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I didn’t even know how much I could love coffee until I started traveling and trying it all around the world. Spending a year in New Zealand really upped my coffee game and now it’s one of my favorite things to try everywhere I go.
Because I haven’t quite been everywhere (yet!) I asked some other bloggers where they found the best coffee around the world. I hope you get as excited as I did reading through all of the suggestions!
Legend has it that the first coffee house appeared in Vienna in the 17th Century so I shouldn’t have been surprised to find the best coffee in the world here. I’m fortunate to have enjoyed coffee in many parts of Austria, but one cup that really sticks in my mind was a coffee at Cafe Sacher in Vienna.
I visited the famous cafe to taste its namesake, Sacher Torte, a rich chocolate cake thinly spread with apricot jam and served with whipped cream! The cake lived up to expectations and the accompanying coffee didn’t disappoint either. I ordered a Wiener Melange which is basically a cappuccino with whipped cream instead of milk froth. It’s very decadent – but delicious.
The take coffee drinking seriously in Vienna and you’ll often find folks lingering over a single cup of coffee for hours. There’s no expectation that you down your coffee quickly and move on.
One thing you’ll notice when you order coffee in Austria is they always serve it with an accompanying glass of water. A sip of the water is used to cleanse the palate so that the full flavour of the coffee can be appreciated.
Viennese coffee definitely lived up to its reputation and drinking it in one of Vienna’s oldest coffee houses just added to the enjoyment.
– Carolyn of Holidays to Europe
Hamburg, Germany is probably one of the last cities you would have guessed as the Coffee Capital of the World. But did you know that the beans of every 7th cup of coffee drunk around the world goes through the hands of wholesalers in Hamburg? I didn’t either. It is THE trading spot for coffee, and so it is easy to find some of the best cup of Joe around the world in this German city.
I highly recommend you visit the Kaffeemuseum Burg (Coffee Museum Burg), which not only has its own micro-roaster that roasts fresh coffee, but also a museum about the history of coffee and coffee trade. You can also do a coffee tasting there, where you learn about the various coffee beans, brewing techniques and flavors that you can find in the coffee.
After your tour, you can sit down and enjoy some of the tastiest coffees, Hamburg has to offer – combined with a tasty German cake – and you are in coffee lover heaven.
London, UK – Black Sheep Coffee
Black Sheep Coffee has locations throughout London UK and I absolutely love their coffee.
I particularly like the one located in the Leadenhall Building (122 Leadenhall Street). Here, in the heart of the City, it’s quite difficult to get a really good coffee, but Black Sheep nails it.
Black Sheep serves their coffee very strong and perfectly brewed. They are famous for their Robusta Revival coffee, which they say “the first and only specialty-grade 100% Robusta coffee”. The beans come from India and boast double the caffeine of a regular cup! The coffee has taste of chocolate and hazelnut and is amazing as both espresso or served with milk. They serve coffee in their very cool Black Sheep coffee shops that are all bare pine floors and rustic industrial chic. The good news is that you can also buy the beans to use at home.
Next time you’re in London, definitely check out Black Sheep!
If you ever go to Paris don’t miss its coffee! Perhaps, the Parisian coffee is not as good as the Italian coffee or the Colombian coffee but coffee in a Parisian cafe is an experience not to miss in the City of Lights. Parisian cafes are an institution in Paris and a very important part of its culture.
Historically, Parisian cafes were much more than a spot to drink a coffee, they were a place of political and philosophical debates and the meeting point of artists and intellectuals. Writers like James Joice or Ernest Hemingway in Paris used the cafes as their working place, and some of their masterworks were born in Parisian cafes.
Enjoy a cafe noir or a cafe crème, perhaps with a freshly baked croissant, in the terrace of your favorite Parisian cafe. Soak up its special atmosphere and watch how life goes by in the streets of Paris, you will understand why Paris is a movable feast!
– Elisa from World in Paris
Italians love their coffee and they are proud brewers of their world-renowned coffee, particularly espresso. Italy has been known to be the leader in coffee for centuries, and their love and brew of it prove it. There is a place in every city and town where locals enjoy coffee, and visitors embrace it. Even the small villages have a tradition of seeing their locals at the coffee bar downing an espresso before they continue about their day.
In Rome, one of the best places to get coffee is, surprisingly enough, the Termini train station. Having frequented the train station multiple times throughout my travels in Italy, the espresso has been perfected at the station. With Italians rushing about to get to their jobs, the perfect espresso has to be available to keep them going and Termini does a fantastic job catering to not only the locals but visitors alike, over 480,000 people daily. The espresso is not too strong, with the drip coffee being but the perfect bold combination of a shot of some of Italy’s finest coffee beans.
I thought Spain had the best coffee in the world until I moved to Portugal. In the 12 years I have been here, I have only ever had one bad cup of coffee from a café !
Portuguese coffee culture originated in Brazil, one of its former colonies, but while the Robusta and Arabica coffee beans are imported from Brazil and other exotic countries, Portuguese coffee has developed a distinctive style of its own. The key to its smooth, strong flavour is the slow roasting of these beans at low temperatures to enhance the flavours of the blend.
And while Portugal typically uses Italian coffee machines, the traditional Portuguese expresso (uma bica or um café) is larger than you’ll find in Italy, i.e. 30 ml rather than 20 ml, making it a little easier to drink. If you need your shot of coffee topped up with hot water, ask for a café cheio. This is still a ‘short’ drink so for a long black coffee, ask for an Americano or a coffee with milk is a meia de leite (half milk, half coffee).
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The best coffee I’ve ever had was in Salento, Colombia. Salento is a small town in the middle of Colombia’s coffee region. Anybody who loves coffee would know that Colombia is responsible for producing some of the highest quality coffee beans in the world! For this reason alone, I made it my mission to visit Salento and try the coffee for myself.
Most of the high-quality beans produced in Colombia are sent overseas to places like the United States, Australia, or Europe where they are willing to pay high prices for the best coffee. This means that the lesser-quality beans typically stay in Colombia. Consequently, this makes most of the coffee in Colombia not very good. But not in Salento.
In Salento, they keep a small portion of the high-quality beans for travelers to sample – and boy, I’m sure glad they do! You can get an amazing cup of coffee from one of the many cafes in town or you can go straight out to one of the nearby coffee farms in Salento. At the coffee farms, you can actually go a tour to learn about how they grow the beans before having the best cup of coffee ever!
– Bailey from Destinationless Travel
New York City, USA
In a country perhaps better known for regular filter coffee, appreciation for espresso drinks is on the rise. On a recent trip to New York City, the number of cafes producing a high quality espresso coffee pleasantly surprised us.
Culture Espresso, Bluestone Lane, Little Collins and La Colombe are just some of the cafes producing exceptional coffee in a wide range of styles including pour over, espresso, and even nitro coffee.
However, the one coffee that stands out as one of the best coffees ever was from Blue Bottle Café. The walk along the High Line on a sunny day whilst drinking the coffee may have influenced this decision. It certainly made the experience memorable browsing the adjacent Chelsea Market.
There is no doubt the Blue Bottle latte was one of the best coffees I have had. Great tasting coffee, perfectly frothed milk, served by friendly staff in a pretty café. Is there anything better?
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Despite Ecuador being one of the significant producers of coffee, when we first arrived there, our first cup in Quito was disappointing. Many of the cafes serve instant coffee from machines as it’s much cheaper for them to purchase.
We later learnt that one of the reasons for this is Ecuador exports most of the coffee it produces, and the result of this is that real coffee is expensive to buy. However, it was fabulous when we took a tour around the coffee factory in Mindo and sampled some homegrown produce.
The bean is grown organically in the cloud rainforest in Mindo and, during the tour, we learned how the microclimate in this town enhances the aromas and flavors of the coffee.
We stayed in Mindo for a few days and came across several cafes where the coffee was fantastic. My favourite cafe, which we visited daily, was Caskaffesu. It’s located half a block down from the bus station, which is handy if you’re travelling from Quito.
At Caskaffesu, they use local coffee that they grow on their plantation in the Nambillo rainforest. The taste is unique, it’s not too bitter, but there’s a real depth of flavour. I was delighted to be able to bring some back home as they also sell their products.
– Fiona from Passport and Piano
Jamaica – Blue Mountain Coffee
Blue Mountain coffee refers to coffee grown in the blue mountain region in Jamaica. The unique climate and soil of the region makes it ideal for producing world class coffee.
Blue Mountain coffee is known for its smooth, mild taste and lack of bitterness, and is reputed to be one of the best in the world. The coffee is also one of the most expensive coffees in the world. Mainly because only coffee that is produced at an altitude of 3,000 ft. to 5,500 ft. can be classified as Blue Mountain coffee. And other factors contributing to the expensive price is that coffee grown in this region takes twice as long from bloom to harvest and the process is very labour intensive. Additionally, the Japanese usually purchase around 80% of the crop, so this also contributes to the scarcity and thus the high price.
When purchasing coffee, make sure you are purchasing 100% blue mountain coffee certified by the Coffee Industry Board of Jamaica. Some popular and authentic brands are Clifton Mount Estate, Wallenford Estate and Flamstead Estate.
If you are visiting Jamaica you can visit Jamaican coffee chains such as Café Blue that owns the farm where they produce Blue Mountain Coffee.
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You may be surprised about how good the coffee in Nepal is. I know I was. Without a doubt, some of the best coffees I had in all of Nepal was at Kar.ma Coffee in Kathmandu. It is a small café cum co-working space hidden in the touristic area of Thamel. Half the fun of drinking a coffee at kar.ma is finding the café. Hint – use the stairs!
The café here is divine. Filled with recycled materials from the table tops to the coffee ware that’s for sale. The staff are exceptionally well- trained. The coffee on order is a pour over, though if you’re like me, you can get a latte. There’s also delicious snacks for purchase. Whilst we are talking about what to buy, you can grab great gifts and coffee to take home. Which I certainly did.
Thick and creamy with an intense flavor and a bold aroma that is accompanied by the taste of chocolate, Vietnamese coffee is one of the best in the world. Usually served in a drip cup as it is or with a couple of ice cubes, thick condensed milk is added to make Hanoi’s famous brown coffee, known to the locals as ca phe nau da. It is sweet, addictive concoction that has captured the hearts of many tourists.
However, this is not the only way to drink coffee in Vietnam. To explore Vietnam’s unique coffee culture, begin with a visit to Giang Café in the Old Quarter where you will experience the best egg coffee Hanoi has to offer. It may seem weird until you taste the sweet, creamy, meringue-like froth.
If you don’t feel like tasting eggnog coffee, then head to Cong Ca Phe and give their line of coffee smoothies a go. Their bestsellers include the Coconut Coffee Smoothie and the Green Rice Coffee Smoothie.
– Karolina from Lazy Travel Blog
There are some places in the world that are just known for their coffees. Cambodia is not one of them. However, talk to anyone who has sipped a coffee while traveling in Cambodia and they will all tell you that there is just something different to the caffeinated beverage than one from elsewhere.
At first sip, one might wonder if they actually accidentally ordered some sort of mocha, as the coffee has a faint, almost chocolate taste to it, but no, that is just the pure decadence of the cup of Joe. So why then does it taste like this? In Cambodia, a traditional way of roasting the coffee beans is to do so in a special kind of lard, which might just be what gives it the subtle, but delicious undertones.
While a hot cup of coffee is just fine, getting one iced is pure bliss. Like many Southeast Asian countries, instead of milk or cream, they use sweetened condensed milk. This sugary substance paired with the unique flavor of the coffee itself poured over ice is simply sublime!
– LeAnna of Economical Excursionists
Indonesia is the fourth largest coffee producing country in the world. The islands of Java and Sumatra produce some of the best examples of Indonesian coffee. Not to be left out of the best coffee discussion is Bali. Bali is more famous for its beaches and rice fields. However, it also produces not only high quality coffee but also one of the more unique varieties.
Bali catches up with Java and Sumatra on coffee production since they started in the 20th Century. They grow both Robusta and Arabica beans mainly in the Kintamani region of the island. Because farmers can earn more money from growing Arabica, it is quickly surpassing Robusta as the primary crop. The stronger body of the Arabica bean is also more popular with coffee drinkers.
Ubud, Bali, is one of the most popular towns to visit in Bali. And it is also a popular place for expats to call home. Traditionally, the Balinese drank instant coffee. But, with so many foreigners visiting and living in Ubud, a coffee culture has taken root. Numerous cafes serve Balinese and other Indonesian coffees.
One of the best places for Balinese coffee in Ubud is Anomali. They pay great respect to the Balinese beans by grinding the coffee and preparing the coffee expertly. For the adventurous coffee drinker, Bali provides the opportunity to sample Kopi Luwak. More commonly known as civet coffee, Kopi Luwak is made from coffee beans that have defecated out by the civet — a small mongoose like mammal.
With the increasing awareness of Balinese coffee, the quality is matching, making Bali coffee a nice alternative to other coffees around the world.
– Amber from With Husband In Tow
When it comes to coffee in Laos, we are completely spoilt for choice, with the European influence and ever-growing number of western style cafes, the increasing demand has called for an increase in local roasters, coffee plantations and exceptional coffee drinking locations.
For the best coffee, take yourself to the ever-popular Vang Vieng, in Laos. Situated above the Nam Song River, at the north end of the main shopping and dining street, you will find a small cafe roadside, with two single couches out front.
Delight on the slow drip Laotian coffee while enjoying the spectacular views of the karst limestone mountains surrounding the village. The coffee experience is equally as important as the coffee itself and this place, has it all. To get to Vang Vieng it will take approximately 4 hours by public bus from the capital Vientiane, do yourself a favour and plan a stay for a few days, the coffee is just the beginning of a great Vang Vieng experience.
-Erin of Love to Travel, Stay-Eat-Do
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Growing up as an American in a black coffee drinking house, I had no idea that coffee could be so good. My knowledge of coffee boils down to Folger’s Coffee commercials, Starbucks specialty drinks and the not-very-good office coffee purchased in bulk.
Despite this, I still found myself gravitating to drinking a cup of joe each morning as I’ve always loved the smell.
Then I visited New Zealand and was shocked to find how many options I had to choose from upon my first coffee shop visit. I stood at the counter, eyes wide open, trying to figure out how to order a black coffee. I ended up ordering a “long black” assuming that was close enough. And it was, but I quickly decided it wasn’t going to be my go-to for an entire year.
In the end Flat Whites became my go-to and some may even consider it the national coffee drink of NZ. On top of all of the options, NZ has an amazing coffee culture and all of their coffee tastes amazing! You can find cafes anywhere and everywhere and having a meet up at one is pretty standard.
They are also big on minimal waste and many of the coffee shops will have “KeepCups” on sale in store and encourage you to bring yours each time. After seeing them all around, I ended up purchasing mine at the Australian Open and now carry it with me around the world.
It’s going to be really hard for any other country to beat my fondness of New Zealand coffee. Now I’m off to get a flat white!
-Tayler from Traveling Tayler
Over the past 20 years, Australia has developed a strong and admired coffee culture, meaning it’s easier than ever to get a terrific brew, particularly in the cities.
Most cafe staff undergo detailed and high quality barista training, or attend ‘coffee school’ to learn how to make an espresso coffee correctly. If they haven’t done the training, which can last up to a week full-time, then they don’t get to drive the coffee machine — which is a good indication of just how serious coffee is in Australia!
Although getting a really great cup of coffee is very easy in the nation’s capital cities, due to the nation’s growing caffeine addiction, even small regional towns are garnering a reputation for great coffee.
In fact, one of the best places to buy a coffee in Queensland used to be in a location called Flaggy Rock. It was literally in the middle of nowhere, on the road between Rockhampton and Mackay. It was such a small place that it wasn’t even a town. Yet so many Rockhampton and Mackay locals knew that Flaggy Rock was a mandatory coffee stop on the road trip between the two cities.
I haven’t travelled that road for a number of years now, but I have many friends who still do, and they assure me the coffee there is as good as ever!
-Lisa from Run. Eat. Sleep. Repeat.
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Eritrean Coffee Ceremony
It’s late afternoon when the old woman and her friends gather around the little charcoal stove. Partway between the kitchen and the foyer where much living is done, they sit and converse in Tigrinya, the language of Eritrea, and while I don’t understand a word, they welcome me into the coffee ceremony as if I were family.
Once the coals are lit, green coffee beans are placed in a metal cup with a long handle. Eventually they start to roast and smoke, filling the air with their slightly acrid aroma. As the beans darken and approach completion, the cup is passed around for everyone to take a good whiff and savor the now-enticing scent.
The old woman then grinds the roasted beans with a mortar and pestle. And then she places them in a traditional Eritrean coffee pot. It’s spherical, clay body has a simple handle and long, narrow neck. She adds water and places the pot directly on the charcoal.
She tosses flaky incense onto the coals, once again changing the air, this time to heady mix of perfume and coffee. Somewhere in the kitchen, a young woman is making popcorn.
Suddenly, the water bubbles up and out of the neck of the coffee pot. The old woman removes it from the charcoal and strains it with a horsetail whisk. She returns it to the stove and lets it bubble over twice more until she is satisfied that the coffee is properly done.
About this time the coals are dying and the sting of the incense fades.
Small, handle-less cups sit on a tray, each containing a considerable amount of sugar. The dark brew is carefully poured and the tray passed around. Popcorn is presented for everyone.
The brew is thick and smooth and deep, balanced well by the contrasting sugar. Three cups will be required, of course, as is tradition. The old people spend the remains of the afternoon conversing, and I, observing.
As the light fades and my last cup goes down, I feel the full experience of the coffee ceremony and I am content.
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