Humans across the planet follow a similar daily ritual: wake up, drink coffee. It’s a lifeblood for many, and not just those with a shiny green Starbucks on their work route. Where the culture splits, however, is in the ingredients. Americans wouldn’t take lightly to the addition of lemon, pepper, or cheese with their daily javas, but elsewhere, these ingredients are bona fide.
Here is the breakdown of how coffee flows, internationally:
Served hot or cold, this drink has a 3-to-7 ratio of black coffee to Hong Kong-style cream, making it a rudimentary mix of black tea and milk. The unlikely combo gives it a punchy flavor, but is not for the wayfaring sweet tooth.
Lemon, lemon, and more lemon. Hailing from Algerian influences, the people of Portugal fix up a ripe combination of lemon soda and espresso, giving a kick to modern coffee.
Do you ever wake up with a craving for cheese? If not, you can rule out Finnish heritage, since the Finns like their hot coffee toppled on a bed of cheese curd, or juustoleipä. Unnatural to most of us, this savory combination is quite popular in the Northern Scandinavian states.
The Germans never resist an opportunity to put their famed chocolate in the spotlight. This morning buzz, a mix of black coffee, rum, and sugar, will wake your sweet urges, especially if you do like the locals and top with whipped cream and chocolate shavings.
Maybe you’ve heard of the frappé: iced instant coffee meets a mecca of milk foam. This summery chilled drink is a favorite among the Greeks, and it’s no surprise that these sweeter details make the difference.
Café de Olla–Mexico
Mexico puts true delicatessen to the test by serving their Café de Olla with piloncilo (unrefined sugar) and a cinnamon stick, all in a handmade clay mug for enhanced flavor. Craftsmanship makes the coffee.
When equal parts condensed milk meets black coffee, the results are sure to inspire sweet tooths. Spain takes a sugary dive with their choice drink, making for a thicker, beloved daily coffee.
This simple delicacy is an Aussie favorite, and one that involves the careful pouring of microfoam (a thick, steamy milk) over a shot of espresso, giving it the finishing touch of any perfect brunch order.
The Irish go full throttle with their homeland classic. This drink is fair amounts of hot coffee and Irish whiskey, which is ultimately steeped with sugar and topped with a rich cream. A true Irishman’s breakfast.
Café au Lait–France
Ah, the French are well-known for their brunching tactics. And this coffee, which is dual parts steamed milk and fresh brew, is a timeless take on what American coffee experiences. The trick is to serve it in a large cup, perfect for croissant-dipping and dainty, two-handed holds alike.
A well-known order from any true coffeehouse, the Italians add a sour twist to their espressos with the addition of a lemon slice. Rumor has it, lemon helps reduce the javas sweet tendencies.
In the land where spice lovers join forces, the morning coffee regime is no different. Black pepper, cinnamon, cardamom, clove, and nutmeg melt into standard dark coffee, giving it a rich, rural taste that so many crave when making their morning routes.