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International (Coffee) Delights

International (Coffee) Delights

Words Erin Meister

This is a cruel time of year. March can either be the doldrums—not quite yet spring but no longer winter—or the season when wanderlust sets in big time. While we can’t really help with the climate where you live, what we can do is help sate some of that latter craving by brewing up a few worldly, globally-inspired coffee drinks that don’t require a passport (but do appeal to a sense of adventure).


Arabic coffee
This potent brew is commonly found in Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Lebanon, United Arab Emirates, and Iraq, and is made from barely roasted coffee blended with spices like cardamom, ginger, cloves, and sometimes lemon peel, and boiled in a covered metal pot known as a dallah, whose shape helps hold back the grounds for serving. Unsweetened, the finished drink is meant to be consumed with dates, whose syrupy sweetness is a perfect complement to the intoxicatingly spicy brew.

OXO Cold Brew Coffee Maker

To make an Arabic-inspired brew at home, use a very light-roasted coffee and stir some ground cardamom, ginger, and cloves into the grounds. You can brew it normally simply with the spices added in the filter or in the grounds in a French press—start with an 1/8th teaspoon of each spice and adjust to taste. Serve in small cups with dried or even sugared dates on the side, or sweeten the liquid if you prefer.

Orange-Blossom Cold-Brew Coffee
Another way to draw inspiration from the Middle East without having such a heavy mug is to use some of the lighter fragrances and flavors available in most local Turkish or Israeli markets. We love to add a splash of exotic aroma to a freshly brewed cold-brew by stirring in a half-teaspoon of orange-blossom water into the concentrate along with the diluting water, which simply elevates the coffee’s floral characteristics and adds a refreshing note of citrus. An orange-peel garnish is another nice touch, making your early-afternoon sip seem more like a cocktail than just a caffeine jolt.

Café de Olla
This Mexican preparation, which translates literally to “coffee pot,” is named after the vessel it’s traditionally made in: a kind of earthenware pot that allows the warm flavors to meld together nicely. Though you might not have a clay brewing pot handy, you can recreate the cozy coffee experience using your pour-over brewer and a few simple ingredients.

16oz water
1/2oz piloncillo, panela, or 1/2 tsp dark-brown sugar
¼ tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp orange zest (optional)
30g medium-coarse ground coffee

In small saucepan, heat water and sugar until the water boils and the sugar dissolves. In the filter of your Pour-Over Coffee Maker with Water Tank, add the cinnamon, orange zest (if using), and coffee grounds; place the RainMaker on top of the filter cone and slowly add the hot water-and-sugar mixture, waiting for it to completely drip through the grounds. Serve in small mugs or demitasse cups, and garnish with a slice of lemon peel if desired.

OXO Lavendar Simple Syrup Coffee

French Lavender Latte
Enjoy a little taste of Provence in the morning with a floral simple syrup that adds a romantic fragrance to any iced or hot coffee, including lattes—the combination of lavender and milk sounds strange at first, but in the cup it’s as heavenly as a warm bubble bath.

OXO Fine Mesh Cocktail Strainer

For 1 cup of lavender syrup: Bring 1 cup of water to a boil in a small saucepan, adding 1 cup of sugar and 4 tablespoons of dried lavender (typically available in specialty, tea, or herb shops) and stirring until the sugar is dissolved. Reduce the heat and simmer for 5–10 minutes, then remove the pan from the heat and allow the solution to rest for at least 30 minutes. Remove the lavender by straining the syrup through a fine-mesh sieve or cheesecloth, and keep the simple syrup in a bottle in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

By Erin Meister

Erin Meister is a freelance writer for OXO. She is a specialty-coffee professional with 15-plus years as a barista, café manager, wholesale account representative, speaker, and educator; she currently sells green coffee for the Minneapolis-based importing company Café Imports. You can also hear her on weekly episodes of "Opposites Extract: A Debate Podcast about Coffee," available on iTunes.

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