Anyone who has been to Europe knows that having coffee there is different than in the U.S. Not only does the coffee taste richer, but the whole experience is next level compared to the states. Whether in France, Spain, or just about anywhere in Europe, it is nearly expected that your coffee (ie. espresso/latte) order is for you to enjoy in the cafe rather than take it away. In fact, to be seen with a takeaway coffee cup can actually label you as a tourist where you may be met with disapproving glances.
It’s quite the opposite in the U.S. where our fast-paced, caffeinated culture practically dictates that we drink our coffee while driving to work or while walking from destination to destination. This is such the expectation in the states that a barista (ie. Starbucks) generally assumes that you want your coffee in a takeaway cup rather than a ceramic cup to enjoy in the cafe. And, if you ask for your drink “for here” instead of “to go”, the barista is often surprised and in some cases irritated like it’s creating an extra step. Is it because he/she now has to wash a cup?
Obviously, if you’re pressed for time, ordering a coffee to go is the best option. But if you have the time, why not enjoy your coffee like a European?
5 Ways to Embrace the European Coffee Culture
1. Order Your Coffee “for here” – Instead of getting your usual takeaway cup (as fun as that may be around the holidays), let your barista know upfront that you’d like to enjoy your drink onsite at the counter seat or a table. By knowing this upfront, this will avoid the barista assuming you’d like it to go.
2. Ask for a Ceramic Cup – Even if you ask for your coffee “for here”, a barista may still automatically give you a takeaway cup. However, any good coffee shop (even Starbucks) should have a stock of real ceramic cups for customers to use in-house, so be sure to ask for one.
3. Sit Down and Savor – Unless it’s a weekday morning in Rome (where you’ll find coffee shop patrons standing at the coffee counter quickly sipping espresso), you’ll generally find Europeans sitting while they drink their coffee. And some sit for a long time. Instead of rushing through the experience, once you have your coffee, take a seat savor each sip.
4. Sit Outside – Enjoy your coffee outside whenever possible, especially if you are in an area with lots of foot traffic. Europeans (especially the French) can often be found sitting outside, even when it’s chilly, enjoying the fresh air along with their coffee. And, as a bonus, the longer you sit and sip outside, the more opportunity you’ll have to people watch, another great European pastime!
5. Add Something Sweet on the Side – When ordering a coffee in Europe, the coffee often comes with a biscuit (little cookie), mini biscotti, a chocolate or even a macaron. We saw this in Paris, Barcelona, Rome and even London and it was such a welcome surprise each time. What a shame that most American coffee shops haven’t caught on to this sweet tradition. So if you want to fully experience your coffee like the Europeans, be sure to order a sweet treat to enjoy with it.
Is it time for a coffee break, yet?
Enjoy, my friends!