Tasting Interesting Drinks across the World

This appeared in a cafe chain across Thailand. Gingerbread Earl Grey iced tea latte. Would you try this?

a cup of iced coffee with gingerbread man on top

I enjoyed it but it was still sweet even when I asked for “wan noi” (little sweetness). Thais consume one of the sweetest drinks on the planet Thai iced tea which has black tea, star anise, cardamom, and tamarind seed, red food colouring, sweetened condensed milk and oodles of sugar. It has a creamy layer on top and a punch of sweetness.

a glass jar with ice and orange liquid
Stock photo, Thai Iced Tea

I am a huge fan of Bubble Tea; it has become a weekly treat for me. It bemuses me when I introduce someone from outside the Bubble Tea aficionado world and watch their reaction. I had two friends last week ask me to take them to a Bubble Tea bar, so they could try it. When we arrived, they froze with the differing combinations! (Green Tea vs Black tea plus milk or fruit base plus pearls or up to 20 other mix-ins results in an estimated 12 million possible combinations!).

a man taking a selfie
Bubble Tea store in Taiwan

A favourite tea of one mine is Moroccan mint tea made by steeping green tea with a generous handful of spearmint leaves—sometimes also made with other types of mint or herbs—and traditionally served in small glass cups. Whilst there, I also enjoyed freshly squeezed Pomegranate juice.

a close-up of a mate
Stock pic of maté

I have tried and enjoyed maté, also known as chimarrão or cimarrón, a traditional South American caffeine-rich infused herbal drink. Bizarrely the first time I had it was with Argentinian soldiers on R and R in Budapest from the Balkans War. We rank it together while discussing the madness of war. It’s made by soaking dried leaves of the yerba maté in hot water. Traditionally drunk with a metal straw in a container typically made from a calabash gourd or a cattle horn.

I am not a huge soda/soft drink/ pop kind of guy but I fell in love with Kolashampan or Champagne Cola across Latin America. I first discovered this treat in El Salvador and associate it with the stuffed tortillas they eat there, called pupusas!

a man holding a glass and a bottle

Travelling through Fiji, my bus broke down once and while we waited for the repairs, the driver pulled out some Kava to share. The drink which has sedative, anesthetic, and euphorian properties comes from the root of the kava kava plant. It looked like muddy dishwater and tasted unpleasant. The plant and drink are banned in several countries but I later found out that it can help people short-term anxiety issues. PS The bus was fixed and our driver safely got us to our destination and I didn’t feel any anxiety.

two bowls of liquid in them
Stock Photo

The Frappe is originally a Greek coffee invention from 1957, combining coffee with water and ice
milk or evaporated milk. The combination is usually prepared in a shaker or a mixer, so when served, a frothy foam appears on top. Traditionally, this coffee is served in a tall glass, with varying degrees of sweetness. I have now tried frappes across the world.  Starbucks, of course, took the variety further with the Frappucino.

Another coffee favourite is Vietnamese Jelly coffee …delicious iced coffee with pandan jelly stirred through. Here I am enjoying it whilst recovering from a dislocated shoulder acquired by falling off a Cambodian temple. I am convinced that jelly coffee was a key part of my recovery.

Blueberry juice in Finland which is also Finnair’s signature drink is both delicious a superfood and rare for me to find Love coconut juice across South east Asia and the Pacific.

What interesting drinks have you tried?

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