From ‘Pharisäer’ in Germany to a ‘Vienesse’ in Slovakia, learn what coffee to order when you’re on your European travels
Drinking coffee is a part of Austria’s daily routine. The most popular way to take it is Kleiner Brauner (espresso) and Großer Brauner (espresso with a little bit of milk).
Vienna coffee is also popular: an espresso shot topped with whipped cream. Sometimes milk is added to the espresso before the cream, and it sometimes comes topped with vanilla, chocolate or cinnamon.
The Belgians have developed many gourmet recipes involving coffee, including espresso coffee mousse and Mocha ice cream balls. The most common type of coffee is café au lait (espresso coffee with milk), although it is common to top it with whipped cream, cinnamon and/or chocolate.
Turkish-style coffee has been popular in Bulgaria since the time of the Ottoman empire. It’s usually prepared in a small copper pot called a ‘dzhezve’. Bulgarian fortune tellers use the coffee grounds left in the bottom of the cup to tell the drinker’s fortune!
Croatia has developed a rich coffee drinking culture in recent years. Coffee is savoured, drunk slowly and enjoyed socially. The macchiato has become popular — an espresso coffee with a small amount of foamed milk added to it. However, the Bijela Kava (Caffe Latte) remains the most popular drink in the country.
Republic of Cyprus
Most people in Cyprus drink Turkish coffee (or ‘cypriot coffee’, as they call it). Water is poured into a small coffee pan, using a Cypriot-sized coffee cup as a measure. The water is boiled, then coffee is added and stirred well until it froths up. Sugar can be added to make a metrio coffee.
Frappé coffee is also very popular in Cyprus, particularly among young people. A frappé consists of instant coffee, sugar and a little water, blended to form a foam, then poured into a tall glass. Cold water, ice cubes and evaporated milk (optional) are then added.
There is a long tradition of coffee drinking in the Czech Republic and a flourishing coffee scene. The most popular types of coffee are espresso or Czech preso, a variation which adds more hot water to dilute the coffee flavour, similar to an Americano.
Drinking coffee is a social activity in Denmark and the cafes are cosy hideaways where people can relax during the day. Danes tend to favour long coffees, especially cafe lattes (espresso with milk in a tall glass).
The flat white (espresso shot with steamed milk) is the most common form of coffee drunk in Estonia, and there is also a big emphasis on enjoying pastries and cakes with your coffee in Estonia.
The Finns are fanatical about coffee! They drink an average of 12 kg of coffee per capita annually, making them the largest consumers of coffee in the world. Coffee arrived in Finland in the 18th century and was praised as a medicine that could cure everything from headaches to depression.
Finns typically drink coffee from a large cup or mug, black or with milk. The coffee is usually drip-filtered or espresso. Younger Finns enjoy flavoured coffees including hazelnut and vanilla blends.
France was one of the first countries to adopt the espresso machine after it was invented in Italy in 1884. The most common way to have coffee in a French cafe is café au lait — a single shot of espresso with steamed milk (in the cup or to the side).
Coffee drinkers at home usually use a French press to make their coffee and enjoy it black or with a splash of milk.
Germany is another country powered by coffee. Even though Germany is primarily known for its high-quality beer, Germans drink 160 litres of coffee per year on average, more than beer or wine!
Despite this fixation, there isn’t a huge coffee culture in Germany like there is in other countries. Most Germans have drip-filtered coffee instead of espresso, and they tend to have it black. A simple drink to help them wake up.
One unique style of coffee which came from Germany is the Pharisäer — two ounces of rum mixed with dark coffee and sugar, then covered with whipped cream.
The traditional way of brewing coffee in Greece, called ellinikós kafés, is very similar to Turkish coffee. A thick syrupy brew is created in a pot with sugar, coffee grounds and water.
But more modern coffee is prepared using an espresso machine and everything from flat whites to espresso shots have become popular. Frappés are drunk by young people in the summer months. This form of coffee (instant coffee with sugar, water, then ice and evaporated milk) was invented in Greece in 1957 at the International Trade Fair in Thessaloniki city.
Coffee became popular in the early 19th century and by the late 1800s there were more than 500 cafés in Budapest alone. The cafés were traditionally important meeting places for intellectuals, students, musicians and writers.
The most popular way to drink coffee in Hungary today is the humble espresso shot or a hosszú kávé (long coffee), which is an espresso with additional water.
Despite some tough competition from tea, more than three quarters of Irish adults enjoy drinking coffee on a regular basis. The most popular type of coffee in Ireland is the Cappuccino (30%), followed by the Americano (27%) and the Café Latte (22%).
Amongst older Irish people, the Americano (an espresso with additional hot water) is the favoured way to drink coffee.
Most people associate Italy with great food, quality wine and coffee. Italy was arguably the birthplace of café culture and has played a significant role in the growth of coffee consumption throughout the world. The first espresso machine was developed in Italy.
The most popular way to drink coffee in Italy is a caffé (espresso) or a caffé doppio (double espresso).
Traditionally, Latvians would consume coffee in a way similar to Turkish coffee — a simple brew performed in a copper or iron pot. Now they often drink caffé lattes, espressos and cappuccinos.
Kava (coffee) is usually in the form of a strong, dark espresso in Lithuania. There are coffee houses (kavinė) everywhere and small stalls at highway rest stops. Most Lithuanian coffee houses serve sweet pastries to accompany the drink.
For a small country, Luxembourg drinks a lot of coffee — an astonishing 17kg per person, per year. Similar to many other EU countries, people in Luxembourg tend to drink a lot of espresso and cafe lattes.
Coffee has been coming through the ports in Malta for hundreds of years, but it only really took off in popularity in the 1930s. The traditional Maltese Kafè uses a small cup, filled with a strong and aromatic brew that is also flavoured with rosewater and cloves.
However, the most commonly drunk type of coffee on the island is the espresso or cappuccino.
One of the three top consumers of coffee in the world (next to Finland and Sweden), people in the Netherlands tend to drink drip-filtered coffee — and a lot of it!
The Polish way of brewing coffee is extremely simple: put a couple of spoonfuls of ground coffee into a glass that is filled with hot water. The coffee is consumed once the grounds have sunk to the bottom.
The Portuguese typically drink a Bica, a shot of tart espresso served in a demitasse glass. It’s a very strong brew that’s traditionally made in a copper or brass pot. The Robusta bean is normally used, making a strong and bitter coffee.
Romanians love coffee (cafea) and it can be found everywhere in the country. They typically drinkone of three varieties: Ness (instant coffee, the most common form of coffee), Filtru (drop-filtered) or espresso. The Romanian espresso typically involves more hot water, so is closer to an Americano than a traditional espresso.
As well as espresso, Slovakians enjoy Viennese coffee — an espresso shot with a dollop of cream on top. Cappuccinos are also quite common in Slovakia.
Coffee is much more popular than tea in Slovenia and the most common form is Turkish coffee. They often serve it with a dollop of cream or milk on the side.
Spaniards take the quality of their coffee seriously. The most common forms of coffee are solo (espresso), cortado (espresso with a dash of milk) and con leche (espresso with more milk). The Spanish cafe latte will typically have less milk than most coffee drinkers are used to.
Sweden is another country that consumes a huge amount of coffee — it is in the top three coffee consuming countries in the world (beaten by Finland and the Netherlands). In Sweden the term fika represents the time of day when you enjoy a strong cup of coffee and a sweet pastry. It is very much a social activity and the cafés around Sweden are always busy.
Although cappuccinos and lattes are becoming more popular, the most commonly drunk coffee is a drip coffee with or without milk. In Swedish homes, French presses are commonly used to make coffee. Some Swedes prefer the taste of kokkaffe, a boiled coffee.
People in the UK are starting to demand high-quality coffee and it’s even beginning to challenge tea as the most common hot beverage! Instant coffee is drunk at home while espressos, cappuccinos and caffe lattes are popular in coffee shops.