“Let’s grab a coffee together!”
Almost everything and anything is discussed over a cup of coffee. It has become an international tradition; it’s definitely become a tradition of mine.
In almost every part of the world people can be found sitting together in coffee houses enjoying their favorite coffee drink. Whether it’s an American cup of Joe, Italian espresso, Viennese Melange, French Café Crème or Arabic Qahwah, the experience of meeting for coffee has become popular in social interactions.
I bless the discovery of coffee, which was found in Ethiopia and explains its popularity throughout the Arab World. Coffee was so high in demand that Arabs, and later the Europeans, created coffee houses.
During my travels through Europe, I was fascinated by the similarities and differences in coffee houses.
Let me take you first to Milan, the fashion central of both Italy and Europe. Italians are seen standing together conversing by the bar of a café taking a shot of espresso. They don’t waste any time drinking a quick espresso and indulge in a shot of caffeine. That’s the origins of the word espresso, express in English, i.e. a fast and quick caffeine fix.
In neighboring Greece, Greeks can be found enjoying their famous cold coffee known as frappe and they can nurse the glass for hours while playing a game of backgammon. I must admit I’m prone to also enjoy the never-ending glass of cold coffee over a challenging game of backgammon. I dare anyone to try challenging the elderly Greeks in a game; you’ll gulp down a frappe sooner than you think.
Among the most beautiful coffee houses I’ve ever been to are in Vienna, Austria. They’re old, classic and contain many books that call out to be read. People are elegantly dressed as they sip the famous Viennese mélange and enjoy it with a delicious slice of Austrian cake.
Back here in the Middle East, coffee is a different treat. Coffee houses are usually crowded with men enjoying what is commonly called Turkish coffee or Qahwah. People get together to meet and enjoy several cups of Qahwah while playing cards or a game of backgammon and enjoying flavored hookah also known as shisha.
I know I’ve learned one thing in my travels, wherever I go, that a place that serves coffee is the place to be.
(Nadia Idriss Mayen, Executive Producer of Web TV at Al Arabiya English, can be reached at: email@example.com)