Coffee is arguably the universal beverage term globally. Even in a foreign country where one doesn’t speak the native language, one would on the bare minimum be able to order a cup of coffee. We cannot make a case for this argument without appreciating Europe for giving us a good dose of contribution to its prominence. Not just in terms of words and names, but importantly, how we make and enjoy coffee. Italy gave us the espresso machine and the name latte. Both form the core of coffee drinks and every café worth its salt has the aforementioned. Europe is also the biggest consumer of coffee drinks.
Coffee, being an integral part of day to day life in Europe, the purpose and occasions to partake coffee is well defined. The type of coffee used in brewing drinks also matter a great deal. While most of the countries consume and pride themselves in their home grown coffees, which give them a fresh source for the refreshment, they pay attention to exotic varieties to savor unique tastes. They therefore heavily rely on imports.
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As mentioned in the introduction, we owe it to Italians for being the source of the most versatile base for most of our coffees. Thus, espresso is deeply ingrained in European coffee drinking culture, and in Italy in particular. Espresso is made by forcing steam under high pressure through roasted coffee beans in an espresso machine. The result is a highly concentrated coffee drink which is generally bitter as is for a lot of people, but a favorite for Italians. It’s either taken in single shots, which you can enjoy in these miniature mugs, or doubles called caffe doppio. It is enjoyed any time of the day but is more preferred after dinner.
Cappuccinos, which are made from equal parts espresso, milk and froth milk, are consumed in the morning amongst Italians.
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This is basically a cappuccino with more milk. The milk- to- espresso- ratio is usually 3:1. It is consumed in Croatia, alongside the Macchiato, which is a latte topped with chocolate and sometimes whipped cream. Latte is also dominant in Denmark. Danes consider it a social drink, thus, is mostly enjoyed in groups at homes or coffee bars.
With all this talk about cappuccinos, we say it’s about time to treat yourself to an at-home cappuccino machine! Try this one from Mr. Coffee.
Caffe Au Lait
This is another variant of latte, but unlike the original latte, the coffee used to make this drink is brewed rather than the espresso in latte. The result is that it becomes weaker than the latte made from with espresso. In Europe, French people indulge in Caffe au lait mostly in the morning. Which means it is a breakfast beverage consumed in homes and cafes. The French are unlikely to have Caffe au lait at any time of the day beyond breakfast.
Belgium is also a big consumer of caffe au lait. In most instances, the drink is topped with whipped cream, chocolate and cinnamon. Get a glimpse of how wonderful caffe au laits taste with these at-home coffee pods from Nescafe.
Kaffee is a German specialty. The name, itself, is a direct translation of coffee to German. While Germany is known better for beers, coffee consumption in the country surpasses that of beer. Germans forgo the espresso machine, opting for the old- school drip filter. The drip process gives Kaffe its distinct strong but mild in flavor and bitterness taste. Kaffe pairs well with the beer-drinking culture— with a strong suggestion that it cures hangovers. This explains why its consumers prefer it black and is the default way to enjoy Kaffe in Germany.
The Turk Kahvesi is a Turkish coffee that inspires how a number of other Middle Eastern and South Eastern European countries prepare their coffee. It uses very finely ground coffee beans. Any beans can be used, but Arabica is the most preferred. The preparation method is by bringing to boil the ground coffee, water and sugar. Try boiling your water in this electric kettle! It works amazing, we have it in our office to use for hot tea. The reason for paying particular attention to the fine grind is because it is consumed as suspension in the drink. Little residues remain at the bottom of the cups. Other countries which use versions of Turk Kahvesi are Cyprus, Bulgaria and Greece.
Additionally, to its version of Kahvesi, Greece consumes its own invention known as Frappe. This is coffee made from instant coffee, ice, sugar and evaporated milk.
Kahvi is Finnish coffee made using lightly roasted beans and brewed through the traditional filter method. Espresso or cappuccino is largely unheard of among the Fins. This is quite ironic, given Finland accounts for the highest consumption per person in a single country. The coffee culture in Finland is so deep rooted that there are two mandatory 15 coffee breaks in work places. How awesome is that! Kahvi is had daylong right from breakfast to dinner. Interestingly, even with such a widespread usage, coffee is least social in Finland. While other European countries and the world socialize over coffee, Kahvi is a conversation ‘killer’ rather than starter. This is because Finnish people have their kahvi in silence. Probably because coffee was for the longest time considered medicinal in Finland!
Netherlands is also among the top coffee consumers in Europe. Its traditional Koffie Verkeerd is basically coffee with milk. However, it is not the predominant style to have coffee. The Dutch have an expansive taste in coffee which spans lattes, cappuccinos, flat whites, as well as several varieties specific to cafes. Netherlands has a huge barista culture, which makes coffee indulgence a truly appreciated affair.
The Kawa, coffee in Poland, has dozens of varieties to it. Polish coffee culture is more of a specialty, ergo, why they have a lot of varieties of the kawa to suit the individual tastes of the people. It can be black, white, sweetened, frothy… you name it. Poland probably has the simplest and easiest coffee making procedure. To make black Kawa, one adds a few spoons of ground coffee to hot water, wait for it to sink, and it is ready to drink. Easy peasy!
Without doubt, Europe is not only a leader in both coffee production and consumption, it is an eclectic at it.
Have you had the chance to devour any of Europe’s coffee varieties? What’s your favorite? Let us know in the comments below!
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Thanks for reading and learning about 8 popular drinks in Europe, we’ll brew ya later! ☕️