How to Order Coffee in Different Languages: Coffee Culture and Languages

How to Order Coffee in Different Languages: Coffee Culture and Languages

Hello, fellow coffee lovers and travellers! In this article we are going to combine two of life's greatest pleasures: coffee and language. Consider sipping your favourite brew while ordering it in the language of the place you're visiting. It's more than just a cup of coffee; each sip is a cultural experience. Language and culture, we believe, go hand in hand, and what better way to explore this than through the universal language of coffee?

Let's talk about a recent coffee surprise that shocked Hongkongers before we start our international coffee chat. McDonald's Hong Kong announced on Facebook on September 4 that they were discontinuing their "McDonald's Coffee". Many people expressed their shock and dissatisfaction online. A great cup of coffee is the ideal way to start the day, and losing a beloved morning ritual can be devastating.

Don't worry! We're here to remind you that there are many other coffee shops besides the Golden Arches to visit. So let's explore the history of this caffeinated drink from a linguistic perspective and learn how it is enjoyed and ordered around the world!

The Linguistic Journey of "Coffee"

Ever think about the origin of the word "coffee"? It has been a long journey in terms of language. The word "coffee" first appeared in English in the 17th century, but its roots can be found in Ethiopia's Kaffa region, where Coffea Arabica plants grew in abundance. From there, coffee beans were transported to the Middle East, where they were known as "قهوة" (pronounced "qahwa"). Eventually, the beans made their way to Venice, where traders gave them the name "caffè" which comes from the Turkish word "kahveh" It eventually evolved into the current English word that we all use.

Ordering Coffee in Different Languages

Now, let's get down to the fun part – ordering coffee in various languages. Armed with these phrases, you'll not only enjoy your coffee but also make meaningful connections with locals during your travels.

German: "Einen Kaffee, bitte."

If you want a straightforward cup in Germany, you may say "Einen Kaffee, bitte." For a more specific brew, ask for "Schwarzkaffee" (black coffee) or "Milchkaffee" (coffee with milk). If you're overwhelmed by choices, inquire, "Was können Sie empfehlen?" (What can you recommend?).

French: "Un café, s'il vous plaît."

In France, "un café" usually means a shot of espresso. If you prefer drip coffee, order "Un allongé." ; coffee with milk “Un café au lait”; black coffee “Un Café noir”. Don't forget to add "merci" (thank you) for a touch of politeness.

Spanish: "¿Puede darme un café solo, por favor?"

In Spain, "un café solo" means a shot of espresso. For a double shot, ask for "un café doble." If you want to go easy on the caffeine, order "un café con leche" (coffee with milk).

Italian: "Un caffè, per favore."

In Italy, "un caffè" means an espresso. For a cappuccino or latte, simply specify "cappuccino" or "latte macchiato." Remember, never order a "latte" – in Italy, that's just a glass of milk!

Japanese: ブラックコーヒーをお願いします。

Regular coffee or black coffee is called "ブラックコーヒー" (romanized as "burakku kōhī" or simply "burakku"). Espresso is “エスプレッソ” ("esupuresso"), double espresso is "ダブル” ("daburu") and latte is “ラテ” ("rate"). After placing your order, you can politely add "お願いします" (onegai shimasu) to make a request.

A World of Coffee Awaits

As you can see, coffee is a gateway to culture and connection, not just a beverage. Every nation has its own version of this popular beverage, and by picking up a few basic words, you can improve your travels.

At Berlitz, we strive to understand various cultures and foster connections as well as language learning. So why not think about enrolling in our language courses while you're enjoying your international coffee? You can make new friends and go on international adventures by learning a language.

Intrigued? Join us at Berlitz, where we teach the beauty of language and culture, one sip at a time. Cheers to global communication and the delicious coffee that brings us all together!

Contact our program consultants for more course information.