There is something magical about travelling and discovering new coffee flavors around the world. For coffee lovers, exploring the different cultures associated with this drink is an essential part of any trip. In this article, we'll take you through some of the must-see destinations for coffee lovers, from Campania, Italy, to Melbourne, Australia, with also stops in Colombia, Ethiopia, Vienna and Istanbul.
Campania, Italy: the myth debunked
We begin our coffee journey in the picturesque Campania, a region in southwestern Italy. According to a ranking by SiViaggia, Campania is the Italian region where you can taste the best coffee in the world. In particular, the city of Naples is famous for its espresso coffee, which is served in white porcelain cups and accompanied by a small glass of water. The atmosphere of Neapolitan cafés is unique and savoring a coffee here is a cultural as well as a gustatory experience.
However, there is a myth to dispel regarding the traditional coffee of this region. Contrary to common belief, traditional coffee from Campania is mainly made from Robusta coffee, known for its woody taste. Furthermore, it is often roasted at high temperatures, causing a loss of aromas. This coffee variety is renowned for its intensity, but may not be suitable for all palates.
Melbourne, Australia: the city of coffee
The best coffee in the world? According to many, it is located in Melbourne, Australia. If you are skeptical, it's time to change your mind. This city, with a uniquely European atmosphere, is considered a sort of Mecca of high-quality coffee, known for its refined aromas and flavours.
In the heart of Melbourne, among the narrow alleys reminiscent of the Marais district of Paris or the graffiti-covered streets of Berlin and Brooklyn, there are numerous cafés and each boasts the cult and pride of offering the best coffee extracted from the finest beans.
Melbourne's coffee shops are crowded every day and at all hours, but they reach their peak at the weekend, when people take the time to carefully taste this delicious drink. We are not talking about a small group of enthusiasts, but about a large movement, with a customer base that knows how to recognize the best coffee. In Melbourne's coffee shops we find coffee fans, loyal customers, expert baristas, true coffee artists.
The city is dotted with hundreds, if not thousands, of cafés, dedicated places of worship, small roasteries specializing in the extraction of the finest aromas, and is also home to the famous Melbourne International Coffee Expo.
Colombia: coffee paradise
Colombia is one of the largest coffee producers in the world and offers numerous opportunities to taste local coffee. In particular, the Quindío region is famous for its production of high quality coffee.
Colombian coffee is a true expression of love for Arabica. Describing it is not an easy task since plants in each region produce beans with very different organoleptic characteristics. This diversity is influenced by altitude, microclimate and terrain.
The coffee tradition in Colombia has deep roots. This beloved grain was introduced to the country by the Jesuits in 1723. Thanks to exceptional climatic conditions, Colombia has become the third largest coffee exporting nation in the world, specializing practically only in high-quality Arabica.
The geography of the country is fundamental to the exceptional quality of Colombian coffee. The location near the equator, the temperate climate, regular rainfall and the presence of hills and mountains allow the cultivation of Arabica up to 2300 meters above sea level. The lower temperatures at higher altitudes cause the coffee to ripen more slowly, giving it a slightly more acidic flavor with pleasant honey notes.
Ethiopia: the cradle of coffee
Ethiopia is commonly recognized as the birthplace of coffee.
To understand this statement, which may seem risky, it is essential to make a brief introduction to the history of Ethiopian coffee. Many scholars believe that the origin of the Coffea coffee plant can be attributed to Africa, and in particular to Ethiopia. The Arabica species was considered native to these lands. Coffee cultivation in Ethiopia began in AD.c, but it is likely that wild plants existed in this area many centuries earlier. The name "Arabica" can be misleading, as until the 19th century it was believed that the plant originated from the Arabian Peninsula, around Yemen. However, as time has passed, science has proven that Ethiopia is the true cradle of Arabica Coffee.
In early times, the coffee plant in Ethiopia was used in unusual ways, such as using the dried leaves or flowers to prepare decoctions and herbal teas. An equally original practice was to grind coffee beans and mix them with butter to form balls, a sort of energy snack with an ancient flavour. In addition, a porridge was prepared from roasted coffee beans, enriched with various types of fats.
Only centuries later, coffee in Ethiopia was recognized and appreciated as a drink, giving rise to the famous Ethiopian coffee ceremony, one of the greatest icons of Ethiopian culture.
This ritual is a sign of conviviality and belonging to a community, as throughout the world, a cup of coffee is often an excuse to socialize. In Ethiopia, it takes on an even deeper meaning, as it is celebrated daily and shared among family, friends and neighbors.
But why is Ethiopian coffee so precious? The answer lies in its rich history and the diversity of ecosystems that characterize the country. The variety of microclimates to which numerous coffee varieties have adapted has helped give Ethiopia its reputation as a "coffee wonderland." The key to success lies in the diversity of terroirs, each of which contributes to creating a range of unique aromatic profiles. The most common processing method in Ethiopia is the natural (dry) process, which gives coffee sweet aromas, often with notes of tropical fruit or red fruits.
The city of Addis Ababa, capital of Ethiopia, is famous for its traditional coffees, which are served in hand-decorated ceramic cups . We advise you to try different coffee shops in the city since Ethiopian coffees are known for their versatility and for the variety of aromas they can offer depending on the area of origin and cultivation method.
Vienna, Austria: Viennese coffee and its curiosities
We continue our journey to Vienna, Austria, famous for its Viennese coffee. This delicacy is served with a generous dose of whipped cream and often accompanied by a small glass of water. The city also offers numerous historic coffee shops, or "kaffeehaus", where you can enjoy coffee in a unique and immersive atmosphere.
Vienna has been recognized by UNESCO as an intangible cultural heritage for its traditional Coffee Shop Culture, which has a fascinating history.
Viennese coffee has been known throughout the world since 1873, thanks to the Universal Exhibition. This year, the city saw a large influx of international visitors and Viennese cafés achieved global notoriety.
The Viennese cafés enchant with their unique atmosphere with their niches, Thonet chairs, marble tables, newspaper tables and all the varieties of coffee, from “Melange” to “Einspänner”. One of the curiosities concerns the famous "Einspänner," which takes its name from the carriage pulled by a single horse. This coffee specialty was covered with a huge cap of whipped cream to isolate the coffee and today it is rigorously served in a small transparent glass with a handle. Beyond that, the glass of water included with the coffee was originally intended to hold the used teaspoon and demonstrate the quality of the water used for the coffee. Even today, the glass of water that accompanies Viennese coffee is an indispensable tradition.
Istanbul, Türkiye: Turkish coffee
We end our journey among the delights of coffee in Istanbul, Turkey, famous for its Turkish coffee, renowned for its intensity and richness of aromas .
The break with Turkish coffee is a very precise daily ritual, characterized by small gestures that reflect a thousand-year-old tradition. The preparation of this drink is a authentic art form, with finely ground coffee being slowly cooked in a special coffee pot called a "cezve," a brass jug, and the coffee is served in porcelain cups and accompanied by a glass of water and delicious local specialties called "lokum."
The Turkish coffee ritual is a magical and essential moment to completely immerse yourself in the fascinating atmosphere of Istanbul. Exploring the city'shistoric cafés offers the opportunity to taste this delicacy in a unique atmosphere, often accompanied by performances of traditional music.
In 2013, UNESCO awarded the title of cultural heritage to Istanbul coffee, and the term "coffee" itself originates from the Turkish word "Kahve".
In every place, coffee has its own history, its own preparation and its own unique cultural meaning. These trips through coffee destinations show us how this drink can be more than just a cup of coffee: it is an experience that connects us to the world, people and traditions, enriching our palate and our knowledge.
So, if you're a coffee enthusiast, consider adding one of these destinations to your next travel list. You'll find that coffee is a universal language that allows you to connect with the world in unique and memorable ways. Whether you prefer an intense Italian espresso or a richly flavored Turkish coffee, the world of coffee is a journey of discovery and endless delights.