I love coffee and I drink from two to four cups of coffee every day, therefore, I decided to explore my coffee experiences around the world and at home. I will also present a guest contribution about Neapolitan coffee by Paolo Barissano.
Coffee and its good qualities
Coffee is a very controversial subject. Some say it’s good for health, some say it’s not. Still some experts suggest drinking coffee every day as a natural source of antioxidants. They say a cup of coffee contains 17 times more antioxidants than a banana.
Latvians and coffee and me
I am Latvian and here is something special about Latvian coffee drinking habits. Most Latvians still prefer white coffee or coffee with milk. The most popular kinds are Latte and Cappuccino. I can say I am more a Scandinavian type of coffee drinkers because 75% of them prefer black coffee.
When I was a child, my parents did not allow me to drink coffee at all because they made it very strong and in their opinion it was not good for children to drink. I actually tasted my first cup of coffee just before my 18th birthday and I didn’t like it. So bitter! But with time I started to get used to it. For many years, I was drinking coffee with sugar, but now for about ten years already I drink it just black and no sugar. It allows me to feel the full taste of it. I prefer it black and hot from a coffee machine, and on weekends I drink it in the morning while still in bed. Of course I also drink coffee when I travel. I very much prefer hotels with coffee machines at breakfast but it’s very hard to find out if they have them before you actually come because it’s not usually stated in hotel description. My favorite coffee drinking countries are Austria and Turkey.
Here are some of my recent coffee drinking experiences in four countries.
Istanbul learned about coffee from one of the kings of Ethiopia who brought coffee beans as a present to a sultan. Since then they have achieved a high level of mastery in coffee preparation and still believe you can make real coffee only from beans from Ethiopia or Yemen. Turkish coffee pots are called “cezve” and made mostly of copper. The essential ingredient of Turkish coffee is cardamom and even though I usually drink coffee without sugar, some sugar is a must to fully feel the special taste of Turkish coffee. One of my most memorable Turkish coffee experiences was at Özgür Hedef Et Mangalbaşı restaurant near Blue Mosque in Istanbul.
The coffee cup itself was a piece of art and the taste was incredible. Turkish coffee comes in a small cup (espresso size), and has a large amount of sediment at the bottom. Turkish coffee is not filtered, so attempting to drain your cup is really not a good idea.
The Turks have got a saying, think before you drink coffee with someone because you will be tied by friendship with this person for forty years.
When I was visiting Cyprus, I thought it would be a great opportunity for me to taste real Turkish coffee there. I landed in Larnaca airport and decided to explore the city. It was a nice November day and the beach was quite empty. I decided to combine the two: the beach view and a great cup of coffee. I was sitting at the table outside and enjoying the view. After a while I got my ordered coffee and it was a great disappointment. It was instant coffee which I do not drink at all and it was not cheap. Only later I learned that in Cyprus you have to specifically state that you want Turkish coffee, otherwise you end up like me: with a great view and undrinkable coffee.My second attempt for a coffee with a view in Cyprus was in Kyrenia. It was much more successful and this time I got both coffee and a view to the bay and old Kyrenia castle.
To my big surprise, only when I was already in Vietnam, I found out that Vietnam is the second biggest coffee producer in the world after Brasil. It’s just disappointing that 97% of all coffee produced is lower quality Robusta and Arabica is just the rest 3%. Still they specialize in producing exclusive Kopi Luwak, or civet coffee, that includes part-digested coffee cherries eaten and defecated by the Asian palm civet. I did not try it, was not too fond of the idea for some reason, but I tried regular European coffee with a view in a restaurant next the Hoan Kiem Lake in Hanoi.
The next day I had traditional Vietnamese coffee with a view on a Silvercruise ship in Halong bay. This coffee is prepared in front of you, put in a filter on top of your coffee glass. Through a dripper, the coffee slowly gets into your glass. The Vietnamese drink it with sweet condensed milk.
My other experience of Vietnamese coffee without a view was a breakfast at the Mountain View hotel before visiting the beautiful Paradise cave and other caves in the area.
New Zealand coffee
I didn't think New Zealand was a coffee country but it really is. They say that a kiwi David Strang has invented the world's first instant coffee. Another kiwi, Derek Townsend, claims to have given the world its first flat white. But there are disputes about it with Australians who say they were the first. Most kiwis can’t function without a cup of coffee in the morning, just like me, and employees spend a fair bit of time around the coffee machine at work. New Zealand’s per capita consumption ranks among top 20 in the world, at 0.94 cup per day, according to the statistics portal Statista.com. This is ahead of the US per capita consumption (at 0.93 cup) but below Netherlands, at 2.41 cups, and Finland, at 1.85 cups per day.
Flat white has become the nation's unofficial national beverage. It is prepared by pouring micro foam (steamed milk with small, ﬁne bubbles and a glossy or velvety consistency) over a double shot of espresso. I tried one at a restaurant on the Bob’s Peak, brought there by a Skyline Gondola. It was a great experience.
Italian coffee in Naples by Paolo Barissano
I’m Paolo Barissano, I got University Degree in Economics. I like reading, bicycling, animals, walks and swimming. Now I’m heading a Bed and Breakfast in Naples.
One of the best places to enjoy your coffee is Naples, Italy. I know this from firsthand experience. Italians love their coffee and know how to brew it well.I visited the city of Naples for a business conference and everyone recommended I try out their coffee. This was an amazing chance so I decided to give the coffee a try.
I got into a lovely little roadside cafe in downtown Naples where travelers love to spend their time. Here I met quite a number of business executives from different European capitals. They also wanted to savor the Italian coffee.
The coffee house was not big but was had soft light from ceiling and wall lights. The tables had Formica tops and tiled floors. The seats were comfortable. My coffee was served in a pot with a pint of milk in a smaller pot. I savored the smell of the coffee. It was strong and sweet with a sweet aroma. Nothing whets the appetite more than the aroma of freshly brewed coffee. I love my coffee with a slice of chocolate cake.
So I poured coffee into a bone china mug. It was large enough to hold a good amount. I filled the mug 3/4 way with coffee then added some milk. I added a teaspoon of sugar. The coffee was hot and well brewed. It tasted absolutely great with a dash of spicy flavor. In no time, I had emptied the coffee pot. I enjoyed the Neapolitan coffee and would love the other people did the same.
What was your most memorable coffee experience while traveling? Share it in the comments section!
Author: Anita Sāne
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