My take on ordering coffee outside the U.S.

Now this might sound silly to some of you, but if you know me well, then you know — I love coffee. The stronger, the better. So, one would think that the strong coffee available throughout Europe and the UK would hit the spot. It did; only, drinking coffee is a completely different experience from country to country.

One of the many things I learned on my adventure was to adjust my expectations, adapt to and embrace differences and have an adventurous attitude in all situations. Yes, that includes how I take my coffee. After all, we travel to experience new things, right? Well, yes. But sometimes we just want what we want.

First, other than Starbucks (which are almost everywhere), do not expect a large American style cup of coffee, because you will be disappointed. Try an espresso, they are really smooth, quick, and pack a punch. What I mean is, forget about the leisure cup of coffee unless you are at an outdoor café.

Let’s start with some lingo…

If you do order an Americano, which places serve, but I don’t typically recommend (because they taste like dirty water), English-speaking regions will ask black or white, white is milk. In French – noir (black) or blanche (white).

And, as I mentioned in a previous blog if you must have a big cup, try a cappuccino or head to the only place in London where I will drink an Americano — Apostrophe Café. In fact, I’d drink anything they make, and try a French pastry or two. Apologies, I digress.

Apostrophe Cafe in London

In most countries, if you ask for a coffee they wont understand what you want, or they will and will give you a look of disgust and go through the cappuccino, espresso, etc., menu.

When I arrived in Croatia, I quickly realized that they do not have drip or Americano coffee anywhere, but what they do have is some of the best espresso I have ever had, and it is at the gas stations, along with liquor drinks. Now, I am not endorsing drinking and driving. I am just saying the gas stations have cafes/bars that you can take a break in.

I was much happier once I gave up needing a tall cup of coffee, besides espresso tastes fabulous when it is made properly…


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5 thoughts on “My take on ordering coffee outside the U.S.

  1. Lori…What an intgeresting blog..especially for those of us serious coffee drinkers…we only drink Community Dark Roast coffee at home. It is a Louisiana family coffee company and you can get their coffee in NC at Ingles..or at Publix in any of the southern states..but we order it from the company and it is cheaper. We think it is smoother than Starbucks and a good coffee to drink at night as it doesn’t keep us awake.. In fact I am drinking a cup right now!!!

  2. You really described it well, those big ol’ American size cup o’ Joes aren’t going to fly here. I can remember my first cup of “coffee” here, it was actually in a medium sized cup but peering in I saw a shots worth of “coffee” more like the espresso your talking about. Milch-cafe would get me a half milk half espresso that made me feel a little more like I was getting a cup of coffee.

    I too have turned my back on the Starbucks bitter cups. There are just too many good tasting brewers out there to waste my time on the big chains. Stateside I have to wonder what little small business coffee shops I will be able to find to call my own 😉

  3. Reblogged this on JennyO's Weblog and commented:
    My sister really describes getting a cup of coffee here so very well, those big ol’ American size cup o’ Joes aren’t going to fly in Europe. I can remember my first cup of “coffee” in Germany, it was actually in a medium sized cup but peering in I saw a shots worth of “coffee” more like the espresso she talks about in her blog. Milch-cafe would get me a half milk half espresso that made me feel a little more like I was getting a cup of coffee.

    I too have turned my back on the Starbucks bitterness. There are just too many good tasting brewers out there to waste my time on the big chains. Now looking at returning stateside in several months I have to wonder what little small business coffee shops I will be able to find to call my own 😉

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