Opinion – news & views

Friday, March 25th, 2011

Room 10

Room10_webWith the increasing tendency of hip new cafes to use ‘boutique’ coffee brands to make their coffee, it’s probably no surprise that Room 10 uses Mecca [see Sydney’s Best Cafes 2011]. It’s a compact space with no separate kitchen – the kitchen is actually a dedicated area of bench space on the right [as you walk in]of the café. The space is dominated by two things – one a bicycle curiously mounted on the wall at the rear and secondly a shiny La Marzocco espresso machine at the front. It’s not always guaranteed, but it’s usually a sign that they’re serious about their coffee and in this case, the coffee didn’t disappoint, although there was some variability, depending on who was behind the machine. They offer a limited food menu and in spite of the size of the kitchen [or lack of it!] the food was actually pretty good, and if you can get a seat [especially in Summer] the little outdoor tables are a nice option. Room 10 brings a new dimension to otherwise ‘good-coffee-denuded’ Kings Cross.

10 Llankelly Place
Potts Point NSW 2011

Wednesday, February 2nd, 2011

Best Cafes of Sydney 2011

WorkshopRGB_webMake no mistake, Australia is at the peak of espresso coffee on the world stage with a number of barista champions, past and present hailing from our shores and many of our top cafes cresting the ‘third’ and even ‘fourth’ waves in world espresso.

Sydney is no exception to this and boasts a number of truly world-class cafes. Many of our reviewers have travelled, or even lived in Europe and their reviews attest to the increasing dominance of antipodean coffee on the world scene; let no-one doubt – these cafes are at the peak of their game and are of a world class standard.

So it is with pleasure that we bring you Crema Magazine’s Best Cafes of Sydney for 2011…


Wednesday, July 14th, 2010

Australia declared the best coffee nation in the world!


by Emily Oak, Director, WBC and AIR Training & Development Manager

From June 23-25th at Olympia, in Kensington London, the world’s best baristas and coffee professionals gathered together under one roof to celebrate all facets of the specialty industry. Baristas from more than 50 countries represented their individual nations competing against each other in a bid to win the global title.
This year was fresh and even more interesting for two main reasons. Firstly, it was the first time a semi final round was introduced into the competition. This added a layer of complexity and difficulty for competitors and judges. Secondly, there were more than 15 second or third time champions competing. This mean the standard of performance was higher than it has ever been before. Australia’s reining Barista Champion Scottie Callaghan, (who was also World Latte Art Champion 2006 and Australian Barista Champion 2007) put in a solid performance, making it through both the preliminary and semi final rounds to the final of the championship, no easy task at all.
Scott came away with the third place trophy, making him the third best barista in the world. Combined with the efforts of the rest of ‘Team Australia’ competing in a whole range of competitions (Latte Art, Good Spirits and Cup Tasting) Scott’s placing helped secure the overall team trophy for Australia…. Well Done!

Sunday, December 14th, 2008

Water and Espresso Coffee

By Christopher Short

Coffee aficionados love to discuss the elements that make for their perfect cup. Factors often mentioned are their favorite brand of coffee beans, the proportion of arabica to robusta beans, the type of roast and single versus double boiler espresso machines, just to name a few. Interestingly, one issue only occasionally considered is that of water quality. This is odd given that water constitutes 95% of an espresso.

The reason it is not top of the list is probably because few really know what attributes they should be looking for in water and they generally have little choice in the matter. For most of us, it just arrives, normally out of the tap. The reason we should be concerned about water quality is that it does affect the taste of your coffee and it has a significant effect on brewing equipment performance and reliability in many regions. (more…)

Wednesday, October 29th, 2008

Why Is Coffee Cupping So Important?

Tasting and blending coffee is a very complex, creative and scientific process which is unfortunately underestimated by a great number of people who actually work in the industry. Coffee cupping is one of those wonderful and very necessary rituals which sadly only a small percentage of coffee roasters, green buyers and retailers undertake. Unfortunately for the consuming public, this can lead to a lack of quality in coffee from those who do not regularly audit their suppliers, coffee production and the end product sold to consumers. Often these same people do not venture out trying new products and styles to improve the quality of the end cup. So why is coffee cupping so important, and what does cupping a coffee to produce an end product entail? (more…)

Saturday, October 18th, 2008

Blue Mountain Blues

It may or may not be because of the current world financial crisis, but the International Herald Tribune reports that several key buyers of the famous Jamaica Blue Mountain coffee, have recently pulled out, causing concerns about a possible drop in the price of this famous coffee bean.

Jamaica exported some 16,200 tons (15,000 metric tons) of Blue Mountain coffee last year. Its output is largely bought by eight large companies, including Coffee Traders and Government-owned Wallenford. Jamaica exports US$30 million of Blue Mountain annually, of which 85 percent is shipped to Japan, while Britain and the U.S. are the next biggest markets for the iconic bean. (more…)

Thursday, August 21st, 2008

All Is Not Fair

21st August 2008

As you may know, this magazine is a supporter of the concept of fairly-traded coffee, but it’s interesting to see how the Fairtrade organization (run under the auspices of Oxfam aid organization) has become proprietary about the use of the ‘fair trade’ terminology.

Several newspapers have reported a recent spat between McDonalds, which uses Rainbow Alliance coffee [www.rainforest-alliance.org], and the Fairtrade Organization. It centres around the use of the word ‘fair’. The problem is that McDonalds have recently been running TV commercials showing South American coffee farmers, and using the words ‘a fair deal for workers’ in their script.

Click here to go directly to this topic on the Crema Forum to share your opinion and read what others have had to say, or/ (more…)

Wednesday, July 30th, 2008

Starbucks News – Our Opinion

Editorial 30th July 2008

Well, it had to happen. Not wanting to say ‘I told you so’, but we’ve been forcasting the demise, or at least the diminishing, of the Starbucks’ empire in Australia for a number of years. 

A recent article in The Australian newspaper refers to recent sour news out of the company’s US [Seattle] headquarters as a possible reason for Starbucks’ abrupt decision to close 61 of its 84 Australian stores, but we have felt for a long time that there was a much stronger reason – the inherent strength of Australia’s domestic espresso industry.

On observing Starbucks’ worldwide rise over a number of years, they have clearly been a phenomenal success story in most countries where their tentacles have reached, but for a few countries – most notably Italy, and now Australia. And the reason is clear – its the strength our own domestic espresso culture.

A recent second place in the World Barista Championships in Copenhagen, along with three consecutive winners of the World Latte Art Championships are testament to this. It’s actually a huge compliment to the increasing strength and depth of our own unique espresso culture!

Ashley Felderhof, Founding Director of Crema Magazine, was interviewed by ABC News Radio to give his opinion on the demise of Starbucks in Australia. Click here to listen to the interview.

Sunday, July 6th, 2008

Competition vs. Reality…?

By Emily Oak

Aaron Kindred from TasmaniaEvery year between April and June, the World Barista Championships are held somewhere on the globe, in search of the world’s best barista. And every year across the world, and particularly in Australia, the question is often raised and fiercely debated as to the value of such ‘staged’ competitions – primarily that the baristas who participate in such competitions are more performers than professional baristas.

The main argument against competitions that I have encountered over my ten years in the specialty coffee industry is that the condition of competition and the tasks that the baristas have to perform are not valuable in ‘the real life situation or a café’. Many baristas who work day in and day out behind an espresso machine producing hundreds of coffees for their loyal following, are not willing to have their skills judged by their peers because the format of competition does not mimic reality…. Or does it? (more…)

Friday, May 30th, 2008

A Point To Grind

By Emily Oak

I am very lucky that in my work as an educator I often get the opportunity to associate with people already active in the coffee industry, as well as people who are so enthusiastic about coffee that they are setting up a mini espresso bar at home. Unfortunately for both of these groups they often overlook or misunderstand the importance of the grinder in the whole equation of making a cup of coffee.