Java. Joe. Café Americano. Espresso. Cappuccino. Latte. Frappuccino.

Whatever you call it and however you take it, coffee is the magic potion that fuels nations. More importantly, it brings people together.

Our memorable walk through Claude Monet’s gardens a Giverny ended with this fine cup of coffee at a nearby cafe.

When I realized it was National Coffee Day, it got me thinking about all of those cups I’ve compulsively photographed during my travels. There’s something about ordering a coffee in a public forum that gives you a true taste of a culture. It’s also a chance to slow down, take in your surroundings and people-watch.

In honor of National Coffee Day, I searched through my photo files to find those special cups. What a nice walk down memory lane. Each cup helped me recall the place I visited and how I felt on those particular days.

Cup of coffee at a cafe in Madrid, Spain

I couldn’t understand what these madrileños were saying, but the talker’s animated gestures and listeners’ rapt attention piqued my interest.

There’s nothing quite like a steaming-hot metal mug of coffee on a crisp morning in the African bush.

Pure joy. That’s what I felt as I drank my coffee and watched a bachelor elephant devour a nearby tree.

The next time you’re traveling, do yourself a favor. Stop and savor the coffee. It’s another glimpse into what makes a country and its people tick.

What are your favorite coffee travel moments?