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Christmas Coffee Traditions – From South America to Scandinavia

Hard to believe, but the holiday season is here again! Can you think of a time (as an adult) when coffee wasn’t a part of your holiday celebrations? We bet you can’t. Christmas in particular is celebrated by billions of people around the world. Here in the United States, 9 out of 10 people observe Christmas and roughly a third of us consider it a cultural holiday, skipping the more religious aspects altogether. With the popularity of both the Christmas holiday and your favorite hot beverage, Christmas coffee traditions are almost a given.  

Let’s look at a few!

Chilean Monkey Tail

In Chile, it’s not Christmas without Cola de Mono, which means “monkey’s tail” in Spanish. Each Chilean family has their own special recipe, but the main ingredients include coffee, milk, sugar and wintery spices like clove and cinnamon. Another key ingredient is aguardiente, which is a brandy-like liquor distilled from the leftover parts of pressed wine grapes. The result is a delicious, South American drink something like eggnog or a white Russian. 

Costa Rican Decor

Coffee can even play a part in Christmas decor! In Costa Rica, Christmas decorations are elaborate and especially stunning, and decorating is a family affair. In addition to gorgeous tropical flowers and strings of lights, the decor often includes fresh cut cypress wreaths decorated with red coffee berries and ribbons. 

Christmas Coffee Cake in the United States

For some families here in the US, part of the Christmas morning tradition is to have a special coffee cake served with a hot cup of high-quality coffee. We may be biased but think this pecan coffee cake makes a mouth-watering match with our seasonal Christmas Coffee! 

Kaffemik in Greenland

In Greenland, Christmas often includes kaffemik, which translates to “via coffee” in English. In a culture where joy is found in the simple act of being in a room full of people, the kaffemik brings friends and family together over coffee and a large spread of snacks and sweets. While held for various special occasions throughout the year, it has become a popular alternative to a formal Christmas dinner.  

The kaffemik is a very casual, all day affair and guests are encouraged to come and go as they please. In fact, if the gathering is large or crowded, the unwritten rules of good etiquette suggest that guests who have visited the longest get on their way to make space for new arrivals. 

At the kaffemik, your host might offer you a Greenlandic coffee. The traditional recipe calls for a pot of hot coffee mixed with whiskey and Kahlua. The drink is served with a generous amount of whipped cream and topped with Grand Marnier. In a place famous for being one of the coldest countries on earth, Greenlandic coffee sounds like a great way to warm yourself from the inside out! 

German Adventskaffee

Germans have their own tradition of gathering over coffee at Christmas. In Germany, Advent is an important part of the holidays, and Christmas is not official until it begins. Each Sunday until Christmas, families gather to light one of the four candles on the Advent wreath and enjoy Adventskaffee (coffee) with cake or homemade cookies. 

Gifting Black Gold in the Far North

One of the oldest Christmas Coffee Traditions dates to the 19th century in Russia, Eastern Europe, and Scandinavia, where coffee was a costly treat referred to as “Black Gold.” It became a popular luxury gift exchanged among the wealthier families of the region, and giving coffee was thought of as a generous and tasteful gesture. Even now, coffee is a highly regarded gift in the countries of the far north, and coffee is an essential part of Christmas dinner and other holiday gatherings.  

Affordable Luxury

Thankfully, coffee is no longer a specialty reserved for the rich! Luckily for the rest of us, high-quality coffee is an affordable luxury that makes it easy to shape your own Christmas coffee traditions and give as gifts sure to please the coffee lovers in your life. 

Need a festive gift idea? Check out our seasonal collection of coffees and add accessories for the perfect touch.  

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