Think espresso and it’s hard not to dream of long lazy afternoons spent under the sun dining at a local trattoria drinking strong Italian coffee. Just one sip can transport you back to another world, time and place, which is why, among other reasons coffee is arguably one of the most beloved drinks in the world. It’s what gets us bouncing out of bed in the morning, it’s what consoles us on a cold drizzly morning as we battle the commute to work, it brings us a jolt of energy when exercise isn’t an option (or before a workout) and it provides a much needed salve for the soul when 3pm hits.
But, outside of the comfort, coffee is a proven superfood too—with science proving it can reduce risk of death, boost exercise performance and speed up metabolism (which helps with fat burning) to name just a few benefits! So, it’s safe to say not only does the brew win as the most favoured beverage out there, but it’s worth its wait in the coffee cue. Or you could skip it and try these around-the-world DIY blends instead! Recipe extracts from Breakfast—The Cookbook, written by Emily Elyse Miller. Published by Phaidon, available from 17th May.
1. Chicory Coffee—United States
Coffee with ground chicory root (a plant often used as a coffee replacement or natural flavour enhancer for its woody notes and buttery mouthfeel) is often enjoyed with Beignets in New Orleans, Louisiana. Prep time: 10 minutes Serves: 2 Ingredients
2tbs freshly ground coffee dark or medium roast
1tbs ground chicory root
2 ½ cups boiling water
If grinding your own beans, they should be ground to the size of course salt. Place a paper filter into the pour-over carafe and wet it by pouring a touch of hot water into it to wash out the papery aroma that could end up infusing the coffee. Dump out the water from the carafe. Place the ground coffee and chicory root in the filter and pour some of the hot water over the coffee, moving from around the edges into the center, about 5 seconds. You should use just enough water to hydrate the coffee. Allow the water to drop, about 20 seconds. Pour a bit more water over in a stream that lasts about 10 seconds. Let the coffee drop into the carafe. Continue to do this 2 more times until there is no more water and the coffee has brewed, about 3 minutes total. Serve hot.
2. Freddo Cappuccino—Greece
Freddo cappuccino is essentially a Freddo Espresso topped with thick, frothy milk. Chilled coffee beverages are an important part of Greek cafe culture.
Prep time: 10 minutes Serves: 1 Ingredients
2 shots of Stovetop Espresso
2tsp sugar (optional)
⅓ cup chilled full-fat milk
Prepare the espresso as per directions. Stir in sugar to taste (if using). Fill a tall drinking glass with ice cubes and pour the espresso over the ice. Froth the milk with a frother until it foams. If you do not have a frother, pour the milk into a jar, cover, and shake until it froths and doubles in volume. Pour the milk and foam over the espresso. Serve immediately.
3. Cafe De Olla—Mexico
A spiced coffee enjoyed with a sweet bread roll or other Mexican breads or pastries. It is served hot in an earthen olla (clay pot) or mug. Prep time: 15 minutes Serves: 2 Ingredients
1tbs dark brown sugar or panela (unrefined cane sugar)
½ cinnamon stick, preferably Mexican
2 tbs medium to course-ground Mexican coffee, dark or medium roast.
In a small saucepan, combine 2 cups of water, brown sugar and a cinnamon stick. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring once or twice, until the sugar is dissolved, about 1 minute. Stir in the coffee and remove the saucepan from the heat. Allow the coffee to steep, about 5 minutes, before removing the cinnamon stick and serving hot.
In Spain, a crotado translates from the verb cortar (to cut) and refers to a single shot of espresso ‘cut’ with an equal amount of steamed milk. The addition of sugar would make this a Cuban cortadito or cafe cubano!
Prep time: 10 minutes Serve: 1 Ingredients
1 shot of Stovetop Espresso
2tbs full-fat milk Prepare the espresso per directions. Pour the espresso into a small coffee cup. And sugar to taste, if desired. In a small saucepan, bring the milk to a simmer. It shouldn’t boil, but instead begin to steam about 180F(or 82 degrees C). When the milk is steaming, remove it from the heat and pour over the espresso. Serve immediately.
5. Vietnamese Iced Coffee—Vietnam
Caphe sua da is a classic way to take coffee in Vietnam and has become a popular sweet coffee option around the world. The differentiating factors of Vietnamese coffee are the use of a phin filter (a single-cup metal pour-over mechanism where the ground coffee is kept in a chamber as it steeps in hot water) and the addition of sweetened condensed milk in lieu of granulated sugar. Prep time: 15 minutes Serves: 1 Ingredients
Pour the sweetened condensed milk into a heat-safe glass or cup. Fit a Vietnamese phin filter over the glass/cup. Fill the center chamber with the ground coffee. Cover it with the perforated metal filter (which comes with the phin). Pour a touch of water over the filter to hydrate the coffee. Once wet, fill the phin with the boiling water. Allow the coffee to drop over the condensed milk, about 6 minutes. Stir together the coffee and milk. Fill a separate drinking glass with ice. Pour the coffee over the ice and serve immediately.
6. Arabic Coffee—United Arab Emirates
Served hot and in small cups featuring an ornamental design, gahuwa arabia (Arabic coffee) is infused with cardamom (and sometimes saffron) and made with lightly roasted beans.
Prep time: 25 minutes Serve: 2 Ingredients
2tbs ground arabica coffee
2tsp ground cardamom
Pinch of saffron
In a Turkish coffee pot or a small saucepan, bring 2 cups of water to boil over medium heat. Reduce the heat to low and let the boil come to a simmer, in order to avoid burning the coffee. Add the coffee but do not stir. When foam begins to form, about 10 minutes, remove the pot from the stove. Allow the foam to settle and then stir in the ground cardamom. Return the coffee to the stovetop and heat again on low heat until foam begins to reappear but does not come to a boil, about 30 seconds. Remove the pot from the heat and allow the coffee to stand until the coffee grounds fall to the bottom, about 2 minutes. Add the saffron (if using). Serve hot.
7. Milky Coffee—India
This common morning beverage of coffee with warm milk is sometimes sprinkled with cinnamon or cocoa powder. Prep time: 10 minutes Serves: 2 Ingredients
4tsp instant coffee
2 cups of full-fat milk, warmed
Ground cinnamon or cocoa powder for serving
Divide the instant coffee, sugar and 2tsp water between two tall mugs. Whisk until the mixture becomes thick like a paste and the sugar has dissolved. Divide the warm milk between the mugs and mix with a spoon until no lumps remain. Serve hot with a dusting of ground cinnamon or cocoa.