We could say that coffee is a universal beverage, popular all around the world. Coffee is a beverage we reach when we wake up and we want to feel energized. But there are differences in the way we consume coffee in different countries. How do people consume coffee in Europe, why do they love it so much, and which European cities offer the best coffee experiences? Keep reading to find out!
Coffee Culture in Europe
Europeans love their coffee! It’s not just about the taste and the energy it gives you, but also about the ritual of sitting down and slowly enjoying your cup of this magical beverage, possibly while chit-chatting with a group of friends.
If you travel to a city with a strong coffee culture, you just have to visit at least one of its best coffee places and try to blend among the locals as well as you can.
Have you ever wondered which country is the leader when it comes to coffee consumption? No, it’s not Italy, it’s Finland! Each Finn consumes about 12 kilograms of this divine beverage each year, which is more than double of what Italians drink. Wonder why? We’re guessing it’s because of those long and dark winters…
Coffee, or “kahvi“, in Finnish, was more about quantity than quality in Finland, until recently when a lot of new coffeehouses opened in the capital. They’re mostly new, hip places, decorated in the classic minimalistic Scandi style that attracts so many tourists who visit Helsinki. Even if you find yourself on some other Finnish location, you will stumble upon a great café where you can relax and have a cup of your favorite beverage.
If you’re wondering what to order, a classic Americano is always a good choice. Be sure to add Korvapuusti — a sweet cinnamon roll to your order and dip it your coffee, just like Finns do.
Vienna is known for its coffee culture that has been a thing for centuries. Many famous Viennese artists, especially writers, used to work at the cafés quite often. They were always the favorite places to meet up with other artists, they were basically like other living room, just like they often are for Viennese people nowadays.
There are all kinds of cafés all around Vienna. Some of them are old and traditional, and some are more modern and hip places where you can try different kinds of coffee — there are special mixes, cold brews, and more. When you get to a café in Vienna, you’ll see so many options on the menu! If you’ve never visited Vienna before, you probably won’t have an idea what to order. We recommend Melange — a Viennese classic similar to a cappuccino, topped with half foamed milk and half hot milk. Another great option is Einspänner, topped with whipped cream, and if you fancy an Americano simply ask for a Verlängerter (“longer”).
No matter which café and coffee you choose, enjoying a cup in the Austrian capital will be a unique social experience among the locals.
Did you know that in 2014, Italy was ranked 12th among the countries which consume the largest amount of coffee in the world? Yep, they take their coffee seriously.
Still, unlike most of the other European nations, Italians aren’t the ones that will sit down and sip their favorite beverage for hours. No, they enjoy their coffee in a quick shot, usually standing at the counter — at least when it comes to the first espresso in the morning. Cappuccinos and lattes might be enjoyed for a bit longer.
If you really want to try the best coffee in Italy, head to Rome. The capital is a place where it’s impossible to have a bad coffee. This historic city is full of great coffee places, especially around Pantheon where you’ll find some of the oldest cafés in Rome. But if you’re looking for a place that is a bit more modern and trendy, head to Piazza Madonna dei Monti, it is lined with many popular coffee houses where you’ll meet younger coffee-lovers.
French people also consume a lot of coffee — each person drinks approximately 5.4 kilograms of this beverage per year. You might think it’s a lot, but in reality, it’s so normal for a Parisian.
Unlike Italians, people in Paris love to enjoy their cup of coffee slowly, without a rush. So, when in Paris, you should definitely do the same. If you’re about to order your first coffee in the morning, prepare yourself not for a cup, but sometimes even for a bowl of coffee!
You’re probably wondering why they serve it in a bowl, just like we did. As breakfast coffee is often served with some delicious croissants, you will get it in a bowl so you can dip those croissants in it.
Have you ever had such breakfast? It’s a unique experience, indeed. Also, don’t forget to enjoy people-watching while you’re sipping your coffee, it’s one of the most popular activities in Paris.
Coffee in Istanbul is a bit different than in Western European countries. Just like the city represents a mixture of East and West, the coffee culture is a mix of European, Greek, and Armenian cultures.
In Istanbul, you can try the traditional Turkish coffee. It’s nothing like espresso that you might be used to. Turkish coffee is made with finely ground coffee, boiled with water and sugar if you prefer it sweet, and it’s served in a small copper pot called cezve.
Besides just being among the favorite beverages you can enjoy with a group of people, coffee is tied to a few traditional Turkish customs and is used for fortune-telling. Once the cup is empty, you turn it upside down onto the saucer and leave it like that for a bit. Later, a fortune-teller takes that cup and reads your future from the patterns made by the coffee grounds left on the bottom of the cup.
If you find yourself in a coffeehouse in Istanbul, order Turk Kahvesi, which is a traditional Turkish brew. Also, it is often served with lokum, a traditional Turkish delight with different flavors, such as rosewater, mastic, Bergamot orange, or lemon.
Whatever your European destination might be, you’ll have some great options for enjoying a nice cup of coffee. Europeans really know how to prepare and enjoy this fine beverage, and if you’re a coffee-lover you’ll fit in just fine.
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