Coffee Rituals From Around The World

Our 'No 8 wire' innovative mentality in NZ has stretched to the art of coffee, where we have taken coffee rituals from around the world and given them our own kiwi touch. Our very own Derek Townsend lays claim to having given the world its first flat white.

The Kiwi obsession with coffee means most of us can’t function without one in the morning.  New Zealand’s per capita consumption ranks among the top 20 in the world, at 0.94 cup per day, according to statistics portal, This is ahead of US per capita consumption (at 0.93 cup).

For many caffeine lovers, coffee drinking is less of a habit and more of a ritual. In fact, the history of coffee rituals around the world is a direct view into the lives of coffee drinkers who came before us kiwis.

If you look back to the origin of coffee, Ethiopia, you’ll discover that the drink was prepared as part of a ceremony, which included herbs and spices that passed energy and health to its drinker.

The cultural effect of coffee is undeniable. A look at three ancient rituals reveals that past societies, too, saw drinking coffee as a beneficial pastime for various reasons.



The birth place of coffee. The Ethiopian coffee ceremony is a main social event. Coffee and water are the primary ingredients, but commonly people may add in spices.

Traditionally, women roast the green coffee beans in a pan over an open flame, which are then ground in a wooden mortar with a pestle. These grounds are then crushed with a heavy metal rod called zenezena in a metal bowl, called a mukecha, before brewing. The grinds are boiled with hot water in a decorated container, often a clay pot, known as a jebena. Cardamom, cinnamon and cloves are often added to the coffee as it begins to crack upon roasting. These spices are commonly used in traditional medicine, as a source of antioxidants and aiding in maintaining a strong immune system.

The coffee is accompanied by roasted barley, amasha bread, peanuts or popcorn.

To serve up the sentiment of Ethiopia’s ancient coffee rituals at home, host a group of friends and serve an abundance of coffee.




India is the sixth largest coffee producer in the world. Coffee and spice have been intimate partners for a while, given that many coffee plantations in India grow spices as well.

And while turmeric milk, or “haldi doodh,” is a drink that’s coffee-free, it’s deeply steeped in varying rituals across India. The now modernised “golden milk” is often prepared fresh: whisked coconut milk, turmeric, ginger, honey, coconut oil, peppercorns and a cup of water are brought to a warm temperature and then allowed to sit for 10 minutes.

Turmeric is believed to be good for the common cold as an anti-inflammatory and an antioxidant. Traditionally turmeric lattes are consumed at night to help with insomnia and inflammation.

Searches for turmeric increased by more than 300% in 2015; the vibrant drinks are a health trend that’s swiftly caught on in the West, making its way into specialty coffee cafes and wellness storefronts.

Try your hand at a traditional recipe made in your own kitchen.




Derived from the Arabica bean and composed of a very fine grind, Turkish coffee has become famous all around the world for both its strong taste and its special methods of preparation and service. But there’s much more to Turkish coffee’s story apart from its delicious taste.

Turkish coffee, culture and tradition itself is a symbol of hospitality, friendship, refinement and entertainment that permeates all walks of life. An invitation for coffee among friends provides an opportunity for intimate talk and the sharing of daily concerns.

The freshly roasted beans are ground to a fine powder; then the ground coffee, cold water and sugar are added to a coffee pot and brewed slowly on a stove to produce the desired foam. Turkish coffee is served in small cups, accompanied by a glass of water, and is mainly drunk in coffee-houses where people meet to converse, share news and read books.


When coffee was first shipped from the Middle East to Venice, it caused a furore and was almost banned from entering the port. Coffee houses were already established in Istanbul, but the fate of this stimulating drink was in the hands of Islamic preachers, who at first considered it on a par with alcohol. Eventually, it was accepted under Islamic law and trade began briskly in the 16th century.

It is said that Pope Clement VIII, after drinking a cup of coffee, said “This is such a delicious beverage that it would be a sin to let it be drunk only by non-believers. We shall vanquish Satan by giving it our blessing to make it a really Christian drink.”

With that, coffee spread all over Italy, either in elegant coffee shops or humble, homely establishments. It became a ritual enjoyed by artists, politicians and writers.

The Italians' ingenuity when it comes to coffee reached its height in the 20th century, with the birth of the espresso coffeemaker and the Moka pot.

Espresso is the desired form of coffee in Italy - always served through the morning, afternoon and evening, although milky coffees are acceptable early in the day. The day in Italy is defined by coffee rituals: a cappuccino with breakfast, a caffè macchiato or two as an afternoon pick-me-up, and espresso after dinner. And like any culture, that of Italian coffee comes with seemingly mysterious laws. Order a latte, and you’ll receive a glass of milk (which is exactly what you ordered). Ask for a to-go cup or order a cappuccino after 11 a.m., and risk an instant tourist label.