The cultural significance of specialty coffee : exploring the history and traditions of coffee drinking around the world.

The cultural significance of specialty coffee

Specialty coffee is a term that is getting more and more familiar in the coffee world. It refers to the highest quality coffee beans that have been carefully selected and roasted to preserve their unique flavors and aromas. In addition to being delicious, this coffee has a rich cultural history and significance that dates back to the origins of coffee itself.

Drinking coffee has been an important part of the culture in different parts of the world for centuries. From the traditional coffee ceremonies in Ethiopia to the espresso culture in Italy, the way we drink coffee reflects our identity and our values. In this blog, we take a closer look at the history and traditions of coffee drinking around the world and explore the cultural significance of specialty coffee.

If you want to learn more about specialty coffee and how it differs from commercial coffee, we invite you to read our blog. In this blog we discuss the main differences between specialty coffee and commercial coffee , such as origin, selection criteria and roasting techniques. Discover why specialty coffee is the perfect choice for any coffee lover looking for a unique and sophisticated taste experience.

History and Traditions of Colombia

Colombia specialty coffee

Colombia is a country with a rich history and traditions that go back thousands of years. The pre-Columbian civilizations, such as the Muisca and the Tairona, already had a developed agricultural system in which coffee already played an important role. In the 19th century, Colombia began to enter the international market as one of the major producers of coffee, and the country has maintained this status to this day.

One of the most important traditions in Colombia is the "tinto", a highly concentrated coffee that is drunk all over the country. The tinto is not only a drink, but also a social binder that brings people together and starts conversations. It is often accompanied by sweet snacks such as arepas, bunuelos and pandebonos, all of which play an important role in Colombian cuisine.

Besides the tinto, Colombia also has a unique coffee culture, especially in the regions where the coffee is produced. In these regions, coffee plantations are an important part of the economy and community. The coffee farmers have developed their own traditions and methods to produce the best coffee, including picking the coffee cherries by hand and drying the beans in the sun.

However, the history of Colombia has not always been rosy. The country has experienced a number of conflicts and political unrest, which have also affected the coffee industry. But despite these challenges, Colombia has always held on to its coffee traditions and has positioned itself as one of the most important producers of specialty coffee in the world.

History and Traditions of Ethiopia

Ethiopia is considered the birthplace of coffee, where the coffee plant originated in the Kaffa region. From Ethiopia, coffee culture spread all over the world. In Ethiopia, coffee is still an important part of the culture, with coffee ceremonies as a tradition dating back thousands of years. The ceremony is often held as a sign of hospitality and to bring the community together. During the ceremony, coffee is roasted, ground and brewed while guests enjoy sweet and savory snacks such as injera and popcorn.

Most coffee in Ethiopia is grown on small farms, using traditional methods to produce the best quality coffee. There are several coffee regions in Ethiopia each with their own flavor profiles and traditions. Despite Ethiopia's long history as a coffee producer, the country still faces economic and sustainability challenges.

However, specialty coffee is a growing industry in Ethiopia and increasing investments are being made in improving the quality and sustainability of coffee cultivation.

History and Traditions of Japan

Specialty coffee Japan


Japan has a rich coffee history dating back to the early 18th century, when the first coffee bean entered Japan via traders from the Netherlands. Coffee was initially seen as a luxury product and was only available to the upper class. However, it didn't take long for coffee to spread to other layers of society and become an important part of Japanese culture.

One of the most notable coffee traditions in Japan is the concept of "kissaten", which translates to "coffee houses". Kissaten originated in the 1920s and have since become an important part of Japanese coffee culture. Kissaten are a place where people can enjoy their coffee in a relaxed atmosphere, surrounded by a sense of nostalgia and the memory of times gone by.

In recent years, Japan has become one of the largest importers of specialty coffee in the world. The popularity of specialty coffee in Japan has caught the attention of coffee aficionados and professionals around the world. Competitions have even been organized to find the best coffee in Japan, including the Japanese Barista Championships and the Japanese Latte Art Championships.

History and Traditions of Turkey

specialty coffee Turkey


Turkey has a rich coffee culture dating back to the 16th century, when the first coffee beans were imported from Yemen through traders. Coffee quickly became an important part of Turkish culture and soon became known as "Turkish Coffee".

In Turkey, Turkish coffee is traditionally prepared in small copper pans called "cezve" and served in small cups. The preparation of Turkish coffee is an art form and requires specific techniques to achieve the perfect taste and texture.

Turkish coffee also has an important social function in Turkish culture. It is often served at social gatherings and family gatherings and is a symbol of hospitality and friendship.

In modern times, Turkey has embraced the rise of specialty coffee and has developed a thriving specialty coffee scene. In recent years, many independent coffee roasters and coffee bars have opened that focus on roasting and brewing high-quality specialty coffee.

The history and traditions of the Balkans

The Balkans have a long history of coffee. Ottoman rule in the region from the 14th to the 19th century greatly influenced the coffee culture. In Ottoman times, drinking coffee was an important part of everyday life and was often drunk on special occasions and during social gatherings. It was a symbol of hospitality and a sign of friendship and respect.

Different types of coffee are drunk in the Balkans, but the most popular is the Turkish coffee, also known as "cezve coffee" mentioned above. The coffee is flavored with sugar and is usually served in small cups. The Balkans are also known for their "briki coffee", a variant of Turkish coffee prepared with a special pot called "briki".

In recent years, specialty coffee has also become increasingly popular in the Balkans. Specialty coffee is characterized by high quality and unique flavors, and is often produced in small quantities. Many coffee roasters and producers in the Balkans are aware of this trend and are starting to produce specialty coffee.

A country known for its specialty coffee in the Balkans is Bosnia and Herzegovina. In Bosnia and Herzegovina, there are several small coffee roasters that focus on producing unique and high-quality coffee. These roasters often work closely with coffee farmers and are involved in every step of the production process.

The history and traditions of the Middle East

The Middle East is known for its rich coffee culture and history. As I mentioned earlier in this blog, coffee was first discovered in Ethiopia and spread via Yemen to the Middle East in the 15th century. Today, specialty coffee is an important part of the region's culture and economy.

Middle Eastern coffee culture has a long history and is heavily influenced by religion. In some countries, such as Saudi Arabia, coffee is even considered a sacred drink. Traditional coffeehouses are an important part of the region's social and cultural fabric. People gather here to relax, discuss and enjoy a cup of coffee.

The traditional way of brewing coffee in the Middle East is the 'ibrik' method, which is also popular in the Balkan countries. This method uses finely ground coffee beans that are boiled in a special pot of hot water and sugar. The result is a strong coffee served in small cups, just like Turkish coffee.

Specialty coffee is also gaining popularity in the Middle East. More and more coffee roasters and baristas are focusing on improving quality and developing new flavors and aromas. There are even some award-winning specialty roasters in the region, including in countries like Jordan and Lebanon.

The history and traditions of Italy

Specialty coffee Italy


Italy has a long coffee tradition and was one of the first countries to introduce coffee to Europe. Drinking coffee in Italy is intertwined with the country's culture and social structure. In the 1900s, espresso was invented in Italy, and it has since become the most popular coffee preparation.

Espresso is a small amount of concentrated coffee brewed under high pressure. The art of making a good espresso requires skill, precision and knowledge of the coffee beans. In Italy, coffee is often drunk as part of a social occasion and it is customary to have an espresso in the morning and after lunch.

Italy now also has specialty coffee bars, where baristas are well trained in specialty coffee and latte art. Specialty coffee bars in Italy are often small and intimate and have a relaxed atmosphere where people meet to enjoy a great cup of coffee.

The History and Traditions of Western Europe

In recent years, Western Europe has seen a huge increase in the popularity of specialty coffee bars and micro roasters. This trend is due to the rising demand for high quality and unique coffee experiences. In this chapter we discuss the history and traditions of coffee in Western Europe and how the emergence of micro roasters and specialty coffee bars have reinforced this trend.

Coffee has been an important part of Western European culture for centuries. The first coffee houses opened in the 17th century and quickly became an important meeting place for intellectuals, businessmen and artists. Coffee was considered a luxury drink and was often drunk with sugar and milk to soften its bitter taste.

However, in recent years there has been a shift towards drinking high quality black coffee. This trend has led to the emergence of micro roasters that focus on roasting small batches of high quality coffee beans from different parts of the world. These coffee roasters set high standards for the quality of the beans and the roasting process to ensure that the coffee has the best taste and aroma. Exactly as we do at Zwarte Roes.

Specialty coffee bars have also become an important part of this trend. These coffee shops offer a wide variety of specialty coffee experiences, including different brewing methods and single-origin coffees. Many of these coffee bars work with local micro roasters to offer the highest quality coffee to their customers.

All in all, the emergence of micro roasters and specialty coffee bars has changed the Western European coffee culture. Coffee is now seen as a traditional product that is prepared with the greatest care and attention. Drinking coffee has become not only a daily ritual, but also a unique experience.


The term "specialty coffee" refers to the highest quality coffee beans that have been carefully selected and roasted to preserve their unique flavors and aromas. Drinking coffee has been an important part of the culture in different parts of the world for centuries, reflecting the associated identity and values.

Colombia is a country with a rich coffee history and traditions dating back thousands of years, with the tinto as the most important tradition and a unique coffee culture in the regions where coffee is produced. Ethiopia is considered the birthplace of coffee, where coffee ceremonies date back thousands of years and small farms use traditional methods to produce the best quality coffee. It is of course super nice to see that (specialty) coffee plays a major role in daily life all over the world, but slightly different everywhere.