Experience the world, one cup at a time.
Boarding pass? Check.
Coffee mug? Check.
Adventure and caffeine cravings? Check and check!
We're on a world tour of coffee bliss, with 5 local brews you won't find at your local Starbucks or Peets Coffee. From Mexico City's spiced Café de Olla to Tokyo's mesmerizing Matcha Espresso Fusion, these global brews prove that coffee truly knows no borders.
So, buckle up, because your coffee passport is about to get stamped with some seriously delicious, eye-opening destinations.
Mexico City: Café de Olla.
Café de Olla is Mexico's spiced coffee darling, brewing its way into history during the Mexican Revolution in the early 20th century.
Back then, the Adelitas - fierce women warriors who fought shoulder-to-shoulder with revolutionary soldiers - decided that a warm, invigorating drink was just the ticket to keep the troops on their toes. With a dash of cinnamon, a sprinkle of raw cane sugar (piloncillo), and a hearty dose of strong coffee, Café de Olla was born - all brewed together in a charming clay pot, the "olla", which lent its name to this iconic Mexican drink.
Fast forward to the present day, and Café de Olla has cozied its way into the hearts of Mexican coffee fans, earning its place as a cherished companion for festive occasions and family gatherings. That earthy flavor and warmth, courtesy of the clay pot, make it perfect for nippy evenings or misty mornings when you need a hug in a cup.
If you're prowling the streets of Mexico City and looking for an authentic Café de Olla experience, drop into Café El Jarocho, a historic gem in the picturesque neighborhood of Coyoacán south of the center of town. Established in 1953, Café El Jarocho has been the go-to place for traditional Mexican coffee drinks for generations of Chilangos and travelers in-the-know.
CAFÉ DE OLLA RECIPE.
To make an authentic Café de Olla, follow this simple recipe:
- 4 cups water
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 8 ounces piloncillo (raw cane sugar)
- 1/2 cup dark-roast coffee, ground coarse
Combine the water, cinnamon sticks, and piloncillo in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer until the sugar is dissolved. Add the coffee grounds, remove from heat, and let steep for 5 minutes. Strain and serve hot.
Rome: Caffè Shakerato
Yeah baby, it's Shakerato time!
Our founder Michael's eyes light up anytime someone mentions Shakerato, ever since a Tuscan friend introduced him to this espresso concoction at a cafe in Florence one 104° summer day. This elegant, chilled espresso drink truly embodies the Italian passion for la dolce vita.
While the creator of this invigorating elixir remains a mystery, it is believed to have emerged from the world of Italian bartending, where skilled mixologists crafted the perfect blend of espresso and sweetness, shaken to frothy perfection. The appeal of the Shakerato rests in its elegant simplicity and adaptability, providing a rejuvenating boost for lazy afternoons basking in the warmth of the Mediterranean sun.
For those adventurous espresso fans seeking the finest Shakerato experience in The Eternal City, head straight to Faro, the self-declared first specialty coffee house in Rome. Here, master baristas shake up the most exquisite Shakerato, a flawless fusion of chilled, frothy espresso and subtle sweetness, guaranteed to please even the most fanatical coffee enthusiasts.
CAFFÈ SHAKERATO RECIPE:
To make an authentic Italian Caffè Shakerato, follow this simple recipe:
- 1 or 2 shots of freshly brewed espresso (use this espresso roast)
- 1 teaspoon sugar or simple syrup (adjust to taste)
- Plenty of ice
You'll need a few bits of equipment for this:
- Cocktail shaker
- Chilled glass (martini or small wine glass)
Brew the espresso using an espresso machine or a Moka pot (get one if you don't have one yet). Let the coffee cool slightly. In the cocktail shaker, add the espresso and sugar or simple syrup (if you're using sugar, stir it into the warm espresso to dissolve it before adding ice). Add a handful of ice to the shaker, ensuring that there's enough to chill the coffee quickly.
Close the shaker and shake vigorously for about 30 seconds or until the mixture is well-chilled and frothy. Strain the Shakerato into the chilled glass, leaving the ice behind in the shaker. The coffee should have a nice layer of froth on top. Serve the Caffè Shakerato immediately and enjoy!
Prague: Káva s Rumem
Káva s Rumem, the Czech Republic's spirited twist on classic coffee, enthralls and enchants, casting a spell over coffee fanatics and rum fans in equal measure.
Its origins can be traced back to the cozy, dimly-lit taverns of old Prague, where locals gathered nightly to indulge in libations and spirited banter. The perfect marriage of robust coffee and rich rum was a match made in heaven, or rather, a match made in the heart of the Czech Republic.
Why the fascination with rum in their coffee? Picture the cold, cobblestoned streets of the Czech capital in winter, the air crisp and the atmosphere festive. What better way to warm your bones and lift your spirits than with a steaming cup of strong coffee, laced with a dose of smooth aged rum and a zesty twist of lemon? It's a fabulous winter warmer, and the Czechs have been sipping it for centuries, lifting their spirits and defrosting their fingers one cup at a time.
For those intrepid travelers looking for an authentic Káva S Rumem experience on the winding streets of Prague, we recommend hitting up the legendary Café Louvre in the Old Town district. Grab a seat and order up a Káva s Rumem, as you immerse yourself in the vibe of a time long past, where the brilliance of esteemed minds like Franz Kafka and Albert Einstein mingled with the spark of animated conversations.
KÁVA S RUMEN RECIPE:
To make an authentic Káva s Rumen, follow this simple recipe:
- 1 cup hot black coffee (we like Prague roast)
- 1-1/2 ounces dark rum (we like Ron del Barrilito 3 Star)
- Whipped cream
- A twist of lemon (optional)
Pour the hot coffee into a mug and stir in the rum. Optionally twist the lemon to infuse some of the lemon oil in the coffee+rum mix, then top with a dollop of whipped cream and serve.
Stockholm: Kaffeost - Coffee with Cheese
We're going out on a limb here with Kaffeost, a peculiar yet delicious Swedish concoction of coffee and cheese that leaves coffee purists scratching their heads and the adventurous craving more.
Kaffeost was born in the frost-kissed Lapland region spanning Sweden and Finland, where the indigenous Sámi people have been savoring this unconventional mash-up for centuries. It all began with the resourceful Sámi herders who crafted Leipäjuusto, a squeaky cheese traditionally made from reindeer milk. The secret to its charm? The cheese's robust texture, which stands up to a steamy coffee bath like a champ.
We had to ask the question of our 08-er friends on a recent Stockholm visit: why would you immerse cheese in your coffee? In the frigid expanses of the north, there is a longing for a rich, fortifying beverage to stave off the biting cold. Kaffeost, with its creamy, melted Leipäjuusto (typically crafted from cow's milk these days) and robust coffee (like this one), provides a heartening, soul-warming hug that keeps both the frost and the blues at arm's length.
For a real Kaffeost coffee experience on a visit to Stockholm, make your way to Vete-Katten, a historic, labyrinthine café in the pulsing heart of Normaalm (just over the bridge from Gamla Stan). The enchanting place is brimming with delicious traditional Swedish dishes, Kaffeost included.
To make an authentic Kaffeost, follow this simple recipe:
- 1 cup strong, hot coffee
- 1/4 cup Leipäjuusto cheese*, cubed
Place the cheese cubes in a cup and pour the hot coffee over them. Allow the cheese to soften slightly before enjoying.
(*Yes, yes, it's hard to find Leipäjuusto, but you can use Halloumi as an alternative at better grocery stores with a decent cheese case.)
Tokyo: Matcha Espresso Fusion
Blending the age-old tradition of Japanese matcha with the modern allure of espresso, creative baristas and café owners recently began experimenting with innovative flavor combinations that bridged cultural boundaries.
While it's difficult to pinpoint the exact origins of this concoction, the Matcha Espresso Fusion has captured the imaginations of both coffee and tea fans worldwide. The bold, intense flavor of espresso paired with the earthy, umami notes of matcha creates a harmonious and unique taste experience. Its visually striking layers of vibrant green and rich brown add to the sensory appeal of this innovative beverage.
If Tokyo's bustling streets are calling your name, and you find yourself craving this tantalizing fusion, the must-visit coffee shop is Koffee Mameya in the Shibuya area. This sleek, minimalist coffee house known for its extreme service will brew up their latest experiments in coffee and tea blending, including Matcha Espresso Fusion. Just remember to inquire with your personal barista about their fusion drinks. Expect fairly lengthy wait times on weekends.
MATCH ESPRESSO FUSION RECIPE:
To make an authentic Match Espresso Fusion, follow this simple recipe:
- 1 teaspoon high-quality matcha powder
- 1-2 ounces hot water (around 175°F)
- 1 shot espresso (we recommend Milan roast)
- Ice (optional, for iced version)
Prepare the matcha: Sift the matcha powder into a small bowl to remove any lumps. Add the hot water to the matcha powder and whisk vigorously using a bamboo whisk (or an electric frother) until the matcha is smooth and frothy. Set aside.
Pull the espresso shot: Brew 1 shot of espresso using your preferred espresso machine or Moka pot. Set aside.
Assemble the Matcha Espresso Fusion: In a glass, first pour the prepared matcha. Then, gently pour the espresso shot over the back of a spoon, close to the surface of the matcha, so that the espresso floats on top of the matcha, creating a layered effect.
Serve immediately. If you prefer an iced version, add ice to the glass after layering the matcha and espresso. Yeah, this is kinda like what you can get at Starbucks, but without the milk.
Note: The key to a successful Matcha Espresso Fusion is to use high-quality matcha powder and a well-brewed espresso shot using high-quality coffee. The quality of the ingredients will significantly impact the flavor and visual appeal of the final drink.
Coffee culture stretches far and wide, steeped in history, creativity, and a shared love for a good cup of joe. These are five of the world's most interesting brews, each telling a story of people, places, and traditions. It reminds us that sipping a cup of coffee is more than just a daily ritual—it's a passport to explore the world from the comfort of our own homes.
No matter where your travels take you, remember to embrace the local flavors and traditions, and let your love for coffee open doors to new experiences and friendships. Buon viaggio!