Coffee is one of the world's most popular drinks, with significant cultural variations. It is also the most consumed psychotropic substance (by number of regular or intermittent consumers) in the world and present almost everywhere.


If it wasn't for the coffee, I'd have no identifiable personality whatsoever.David Letterman

Types of Coffee

A cup of black coffee

Coffee beans are mostly of two main types, Robusta being the most widely produced and Arabica being considered the higher quality one. Coffee can be served black (as in no milk added), white (with milk in straight, 'frothed' or condensed forms) or even sometimes with alcohol (as in a shot of whisky to make 'Irish Coffee'). Many people prefer to add sugar to their coffee to counter the inherent bitter taste.

Types of coffee drink

  • Americano
  • Espresso
  • Latte, short for Caffe Latte (Coffee with Milk)
  • Flat White
  • Cappuccino
  • Mocha

Regional Coffee Cultures

Coffee is one of the world's most traded commodities, and you can probably find many types in your home region. Nevertheless, there are many distinctive ways of drinking coffee around the world that are worth experiencing.

Typical scene in a Viennese "Kaffeehaus" café (coffee with tap water and newspaper), in the Café Bräunerhof in Vienna, Austria



Artist coffee shop in Pioneer Square, Seattle




Coffee Plantations

Coffee growing plantations around the world

Coffee grows best under certain conditions, typically in warm climates at high altitudes. The mountains of Jamaica, Colombia, Brazil, Papua New Guinea, Ethiopia and Kenya are ideal. Some countries such as Costa Rica or Nicaragua used to depend or still depend on a good coffee harvest and you may be able to visit farms there as a form of ecological and or volunteer tourism

Coffee Visitor Attractions


Being a Barista can either be a good way to get a short term job whilst traveling, or a way to develop a long term career.

Stay healthy

Coffee contains caffeine which is a stimulant. As such it is not recommended to drink coffee to excess. People with high blood pressure or who suffer from insomnia should take care not to consume too much. Coffee can be addictive.

Coffee is often available in decaffeinated form.

'Old coffee' is not dangerous to drink, but tastes pretty bad. The taste from coffee comes from the oils, and they become rancid over time. Ideally, the coffee should be brewed straight after the beans are ground, and ground coffee should be consumed within a few weeks at the very most.

Decaffeinated coffee or the variety of replacement substances that may or may not taste like coffee while being made from other substances may in some cases be better for your health, especially if you have problems with the heart or blood pressure.

Stay safe

While coffee does contain a psychotropic substance (caffeine) and prolonged exposure does produce (mild) withdrawal symptoms (sleepiness, headaches and other symptoms) its health risks occur when taken in heavy intake amounts, where caffeine toxicity is of concern and a medical issue, but the average coffee drinker would never reach that level. Even the benefits are low and nothing to worry about for healthy adults. That being said, the bitter taste makes it (theoretically) easier to "spike" than plain water, as many substances that could knock you out have a bitter taste. It is however still very rare and the worst that could happen to you drinking a coffee in most places are bag-snatching, pickpocketing or the (perfectly legal) high prices in some places.


Coffee is rarely regarded as a vice around the world, although Mormons, and some Baptists in the United States, are not allowed to consume it.

Coffee shops often provide a lounge type area where you can sit, read and relax. Although convenient for the traveler, try not to hog your table and seat for hours and hours since other people may also want to sit and the business needs more customers for their livelihood. If you must stay for a long time, then at least purchase more drinks/food now and then.

Some countries, such as the United States, are very accommodating for customizing your coffee with a variety of syrups and milk variants. Baristas in other 'more traditional' countries may find too many requests for a special coffee very annoying. If you really need a 'Grande, Iced, Sugar-Free, Vanilla Latte With Soy Milk' or 'Iced, Half Caff, Ristretto, Venti, 4-Pump, Sugar Free, Cinnamon, Dolce Soy Skinny Latte' then consider visiting a local chain coffee shop, used to such tastes.

This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Saturday, March 05, 2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.