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  • Rebeca Clark

The global virtual coffee break

Together with the global pandemic, several new words became part of our everyday vocabulary, one of which is “virtual coffee break”.

One thing, that I love about my job, is that I have colleagues around the world and get to interact with different cultures daily. Most of 2020 (and probably 2021 too) we have all been working from home, and implemented virtual coffee breaks to just chat (“Kaffeeklatsch” as the Germans would say) and not think about Covid or work for 30 minutes. With this, I learnt several interesting things about the different ways in which my colleagues enjoy coffee or other beverages during their coffee breaks. I asked them these 3 questions below, and here’s what they had to say:

1) What beverage do you drink during your daily coffee break?

2) What is your recipe for making it?

3) What do you enjoy doing while drinking your coffee break beverage?

Martin, from Sweden

1) I drink mostly machine brewed Lavazza coffee. Sometimes “Kok Kaffe” (Swedish boiled coffee) with Zoega coffee. In the evening I normally switch to Espresso from Illy or Lavazza either made on the hob or in an espresso machine. I probably consume 6 plus coffees per day all the way till I'm off to bed and normally fall asleep in seconds.

2) Machine brewed coffee: four spoons for six measures of water (800ml), Kokkaffe: four spoons for 1 litre of water

Espresso: one spoon per espresso cup. In the machine I tend to have it as an espresso that has run longer so it ends up being somewhere between an espresso and an Americano.

3) Depend on the time of year. When it’s warm enough I enjoy just sitting in the garden with my dog and looking around at what nature is up to.

Fun coffee fact from Martin: did you know that Finland drinks the most coffee per capita and Sweden comes sixth, after Norway, Iceland, Denmark and Netherlands?

Something we can learn from Sweden’s coffee culture is that they have (unofficially) banished instant coffee and instant coffee is never offered to guests… they also consider Nespresso as instant coffee.

Cristina from Italy:


2) No recipe please... we're Italian! pure strong coffee in the Moka (pot)!

3) Nothing... just enjoying the taste of black coffee and drinking it hot

Cristina’s favourite brand is Lavazza coffee and her coffee must be strong.

Fun fact about Italy: They only drink cappuccino in the morning as the lactose and fat from the milk gives them energy for the day. The milk component is too heavy for later in the day and they then mostly and religiously drink espresso.

Jochen from Germany:

1) Black coffee, also known as an Americano

2) French coffee maker. There is no special brand which I prefer, but if I have a choice, I choose fair trade coffee. My favourite café in Berlin was Roetstaette.

3) In times of Covid I enjoyed the good talk with my colleagues

In Germany, like South Africa, Jacobs Kronung is a popular coffee brand, but the filter coffee option is more popular than the instant coffee. Again, something we can learn from.

Ahmed from UK

1) Black Coffee

2) Costa Coffee and hot water

3) I enjoy relaxing while drinking coffee, make sure to take a break from work.

It is believed that Queen’s Lane Coffee House Oxford is the oldest coffee shop in the UK and was established in 1654. To put it in perspective, that was before New York was named New York. Before coffee became popular in Europe, people apparently drank beer with breakfast, as water was unsafe to drink and coffee was thereafter welcomed as “the great soberer”.

Zumae from South Africa

1) Black Coffee made in the Chemex, and sometimes Earle Grey Tea

2) I use a 1:16 ratio in the Chemex. (30g coffee to 480g of water for 2 people). I usually order different coffee every month from some of the amazing roasters we have in the country.

3) During the day I enjoy virtual coffee chats with colleagues or watching a 20-minute episode on Netflix in the mornings before work. Morning coffee is always accompanied with rusks 😉.

Rusks has been around since the 1690’s and was a way of preserving bread especially when travelling. Various countries have variations of rusks, but from what I can gather, South Africans are the most passionate about rusks. Some flavours I can recommend is coconut, peanut butter, pecan, sesame, and of course chocolate.

Let’s raise a coffee cup to 2021, make the best of our virtual coffee breaks and look forward to meeting for coffee for real in future!