Today’s Culture with Travel post is by Katy Crouch
Last summer, I headed to the very picturesque Sant’Agnello, just outside of Sorrento (Italy). After checking in, I was off to a restaurant that TripAdvisor told me was “very good.” I sat staring at a menu, not knowing what was good to order. What do the locals eat or drink?
The waiter came over to take my order, and the panic set in. Armed with my translation books, I frantically flicked through marked pages, hoping they would guide me. I managed to find the word for ‘please,’ at least.
I pointed at the page and mumbled, “oon-caffay-per-fay… …vor?” (un caffè per favore) in the best Italian I could muster. Somehow, the waiter appeared minutes later with my caffeine fix. But, I was kicking myself for not being better prepared. Much of the rest of my holiday followed suit – pointing at menus in hope.
Helping travelers order coffee across the globe
Upon my return, I shared my struggle with my colleagues who could all relate. It was then that the eureka moment came.
My colleagues and I teamed up with a group of interactive content geniuses and our client, FreshGround — who make commercial coffee machines — to make a tool to help us Brits get our coffee fix abroad.
The International Flavours of Coffee tool reveals how to order coffee in various languages from across the globe. It plays audio spoken by locals, and provides phonetic spellings to help with your pronunciation.
Being coffee fanatics, we added a whole bunch of fun facts about café culture from around the world into the tool too. Did you know, for example, that in the 236 episodes of sitcom Friends, they drank a total of 1,154 cups of coffee!
“Coffee plays such a big role in people’s lives – it brings people together to socialise, has been linked with productivity at work and can be a comfort when travelling to unknown places.” – Dan Lyon, MD of FreshGround.
The embarrassing struggle with languages
Research shows that my colleagues and I are not alone in our struggle to speak even the basics of another language. It has been revealed that almost half of Britons are embarrassed by not being able to speak the local language when holidaying abroad.
Shockingly, over half also admitted to resorting to pointing at menus to avoid mispronouncing non-English words when ordering in a restaurant. In all honesty, it is a relief that I am not the only one guilty of this!
Despite being known as a nation of tea drinkers, Britons drink approximately 55 million cups of coffee per day. Using our tool, Brits can order their coffee abroad with confidence and discover the perfect local accompaniments for their beverage – answering my original question: ‘what do the locals eat and drink?’
Is ordering in cafés and restaurants overseas something you have struggled with too? I would love to hear about your experiences in the comments below.
Katy Crouch is a content writer at award-winning digital agency, Selesti. She lives in an idyllic village on the Norfolk Broads and loves all things holiday and travel. From all-inclusive, sun-worshipping in far-flung countries to exploring the most remote parts of Canada. Katy is a self-confessed foodie and coffee lover. Nothing makes her happier than writing about food and drink.