Friday 11th June 2021. A big day for football fans across Europe. The Euro 2020 football tournament finally begins with Turkey v Italy this evening…and yes you did read that correctly. UEFA decided to retain the original name, despite taking place a year later than planned due to the Coronavirus pandemic. Perhaps a little confusing, but there we go.
It’s undoubtedly an event that will get everyone talking, even those who don’t particularly like the sport. So, that got us thinking. How can we tie our vending machine and refreshment services into Euro 2020? Following a little research, we then had a brainwave. Every country that is competing in Euro 2020 has its own coffee culture, with some countries in particular having a fascinating story behind their coffee.
And we really wanted to share it.
Group A – Turkey 🇹🇷
Coffee culture was considered to have originated from Turkey and is considered a symbol of hospitality, friendship, delicacy and entertainment. This is reflected in the famous Turkish proverb: “the memory of a cup of coffee lasts for forty years.” Turkish coffee combines special preparation and brewing techniques with a rich communal traditional culture.
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. The beverage is served in small cups, accompanied by a glass of water and Turkish sweets. Just like in most parts of the world, Turkish people drink their coffee in coffee houses where they meet with friends and family.
Group A – Italy 🇮🇹
Italy and coffee culture. Need we say any more? Coffee is a cultural mainstay in Italy with many people believing it to be its spiritual home. Common coffee based favourites including Cappuccino, Espresso and Latte were famously named in the country and almost all of the locals cannot start their day without one.
Italian’s drink a lot of coffee. They see it as a “pick-me-up”, which isn’t too different to how a lot of other countries would perhaps view it. They drink it small and fast. It’s served, not too hot, in a small cup and saucer. It’s characteristics are thick, dark and without milk and is served with a complimentary glass of water.
Group A – Wales 🏴
Some may think that Welsh coffee culture won’t be all that different to the rest of the UK, but does the country actually place more importance on coffee? It would arguably seem so. Just four years ago it was revealed that Cardiff was the coffee capital of the United Kingdom. More people visited coffee shops here than anywhere else, including London!
More than 70% of adults in Wales drink at least one cup of coffee a day, with Cappuccino being the most popular. There are a lot of Italian coffee shops in Wales, which would probably go some way to suggesting how much the Welsh enjoy their coffee.
Group A – Switzerland 🇨🇭
Another country that absolutely adores its coffee is Switzerland. The country regularly ranks in the top five for per capita consumption of coffee, with 2017 and 2018 seeing it break the top three. A staggering fact about Swiss coffee culture is that whilst the country doesn’t grow its own coffee, almost three quarters of the world’s coffee trade happens here!
People in Switzerland drink a lot of espresso based milk drinks. “Kaffee-Crème'” is a beverage you’ll probably come across here if you were to visit, which is a long coffee pulled straight from the espresso machine. Up to 50 euros a week is spent on coffee in Switzerland, mostly in cafes.
Group B – Denmark 🇩🇰
If sources are to believed, Denmark is the fourth most coffee drinking country in the world. And there is a lot of history behind the reason why. In the late 1800’s, the whole region of Scandinavia was rather destitute, with luxuries including alcohol that were so common place around the rest of Europe unable to reach here. So, the people of Scandinavia found comfort in the humble coffee bean instead.
Previously, Danes enjoyed filter coffee, though nowadays you’ll find the Latte to be one of the most popular coffee based beverages here. They pronounce this as “Ladde”, to which they will drink up to five cups a day. Health experts believe such a high coffee consumption is the reason for Denmark recording some of the lowest type 2 diabetes figures across the world.
Group B – Finland 🇫🇮
We feel like we’re comparing each Nations’ coffee consumption here, but we cannot let Finland pass by without mentioning that the country consumes the highest amount of coffee per capita than anywhere else in the world. Like Denmark, Finland has a rich coffee culture that started in the late 1800’s, so they’ve been enjoying coffee longer than most.
Finnish coffee culture is believed to be “one of a kind”. Also due to such low temperatures here, the people of Finland find great comfort in a cup (or 30!) of coffee and turn it into a social activity. It’s actually considered rude to drink your coffee alone here. Finnish coffee culture sees your coffee served with cake, which is called “Kakkukhavi”.
Group B – Belgium 🇧🇪
Belgium has followed the path of most of the world and the demand for high-quality coffee continues to grow. Belgians don’t simply see coffee as a tool for energy. Instead, they regard it as a spiritual experience and will take time out to relax at home and in coffee shops to enjoy a cup.
In Belgian coffee houses, you’re served coffee, cream and a special Belgian chocolate truffle, which the locals believe brings out the taste and aroma of coffee. They will also introduce coffee coffee consumption to gourmet food recipes. It’s very common for coffee to be served alongside salmon in particular.
Group B – Russia 🇷🇺
Russia were slightly late to the party when it came to coffee consumption. Due to its high price, coffee was a drink for the upper class until as recently as the 20th century, and most Russians instead drank a lot of tea.
Since then, however, it has really taken off. Coffee is now a lot more popular than tea, especially so in the bigger cities including Saint Petersburg and the capital Moscow. Interestingly, however, 85% of Russians prefer instead coffee to coffee made with beans. The home is the most popular environment to drink coffee in Russia and they will often add vodka and cream.
Group C – Netherlands 🇳🇱
The Netherlands played an important part in the trade of coffee worldwide. Initially, coffee was growing quite well in a placed called Yemen. After spreading to Kaffa, the local governments tried to ban export to other regions. However, the Dutch bypassed these bans and began taking coffee plants to other parts of the world.
The Dutch tend to think of coffee as a caffeine fix rather than a beverage that can be relaxed over. It is therefore most commonly enjoyed first thing in the morning at home, where a member of the family would brew coffee in a big glass pot. This was so people could enjoy as many cups of coffee as possible, before starting their day at work.
Group C – Ukraine 🇺🇦
You wouldn’t think a financial crisis could bring any positivity, let alone two! But that’s exactly what happened after Ukraine suffered its first financial collapse in 2008 and then another in 2014. It was in the last seven years or so that coffee culture has recently started to boom in Ukraine. Coffee was always previously very expensive in the country as it was mostly imported, but after the national currency lost up to two thirds of its value the people of Ukraine began drinking – and loving – coffee from local roasters.
Ever since, Ukrainian coffee roasters have gained international recognition. Foundation Coffee Roasters based in Odessa, South West of Ukraine, put itself on the map in 2018 when Ukrainian roaster Slava Babych won the 2018 World Cezve-Ibrik Championship in Dubai with its coffee. It marked the first time that Ukraine’s representative won a World Coffee Championship.
Group C – Austria 🇦🇹
Coffee culture in Austria can be traced back to 1683 when the Turks tried to invade the now capital city of Vienna. The Austrians fought back and chased them out of the city, but from the bags of coffee beans left behind they came to appreciate the beverage.
Whilst you can enjoy a great cup of coffee throughout the country, it is Vienna that has developed coffee into a respected and very much loved lifestyle. Viennese coffee shops are highly regarded all over the world, with UNESCO saying that “the coffee houses have a very specific atmosphere and are places where time and space are consumed, but only the coffee is found on the bill.” Austrians don’t see coffee as just a caffeine fix. They prefer to savour it.
Group C – North Macedonia 🇲🇰
Many would agree that there is something about coffee that allows for friendships to begin and relationships to grow. North Macedonia champion this belief and they have a well-developed coffee culture. Turkish coffee is by far the most popular here, mostly enjoyed in the traditional Balkan coffeehouses known as “Kafeana”.
Coffee beverages such as Cappuccino’s and Mocha’s are becoming increasingly popular with the opening of more upmarket cafés. Professionals and businesspeople have contributed to the popularity of instant coffee, due to it’s “grab-and-go” characteristics.
Group D – England 🏴
A lot of you reading this article should of course be familiar with our love of coffee here in England. Whilst tea does remain the hot beverage of choice here, coffee still has its place in the home, workplace and coffee shop. In fact, because coffee culture in England isn’t as steeped in tradition as it is elsewhere, it has led the way for us to jump on board with current trends.
The rise in cafes and coffee shops is just one. The English see coffee as the beverage of thought and discussion and since the first coffee shop was rumoured to have appeared in Oxford in 1650, they have only continued to grow. We have largely followed USA’s journey and chains such as Starbucks have really taken off here. The most popular coffee in England is the Cafe Latte.
Group D – Croatia 🇭🇷
Known as “Kava”, coffee in Croatia has strong cultural ties. There are literally thousands of coffee bars in the country, most of which are found in the capital of Zagreb. One of the most popular coffees in Croatia is “velika kava s mlijekom”, an espresso served with a splash of frothed milk. This is traditionally served in a ceramic mug and saucer with a chocolate and a glass of water on the side.
Perhaps one of the most unusual things about Croatian coffee culture is how different parts of the country perceive the different types of coffee. If you were to order a “veliki macchiato” (Macchiato) in the Istria region of Croatia they will know exactly what you want. Ask for that in Zagreb and you’ll receive a very confused look, simply because they don’t drink it!
Group D – Scotland 🏴
For a country that prides itself on its whiskey heritage, you’d be surprised how much coffee is at home in Scotland. Most of the story is told from Glasgow and the capital of Edinburgh. 1673 saw the first coffee shop open here, shortly following the first coffee shop in the UK opening in London.
The exact date was actually rumoured to be October 11th, when records show that a man by the name of Colonel Walter Whiteford or ‘Whytfoord’ was granted the liberty to “sett up to sell, top and vent coffie within the samyne burgh, for the space of nyntine yeares nixt after the dait heirof.”
Group D – Czech Republic 🇨🇿
The Czech Republic is perhaps one of the handful of European countries that has comparatively less experience when it comes to coffee, but make no mistake that the passion is still very much there. For decades, and just like so many other EU countries, coffee was initially a beverage for the higher class. This was thanks in part to the communist regime the country was under.
It was after 1989 that coffee culture started to properly develop, when the end of the communist regime saw the population able to move freely around the world again. Locals identified the coffee culture in other countries, mostly notably Austria, and brought these ideas back to Czech. Now, the coffee scene in Czech is very much independent and local. Something lots of tourists enjoy.
Group E – Spain🇪🇸
You’d probably be surprised to hear just how well-loved coffee is in Spain. It’s very much a way of life here. Coffee originally found its way to Spain courtesy of Turkish immigrants but they soon found their own passion for roasting it themselves. Not a huge amount of coffee is roasted here, but they do boast a very dark variety that they today ship all over the world.
The first cup of coffee in the morning is called “Cafe Con Leche”, which is half espresso and half hot milk, served in a long, thin glass. You could consider this to be very similar to the Latte enjoyed in most other parts of the world. And that Cafe Cortado that so many coffee shops in our country offer? Yes, that originated from Spain!
Group E – Sweden 🇸🇪
Just like with Denmark and Finland before it in this article, Sweden is another Scandinavian country that adores its coffee. Only Finland drinks more per capita. Again, this is to do with the region being amongst the first to discover the coffee bean.
The coffee ban in Sweden in 1746 is now a very distant memory. Coffee often finds its way into Swedish lifestyle through “Fika“, which is their version of a coffee break. Unlike traditional coffee breaks, Fika is very much a state of mind amongst the Swedish nationals. A concept. Swedes believe everyone must make time for Fika every day, where you will spend time with friends, family or colleagues over a coffee to wind down.
Group E – Poland 🇵🇱
Poland has a very wild historical relationship with coffee. When it was first discovered by the Poles back in 1863, after invading Vienna in Austria, they were extremely suspicious of it. The dark nature of coffee led them to label it is “the drink of the devil” and were initially reluctant to try it. There was also the belief that it couldn’t be consumed under the old Polish lent.
However, attitudes towards coffee started to change when it was imported from The Netherlands. By the early ‘90s, the Poles were consuming about 2 kilos per capita annually. And since 2010, coffee shops in all the major cities began to appear. So whilst Poland still has a long way to go in order to catch up with other parts of Europe, the locals are keen to embrace true coffee culture.
Group E – Slovakia 🇸🇰
Slovakia was another country that had to put up with years of a communist inspired ruling, just like their neighbours the Czech Republic. This meant that Slovakians abstained from the high-quality taste and aroma of authentic coffee and they have been desperate to catch up ever since.
Today, they are embracing true coffee culture, even if it isn’t as advanced as some other parts of Europe. In many ways Slovakia has been given a helping hand due to the fact Bratislava was considered a suburb of Vienna in 1918, which of course is famous for its coffee culture. That same cosy-cafe feel quickly grew after 1989 in Slovakia and today there are so many coffee shops across the cities.
Group F – Hungary 🇭🇺
Coffee culture in Hungary is strong and very much thriving, so much so that coffee is considered to be the National drink of choice here. Again, you can trace its popularity back to the bordering Austria. The golden age of Hungarian coffee shops was between 1910 and 1930 and took off again after the Soviet years of suppression.
The traditional way of making coffee here is using a special pot very similar to the Italian moka pot. It is most popular at home. Things are a little different now with modern day coffee shops introducing speciality coffee for the locals to savour, though a simple black coffee, known as “Fekete Kave”, is still the Nations’ choice. This is often served with a traditional Hungarian cake.
Group F – Portugal 🇵🇹
Portugal’s coffee drinking habit was sourced from Brazil, though the Portuguese have always preferred to put their own spin on coffee culture. It is believed that any coffee making equipment imported is exclusively adapted to meet Portugal’s water pressure and temperature norms. Portugal traditionally sourced its coffee beans from its colonies, which were mostly Robusta.
Similarly to the Swedish Fika, the Portuguese see coffee breaks as a daily necessity. Mid morning and after lunch are usually the most common times, though it’s not unusual for group of people to get together late at night which is surprising given coffees emerging traits. Portugal is one of the fastest growing European countries for home coffee consumption, largely in the north of the country due to its long winter.
Group F – France 🇫🇷
In general, French culture revolves around calmness, relaxation and savouring your surroundings. This extends to French coffee culture, meaning you’ll rarely see a local gulp down a coffee whilst in a rush! The first coffee shop to open in France was in Paris in 1686, named Cafe Procope. This was the first time French locals could enjoy coffee away from the street and encouraged relaxation to interact and work.
Today, it’s unfortunate to say that French coffee culture is in steady decline. The locals blame the 2008 ban on smoking indoors as a large factor, seeing as the French generally enjoy a cigarette or cigar with their coffee. They also blame the rise in the digital age, as the country was slow to adopt the higher quality artisanal brands. Home coffee machines have seen a spike in popularity recently, though coffee experts suggest the quality of coffee in France generally suffers due to the insistence on using Robusta coffee beans.
Group F – Germany 🇩🇪
Germany have a very intense coffee culture, though they’re not as particular about their coffee as some other European countries, such as Italy. There is not really a preferred coffee as such in Germany and the locals can drink it any which way and almost anywhere.
In one year, German’s will drink an average of 6.7kg of coffee per capita.
As you can see, the coffee tradition is deep rooted all across Europe and it is truly fascinating to see. Even though there are different stories, different brewing methods and different ways to serve, coffee is a beverage that unites people and promotes socialisation.
It turns out we really could relate Euro 2020 to our vending machine and coffee business after all!
10-11, Maple Leaf Industrial Estate, Bloxwich Ln, Walsall WS2 8TF