Coffee in Europe is as diverse as the countries within it. A coffee in London is not the same as a coffee in Italy, and a coffee in Serbia is probably a brew you’ve never tasted before.
So travellers beware, you may be in for a surprise when you enter a café and order your ritualistic latte. A glass of warm milk may await. Luckily I’m here to guide you through the 4 main types of coffee you’re likely to encounter and where you’ll find them.
The Humble Espresso
The espresso is the staple morning drink for many of Europe’s inhabitants. Whenever you find a café equipped with a manual cappuccino machine you’ll find old European men getting their morning hit. You’re often going to find espresso bars rather than cafes where people simply walk in, order their espresso and drink it down in a few seconds – or perhaps have a quick chat with their favorite barista. Espressos are found all over Europe, but for the best price and experience Italy wins hands down.
The Turkish/Greek Coffee
Turkish coffee made its way to Europe during the 13th century Ottoman wars when Turkey conquered the Balkans. So you’re most likely to find this brew in areas where the Turkish settled and embedded their culture. These are Eastern European countries such as Greece, Croatia, Serbia, and Slovakia – among others. Turkish coffee is similar to an espresso, but more rich and thick in taste and flavour. It is brewed on a stovetop and sugar or spices are sometimes added to enhance the taste of the coffee. It is definitely a drink I recommend everyone to try, as it’s completely different from ordinary espresso based or filtered coffee.
The Familiar Café Latte
I come from Melbourne and my coffee of choice is usually a café latte or macchiato. Melbourne is known for its fantastic café culture where it’s relatively easy to find speciality coffee. Not all of Europe shares this trend unfortunately. So whenever I found a café that could make perfectly steamed milk for my latte I literally got a tingle up my spine. It was so good. I only got this tingle in two places: London, England, and in Austria. However you’ll be able to order a café latte anywhere you can get an espresso. Sometimes cafes call a café latte a cappuccino – especially in Italy where you’re better off ordering a cappuccino as a “café latte” is usually interpreted as an espresso with warm milk on the side. European cappuccinos don’t have chocolate most of the time.
The Worst Coffee I’ve Ever Had – Automated Coffee
Now Europe is not all-great coffee. No, there are some places where you won’t be able to finish your cup, but rather retreat from the café as politely as possible. As a general rule of thumb whenever you see an automated coffee machine for god’s sake run! Don’t try it – have a juice instead. These machines involve a person simply pressing a button and then the machine makes the milk and coffee. I found these machines were most prevalent in the Netherlands, Germany, Switzerland and other Scandinavian countries. So remember. Just say no, people. Say no to automated coffee machines. But that’s not to say you can’t find great coffee in these countries, you can find amazing coffee in any country – you just have to know where to look.
Where’s the best or worst coffee you’ve had in Europe? Tell us about your experiences below.