Coffee Cultures Around the World

Posted: Nov 8, 2017 3:28:46 PM

Coffee Culture Around the WorldDrinking coffee in the morning or afternoon; buying a cup at a small shop or big chain; serving experienced coffee consumers or those still learning. Coffee cultures around the world are as different as the destinations themselves, and are often an expression of the local culture as a whole.

From Taiwan to Italy, South Africa to Mexico, the coffee champions in the Urnex Ambassador Program hail from all over the globe. They are each closely connected by the passion they hold for specialty coffee, but the different methods of preparing, serving and drinking coffee make for distinct coffee experiences in each of their home countries, and an interesting comparison between them.

We asked our Ambassadors what makes the coffee culture in their country different:

What's unique about coffee culture in your country?

U.S. Barista Champions Kyle Ramage and Lem Butler
U.S. Barista Champions Kyle Ramage (left) and Lem Butler (right).

Luis Feria, Mexico: “Mexico has a perfect climate for the planting of coffee, and due to its very fertile soil, a great variety of coffee can be planted. That is why we have man varieties with an extraordinary quality.”

Ben Put, Canada: “Canadian coffee is still dominated by chains…This means that there is a smaller amount of market share for specialty shops, but it also means that there is still a lot of excitement around good coffee because it is still fairly new to many parts of Canada.”

Kyle Ramage, United States: “We are a really big country and what most people would call the birthplace of specialty. That leads to an incredibly rich expression of coffee quality and since our country is so massive, distinct cultures evolve around those different expressions.”

Niall Wynn, Ireland: “There’s an interesting culture in Dublin now about baristas doing the job really well, working quietly in a very Irish manner, and when the customer is engaged, that’s when we start to talk about what we do a little bit more. So it’s less of a one-way talk and more of a conversation. In general it’s been initiated by the customer rather than the barista.”

Steven Moloney, Sweden: “The culture here is very focused on brewed coffee and very much on the fika phenomenon. So instead of an early coffee on the way to work, it is more common with a late afternoon coffee, cake and social catch-up with friends.”

2017 Italian Barista Champion Francesco Masciullo
2017 Italian Barista Champion Francesco Masciullo

Francesco Masciullo, Italy: “In Italy, we have a true love for coffee. Now it is just our mission to talk again about the quality. This is a huge combination: love and quality. In Italy, we love the product and the culture."

Chloe Nattrass, Germany: “Since 1989 when the wall fell, Berlin and Germany have been rebuilding itself. The speed at which specialty coffee was brought in was slow to say the least. But since the 2000s we’ve seen a surge in cafes and roasters, and although it might be still small in comparison to its neighbors, we definitely have the quality to back it up.”

Nisan Agca, Turkey: “In Europe, after 3-4pm, you do not drink coffee mostly. But in Turkey, we mostly drink coffee after 3-4pm till late at night.”

Winston Thomas, South Africa: The coffee culture in South Africa is unique because of its infancy and its small size. The coffee professionals in South Africa are like a small family, and together we try to educate the masses. In my opinion, our culture is a hybrid of western third wave and traditional African culture because of our diversity.”

Jeremy Zhang, China: “Building up from the ground! We don’t have many coffee drinkers in China. It’s both a challenge and an opportunity because we can introduce specialty coffee from the very beginning.”

Chad Wang, Taiwan: “Not many people know that Taiwan is also a coffee producing country. The main reason is because Taiwan only produces only a very small quantity, not enough for export.”

Miki Suzuki, Japan: “The Japanese coffee culture has diversity. All generations love to drink coffee. We have so many different styles and philosophies. For example, “kissaten” coffee shop style, small independent roasters, coffee chain shops and “third wave” shops. They respect each other and work together to create coffee culture.”

For more features on our Ambassadors, download our Ambassador Magazine

Topics: Urnex Ambassadors, Coffee Cultures
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