There are many things to celebrate about Europe; a huge diversity of art, culture and history. Some would say that there is a ‘Europeaness’ that binds us together but given the recent political climate, we can’t be so sure. However, there is one thing that unites us; coffee! The way in which different nations consume coffee really embodies and highlights the diversity across the European nations. We may share a universal love of coffee but there is no universal Café Culture and most of us are out there enjoying coffee in our own ways. As you’ll discover, even neighbouring countries can have distinct cultures and preferences. Read on for a brief insight into some of the ways we Europeans are taking our coffee.
Perhaps surprisingly, coffee is the UK’s favourite hot drink, having overtaken tea in recent years. Thankfully our taste has evolved from instant coffee, though most Brits do still generally prefer a mild, milky coffee. Cappuccinos and lattes are our favourite coffee shop orders, and many of us like to sweeten things up by adding syrups and flavourings.
Whilst the atmosphere of picturesque pavement cafés is typically extremely laid back, the French are serious about the coffee they’re consuming there, generally preferring a Café au Lait. This is traditionally made using strong coffee from a French press, rather than from an espresso machine, and hot milk, with equal measures of the two components.
Spain & Portugal
A similar drink in Spain and Portugal is referred to as a cortado. This also contains equal quantities of coffee and hot milk, but is generally small, being made with 2 shots of espresso, rather than French press brewed coffee.
Perhaps the first country that comes to mind when we think of good coffee, the Italians certainly take this matter very seriously. Most of our international coffee favourites derive from Italian classics, just like the latte and cappuccino. true Italians will be found savouring an espresso. Their several-times-daily intake of a strong espresso lets us know who’s really the boss of coffee culture.
Austria’s town and cities are dotted with elegant coffee houses, offering vast selections of indulgent cakes as well as great coffee. The most famous of these is probably the Wiener Melange, which is essentially the local variation of a cappuccino, being made with espresso, steamed milk and milk foam. Depending on where you order this, your Wiener Melange may even come topped with whipped cream!
The Irish do not hold back on their Irishness when it comes to coffee and take the opportunity to add a little something alcoholic. This is traditionally Irish whiskey, but many variations have now been conjured up using an assortment of different liquors.
Scandinavia is home to the world’s biggest coffee drinking nation: averaging at 8/9 cups per person per day, the Finnish are the biggest consumers of coffee per capita. This is a trend across Scandinavian countries and has led to some great traditions, such as ‘Fika’ in Finland. This happens particularly in workplaces, when everyone takes a break at the same time to share coffee, often alongside other treats such as small cakes or cinnamon buns. The coffee itself is straightforward, with Scandinavians often preferring simple black filter coffee. Milky variations such as lattes and cappuccinos are also available.
We have the Greeks to thank for the frappe, which is a favourite coffee-based cold drink during the warm summer months, but you have to be a little stronger to handle a traditional Greek coffee. In Greece, coffee is incredibly strong, and is made by dissolving coffee grounds, sometimes with sugar- depending on individual preference, on a stove top using a Briki. You then pour the coffee directly into your cup, allowing the grounds to remain in the bottom and the foam to rest on the top of your drink.
Travelling to all these different countries gives you the most authentic opportunity to experience each of these different variations of coffee. In the meantime, however, you can make most of them for yourself, your colleagues and your customers; just check out our range of commercial coffee machines!