Explore Coffee Traditions Around the World

Believed to have been discovered by a goat herder in Ethiopia around A.D. 800-900, and first served as a beverage in 15th-century Yemen, coffee is now enjoyed in more than 22,000 Starbucks stores in 68 countries.

Explore 11 coffee traditions celebrated from the dawn of time to today in Africa, Asia, Latin America, North America, and Europe:


Kahawa Chungu

Centuries ago, the Kenyan coast was predominantly an Arab and Portuguese trade route for spices and minerals. Off the coast, men who worked on the Arab trade ships sat on low benches during the night sipping “Kahawa Chungu” or bitter coffee. It is a concentrated black coffee, most often brewed over a charcoal stove in a brass kettle.

Fermented Coffee

About 1,000 years ago, people in Northeastern Africa and nearby Arabia used coffee beans to make a fermented beverage. They combined cold water, seeds from cardamom pods, freshly ground coffee beans and ground ginger. These ingredients were placed in a large pot, allowed to ferment for 48 hours, brought to a boil, drenched with cold water, poured through a strainer and served.

Ethiopian Coffee Ceremony

The coffee ceremony is an important element of Ethiopian culture. It begins with the roasting of green coffee beans over hot coals in a brazier or metal bowl. This is followed by coarsely grinding the beans in a wooden mortar and pestle and boiling them in a jebena, a special clay vessel with a long neck. When the coffee boils up through the neck of the jebena, it is poured into another container to cool and then transferred back to boil again.

The coffee is poured without stopping into cups placed on a tray for each guest. One extra cup is poured each time. The same coffee grounds are brewed and served at least three separate times and small snacks of popcorn or peanuts often accompany the coffee.


Coffee Hand Net Brewing Method

Many decades ago, the Vietnamese used a hand net to brew coffee. The net was filled with ground coffee and held above a coffee pot. A small amount of hot water was then poured through the net, a process that was repeated up to three times. The more water added, the darker the coffee flavor. To keep the beverage hot, the pot was placed on top of a stove.

Morning Coffee

In the 1960s and 1970s morning coffee was a popular beverage at local dabangs, or Korean coffee shops. People stopped in the morning to get breakfast and coffee combined in a single cup. To make morning coffee, an egg yolk, sprinkled with salt and a drop of sesame oil, was placed in a cup of hot coffee. A few pine nuts and a walnut were often added on top for decoration.

Kopi Tubruk

Kopi Tubruk, which translates to “collision coffee,” can be found in various regions across Indonesia, particularly Java and Bali. To prepare the beverage, ground coffee and sugar are added to boiling hot water. Before drinking, the coffee is poured onto a saucer as a way to quickly cool the beverage. Indonesians typically serve Kopi Tubruk with a meal or local snacks such as fried bananas, tofu or cassava.

Latin America


Tinto is a black coffee, occasionally mixed with sugar. It's often sold in six-ounce cups on the street of Colombia and is typically enjoyed in the late afternoon or after dinner.


In the Brazilian city of Sao Paulo, small cafes and local Starbucks stores serve cafezinho, a hot doppio espresso with a touch of sugar. It's served with a small pastry on the side. The cafezinho is a popular ritual in the afternoon when friends join together in conversation or coworkers connect before heading back to work.

Café de Olla

A traditional beverage in Mexico, Café de Olla is made with coffee that is brewed in a clay pot, served in a clay cup and topped off with a cinnamon stick. The clay cup is said to bring together the sweetness of the coffee with the spice of the cinnamon. Café de Olla is typically enjoyed in the afternoon and often served with colorful sweetbreads in pink, yellow and green hues.

North America

True North Blend

More than 60 percent of Canadians prefer lighter roast coffee - the roast profile most Canadians grew up with that pairs well with milk, cream and sugar. In 2013, to celebrate Canada’s love of blonde roast coffee, Starbucks asked Canadians to help create a new and uniquely Canadian name for Starbucks Blonde Roast Veranda Blend. The contest generated more than 60,000 submissions and after more than 25,000 votes, Canadians selected True North Blend as the new name of this beloved coffee.


Turkish Coffee

Turkish coffee is a method of preparation, not an actual type of coffee. Fresh coffee beans are roasted and then ground into a very fine powder with a mortar or a burr mill. The coffee is added to cold water and sugar, and then boiled in a pot called a cezve. It is served in small cups where the grounds are allowed to settle. Turkish coffee is known to play an important role in social occasions and holidays and is still an integral part of Turkish culture.

These coffee traditions and photos were shared by Starbucks partners Arthur Karuletwa, Carly Suppa, Fernando Rivera-Acuna, Nili Sefu, Nguyen Thi Anh Chi, Yena Cho and Yuti Resani.

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Video: Starbucks Origin Experience Costa Rica 2024