Five Ways to Drink Coffee Around the World

Will travel for caffeine? Here’s where to get a coffee buzz across the globe.

Rome, Italy

Espresso gained popularity after manufacturer La Pavoni perfected the machine in 1905. Forcing scalding water through fine grounds produces a concentrated brew with a layer of crema on the surface.

At Sant’Eustachio Il Caffè near the Pantheon, Romans have sipped espresso since 1938.

Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

The French introduced coffee to Vietnam in 1857, so this creamy drink is a vestige of its colonial past.

Each is brewed with a single-serving metal filter (called a phin) resting on a cup that cradles spoonfuls of sweetened condensed milk. The mixture is stirred and poured over ice. Try it on the patio at Trung Nguyen coffee, one of the country’s largest chains, overlooking busy Pham Ngu Lao Street.

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

In coffee’s country of origin, visitors can experience a traditional coffee ceremony only in private homes. It involves roasting the fresh beans over coals and brewing the grounds three times while burning incense.

But modern Addis Ababa residents drink black coffee or even a macchiato at family-owned Tomoca in the bustling Piazza neighborhood.

Stockholm, Sweden

Sweden is one of the largest coffee consumers worldwide, possibly due to the tradition of fika.

The daily coffee break paired with a snack can take place at home, at work, or at a café like Vete-Katten in Stockholm. Its cinnamon buns or award-winning semlor (buns filled with almond paste and whipped cream) pair perfectly with a warm mug of drip brew.

Macau, China

Black tea, a remnant of English rule in Hong Kong, is filtered through a cloth and combined with sweetened condensed milk and coffee to make yuanyang.

Across the Pearl River Delta in Macau, World Record Coffee has served it for 45 years with a traditional accompaniment—charcoal-toasted bread drizzled with more of the syrupy milk.

This piece, written by Meredith Bethune, first appeared in the December 2015/January 2016 issue of National Geographic Traveler magazine. 

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  1. Thebooktrail
    February 21, 2016, 4:53 pm

    I have to say that I was totally surprised to see the coffee culture in Sweden but I lived there for a while and managed to sample quite a few. The coffee served in a long glass with a bun or two – the fika – is just one of the best things ever. There’s so many special cakes for each and every occasion and it’s rude not to try them! Try sitting out along the harbour somewhere with a Wayne’s Take away coffee. Aaah the best

  2. David
    Washington dc, USA
    January 1, 2016, 9:31 pm

    Tomoca Coffee in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia is truly the best. Tomoca Coffee has multiple branches in Addis Ababa including at the four star Radissson Blu Hotel and newly opened location around Bole Road next to the World Bank along with a dedicated roasting and packaging facility. With a presence in much of western Europe and Asia, a hub in Sweden and the US, Tomoca Coffee has opened its recent international outpost and retail operation in Japan last summer.

  3. Aduntoridas
    January 1, 2016, 12:58 pm

    Turkish coffee is a ‘must’ that should be in the list..

  4. Sarah Attaway
    Hanoi, Vietnam
    December 30, 2015, 5:24 am

    We have coffee with sweetened condensed milk in Hanoi too! However, Hanoi is famous for “ca phe trung” or egg coffee! The egg yolk is whisked together with sugar, condensed milk, cheese and butter and then mixed with the coffee! It may sound weird but it’s so yummy!

  5. Roger
    December 29, 2015, 2:12 pm

    The Vietnamese coffee I have had has chicory in it. And what about Turkish coffee with cardamom? It is excellent.