(PHOTOESSAY) Savor the aroma on International Coffee Day (October 1)

September 27, 2015 | By | 36 Replies More
Elegant coffee service at Auberge du Pont de Collonges - The Paul Bocuse Restaurant in Lyon

Elegant espresso presentation at Auberge du Pont de Collonges – The Paul Bocuse Restaurant in Lyon

International Coffee Day calls attention to the plight of coffee growers across the world.

As frequent travelers, coffee remains one of the consistent pleasures in our lives.

We relish the thrill of discovering a neighborhood café or coffee bar the first morning we’re at a new destination; learning about the harvesting, roasting or tasting from a coffee farmer or barista; sipping a cappuccino on a cruise ship or at a hotel or restaurant, and savoring an espresso, the perfect coda to a special meal. Ironically, we are usually just as happy to return home and smell the aroma of our own blend dripping in the kitchen.

After-dinner espresso at Zeppelin Restaurant in Orvieto, Italy

After-dinner espresso at Zeppelin Restaurant in Orvieto, Italy

“We believe that coffee is more than just a drink:

It’s a culture, an economy, an art, a science — and a passion.”

The National Coffee Association 

Coffee plants are cultivated in more than 70 countries around the world. To promote fair trade and the call attention to the plight of coffee growers, the International Coffee Organization has designated October 1 as International Coffee Day. September 29 is National Coffee Day in the U.S., when a number of chains are sponsoring coffee giveaways. My friend and colleague Leah Ingram catalogued 11 of them for Parade Magazine.

Here is a sampling of some of the memorable coffee experiences we’ve had over the past several years.

On the road to the coffee growing region of Pluma Hidalgo (Oaxaca), Mexico

On the road to the coffee growing region of Pluma Hidalgo (Oaxaca), Mexico

COFFEEfor Collage

Visiting the coffee region of Pluma Hidalgo in Oaxaca, Mexico to learn about coffee growing

Visiting the coffee region of Pluma Hidalgo in Oaxaca, Mexico (near Huatulco) to learn about coffee growing

Coffee tasting at Caffe Artigano in Vancouver

Coffee tasting at Caffe Artigiano in Vancouver

Latte art at Cafe Artigiano

Latte art at Cafe Artigiano


Pourover coffee at Cafe Bisetti in Barranca, Peru

Pourover coffee at Cafe Bisetti in Barranca, Peru

Pourover coffee at Cafe Bisetti in Barranca, Peru

Pourover coffee at Cafe Bisetti in Barranca, Peru


Outstanding hotel coffees

Coffee at the Sacher Hotel in Vienna, Grand Hotel Villa Serbelloni in Bellagio, Secrets The Vine in Cancun (clockwise from left to right)

Coffee at the Sacher Hotel in Vienna, Grand Hotel Villa Serbelloni in Bellagio, Secrets The Vine in Cancun (clockwise from left to right)


Coffee in restaurants and bars

cappuccino at bar in Bologna, Italy; cappuccino with whipped cream in Regensburg, Germany; cappuccino at Bernachon cafe in Lyon, coffee at La Mere Brazier in Lyonz (clockwise from left to right)

Cappuccino at Bar Il Calice in Bologna, Italy; cappuccino with whipped cream in Regensburg, Germany; espresso at La Mere Brazier in Lyon, and cappuccino at Bernachon cafe in Lyon  (clockwise from left to right)


Dessert-worthy coffee

Coffee can be the perfect dessert in one of its forms. Affogato is made with a hot shot of espresso poured over vanilla ice cream or gelato. I became addicted to Illy Crema Caffe, a frozen coffee preparation that comes out of a special machine, when I tried one at a local bar in Orvieto. You can find it at many bars and airports throughout Italy.

Illy Frozen Crema Cafe at Bar Pontremoli in Orvieto; Affogato at Marea in NYC; cappuccino on the MSC Divina

Illy Frozen Crema Caffe at Bar Pontremoli in Orvieto; Affogato at Marea in NYC; cappuccino on the MSC Divina (clockwise from left to right)


See an amazing gallery of 3D coffee art on Flickr.

On the web: Interesting Facts about Coffee in Spain

In the New York Times: Is that cappuccino you are drinking really a cappuccino?


Have you had any “peak” coffee experiences? If so, please share a link in the comment section below.

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Category: FOOD & WINE

Comments (36)

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  1. I’m not a coffee drinker, but I really enjoyed reading about the world’s different options. As always, the photos were excellent!!

  2. Laura says:

    I’m not a coffee drinker but learned how to make it so I could entertain properly. This is an amazing and beautiful collection of “cuppa joe” experiences!

  3. I’m not a coffee drinker either though I do love an expresso martini or two! Does this count? Turin is known for its bicerin, a coffee and chocolate drink served with milk or cream that is probably the closest I have come to drinking coffee. Back to the expresso martinis!

    • I’ve never tasted bicerin. Thanks for the suggestion! I did recall that we had coffee tea (a mixture of the two) in Shanghai.

      An expresso martini sounds great! Although I like coffee, I’m usually not a martini drinker. Maybe this will be the solution:-)

  4. I’m breathing in the aromas in my imagination. Although I usually drink coffee only in the morning, the smell of beans, whole or ground, or a pot brewing make me pause and take it in. Perhaps I’ll have a latte to celebrate on 9/29 and 10/1.

  5. I have never been able to understand why people make such a fuss over coffee but I do like your photos – they are lovely.

  6. Anita says:

    Love coffee, love this tribute! And I want to have a classy coffee-with-Paul-Bocuse experience. Perhaps not this International Coffee Day, but one of these days….

  7. A tasty post! I can almost smell the aroma of coffee brewing! I’m happy to see Pluma Hidalgo (Oaxaca) included – it’s one of my faves. I’m also a big fan of Cafe Justicia of Guatemala

  8. Patti Morrow says:

    There are two things I must try in every country I visit — coffee and ice cream. I loved reading about the Affogato dessert coffee! Maybe I could kill two birds with one stone? 🙂

  9. Madelyn Miller says:

    I attended the Kona Coffee festival in Hawaii and was amazed at all the delicious coffees and baked goods flavored with coffee. The climate in Hawaii is perfect for coffee and chocolate -two of my favorite flavors!

  10. Living on Kaua’i spoiled us for great coffee. About the only thing “wrong” with Fiji, where we are now, is the lack of good coffee, go figure. Our most memorable coffee experience was in the Bosnian mountain village of Lukomir, where we were invited into a woman’s home. Traditional Bosnian coffee is dark and flavored with lots of sugar!

  11. Coffee is a lifestyle choice for me, so I will be celebrating International Coffee Day in all of the world’s time zones. Australia has the best coffee in the world, benefitting from our multiculturalism.

  12. We got to see quite a bit of coffee growing in Tanzania on our recent visit, even a demonstration of roasting it over and open fire, grinding it, then drinking it. Pretty cool. You can count on us celebrating International Coffee Day.

  13. Jackie Smith says:

    I am surprised we haven’t made this a paid, public holiday here in Starbucks Land! Thanks for the heads up – maybe I can get a movement started or at least a ceremony at the original store (still operating at Pike Place Market in Seattle’s Waterfront District). Great post, Irene.

  14. I call coffee my “Go Juice” and back in the day when we had a kitchen, we ground it fresh every morning – the scent is intoxicating! I love sitting outside a restaurant on a warm day sipping coffee and people watching. Your pictures have me craving another cup now …

  15. Sheryl says:

    I love coffee- and especially loved seeing all your different coffee experiences! Great photos, and a wonderful tour.

  16. Sue Reddel says:

    What a lovely article on coffee. You make this tea drinker reconsider actually trying some of these beautiful coffee drinks.

  17. Billie Frank says:

    I’m not a coffee person but I do appreciate some of the artistry involved in making the perfect latte. I am married to a coffee drinker who’s extremely fussy about what he drinks. International Coffee Day cracked me up as there was a controversy as to whether it was 9/29 or 10/1. I guess that gives them more exposure.

  18. One of my most memorable coffee experiences is visiting a coffee plantation in Kona area on the Big Island in Hawaii. http://berkeleyandbeyond.com/Way-Beyond/Travel-Articles/U_S_A_/Kona-Coffee-Country/kona-coffee-country.html

  19. Michele says:

    As a self confessed coffee snob I think most of our budget goes on coffee as we travel.Our favourite is still Vietnamese coffee there is something about sitting waiting for it to slowly filter through the phin, it is all about the experience

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