5 Types of Coffee from Around the World

If you’re like many Americans, you wake up each morning, hit “start” on the coffee machine, and then start on your day with a cup of freshly brewed coffee. In fact, 62% of Americans drink coffee daily. While Americans generally prefer drip coffee, unique coffee cultures exist across the world. Here a few worth exploring:

1. Turkish Coffee

The taste of Turkish coffee will likely be familiar to Americans, but the way in which it is brewed is incredible. Large pans of sand are heated from below. Next, water, fine coffee grounds, and sugar are added to a small copper saucepan (called an ibrik or cezve) and stirred together. The saucepan is then placed on the heated sand and brought to a boil. As soon as the boiling coffee begins to foam, it is removed from the heat and poured into a small cup.

While the heated sand is found mainly in commercial coffee shops, the same method of heating in an ibrik can be used on a stovetop. Ibriks can be purchased in multiple sizes but are often only used to brew two to three small cups of coffee at a time.

2. Cowboy Coffee

Surprising as it may seem, cowboys on the long cattle trails couldn’t quite manage to pack a Keurig into their saddlebags. They weren’t able to bring the French press along either, though this preparation isn’t very different. Instead, they made do with a genuinely traditional American coffee. Water is brought to a rolling boil over a fire, then removed from heat. Coarse grounds are added, stirred, then allowed to sit for three to five minutes. Rather than filtering, cold water is poured over the top of the brew to settle the grounds to the bottom of the pot. The coffee is then slowly poured into your mug to avoid disturbing the settled grounds. Voila! Cowboy coffee straight from the range.

The advantage to this method of brewing is that it produces strong coffee without requiring many implements. There are no filters to worry about, and brewing with a coarsely ground bean means that you can grind the beans yourself by hand, if necessary. While serious hikers and outdoorsmen today generally prefer instant coffee powder, cowboy coffee can be easily made on the stove or around a campfire, with almost any type of kettle.

3. Café de Olla

This coffee preparation combines the bold flavor of coffee with the cozy comfort of something like hot chocolate. Coffee is brewed within a large earthen vessel, then flavored with a cinnamon stick and piloncillo, a form of raw cane sugar sold in small blocks. Piloncillo can be found in the Mexican food section of most grocery stores, alongside cinnamon and even Mexican coffee.

To make café de olla, add two cinnamon sticks and 2 tablespoons of piloncillo to a pot of water and bring to boil, allowing the sugar to dissolve and cinnamon to tint the water. Add 6 tablespoons of coffee at rolling boil, stir, then remove from heat, and allow it to brew for three to five minutes. Once brewed, you may serve the coffee directly in a clay mug or strain prior to serving. Fans of the method say that the earthenware is an essential part, as it imparts its own flavor to the drink. Café de olla literally means “coffee from pot,” so they may be onto something. If you like a sweet coffee, this is certainly one to try. Some variants of this method include other spices such as cloves, star anise, or orange peel, so feel free to experiment with the flavors you like.

4. Nordic Cheese Coffee

You´ve likely heard rumors of people who put butter in their coffee. Perhaps you have a friend on the Keto diet who swears by it. If you´re feeling adventurous, try one-upping them with cheese coffee. This method comes from Sweden and Finland, where small cubes of kaffeost, or “coffee cheese” are placed in the bottom of the mug, then hot coffee is poured on top. The cheese is not meant to melt but to become soft and lend its flavor to the brew. When the coffee is finished, the softened cheese can be spooned onto a piece of bread and enjoyed.

Unfortunately for those outside of the Nordic world, “coffee cheese” can be difficult to find, and not any cheese will do. You might be able to purchase the Finnish cheese online, or if you’re adventurous, you can try making your own cheese at home, though you might have to translate some Swedish or Finnish to find a recipe.

5. Arabic Coffee with Rose and Spices

This method is a personal favorite but might be one that takes some getting used to. Fans of chai tea may be interested, as some of the common chai spices overlap with this style of coffee. Strong coffee is brewed with cardamom, cloves, cinnamon, and nutmeg. The drink is finished with the addition of rosewater, which elevates the drink with a deliciously bitter, floral note.

Rosewater can be a challenge to find in the United States these days but is common in Middle Eastern and Indian desserts. You may need to visit a specialty shop or order it online if your grocery store doesn’t carry it. Be sure when purchasing that you buy food-grade rosewater, as rosewater is sometimes sold as an essential oil for diffusers and beauty products. Those essential oils are not safe for consumption, so read carefully before you buy.

As you can see, coffee is far from monolithic in the way we enjoy it. Cultures around the world brew it differently, with different spices and flavorings, and serve it with different treats. With so many ways to drink coffee, who could ever get bored with it?

If you want world-class coffee on command, try Hugo Coffee Roaster’s single serve coffee bags or cold brew coffee bags. And while you enjoy, you can know that you’re saving animals. A portion of our profits goes to support rescue dogs, spay and neuter operations, vaccines, dog shelters, and more. Drink, enjoy, and be part of our “paws-itive” impact.