also having a local coffee and maybe even be enjoying a new coffee ritual.
YOU CAN LEARN ABOUT NEW COFFEE RITUALS AND MAKE NEW FRIENDS
The coffee rituals vary from place to place and some are more interesting than others. I've always been so fascinated by the different customs and traditions associated with drinking coffee as well as the different forms of making and drinking coffee. So the next time you're somewhere across the world, have a cup of coffee somewhere, and you might be surprised how much you learn! It might even turn into a history lesson or you might make a new friend! Coffee time is all about socializing anyway, right? Well, maybe not everywhere....
Growing up in former Yogoslavia, coffee time was always a time for socializing with family and friends. People could sit for hours, drinking the same cup of coffee while gossiping and discussing politics. Coffee in Bosnia is very similar to Turkish coffee. It’s finely ground and very strong! The sugar is added during the preparation and it’s served in a copper or brass pot. In Bosnia, coffee is served the same way alongside rohut lokum (Turkish delight), sugar cubes or chocolate squares.
I remember drinking coffee with my grandmother. First, She would take a sugar cube and put it in her mouth, take a sip of the coffee and let the sugar dissolve. Sometimes one sugar cube would last for the entire cup. Now that’s a skill! Then, she would flip the cup and let it sit upside down for a few minutes before she started to read my fortune. This was my favourite part!
A word that is often used to describe how you feel when you drink coffee is ceif, which means a state of good mood, pleasure and enjoyment.
Here’s an interesting explanation: “…ćeif is something special regarding which probably no other nation knows. As Bosnians have ćeif, so do the French have their esprit…but between these two kinds of spirit there is a big difference. While esprit can be connected to vibrancyand enthusiasm, ćeif means that someone’s body and spirit has been calmed down….During the Ottoman period, coffeehouses were places of silence; men would sit on pillows on the floor and would experience ćeif while smoking their long cigarette. Today, things are a bit different, since coffeehouses are not filled with people in a deep contemplative mood- though people still deeply enjoy drinking coffee. They still feel ćeif when they drink it. Today it is about taking the time to enjoy, while drinking coffee – even two or three cups in one coffeehouse. And interestingly, not feeling anxious after drinking so much caffeine.” (www.balkanalysis.com)
In North America culture, coffee tends to be on the go and something you drink in the morning as a caffeine fix. The bigger the cup, the better. Coffee is not really meant for socializing. People in coffee shops are usually on their computers, reading or listening to music. A popular coffee drink is the Americano, which in my opinion, is the worst idea ever. Adding water to an espresso is like adding water to wine. WHY?!?
In Italy, the coffee is always good. The espresso is meant to be drunk fast, like a shot at the bar. I am also not a fan of this either, since I like to take my time with coffee. That’s why they have the cappuccino, but you're only suppose to drink it in the morning. A glass of water is normally served with every coffee, and if you want a shot of liquor, just ask for the caffe corretto. The cappuccino or caffe machiato was my favourite coffee drink of choice until I discovered the cortado (a popular coffee drink in Spain). My new love and the perfect blend of the two.
Vietnamese coffee is another favourite. It’s very strong and it’s served in a drip filter. It smells amazing and you can drink it hot or cold. The best part is that it’s served with a side of condensed milk. If you add it to the coffee, it becomes sweet and delicious! The Vietnamese also take time to prepare their coffee and enjoy it over a good conversation.
Indonesia surprised me in the best way possible. We fell in love with the coffee! It’s strong, with low acidity and robust flavours. Drinking coffee in Indonesia is an important part of people’s everyday life and you can witness the coffee culture on the streets. People normally drink their coffee black with sugar, but also with spices and herbs like lemongrass, cardamom, cinnamon and ginger. There is also the Kopi Luwak coffee, which refers to a process where a palm civet ingests a coffee chery and poops it out. Then, the coffee is washed, dried and roasted. Because of the process is pretty laborious, it's also the most expensive coffee in the world!
Cuba is another country with strong social coffee traditions, much like Turkey, Ethiopia, Bosnia and other parts of former Yugoslavia. The Cubans love to have their coffee while socializing with friends and family. The coffee is strong bodied and usually made with a stove top espresso maker.
Whether you're having a cortado in Spain, café au lait in France, cafezinho in Brazil, tinto in Colombia, or cafe con leche in Cuba - it's always a beautiful experience.
But you don't have to travel far to have coffee form around the world. You can join the Atlas Coffee Club, a travel themed coffee club that shares coffee and culture from a new country each month. Explore the world's best coffee from Tanzania, Ethiopia, Burundi and beyond!
Use Discount Code: AtlasCoffeeDay17 and enjoy your first bag of coffee for free (just pay shipping) when you sign up for a new subscription! Every month, a new and exotic bag of coffee will be delivered to your door, PLUS a postcard from that country! Atlas only ships to Unites States at the moment, but they are coming to Canada soon!
Plus they have a really cool blog! I was reading a few of the articles the other day and I kept thinking to myself, how interesting all the information was. For example, I didn't know that:
- El Salvador was one of the first countries to introduce new technology to coffee plantations, making them one of the leading innovative producers in the industry.
- Since 2011, Honduras has become Central America’s top coffee producer, the world’s 7th top producer, and the world’s second largest exporter of high quality Arabica.
- About 90% of coffee in Dominican Republic is Organic and green as farmers do not use pesticides or fertilizer. Coffee is also the Dominican national non-alcoholic drink! (Time to start buying more coffee from Dominican Republic!)
Interesting, right? You can read more in their Travel Archives.
Want to learn more about brewing better at home? Check out these How to Make Coffee guides by Atlas!