One of many reasons why I love to travel is seeing the real life in different cultures and environments, the little daily rituals of local people. It can be as simple as drinking coffee, every place has its own way how coffee is prepared and enjoyed and the ritual that goes with it.
How to drink coffee in Dubrovnik…
Here in Dubrovnik people mostly drink either a simple shot of coffee, espresso or something that we call bijela kava what translates as white coffee and it’s in a fact coffee with lots of hot milk, something similar to what the French call cafe au lait.
But no matter what kind of coffee people drink one thing is in common for everybody. When we say “Let’s go for a coffee“, it always means ” Let’s sit down, order a cup of coffee and than spend about an hour talking, chatting, sharing and socializing. For us locals a coffee is not just a coffee but an opportunity to meet someone, spend some quality time with that person and share our thoughts, worries, have a laugh and possibly (an innocent) gossip or two. We like to take it easy here and not rush too much, we take our time to enjoy those coffee moments…
So when I was younger I thought that this is the normal and usual way to drink coffee everywhere, meaning – going for a coffee and sitting down to spend some time and enjoy the company of whoever is your coffee partner-in-crime on that occasion.
How to drink coffee in Rome…
The first time I realized that it’s not really the case was when I went the first time to Italy years ago. I was spending my holidays in Rome with my than-boyfriend, now-husband who is Italian and that first morning when we went to walk and explore the streets of Rome I couldn’t wait for the coffee time.
In my mind we were going to sit down on a beautiful charming little piazza, drink coffee and talk for hours. So when he said those magical words “Let’s go for a coffee” I was all ready and excited! He was local so he was taking me to one of the bars with the best coffee in Rome. When we entered the bar I could see crowds of people, all Italians, who were standing next to a long bar and in a very loud manner ordering their “caffè” (meaning espresso) or cappuccino, sprinkling sugar in their cups, giving it a couple of stirs and then drinking it, all within 60 seconds. So we did the same and I couldn’t hide my disappointment. I didn’t want my first coffee in Italy to last 60 seconds while I was fighting with caffeine-needing Italians in some overcrowded bar!!!! But I wanted to experience how locals drink coffee and I sure did, that’s why later I demanded we behave like typical tourists and go sit on that charming picture-perfect little piazza I was dreaming about and drink coffee for hours…
Oh, I forgot to mention one very, very important thing. If you want to do it like Italians, you should NEVER EVER drink cappuccino, “caffé latte” or any form of coffee with lots of milk after lunch, that’s “allowed” only in the morning hours, otherwise is considered a sin!
How to drink coffee in Istanbul….
I was lucky to live in beautiful Turkey for a while and I expected that Turkish people drink coffee all the time and on every occasion, that is sort of what we usually think as Turkish coffee is so famous and it’s a drink that everybody knows about. Again, I was wrong!
Turkish people actually drink tea from their cute little glass cups all the time, like in the morning, before lunch, after lunch, afternoon when meeting a friend, evening after a good meal and than maybe one more cup just before going to sleep. Whenever I lived abroad, I adapted to the local customs so I had Turkish tea all the time too and in fact, I think I had enough tea for a lifetime! But I loved it and still miss it very much, the tea and the little ritual that goes with it.
But what about the coffee? Well, coffee is important too, just not as much as the tea and it should be done in the correct way without exceptions. Turkish coffee is always served with water and usually with a small, sweet treat like delicious Turkish delight. I noticed that in Turkey they like to drink their coffee very sweet and because it’s quite strong, usually just one cup. There is a whole science on making Turkish coffee and I won’t go into details here but it is important that it’s finely ground, strong, made in “cezve” (special coffee making pot, usually made of copper) and served with foam on top in typical Turkish coffee cups.
Travelling always opens our eyes and expands our horizons but also teach us a thing or two on how to drink coffee in different ways!