You know what’s true no matter where you travel? After several hours spent doing all the museums and capturing candid shots of all the city streets, you’re probably going to be pretty tired. And since you’re on vacation, you can say, “Screw it — I deserve a pastry.” Taking a coffee and pastry break will not only revive you and lift your spirits for another round of adventure, but it’s also a pretty good way to sample some of the best of what the local cuisine has to offer. Moreover, it’ll challenge you to learn how to order coffee in another language, or at least another dialect of English.
Here’s how six major tourist cities enjoy a quintessential coffee and pastry — and the words you’ll need to order one when you’re in town.
How To Order Coffee In 6 Major Cities
New York City: Black Coffee & Doughnut
New York City may quite literally be the most culturally diverse city in the world, but there’s nothing that screams “New York” more than a yellow taxi cab, dollar slice of pizza, coffee and doughnuts (when they ask if you want milk and sugar, just say you’ll take it “black” to show you mean business). Depending on your tastes, you can find yourself a no-fuss, old-fashioned cruller just like they used to make back in the day, or you can seek a more boundary-pushing experience in the form of a hibiscus glazed or shredded halva doughnut.
Paris: Noisette & Croissant
It wouldn’t be a trip to Paris without an overwrought request for a “cwassont.” But this flaky, buttery staple of mornings in France will pair quite nicely with a noisette, which translates to “hazelnut” in French but is so-called because of the color the espresso turns when you add just a teensy drop of hot milk to it. Ordering a noisette will show that you’re in the know — at least enough to realize that most actual French people only drink their café au lait at home.
Stockholm: Kaffe & Kanelbulle
Sweden practically invented the coffee and pastry break. They even have a word for it: fika. So when you inevitably stop to enjoy everything a Swedish bakery has to offer, know that you’re also participating in a time-honored rite of Swedish culture. Before you try anything else, order a kaffe (coffee) and kanelbulle (cinnamon roll). Hopefully, you have caffeinated nerves of steel, because Swedish coffee is strong coffee. I mean, you have to stay awake through the long dreary winters somehow.
Mexico City: Café De Olla & Concha
Sugar and spice and everything nice is more or less the Mexican take on caffeine. Café de olla is made by simmering coffee with a cinnamon stick in a clay pot, which lends the coffee a distinct spicy and earthen flavor. To help it all go down, try a concha, which means “shell” in Spanish and is what these sugary bread rolls resemble.
Sydney: Flat White & Lamington
Australia has certainly put itself firmly on the map of trendy coffee culture, and none of its exports is more iconic than the flat white, which is actually not just another word for latte. A flat white contains less milk than a latte, and it’s steamed in a specific way to produce velvety microfoam. Pair this with a lamington, the most quintessential of Australian desserts. The lamington consists of sponge cake that’s dipped in melted chocolate and coconut, and it’s often served with jam and cream.
Rome: Espresso & Cannoli
Espresso drinks can now be found all over the world, but Italy is where it all began. Though Italian coffee culture has produced more than a few quintessential coffee drinks, the espresso remains the most iconic. Pair yours with a cannoli, that iconic cream-filled tube of The Godfather fame, which is similarly designed for efficiency and flavor.