I love to start my day practicing yoga. Big shock right? Immediately afterwards my favourite thing to do is make my morning cup of coffee. I love the process of making coffee. My method of brewing sometimes changes but my desired method (at least right now) is brewing mu cup in my french press. Once I pour the water over the beans I can't help but sniff in happiness once I smell the beans as they percolate through the air.
Sometimes my partner will be home which changes things up. We will sit down together and enjoy our cup over a game of crib. Usually this ends with me standing up, with my arms above my head, not humble at all, chanting "Crib Queen." Using my self proclaimed title when I battle and beat him at his own game. He gets annoyed meanwhile I find it hilarious...
A few years ago, I began documenting my coffee experiences across the world. I began a coffee journal, noting all the the things that stood out (positively or negatively) in my coffee experiences in various coffee shops. This includes my experiences drinking certain methods (pour over vs, aeropress etc.), to different bean origins, to different bean types (robusta vs. arabica). Admittedly, I haven't been as disciplined in keeping this journal up to date in the past year but nevertheless I still enjoy my coffee culture experiences.
Coffee is a culture within itself. Although Americans are the biggest consumer of coffee, most cultures around the world have incorporated coffee into their daily lives. Recently, I was in Vietnam with my mom and sisters. My mom is a coffee lover just like me which just further fueled my desire to find good places to drink it. One of my favourite components of this country, especially in the more rural areas, was their coffee culture.
In the fishing villages of Vietnam, they separate their coffee from their food. They have little coffee shops in their neighborhoods where the locals go to enjoy a cup by themselves or with friends and colleagues. All you can get in these shops is coffee (with or without milk). You sit down, they bring you some tea while you wait and order your coffee.
My mom and I found this adorable outdoor coffee shop, that was buzzing with people from various walks of life. Ranging from high-schoolers all the way to elders. Some would just come and drink by themselves with the company of themselves and their phone. Meanwhile others would be playing a game of cards, chatting and laughing with their friends.
My mom and I would go, observe, chat and enjoy the best Vietnamese Iced coffee we had of the entire trip. The process of waiting for that strong Robusta bean to drip through their Vietnamese coffee press just added to our anticipation and enjoyment of the first sip. Once it is brewed we would add in a full packet of sugar an then place the ice cubes in over top creating a magical experience.
We enjoyed it so much that we went back more than once. Typically when I travel I avoid "redos" as does my mom. With the sickness that plagued my family, the proximity was more than ideal for us to get to this place, so we returned. It became a little oasis to my mom and I, where for a few days we would walk to local market by fresh fruit and explore the local culture. Then on the way back we would stop at Phuc - the name of the coffee shop - and indulge in a "God in a Cup." This place was such a gem in the middle of this fishing village.
There were plenty of coffee shops all over Mui Ne, and it became apparent that coffee was a separate experience from food. Unlike the cafe style we see all over North America where you can typically order a caffeinated drink and a snack or some food item. Vietnam (outside of the major cities), functions differently, creating a culture around coffee. Illuminating a space where people come together to enjoy a beverage and the company of each other in a form of an experience.
I love experiencing other cultures, the anthropologist in me is attracted to this exploration. At an even deeper level I adore observing how other cultures have a sub-cultures within themselves. Vietnam has quite the distinct coffee culture, and that is a trait I deeply admire. I was honoured to have this coffee experience with one of the coolest people I know.
Every country and city I explore, I go in with the mindset of exploring their local coffee culture, its just something that fills me up!
Do you have any "must does" that you hope to explore and experience when you travel?