Skip to content

Coffee Drinking Etiquette Around the World

Coffee has always been one of the top three most popular drinks worldwide. Yet, the proper way to consume coffee varies from continent to continent, and even from nation to nation. What is considered normal etiquette or good manners in one place, may be considered impolite elsewhere. You probably think coffee is coffee—no matter where you are, it’s all the same. But, you could not be more wrong. Just like foods vary from culture to culture, beverages do too! Let’s take a look at the way people drink coffee across the globe, so the next time you are traveling, you will fit right in with the locals! Ethiopia (Africa) Let’s start our trip in the African continent, and head to Ethiopia, the very birthplace of coffee itself. Coffee is an important part of every social gathering in Ethiopia. If you tend to drink coffee in a hurry, then you’ll have a hard time in Ethiopia. Coffee is considered a national drink, and drinking coffee is a ritual that usually lasts about two hours. When the ritual begins, sugar is first added into small cups, then the water, and finally the coffee. It is customary to take a moment to inhale the coffee’s aroma, before drinking. The coffee is served in three rounds, which you should sip very slowly. Italy (Europe) From Ethiopia, we’ll go northwest to Italy in Europe. When in Italy, you won’t be able to satisfy your coffee craving any time of day. Coffee is always ordered after meals, never before or during, and it can only be espresso without milk. It is also common practice to serve a glass of water alongside the coffee, which is to be drunk prior to it. This is done in order to cleanse the palate of any other tastes, and prepare it for the coffee. Never order espresso to-go, as it is considered very rude. In stark contrast to Ethiopia, espresso should be drunk quickly, as a shot at the coffee bar. Vietnam (Asia) Next, we head southeast to Vietnam in Asia. You will find coffee all over Vietnam, with cafés around every corner. Coffee in Vietnam is brewed in a small, metal filter that sits on top of a coffee mug. In this filter, the coffee grounds and water go in, and a flavorful coffee flows into the mug. It is a strong and very dark roast coffee, which is usually served with a few tablespoons of sweetened, condensed milk. For the most part, it is more commonplace to order an iced coffee instead of hot coffee. This is because hot coffee takes a bit longer to brew, and with the generally hot weather, iced coffee is just more refreshing. Most places in Vietnam will serve coffee along with an iced, unsweetened green tea to help you wash it all down. Brazil (South America) For our final stop, we’ll go far southwest to Brazil in South America. Coffee is surely the national drink for Brazil, and it is usually consumed a few times throughout the day. It is typically served very strong and especially sugary, though nowadays, you can order coffee according to your sweetness preferences. In public places, you will commonly be served coffee in small, plastic cups, very rarely in china. In Brazil, coffee is prepared by boiling water, adding the coffee, stirring it for a long time, and adding lots of sugar. Unlike the general coffee-making rule, Brazilian coffee is boiled, and when it tastes good, the coffee is poured through a cotton coffee sock. In casual restaurants and even in gas stations, you can usually ask the counter for a cafezhino (small coffee), and you will receive it free of charge.  Now that you know a thing or two about how coffee is prepared and served in different parts of the world, you will be ready to order coffee to your liking wherever you go. What coffee drinking etiquette, or ordering tips and tricks have YOU learned in your travels? Share it with us here, and happy globetrotting!  
Previous article Add More Flavor To Your Cold Brew With Infusions