Strange but True

Even in the United States there are regional and cultural differences in how best to prepare and serve coffee. Countries like Vietnam, Hong Kong and Sweden each have their own take on serving the best cup of java. Vietnam is a major grower of robusta coffee beans. The robusta bean is generally grown at low elevations and has an intense and somewhat bitter taste. Coffee drips through a steel filter called a phin into a glass with sweetened, condensed milk. It is served both hot and over ice. Hong Kong seems to lie at the center of the coffee and tea world. So it only makes sense to combine both. If made properly it tastes like neither but does impart chai and hot chocolate flavor notes. The ratio or coffee-to-tea is a closely guarded secret. In northern Sweden, coffee lovers dunk cheese in the brew. The coffee is finely ground, boiled over an open fire and served in a hand-carved birch burl. It is served with a cheese that combines flavors of halloumi and fresh cheese curds.

Jim Wilkins