But first, coffee.
Whether you’re mad for a mocha or loopy for a long black, there’s nothing quite like the warm embrace of a steaming cup of joe. And love for the strong stuff stretches way beyond these shores. People all over the world have their own unique ways of bringing the best out of the bean. So before you reach for your next cup, take a look at these incredible world coffees and see if any take your fancy. Bottoms up!
We start our journey out east. And in Thailand, the drink of choice is kaaffee tung. But rather than paper, it’s filtered through a fine cloth for an extra smooth texture. While this fruity coffee has a lovely undertone of coconut, locals prefer to sweeten the mix with sugar and condensed milk.
Next up, it’s Hong Kong – the home of the Yuenyeung. This distinctive cross between tea and coffee is unlike anything else out there. It’s made from three parts coffee and seven parts milky tea so you get all the mellowness of a cuppa with a punchy caffeine hit. Lovely hot or cold.
Japan is home to kan kohi (that’s canned coffee to you and me). These joes on the go come in a huge variety of flavours, including hazelnut, caramel and vanilla so sweet tooths rejoice! Just don’t get caught sipping it on the subway, as drinking in public is against local etiquette.
Next, to Hanoi and the brilliantly bonkers ca phe trung. Translated as ‘egg coffee’, this unique blend is made by combing egg yolk, condensed milk, sugar, butter and coffee. The result is a gloriously rich Tiramisu-like brew that’s perfect for an after-dinner treat.
The fourth-largest producer of coffee in the world, Indonesia is home to the wonderfully inventive Kupi Khop. Served on a plate in an upside-down glass, this milky brew comes with a straw to slurp up all the goodness. For an Indonesian hit that’s a little less hands-on, try our Grumpy Mule Sumatra blend.
For years, Australia and New Zealand have been fighting it out to be declared the birthplace of the flat white. And while it may seem fairly new in the UK, Aussies have been using the term for decades to describe the silky blend of espresso and microfoam. Starbucks officially credited Oz with the hipster favourite but I’m keeping schtum on this one.
If you’re a coffee purist, Morocco is the place for you. In the markets of Marrakesh, they blend a deliciously dark brew spiced with sesame, pepper and nutmeg. The result is a beautifully fragrant coffee that’s strong enough to keep you running all day long.
Unlike many brews, Turkish coffee or Türk kahvesi comes unfiltered. Prepared in a copper pot called a cezve, tastes can vary from sweet and fruity to peppery and spicy. The leftover grounds can even be used for fortune-telling. What does the future hold? Another coffee probably.
Brewed from 100% arabica coffee beans, Saudi Arabian qahwa is brewed using cardamon and saffron. This decadent coffee has some amazing health benefits and is known around the world as a powerful antioxidant. For a truly authentic cuppa, serve with dates in a handleless cup.
Known to cofficianados across the globe, yirgacheffe is ranked among the world’s best coffees. Grown high above the sea and hand-picked by local experts, this distinctive bean has a fabulously fruity flavour. It tastes even better alongside sweet treats like Coco Chocolatier’s cold brew coffee chocolate.
Moving west across Africa, we find Senegal’s famous cafe Touba. Like qahwa, it’s brewed from arabica beans but infused with cloves and black pepper. It’s genuinely spicy too. Whiskey drinkers will love its smokey heat.
Heading up into Europe, we find one of my favourites. Strong and sweet, Greece’s famous frappe is a favourite of locals and tourists alike. You can make it at home too. Just blend cold instant coffee, milk, sugar and ice cubes for a fabulously refreshing treat.
If you love all things sweet, Spain’s traditional cafe bombom is sure to delight. Born in Valencia, this decadent brew is made from equal parts espresso and condensed milk for a smooth, silky and seriously sweet coffee. Enjoy with papas fritas for a salty-sweet balance.
For many, Italy is the home of great coffee. And they don’t come more classic than the espresso Romano. It’s a single shot of espresso served with a fresh peel of lemon to bring out the coffee’s natural aromas. Best served with zingy gelato or a simple biscotti. Delizioso!
Berlin has one of the most experimental coffee scenes in Europe. But if you’re after something traditional, try a pharisäer. It’s a boozy beverage made with rum, whipped cream and super strong coffee. Definitely not for the faint-hearted.
Austria has been a must-visit for caffeine cravers for centuries. And locals will tell you a kaisemelange is the best of the best. This brew is made by mixing egg yolk and honey before adding strong black coffee. A subtly sweet blend with a decadent finish.
You may have tried butter in your coffee but have you tried cheese? Well, north Finland is home to the kaffeost – a strong black coffee with chunks of Finnish cheese. Served at the bottom of the cup, the cheese provides a pudding-like texture. There really is nothing else like it.
Who doesn’t love a good Irish coffee? Made from Irish whiskey, cream and coffee it’s the perfect way to round off a meal. For the real deal, coffee pilgrims should visit Bailey Bar on Dublin’s famous Grafton Street.
Hopping over the pond, you’ll find Mexico’s spectacular café de olla. Traditionally, this spiced coffee is prepared in an earthen clay pot using water, cinnamon and a raw dark sugar called piloncillo. Rich and fruity, it’s great if you’re looking for Christmas gift ideas.
Coffee has become a cornerstone of Cuba’s vibrant culture. And no coffee is more iconic than a café Cubano. It’s made by mixing piping hot espresso with a cooling sweetened crema. Short and sweet, it’s the perfect coffee to enjoy at any time of day.
Though Argentina doesn’t produce coffee of its own, its thriving coffee culture is among the best in the world. And a café lagrima is a real staple. It’s an espresso cup filled with milk with just a dash of coffee. Like a more mellow cortado, it’s perfect for part-time coffee drinkers.
Where better to finish our journey than Columbia? Its well-balanced beans are perfect for a classic café con leche. Made from equal parts strong coffee and scalded milk, it’s similar to a latte but with a less creamy finish.
Got a coffee lover in your life? Check out our range of food and drink gifts including brewers, blends and books and keep them sipping all year long.