Since Starbucks has yet to commercialize every corner of the world (pat on the back, they try so hard), you will find coffee in just about any country you visit. However, just as you should expect the food to look and taste different, so should you expect some unique methods for serving up that invigorating beverage so many of us crave.
To help you step out of your comfort zone (you are a traveler aren’t you?), here are 5 unique and exciting coffee experiences from around the world.
Charcoal In your Coffee (Kopi Joss)
To give you a sense of what you’re in for, I felt it necessary to kick off this list with something truly strange. Travel to Yogyakarta, Indonesia, and among the little coffee vendors along the streets you will find the Kopi Joss.
The Kopi Joss is the perfect coffee beverage for the adrenaline junky in all of us. And what kind of coffee would an adrenaline junkie enjoy, you ask? Well, that’s simple: a coffee with a burning hot piece of charcoal tossed in.
That’s right, the Kopi Joss is quite literally powdered coffee brewed with a chunk of smoldering charcoal. In addition to the health benefits of regular black coffee, local brewers claim the charcoal helps revive one’s strength, an adequate assumption considering the amount of courage it takes to drink it. Among all the things Indonesia has to teach, bravery may be one of its most important lessons.
Irish Coffee, German Style (Pharisäer)
Many of you have probably heard of, or even tried, the famous Irish Coffee, but did you know the Germans also have their own alcoholic coffee beverage?
The Pharisäer, ironically named by an angry pastor calling his congregation “Pharisees” for having invented the drink, is a deliciously sweet and creamy cocktail.
Instead of whiskey, the recipe to make Pharisäer includes rum, which gives it a little spike to counter all the other sugary sweetness dumped in. Along with coffee and rum, this drink includes a few cubes of sugar, and a whopping dollop of whipped cream to top it off.
Though I enjoy a good Irish Coffee, the Pharisäer is an equally tasty way to get my spiked coffee kick.
Egg’s and Coffee (Vietnamese Egg Coffee)
If you think eating a raw egg sounds odd, then what if I told you to drink one instead? Despite how gross it may sound, the Vietnamese have found a recipe to do just that with significantly less vomit than you might imagine.
Vietnamese egg coffee is very similar to the Vietnamese coffee we have all seen at our local Asian fusion restaurant, except it (as you may have guessed) has an egg in it. The recipe is really quite simple: a cup of coffee is brewed up with a traditional Vietnamese filter (AKA phin) while a raw egg is mixed with sweetened condensed milk and then poured in.
Compared to standard Vietnamese coffee, the added egg gives this coffee a much thicker and smoother body. Regardless of how unpalatable the drink may seem, it is actually very creamy and sweet and should be on any traveler’s to-do list.
Coffee….and Cheese!? (Kaffeost)
I love cheese, true; I love coffee, very true, but cheese and coffee? Well, I’m not so sure about that one, but the Swedes claim otherwise. Kaffeost is a traditional Swedish drink that either involves dipping cheese in coffee or just drinking the coffee with the cheese in it.
This tradition doesn’t use just any cheese (could you imagine coffee with cheddar?), it calls for a very specific type, Leipäjuusto, a salty and sweet cheese with a fresh aroma. The cheese is served in large wedges, and you cut off a small piece with a spoon and dip it in your coffee.
The strong and bitter flavors of the coffee actually work well with the salty, sweet cheese, and make for a delicious and interesting treat for a true Coffee Geek unlike any other.
Tea or Coffee….Or Both (Yuanyang)
If you are visiting Hong Kong and you are looking for a little balance among all the flashing city lights and exhausting traffic, then find yourself a Yuanyang, the literal liquid embodiment of yin and yang.
The Yuanyang is a combination of milk tea and black coffee and is named after a species of duck whose males have darker feathers than the females. For all you purists out there currently screaming your head off over this monstrosity, I urge you to try it before you judge.
The softer notes of the tea create a smooth base, while the bitter coffee brings a little bite just at the end. The Yuanyang is certainly interesting and unlike anything I have tried before, but the two (otherwise exclusive) drinks mix well together in this recipe.
With so many strange and wonderful things to try around the world, don’t waste time sitting in your box. Though you may not get to try all, I hope you enjoy some of these 5 unique and exciting coffee experiences from around the world.
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Coffee, Food, and Travel are 3 of Alex’s Biggest passions and obsessions. Here his coffee and travel ramblings over at HomeGrounds.co