Natalie B Compton
THE WASHINGTON POST – As the world turns to edible entertainment during social distancing, a number of food and drink trends have virally emerged. One of the major ones (next to an explosion in bread-making) has been dalgona coffee, a whipped beverage whose Internet takeover began with YouTube videos out of South Korea. It’s frothy and fun to drink and oddly calming to watch.
But dalgona isn’t the only distinctive global coffee you can concoct at home right now. Here are eight traditional varieties to try.
To drink coffee like an Italian, you’re going to need enough espresso to support a morning-to-evening caffeine routine. Start early with a biscotti or a croissant and jam, paired with a hit of ristretto.
“Ristretto is traditionally a short shot of espresso coffee made with the normal amount of ground coffee but extracted with about half the amount of water in the same amount of time by using a finer grind,” Il Salviatino executive chef Silvia Grossi explained to The Post, in an email from Fiesole, Italy.
Grossi said it’s best to use Arabica or Robusta coffee blends to capture the Italian essence. And you’ll want to keep things simple when it comes to add-ons.
“Generally, when we talk about espresso, the few variations or ingredients added in very small quantities are: milk foam, and the coffee served in a cup with hazelnut cream,” Grossi said.
VIETNAM: ICED COFFEE
With the arrival of warmer weather, you may find yourself craving iced coffee. A perfect solution? Vietnam’s most popular coffee drink: iced coffee with sweetened condensed milk (Cà phê sua đá). To attempt an authentic recreation of your own, Sahra Nguyen, a Vietnamese-American filmmaker and founder of Nguyen Coffee Supply, recommends using 100 percent Peaberry Robusta coffee beans, which deliver nearly twice the caffeine content of Arabica beans. Nguyen Coffee Supply makes things easy by selling a Vietnamese coffee kit online, complete with a stainless-steel, single-serving phin filter and either whole or ground beans, grown in Da Lat Vietnam.
Once you’re stocked with the right supplies (Nguyen said an electric kettle and a good coffee grinder will deliver the freshest coffee experience), mix your drink and call your friends.
“Saying di uong ca phe, which translates to ‘let’s get coffee’, is the most common invitation to hang out in villages and cities alike,” Nguyen said in an email interview.
AUSTRALIA: FLAT WHITE
If you’re missing travelling in Australia (or New Zealand), make yourself a flat white.
“[The flat white is] one of our great Australian innovations, along with a lamington and TimTam,” Andy Stone, the vice president of marketing at Australian-inspired coffee company Bluestone Lane, said in an email.
Stone said that an authentic Australian flat white requires a huge amount of precision. You’ll need a shot of espresso (Stone’s pick is Bluestone Lane’s Maverick espresso blend), two shots of steamed milk and an eight-ounce ceramic cup to do this right. Here are more instructions to put it all together.
You can’t feast at a Singapore hawker centre during the pandemic, but you can embrace kopitiam (or coffee shop) culture at home if you have some butter and a little time.
“To enhance their flavour, [Robusta] beans are roasted in a wok with butter or lard and sugar until they turn deep brown,” Regional Director for the Singapore Tourism Board Rachel Loh explained over email. “This caramelises the beans and gives them a unique aroma.”
After their buttering, the beans are ground and strained through a sock filter. Finally, the coffee is mixed with sweet condensed milk or evaporated milk, or served straight.
For the full Singaporean experience, you’ll need a snack, too.
“Most Singaporeans enjoy sipping their kopi while snacking on some kaya toast – a local breakfast staple of charcoal-grilled or toasted bread with a slice of butter and kaya spread (a traditional jam made from coconut and eggs),” said Loh. “More often that not, it is also accompanied by two savoury soft-boiled eggs with runny yolks and a dash of dark soya sauce.”
MIAMI: CUBAN ESPRESSO
In Miami, a coffee break is as much about socialising as it is a midday energy boost.
“It’s a moment to chit-chat and have coffee. It’s a little a pick-me-up in the afternoon,” said Adrian Gonzalez, the owner of David’s Café Cafecito in Miami Beach.
The routine for customers at Gonzalez’s 42-year-old cafe, he said, is to grab Cuban espresso from the shop’s walk-up window, then divide it up among friends while they swap stories from their day.
Miami’s official cafecito time is 3.05pm, in honour of its 305 area code, so replicate the experience by taking a video-chat coffee break with friends then. Go the extra mile by enjoying your coffee with guava, cheese or meat pastelitos (a traditional Cuban pastry) on the side.
FRANCE: FRENCH PRESS
If you’ve ever travelled to France, you almost certainly set aside time to sit at a cafe for coffee. French cafes date back centuries, and are as essential to a trip to the country as seeing the Louvre or eating a baguette.
“French cafes have a distinct place in history and literature – from the French Revolution to Hemingway, cafes were used as places to create ideas, write, gather and plot,” emailed Berta Canovas, the associate director of marketing at Royal Champagne Hotel & Spa, in Champagne, France.
Until we can fly to Paris and take a seat at a cafe’s sidewalk table, we can satisfy our French-cafe cravings at home with un café, a cup of espresso. Or, for the Royal Champagne treatment, use a French press.
“We always serve room service with a French press,” said Canovas. “Our guests wouldn’t have it otherwise.” The best time to sip yours? 4pm, in accordance with France’s “Le goûter” tradition, alongside a small dessert.
GUATEMALA: GUATEMALAN COFFEE
You may already drink coffee from Guatemala today. But do you drink it like a Guatemalan?
“People in Guatemala traditionally drink black coffee with a splash of milk and some sugar,” Marcela Jongezoon, chef of Casa Palopò in Lake Atitlán, Guatemala, said in an email. “Guatemalan coffee is amazing, so it does not need much more to make it great.”
The key to getting the most out of Guatemalan coffee is making sure your beans are fresh and that you grind them yourself. (Jongezoon’s favourites are from the Guatemalan cities of Huehuetenango and Antigua.)
“I would recommend you buy whole-grain coffee and either grind it at home or take it to a local super market to do it for you,” said Jongezoon. “Make sure you read the label in detail to check for freshness and shelf life.”
Time seems to slow down in Bali, whether you’re listening to the sound of waves crashing in Uluwatu or to traditional gamelan music in the jungle. And locals and visitors alike can take in the calming splendor of the Indonesian island over a cup of Kopi Bali.
“The secret to great Balinese coffee comes during the roasting process, and everyone has different recipes,” Mark Swinton, general manager of the resort Capella Ubud, Bali, said in an email. “The tradition is in general one kilo of coffee plus .5 kilo of rice added together, then roasted.”
After the mixture’s roasting is complete, grind it into a powder, add a tablespoon of coffee mix and a tablespoon of sugar to a glass of hot water, and stir. To alter the intensity, vary the amount of rice, or roast the mixture for different lengths of time.
Pull it off properly, and for a moment, it’ll almost (just almost) be as if you’re really there.