Cultural Significance Of Coffee Around The World


This is a guest post by Rudy Caretti, founder of Gimoka Coffee UK. Full author info at the bottom of the page. 

There is no doubt coffee is among the widely consumed beverages around the world. With about 2 billion cups sold each day, coffee has clearly carved its own place in the lives of many.

Whereas some take it every morning to awaken their sleepy minds as they get ready for work, others opt for the beverage in the midst of the day or in the evening when they need something to refuel and energise their tired self for an extra round of work.

However, it is the cultural significance of coffee to different communities of the world which may surprise you. Incidentally, coffee drinking in some communities is surrounded by many rituals. Here is a look at how different communities view and enjoy their coffee around the world!


Photo Credit: Kaustav Bhattacharya

1. India
Indians have enjoyed their coffee since the 17th century when it was first introduced to the Southern region by a Sufi saint named Baba Budan. Today, you visit any home in the southern part of India and you are bound to be greeted with a cup of filter coffee, commonly known as kaapi.
Contrary to the drip machines you are familiar with, the Indian coffee is prepared using a unique filter device. It is brewed gradually, poured into a metallic tumbler then topped with milk and sugar to make it ready for drinking.



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2. Saudi Arabia

The Saudis have a specific etiquette when it comes to serving their coffee. Guests are served coffee or kawa from the right side, not left. In family gatherings, the father is served first, then first-degree elders and relatives. Other guests will follow. The youngest is supposed to serve the older people in the meeting. If this is a high-profile gathering, coffee serving follows the protocol of the offices represented.

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3. Ethiopia
Ethiopia is believed to be the home of coffee and they adore the beverage very much. You can tell by their cultural celebrations that involve coffee drinking. Such celebrations are common in Ethiopian families after their evening meals. Yes, Ethiopians enjoy several rounds of a cup of Joe before going to sleep.
In fact, coffee brewing in Ethiopia involves a spiritual process that lasts not less than an hour. During the preparation of Bunna, the native term for coffee in Ethiopia, women will begin by washing the beans thoroughly in water. Then, they will rinse them clean and roast over a coal stove until they are dark.

You can already savor the beautiful smell of the roasted coffee filling the environment during this process. They will pound the beans into powder using a mortar and pestle.

The resulting powder is poured into a jebena, an Ethiopian traditional coffee brewing pot, with water and placed on fire to cook. It is common for Ethiopians to spice their coffee with cardamoms, cloves and honey to attain a distinctive flavor. Guests or family members are also served with popcorn, bread, and nuts as they wait for their coffee to brew.


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4. China
The Chinese may have adopted some western habits when it comes to their way of enjoying their cup of Joe today. However, coffee has a special place in the Chinese traditional medicine catalog. It is among the revered plants in the field of traditional medicine in China and it is believed to increase fertility in women. Just like one would think of tea when they are in need of a hot curative drink, the Chinese consider coffee a valuable ingredient in alternative medicine.

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5. Mexico
Coffee culture in Mexico dates back in 300 years ago. Today, Mexicans can take coffee any time of the day. The common brew here is known as Café de olla which they often spice with cinnamon and piloncillo-a kind of unrefined cane sugar. Another unique aspect of coffee drinking in Mexico is that they drink it in earthen clay pots which they believe have a key influence on its taste. This coffee drinking habit is common in the rural and highland areas of Mexico.


Rudy Caretti has more than 15 years of experience in the coffee industry, a passion that started in Italy within the family business and brought him to found Gimoka Coffee UK with a group of friends, who share the same passion.

Since he roasted his first batch of coffee seeds as a teenager, he was fascinated by the many ways it can be processed to get the many different distinctive flavors we all love.

As a coffee connoisseur, Rudy has always been aware of the vital role played by coffee in most people’s social life and he is especially active through the company’s social media and blog. He loves sharing his knowledge with readers around the world, writing and posting articles that range from the coffee brewing techniques to raising awareness of the importance of responsible production to help protect the rights of farmers and protect the environment



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