Why coffee and tea are important for a Dutch translator


Why coffee and tea are important for a Dutch translator

Why coffee and tea are important for a Dutch translator

(Last Updated On: May 1, 2024)

Understanding the significance of both coffee and tea is crucial for a Dutch translator as these beverages play pivotal roles in Dutch culture and society. Coffee, often enjoyed with hot water or warm milk, holds a special place in daily routines, whether it’s sipping a cup of coffee pads at a coffee table or indulging in the unique tradition of “koffie verkeerd” (wrong coffee), which emphasizes the importance of balance and taste. Similarly, tea, though less prominent than coffee, is still cherished, particularly during the colder months reminiscent of Russian winters.

Translating phrases like “glass of water” or “coffee for customers” requires familiarity with the nuanced preferences and customs surrounding beverage consumption in Dutch society. Furthermore, given the historical context dating back to the 17th century, when coffee first arrived in the Netherlands, and the existence of secret offers or special deals, translators must navigate the cultural significance and nuances associated with these beverages. Whether it’s translating simple answers or complex situations involving baseball players or “для вязания” (for knitting), a Dutch translator must grasp the importance of both coffee and tea in order to accurately convey messages and capture the essence of Dutch culture.

The coffee obsession isn’t so rampant in the United States when compared to the Netherlands. In Scandinavia, Benelux countries, and some parts of the Eastern Europe coffee is on top of the chart. In the Netherlands, the average consumption of coffee every day is 2.4 cups, almost the same as those of the United States, the United Kingdom, France, and Spain combined! It’s no wonder a Dutch translator would have anywhere from 2-5 cups of coffee every day.


Why coffee is important for a Dutch translator

For a Dutch translator, understanding the significance of coffee in Dutch culture is essential for accurately conveying nuances and cultural references in translations. From the cozy ambiance of coffee bars to the ritual of enjoying koffie verkeerd (literally “wrong coffee,” but meaning a latte with more milk than coffee), coffee permeates everyday life in the Netherlands. Whether it’s savoring a latte macchiato or indulging in flavored coffee at hipster coffee shops, the Dutch coffee culture reflects a strong appreciation for quality and variety.

The history of Dutch coffee trade, dating back to the 17th and 18th centuries, adds depth to translations involving coffee-related topics, while the popularity of Dutch coffee shops and the tradition of serving Stroopwafel Coffee contribute to the unique coffee experiences in the Netherlands. Translating phrases like “milk with coffee” or “filter coffee” requires an understanding of the specific terminology and preferences of Dutch consumers of coffee.

Moreover, translating complex answers or simple answers about coffee requires linguistic finesse to ensure the message is accurately conveyed while capturing the mood for coffee that is deeply ingrained in Dutch society. In essence, for a Dutch translator, coffee is not just a beverage but a cultural touchstone that informs their understanding and translation of various texts and conversations related to the vibrant coffee culture in the Netherlands.

The Dutch intimately associate coffee with ‘gezellig’ (which is a feeling of homely warmth, having a good time with friends despite being tired, bad weather, or some unpleasant things happening in your life). In other words, coffee is the ultimate pick me up for them.


If you ask a Dutch translator he will of course tell you that the best coffee is Dutch coffee.

The climate in the Netherlands also helps: it is usually cloudy or rainy and you always feel sleepy so the coffee really helps keep them awake.

Coffee is also a cheap beverage and since the Dutch are most of the times cheap, coffee is the perfect drink for them.

The Dutch tend to look down on people that drink soft drinks because it’s very bad for you. Drinking soft drinks in the morning is greatly frowned upon. No one will ever nag about too much coffee or tea, and a Dutch translator won’t be an exception. When people see you drinking alcohol at work or on the weekend in the morning, you are obviously an alcoholic.

The Netherlands became a rich country in the golden age because of coffee. Tea, spices, tobacco, chocolate, and sugar were also part of their success. Slaves worked in coffee plantations in Suriname (Dutch West Indies) and in present-day Indonesia. Java, one of the biggest islands in Indonesia, was a Dutch colony until 1954. Up to this day people still refer to a cup of coffee as a cup of Java most especially in the United States, despite that island being a part of the Dutch East Indies.

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Dutch Translator

No matter how much we criticize the Dutch translator for drinking too much black coffee in the cozy coffee shops around Dam Square, studies have shown that coffee is actually beneficial for humans in a lot of ways. For some of us, even the thought of starting a morning without a refreshing coffee with ice is impossible, but coffee is more than just an energizer.

According to a recent research, coffee can help protect against type 2 Diabetes. Participants who increased their coffee intake with just one cup showed a lower risk level of type 2 Diabetes. Another study showed that coffee may help control movement in Parkinson’s disease. Coffee can surprisingly reduce the risk of liver cancer to up to 40%. Coffee consumption can also aid in reducing the risk of premature death.

So with all these wonderful revelations about coffee beans, American coffee, condensed milk or coffee with milk, ground coffee, types of coffee, and the importance of a good coffee grinder, our Dutch translator can say in his defense that coffee wasn’t that bad after all. Douwe Egberts and the Dutch love for instant coffee and Pickwick Dutch Tea from the East India Company have been an integral part of Dutch culture, often enjoyed even at the Waldorf Astoria. Perhaps everyone should continue to follow his footsteps and savor the delightful taste of a well-brewed cup of coffee.

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