what to expect when ordering coffee in europe
Clubs of America | May 25, 2014
Americans are known for drinking a lot of coffee, but if you’re an American traveling in Europe, you may not be able to keep up with the locals when it comes to downing those cups of Joe. The biggest java drinkers in the world are Scandinavians; the number of cups per day that the average American consumes is less than Germans, Canadians and New Zealanders.
Another big difference in different parts of the world is the method of preparation. An American who is served coffee in Europe may get something a little different than what they’re used to at home. Here are some European preparation methods you may not have heard of before.
The Italian Moka Pot Method
You’ve probably seen Moka pots in local stores. They’re small, silver-colored pots that are used on a stovetop. Moka pots are sometimes said to be espresso makers, but the brew they make is not true espresso, though it’s close. Espresso is made with high pressure, which results in a very strong flavor and the presence of crema, or foam, on the top. Moka pots aren’t capable of forcing the water through the grounds with high enough pressure to make true espresso, but the resulting brew is very strong, and a little foam is present if it’s done correctly. Moka pots are popular in Italian homes.
The English Are Tea Drinkers
England is famous for its afternoon tea, but they do drink a reasonable amount of coffee. Most English make it the easy way – instant. If you’re looking for a properly brewed cuppa in England, it might be a good idea to ask for brewed specifically in a restaurant or café. When in someone’s home, be polite and be prepared for whatever you get.
The Scandinavian Egg Brew
Crushed eggs shells and a beaten egg mixed with the grounds is said to make the brew smoother. Americans from the Midwest may be familiar with this style, but it’s generally considered to have originated in Sweden.
In France, espresso is the typical, everyday equivalent to America’s much larger and comparatively weaker cup of Joe. Espresso comes in a very small cup and is very, very strong. If you want something more like what you have at home, order café Américain, which will be black; if you want milk or sugar, you’ll have to ask. The point to remember is that if you simply order café, you’ll get espresso.
The situation in Spain is similar to that in France except that Café Americano is still espresso-based; it’s basically an espresso with water added.
In general, the typical American brew is weak compared to the styles served in Europe. An American traveling in Europe should keep that in mind and be prepared to ask for an American style. When traveling abroad, definitely learn how to say “milk” and “sugar” in the language of the country you’re in.