Weekly Roundup: Coffee and Tea Around the World

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The world is made up of different cultures and customs that encompass all facets of everyday life. When you order food and drinks in another country, it is usually not the same experience than if you were to do it in your native country. In this week’s roundup, we’ll be looking at the proper etiquette and customs when drinking coffee and tea around the world.

Always mind your Ps and Qs

Always mind your Ps and Qs

Coffee etiquette is a serious thing in Italy, even down to what you drink with it. Cappuccino is only to be consumed in the morning, and a glass of water with your coffee is acceptable to clean your palate. Ordering coffee before or after meals is unacceptable: only after your meal and even then espresso only with no milk. Talk about strict!

But first, let us drink

But first, let us drink

In Morocco, it is customary to not talk about business with a shopkeeper while drinking tea. We think that the savvy shopper could use this to their advantage by appealing to the shopkeeper’s personal side, and in return get a nice discount!

Let us see what the beans see

Let us see what the beans see

Did you know that, in Turkey, the coffee grounds used to make your coffee could also be used to tell your fortune? How great would it be if Starbucks offered this option? They could hire a fortune teller at every location while they’re at it.

A more elegant “thank you”

A more elegant “thank you”

In China, there are several ways to express gratitude to the person serving your tea, but one of the easiest and most common ways is to tap both your index and middle fingers lightly on the table twice. This gesture is a far-cry from banging your fist on the table to get your server’s attention.

“No, really. I’m good, thanks.”

“No, really. I’m good, thanks.”

In India, it is considered polite to decline an offer of tea at first, but if the person insists and you still decline, it is then considered rude. Hey, if the person offering you tea insists, then it must be that good, right?

“Because it’s tradition”

“Because it’s tradition”

Coffee is the national drink in Ethiopia. Drinking coffee here is a ritual that can last up to an hour if served in the traditional three rounds called AWOL, TONA, and BARAKA. Before drinking the coffee, you should first inhale the coffee’s aroma before slowly sipping it.

“Just try it first”

“Just try it first”

It is acceptable to add milk and sugar to your tea in Japan, but only after you try it in its purest form first. We can safely assume that this gesture is to show that you at least like to see what blend you’re dealing with before making a more informed decision as to whether or not you should add milk and/or sugar.

There is a method to the madness

There is a method to the madness

In France, dunking croissants in coffee is acceptable when done from a wide mug in the morning, and if you plan on drinking the coffee, make sure to hold the mug with both hands. There are also big no-nos when ordering coffee: don’t order your coffee flavored, with whipped cream, and never filtered.

Coffee is enjoyed the world over, and some countries make the act of drinking coffee a ritual with strict guidelines and proper manners while other countries like the U.S. are more lax and will serve your coffee virtually any way you like. No matter if it’s tea or coffee, people all over the world drink coffee just like you (but differently).