Coffee lovers, it’s time to get some sugar and spice into your cup! If you are traveling to Africa, Central / South America, or Asia, we encourage you to drink like a native. These nine wonderful drinks are weaved into local tradition — from ceremonies to egg cream, we encourage you to explore the bounty of caffeine goodness before you!
As the birthplace of coffee, it should come as no surprise that sipping coffee in Africa is more of a lifetime experience than a beverage. When in Ethiopia, reserve an afternoon to participate in a traditional coffee ceremony. This beautiful ceremony begins with roasting the beans and ends with a stunning cup of coffee — most often shared with neighbors and new friends. Moving west to Morocco, sneak into a cozy restaurant or hotel and ask for a Moroccan spiced coffee. Similar to an American holiday spiced coffee, this incredibly rich, dense coffee sings with strong, harmoniously blended notes of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg, pepper, cardamom, and ginger. Now off the coast! Senegal is home to the spicy, pepper roasted café touba. Café touba has its origins in Sufi mystic tradition. Sufi monks roasted their coffee with Selim pepper (and occasionally clove) before evening prayers. The dark spicy, bitter brew helped them stay alert for evening prayers while the pepper was thought to provide medicinal benefits.
Travel tip: Moroccan spiced coffee is rarely made in cafés so you may need to turn on the charm for an opportunity to try this delicious brew.
While Asia may be best known for its tea, there is certainly no shortage of unique, tasty coffee options! First stop, Vietnam where protein-packed egg coffee steals the day. This velvety coffee is made with a whipped egg yolk and condensed milk mixture that produces a custard-like flavor. This fluffy, rich egg cream is then poured onto a very thick, bold cup of coffee. If you enjoy dense, sweet coffee with a kick, Vietnamese egg coffee should top your list! Next stop, Malaysia and a cup of Ipoh white coffee. Ipoh white coffee beans are slow roasted with sugar and palm margarine to produce a mild, almost-but-not-quite bitter cup with an incredible aroma and sweet aftertaste. Final stop, Hong Kong and yuenyeung. Yuenyeung, which translates into ‘lovebirds tea’, is made from brewed coffee and sweetened black milk tea. Refreshing, bold, and creamy, this unique blend is equally delicious served hot or cold.
Carribean & Central / South America
Strong, bright, and sweet is the way to go when traveling south of the border. Central and South America produce some of the world’s finest coffees and…they know how to flaunt it. First stop, Mexico, where you will be kicking yourself if you fail to try a café con olla. This wonderfully rich, sweetly spiced coffee is brewed with piloncillo and cinnamon in a traditional clay mug (the clay is essential in capturing the traditional flavor). We’ve found that seconds are almost always required. Next stop, Brazil* and the cafezinho, Brazilian’s go-to coffee. The cafezinho, which means “little coffee”, is similar to espresso in texture and mouthfeel but is brewed with sugar for added sweetness. Brewing with granulated sugar infuses this little drop of joy with an intense sweetness that plays well against the bitterness in the coffee. Final stop, Argentina, where we tone things down a with a café lagrima, or “teardrop” of coffee. The café lagrima, an espresso cup filled with warm milk topped with a touch or drop or coffee, is ideal for those seeking out ao decaf or very mellow coffee.
*The cafezinho is similar to a café cubano, an espresso brewed with demerara sugar.