Mar 092016
 

Best Coffees

From Italian espresso to Colombia’s cafe con leche – a guide to the best cups of coffee the world has to offer.

1. ESPRESSO, ITALY

It’s so simple, and yet so perfect: a tiny, strong cup of pure coffee worshipped by the Italian masses several times daily. Either hand-pulled or drawn from an espresso machine, this is coffee at its best, unadorned with fancy syrups, chocolate splodges or even milk. An Italian espresso is traditionally consumed while standing at a bar and yelling at people.

2. CA PHE SUA DA, VIETNAM

Coffee in Vietnam is prepared like nowhere else in the world, with hot water poured into a mini percolator of rich, dark grains that sits on top of a glass. Black liquid then drips through that percolator and lands in a puddle of thick, sweet, condensed milk. Add a handful of ice cubes, stir, and you have a delicious pick-me-up.

3. KAAPI, SOUTHERN INDIA

As soon as you see those two metal containers, the cup and the deep saucer, in Kerala and Tamil Nadu, you know you’re about to get something good. Locally grown coffee in southern India is roasted and finely ground, percolated, topped with frothed milk, and then “pulled” between the cup and saucer, a process that cools and mixes the liquid. Delicious. And it costs about 10 cents.

4. NOUS-NOUS, MOROCCO

There’s a thriving coffee culture in Morocco, a country of countless cafes with pavement chairs set up French-style, facing the street. The best way to take that coffee in Morocco is “nous-nous”, Arabic for “half-half” – half coffee, half hot milk. The result is something like a piccolo latte, a strong, tasty beverage served in a small glass and drunk with relish the country over.

5. CAFE CORTADO, ARGENTINA

They say Buenos Aires wouldn’t function without the cafe cortado, another coffee much like the nous-nous, a small cup that is roughly half coffee and half hot, lightly frothed milk. A morning cortado in Buenos Aires is usually taken with two or three medialunas – small, sweet croissants – at a cafe surrounded by friends. As with much of life in BA, it’s not a thing to be rushed.

6. IPOH WHITE COFFEE, MALAYSIA

Originating in the town of Ipoh, this style involves roasting the beans with palm oil margarine, giving the whole velvety drink a slight hint of charcoal and smoke. Settle in to any kopitiam​ in Malaysia and you’re likely to get an excellent version of a cherished drink.

7 FLAT WHITE, AUSTRALIA

You couldn’t make a list of great coffees without including our own contribution. Forget about the Kiwis trying to claim it, this thing is ours. A flat white is as simple as it is effective: a shot of espresso topped with hot, frothy milk. No chocolate sprinkles. No syrupy flavours. Just coffee and milk.

8. CEREMONIAL COFFEE, ETHIOPIA

To drink coffee in Ethiopia, the birthplace of the beverage, is to commit yourself to an hour-long ceremony that includes roasting beans, grinding beans, brewing coffee, and then drinking three small cups: an ultra-strong brew, then a weaker one and a weaker one after that as the same coffee grounds are reused. The taste: perfection, made all the more impressive by the ceremony.

9. CAFE CON LECHE, COLOMBIA

One of the world’s great coffee-growing nations, Colombia is also a place to enjoy the result of those labours. Whether you’re downing a cup in beachside Cartagena or in the highlands of Perreira, a cafe con leche – coffee with milk – in Colombia is always rich, strong and tasty. Local coffee growers drink theirs with sugar cane juice: a guaranteed heart starter.

10. KAHVE, TURKEY

Coffee in Turkey is heady stuff, brewed black and strong, left unfiltered so that at the bottom of each glass you’ll always find an undrinkable sludge. It’s surprisingly delicious.

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