Coffee Culture – travel & lifestyle

Monday, May 20th, 2013

The History of Coffee

HofCoffee_webThe world’s second-most traded commodity has origins as fascinating and varied as the means of preparing them… from the Turkish invasion of the Holy Roman Empire to the  French Revolution, the history of coffee has emulated world history at many key junctures.

According to legend, an Ethiopian shepherd called Kaldi was the first to observe the influence of the caffeine in coffee beans when the goats appeared to ‘dance’ and to have an increased level of energy after consuming wild coffee berries. Another tale relates that it was a hungry, exiled sheik who chewed the berries, found them too bitter, cooked them over a fire and found them too hard and so boiled them in water, to discover a fragrant, refreshing brew… coffee does indeed have origins almost as fascinating and varied as the means of preparing them… (more…)

Saturday, April 20th, 2013

Blog:: Cafes of Paris


Parisian Cafe Crawl :: during a couple of weeks in early April, Crema did a ‘café crawl’ around Paris, the full story to be published in our upcoming [southern hemisphere] Autumn 2013 issue. Here, we take the opportunity to publish a few of our initial thoughts from our trip here. Whilst not strictly chronological, this blog more-or-less follows our path across the streets of Paris, from the trendy Left Bank, right up to the ethnic’ and slightly grungy 18th Arrondissement, which is the home to the famous Sacre Coeur.

There are essentially two types of café mentioned here – firstly we cover a couple of the most famous ‘traditional’ –type café, of which there are obviously hundreds in and around the centre of Paris. Typically these cafes are of the round sit-down-table type, where emphasis is as much on the food, wine and ambience, as the coffee. Consequently the quality of the actual coffee served was usually poor. It was almost as if the coffee is incidental to all the other things at these cafes, where [in the case of the most famous ones, at least] the point is as much about ‘seeing and being seen’ as it is about the quality of the coffee. (more…)

Wednesday, February 13th, 2013

Cafe Cities of the World – Prague

by Paul Golding

The cafes of Prague represent a completely different concept to the Australian café ideal.  Before you can begin the experience, you must embrace the notion that coffee is not the central tenet or reason for visiting… Prague’s cafes are places to meet, to talk, to discuss business, to linger. In the older establishments you’ll find huge beautifully decorated rooms, waiters in formal attire, wine, beer, excellent food and good coffee, with the understanding that you could spend several hours at your table enjoying these things while you write, read or chat.  Coffee in Prague is very good compared to much of Europe, but it is extremely rare to find the boutique specialty cafes now so common in Australia.  (more…)

Tuesday, September 25th, 2012

Cafe Cities of the World – Vancouver

Nestled in the lee of the majestic snow-capped Coast mountain ranges, Vancouver is a stunning city.  it’s situated on a scenic harbour, protected from the harsh elements of the Pacific ocean by Vancouver Island, just offshore. Its location ensures a relatively temperate climate (although it will rain anytime of the year and frequently does) and one which Vancouverites enjoy in their myriad year-round outdoor activities; cycling, skiing, boating and hiking, just to name a few.


Monday, September 3rd, 2012

History of the Espresso Machine – Part II

In a crowded bar in downtown Milan, where the coffee grinder was going non-stop, spreading a haze of coffee aroma, and a spoonful of sugar was being stirred in the cup as if its sweetness grew with the stirring, a cup of espresso was really something ‘black as the devil, hot as hell, pure as an angel, sweet as love’.

We publish the second of our three part piece comprising edited extracts from Ian Bersten’s book  ‘Coffee Floats, Tea Sinks’; the chapter entitled: ‘The Espresso Coffee Machine Revolution’.


Wednesday, August 15th, 2012

Crema Kitchen – Ricotta Pancakes

There’s no better way to start the day than with a plate of fluffy light ricotta pancakes and a coffee. This simple recipe can be made in advance and stored in an airtight contain in the fridge for up to 2 days.  Great also for an afternoon snack or for a desert.

We also asked Ian Callaghan from Bar9 Specialty Coffee in Adelaide to pair this dish with his choice of coffee. His recommendations are below the recipe.



Tuesday, September 27th, 2011

Cafe Cities of the World :: Seattle

As a coffee destination, Seattle is a city with a big reputation. On the one hand, Seattle is the birthplace of Starbucks, that behemoth of all coffee chains, but on the other, Seattle is also home to a sophisticated independent specialty cafe scene. Quite a dichotomy, some might say. But then Seattle is a city which comfortably embraces the creativity and inherent diversity that thinking ‘outside the square’ can bring — two of its most famous children, Jimmy Hendricks & Bill Gates are perhaps testament to that.

Surrounded by lush evergreen forest with the snowy peak of Mount Rainier in the distance, Seattle is a vibrant city in a magnificent setting. Located on Elliott Bay, Seattle was founded by white settlers in the mid 19th century and went on  to become a primary hub for fishing (think Chinook salmon) and logging with a large number of immigrants attracted to the area. By 1910, about one-third of Seattle’s foreign-born residents hailed from Sweden, Norway, Denmark or Finland.
They played a strong role in defining the young city’s identity — a legacy that can still be seen today.

. (more…)

Sunday, August 7th, 2011

Best Cafes of Melbourne 2011

Proud Mary_Cup_webWhen we started up, and we’re just about to celebrate our tenth anniversary, we floated the [then slightly sacrilegious] notion that Melbourne might not, after all, be Australia’s coffee capital – in fact the things that were happening in the Sydney coffee scene were rather leaving Melbourne in the shade. Since then, however, coffee in Australia has taken many leaps forward and we’ve enjoyed riding the wave as coffee in Melbourne, in particular, has surged forward.

We have recently concluded a coffee-hopping trip [including the erstwhile capital of modern world espresso - Seattle] and we now firmly believe that Melbourne takes its place – not just as Australia’s but pretty much the world’s, coffee capital – and as you’ve probably guessed, we don’t make that sort of statement lightly!

However, coffee has got to such a stage in Melbourne, that there may not be much further you can go with espresso. The ‘third wave’ in coffee has seen more emphasis on brewing with different methods – syphon, pour-over, chemex, french press and clover – to the extent that some roasts are optimised for these brewing methods & may actually not be quite so good for espresso… a quandary that probably no other city in Australia may be experiencing.


Friday, July 15th, 2011

CafeSmart 2011

cafesmart logoCafeSmart will take place on Friday 5th August, during National Homeless Persons’ Week (1-7 August 2011), and will bring together cafés and their customers, to create change for some of our most disadvantaged Australians. Part proceeds, from each cup purchased on the day, will be put towards charities that tackle homelessness in Australia. The initiative is StreetSmart’s most recent project called CafeSmart whereby participating cafes have generously pledged to donate $1.00 per coffee sold to fund local grassroots projects.

Cafe Customers – is your favourite local cafe participating? If not, ask them why they haven’t signed up yet? For a list of participating cafes visit the StreetSmart website

Cafe Owners – Why sign up your cafe? For lots of good reasons, (more…)

Wednesday, June 29th, 2011

New York Neighbourhoods

NYC CabsBy Jennie Alexander

Actors, and artists, writers and publishers, dancers and designers are just some of the seething mass of humanity that makes up the Biggest Apple… New York City.  Some are born and bred there but most come with a dream: success, a bright and beautiful future and creative expression found nowhere else on the planet. They work, they study, they play… and they do it en masse in the midst of their beloved city.  New Yorkers are out and about.  They’re creative, they’re gregarious and they engage.

Life is lived on the streets, in the bars, at the parks or just about anywhere that’s open for business.  New York’s cafes provide a space integral to the city’s inhabitants. With so many of today’s people working from laptops or freelancing, the city’s cafes are not only a social space, but have metamorphosed into portable offices and meeting rooms, embracing the idea with Wifi, networking events and offering free publicity to their customers’ burgeoning small businesses. (more…)