Java, joe, brew, mud. Whatever you call it, coffee is the morning must-have for transitioning from asleep to awake, and the midday cure for post-lunch drowsiness. But while it’s a reliable pick-me-up, sometimes it can be a little too routine. That’s when I know it’s time to switch up the flavors and types of coffee I drink — and interestingly, doing so benefits both my mental clarity and my tastebuds. Read on to discover five delicious ways coffee-lovers around the world enjoy their daily brew.
Can’t decide between coffee or tea? Have both. Yuenyeng is a combination of seven parts milk tea (a blend of condensed milk and black tea) and three parts black coffee that originated in Hong Kong. It can be taken hot or cold, and should be mostly sweet with a hint of bitterness. Its name translates to “Mandarin duck” — Mandarin ducks find one mate and stay with them for the rest of their lives, which is representative of the beautiful, harmonious coupling of coffee and tea. A yummy sip with an adorable history. I’ll drink (a yeunyeng) to that.
Turkey: Türk Kahvesi or Turkish Sand Coffee
Coffee holds deep significance in Turkish culture; it has a long history of being used in ceremonies, rituals, and traditions. To make Türk Kahvesi, sugar is added while it brews — not added to individual cups after serving. And despite the frothy surface created by its finely ground coffee beans, there’s no milk or cream. It’s also unfiltered, meaning you drink the grounds as well. But don’t rinse your cup out when you’re done — the pattern of the leftover grounds may dictate the drinker’s fortune, according to tradition. One popular method of brewing uses hot sand, as many believe this method allows for more temperature control. A pan of sand is heated over an open flame, and a cezve (a special wide-bottomed pan) is filled with the water and coffee, and then placed on the hot sand to brew. See this process in action in the video below:
I love coffee and I love cheese. But combining them isn’t something I’ve considered… until now. Popular in Scandinavian countries like Sweden and Finland, Kaffeost is made by pouring hot, black coffee over cheese. Before you reach for the shredded parm, though, remember that not just any cheese will do. Kaffeost uses a Finnish cheese called leipäjuusto, or “bread cheese” or “Finnish squeaky cheese.” It’s neither a baked good, nor alive (luckily): It’s slightly sweet and absorbent like bread, and when made with Reindeer milk, makes a squeaking noise when you chew it. The cheese gets soft and melty, and adds a subtle sweetness to your brew. Coffee expert Sean Brennan recommends letting the cheese soak for a moment, and then fishing it out to eat it.
When life gives you lemons and you’re feeling extra adventurous, make mazagran — lemonade mixed with coffee. Mazagran is a drink that originated in Algeria, and is now popular in Portugal. Some claim mazagran is the first iced coffee drink ever invented. It’s made by pouring a shot of espresso over ice, and adding lemon juice and a sweetener of choice. The resulting flavor is said to be complex — with the bold flavors of espresso and citrus — but mildly sweet.
If you need a drink to really wake you up, cafézinho might do the trick. Cafézinho is thick, sweet, and strong — essentially, it’s Brazil’s national drink. It’s common for Brazilians to welcome friends into their homes with a cup of it, and catching up over cafézinho is an important part of the culture. To make it, dissolve sugar in hot water and add finely-ground coffee or espresso. Coffee grounds are then filtered through a flannel cloth (without squeezing it to expedite the process, as this will lead to a bitter taste). It’s typically enjoyed without milk or cream, but with a good conversation.
Ready to switch up your sip routine? I know I am — pass the Reindeer cheese!
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