Culture Guide Int'l Drink

The Bold Character Behind 4 European Coffees from Ireland, Spain and Italy

From France to San Francisco, you’ll find coffee enthusiasts enjoying numerous varieties of coffee beans prepared in every way imaginable, but in Paris, for example, you may find patrons sipping their coffee just a bit slower than their American counterparts. Sure, in a quality-conscious society the traits of the bean and its extraction are important to us, but let’s not forget the character behind coffee consumption.


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When taking in these 4 European coffees at coffee shops across America, don’t rush. Consider the character of the European social experience, which includes an expertly prepared coffee that’s typically enjoyed while lingering at a cafe and taking in a bit of quality life.

Café con Leche / Origin, Spain

This coffee treat, meaning “coffee with milk” in Spanish, is a popular breakfast stable in communities around the world, such as the Philippines, but most common in Spain and Latin American countries, such as Cuba. Cafe con leche is traditionally made with strong or bold coffee, usually espresso beans, that is then mixed with scalded milk.

Lattes / Origin, Italy

A latte, the shortened form of the Italian caffè latte, consists of espresso and steamed milk. The method of producing latte art is created by expertly pouring the steamed milk’s foam into the shot of espresso to produce a design on the surface of the latte. It’s a difficult art that depends on the quality of the espresso machine, the temperature of steamed milk and the experience of the barista.

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Irish Coffee / Origin, Ireland

This coffee treat, meaning “caife Gaelach” in Irish, is served hot and is made with either espresso or brewed coffee poured over with whiskey, sugar and (not whipped) cream floated on top. Usually enjoyed in the evening, it’s become popular in communities around the world, such as Spain (where the whiskey, coffee and cream are poured in layers), Irish coffee as it’s known today was invented by an Irish chef in the 1940s.

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Espresso / Origin, Italy

This coffee treat is a popular stable in communities around the world, and originated in Italy, where it’s consumption. Espresso is both a brewing method and a beverage, and although any bean or roast level can be used in it’s preparation, it’s extraction requires specialized skill and equipment. Served as either a single (solo) or double shot (dopio), espresso is enjoyed prepared across a variety of the world’s most popular espresso beans today.

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