Coffee in every country has a different meaning—if it is drunk there at all. In some places, it's used to initiate a business transaction, in others to host someone, in others to comfort, in others to bond over conversation, in others to finish a meal on a lazy afternoon. Here at Kaleidoscope, where we admittedly do most things with a cup of coffee in our hand, we can tell you a thing or two about coffee around the world, and what to expect wherever you find yourself.
Here is what we've learned about coffee from some of our favorite destinations.
- Turkey: Turkish coffee is often prepared in an "ibrik," a small copper stove-top pitcher with a long wooden handle that's made specifically for preparing coffee. The grounds are added directly into the water and then boiled. Turkish coffee is generally super thick and as black as my soul. Sometimes it's prepared with cardamom and sugar for a really exciting and sweet treat. The bottom line is: if you're on a layover in the Istanbul airport, you really do not need to order a Venti drip coffee at Starbucks. You can take my word for it.
- Thailand: Thailand is really known for its tea, so our number one piece of advice is to just probably order that. It's red, it's rich, it's delicious, it has this other-worldly flavor like all of the best culinary specialties. The biggest takeaway from Thai tea is this little secret: sweetened condensed milk in your coffee. It's thicker and more delicious than regular-old coffee creamer. You'll never take it any other way.
- Tunisia: As a French-colonized country, Tunisia reflects this influence in its coffee culture. A friend of mine once saw a barista in France re-use Nestle espresso grounds for two different drinks. Long story short, if you go to Tunisia, it might be hit or miss, but you can hopefully expect to get some good, cheap, strong, dark run-of-the-mill espresso that will keep you going strong on your Kaleidoscope trip.
- Italy: I only know how to do two things in Italian: say "I would like to go bungee-jumping" and order any kind of coffee. Probably my number one most favorite thing about going to Italy in general is being able to order a "cappuccino" with an unabashed accent. Coffee here is the mother of all of the most popular drinks that we love to order at Starbucks, and it's a super fun place to explore the world of espresso.
- United States: You can guarantee that at any diner or hotel breakfast bar, you're going to be able to find some watery, brownish liquid that, with some heavily-flavored CoffeeMate, will become palatable enough to fuel your road trip. Plus, it's probably more hydrating than other, stronger forms of coffee, and we Americans do love drinking water. Craft roasts here also tend to be really acidic and fruity. Basically, I don't harbor much love for coffee in this country.
- Korea: Korea coffee culture is dope. There are more brightly-lit, adorably-decorated places to pop into for a cup than you could ever hope to get to. And might we recommend going to one that hosts sheep, cats, or dogs? (0/10 would recommend the raccoon cafe.)
One place where we don't know much about the coffee is South America—we've never been! We know that in Guatemala they sometimes put a little bit in a baby's bottle, and some of our favorite roasts come from there, but that's about it! What can you tell us about coffee culture there?