Return to site

The etiquette of drinking coffee

Coffee and elegance are compatible!

· French Etiquette

As a daily necessity, coffee has flooded into every aspect of young people's lives.

However, do you really understand the coffee culture and etiquette? Let's take a look !

A brief history

The word coffee was first known as Kaffa (named after its supposed birthplace in Ethiopia), and later called qahwah in Arabic. Coffee is called caffè in Italian, café in French and Spanish, and the English word coffee appears later.

There are very few precise records of the discovery of coffee, most of them being legends. The most popular story is that around 850 AD, a young Ethiopian shepherd noticed that his goats became particularly energetic after eating a certain fruit, a reference to coffee's stimulant effects.

Another story goes that a group of monks tasted a bitter fruit from which the coffee bean comes from, then disappointed threw the fruit into the fire, which soon released a strong aroma. They were so curious that they boiled the roasted fruit into a drink. They regarded this special drink as a precious gift from God which could energize tired people.

Holding a cup of coffee 

The cup and saucer always come together, and should be placed in front or to the right of the drinker, with the cup's handle pointing to the right.

Hold the cup handle with your right hand using your thumb and index finger, gently holding the coffee saucer in your left hand, and slowly move it to your mouth for a sip. If you are sitted at a high table, the saucer may stay on the table.

Adding sugar and stirring

When adding sugar to coffee, use a coffee spoon adding the sugar powder directly to the cup. Of course, small and individual sugar sachets may also be available.

For sugar cubes, use a sugar tong to first put it to the near side of the coffee saucer, then use a coffee spoon to add the sugar cube into the cup. It is not advisable to use the tong directly, as this may cause the coffee to splash around and stain clothes or tablecloths.

If the coffee is too hot, stir it gently with a coffee spoon, or wait for it to naturally become cooler before drinking. It is very inelegant to blow on the coffee to make it cold.

The standard stirring method is to place the coffee spoon in the center of the coffee cup, making first a clockwise circle from the inside to the outside, then after reaching the edge of the cup, make a counterclockwise circle from the outside to the center, and then repeat again to ensure that the coffee is evenly concentrated.

When drinking coffee, remember to take the coffee spoon out, placing it on the saucer, behind the cup. Don't scoop up coffee to drink it spoon by spoon!

Steps for tasting

The first step is to smell, to feel the mellow aromas of coffee. You may also observe its dark brown color.

The second step is to taste. Don't rush to swallow the coffee, you can keep it in your mouth temporarily, let the aromas of the coffee exhale from your nose, and then swallow it.

When tasting coffee, it is best to take a sip of cold water after a sip of coffee. This can relieve the "tiredness" caused by continuous coffee drinking, so that every sip can bring a new feeling to the drinker.

In the third step, you may add some sugar if you want, stir it with a small spoon, or add some creamer to enjoy a multi-layered taste.

When to have coffee

In France, people usually drink coffee at the end of a meal, after dessert, to help digestion. It may also be served as a "café gourmand", together with "mignardises", such as small macarons or financiers.

In a business lunch, dessert is often replaced by a cup of coffee, which serves as a good time to conclude the meal and wrap up the conversation, while keeping the mind energized for the rest of the day !

It's time to start the day and get out in the world! How about enjoying a warm cup of coffee to begin with?


Founded in 2018 by Matthieu Ventelon, Hedonia is the first institution in China combining professional Wine and Etiquette expertise in the same training offer.

Find more information on our website :


All Posts

Almost done…

We just sent you an email. Please click the link in the email to confirm your subscription!