How to Get Closest to American Coffee Around the World

Traveling internationally is a great way to experience a new culture. But while I’m almost entirely in favor of diving into the local and pushing your boundaries, I make an exception for coffee. Blame the jet lag or the disorientation of a decaffeinated morning in a foreign country, but when I’m abroad and need a jolt, I just want something close to familiar.

I’m not saying that you should break into a cafe and demand American coffee when you travel, but if you really want something similar to where you start your day at home, it can be surprisingly difficult; the same words can mean different things in different places. Americans are wrong in our definition of iced coffee – in many other countries, iced coffee comes with ice cream. Therefore, we spoke with expats, locals and travelers from all over the world to find the best coffee option, close to American drip coffee. If you have tips for countries or regions not listed here, leave them in the comments.

One small note: if drip coffee is not suitable, then its closest counterpart in espresso-focused countries is Cafe Americano, which is espresso watered down with hot water.


Chris, who spent time in Armenia with the Peace Corps, said: “For American travelers, Turkish coffee will be the most familiar analogue of traditional Armenian coffee. Usually coffee is ground very finely, brewed (without a filter) in a small metal jazzve (in Turkish – cezve ) and poured directly into a small cup. It may contain sugar, but it is unlikely to contain milk. ” In the espresso café, you can find Americano coffee or French press.


Espresso drinks from local cafes or big brands like Starbucks are common, but American travelers are likely to get confused here on milk. Served only steamed. If you ask to pour cold milk into your coffee, you will look bewildered.


Look for Nescafé 3-in-1, instant coffee made with sugar and cream. Nikolay, who lives in New York, but is originally from Bulgaria, told me: “It is available everywhere and is pronounced like“ tri-fedno ”. It comes in a large cup, or they can give you a cup of hot water and a bag to pour in like hot chocolate powder. ” He said the larger cafes would also serve espresso drinks – “long coffee” is an espresso with a longer take, so it would be like an Americano and served in a larger cup than an espresso with a place for milk.

Central America

It is home to many coffee beans and is also where drip coffee is common, so don’t be afraid to order as usual. Sarita, who lives in El Salvador and also lived in Nicaragua, told me that iced coffee can be found in cafes and gas stations, but it is likely to be tender and sweet.


Christopher, who lives in Hong Kong, told me: “In Hong Kong, it is most like American-style drip coffee ‘zai fe’. This is what you order when you are in a local diner (known as cha-chaan teng) and want black coffee. This is a rather dark bitter cup, which is why most people usually drink it with milk and sugar. If you order regular coffee (gaa fe, 咖啡), it will be served with condensed milk and you can add sugar to taste. ” The iced coffee will be sweetened. Christopher said that since mainland China has never had its own coffee culture, “whether you’re in Guangzhou, Shanghai or Beijing, coffee tends to be quite expensive and is limited to either Starbucks-style chains or specialty coffee shops. waves “. Elsewhere, by ordering “coffee”, you will probably get Nescafe.

Eastern Europe

You’ll find a standard set of Italian espresso options in most cafes, which means you have to be sure you’re ordering an Americano to get something that looks like a drip. But if you see an ad for iced coffee, know that it’s a coffee with a scoop of ice cream, like affogato.


Order cafe allongé or just allongé if you want to be like a local. In terms of strength, it is somewhere between espresso and americano. If you like a cold coffee drink, look for “café glacé” instead of cold coffee, although this is rare. (Sylvia, the travel writer, would only say, “It exists.”) Cafe frappe would be a sweet, blended version.


Espresso machines are widespread, so you can get an Americano, but you might have to explain that you want hot water espresso. Regarding iced coffee, travel writer Zora told me: “Currently, the most popular options for iced coffee are Freddo Cappuccino and Freddo Espresso. This is how they sound. Strong! But it is always served with a glass of ice water, so it can be diluted if necessary.


Tea is much more popular than coffee in India, but you can order Americano anywhere espresso is served.


Café Americano! (Your hot water may flow from the side.) If you want the cream on the side, ask for panna for coffee. Coffee in Italy should be drunk in cafes, so take-away coffee is quite rare, but some cafes in tourist areas of big cities are starting to advertise it.


You can order a “coffee filter” that looks like a drip – it could be a pour-over – Americano is also common. If you order black coffee, you get Turkish coffee (also known as botz, which means mud). American style iced coffee and slushy coffee (called barad, which means hail) are common.


There will be espresso drinks in the cafe, but another option is mini cans of coffee in the vending machines, which are hot and cold. They’ll come with milk and (sometimes a lot) sugar, but it’s hard to beat the convenience. Lee, who lives in Tokyo, also told me that drip coffee is often available in convenience stores too.

South Africa

You can ask for filter coffee to get drip coffee, but this is rare. If not, this is a good old Americano for you. Iced Coffee will bring you a sweet treat.


Ordering an Americano should work – you get an espresso with hot water. (The milk will only be steamed.) You can also go for a café con leche, an espresso with hot milk that is similar to a latte but no froth.


Jarin, an American who now lives in Sweden, told me: “Sweden is very proud of its drip coffee ( bryggkaffe ). And it’s slightly stronger than American coffee. ” But Sweden’s pride in its coffee does not prevent Americanization. Jarin said, “I couldn’t get iced coffee here until the last few years, [but now] it’s offered seasonally in the summer.” You can even find cold beer in some of the larger cities.

Puerto Rico

Alicia, a travel writer, told me that American coffee culture is infiltrating trendy cafes in the form of pourovers. Otherwise, espresso drinks are more common – go for Americano.

Western Europe (Austria / Germany / Netherlands)

You can order black coffee and get an Americano. Cold coffee, even in the summer heat, alas, is extremely out of use.


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