Coffee Around the World: Our Take on Coffee Catering

From Detective Dale Cooper’s iconic utterance “damn good coffee!” to George Costanza’s incredulous “I can’t drink coffee late at night!” huff, coffee is a cultural cornerstone for us. A simple cup of joe seems about as universally known and loved as the Central Perk gang themselves. The deep, complex aroma of roasted coffee beans, the sound of the percolator dripping a steady stream of black gold into the pot—these things awaken our senses before our tongues even touch the brew.

As caterers, we often pair coffee with our food. It’s a must-have at breakfasts, business lunches, and conferences, but it’s also an important post-dinner offering at weddings, formal dinners and galas. Because we so often pull from influences around the world, our take on coffee catering is global. Here are some of our favorite coffees around the world.

Cafecito - Cuba

Traditional Cuban coffee is a shot of espresso that starts with a dark roast. It’s prepared similarly to traditional espresso—with the addition of brown sugar. It’s dissolved in about a tablespoon of brewed espresso, creating a fluffy cloud of sugar-coffee, then combined with the rest of the brewed espresso. We served cafecito at a Cuban-inspired wedding celebration.

Cà phê đá - Vietnam

Otherwise known as Vietnamese Iced Coffee. Otherwise known as the most refreshing bev summer has to offer. The coffee cup is filled with ice and sweetened condensed milk (the secret ingredient!) before the hot drip coffee is poured into it. We’ve sampled this sip in Little Vietnam here in Chicago and can confirm cà phê đá is worth the hype!

Café de Olla - Mexico

It may surprise you to know that this Mexican coffee is served HOT. In that climate? Yes! Well, mostly in the colder, more rural areas of the country. Traditionally served in a clay pot, café de olla’s defining characteristic is the addition of cinnamon. To sweeten, use unrefined cane sugar—in Mexico, piloncillo specifically is preferred. It’s a warming winter treat here in the states, too.

Cappuccino - Italy

Surely, this is one we’ve all heard of, at the very least. (Ahem, Starbucks.) The base of an Italian cappuccino is a double espresso shot, which is then mixed with steamed milk. The point of steaming milk is, yes, to heat it through, but a key component is the microfoam—a thick, velvety air-infused milk foam. With a dash of cinnamon or cocoa powder, you’ve got the perfect dessert drink.

Caife Gaelach - Ireland

In other words, Irish coffee! It’s a boozy blend of joe and whiskey that originated in Ireland in the 19th century that has been reworked for the modern age. Originally, it was a mixture of hot coffee, Irish whiskey and sugar topped with full-fat cream. Nowadays, whipped cream works just fine, and other liqueurs (think Bailey’s) are commonly accepted replacements.