Posts Tagged ‘great coffee’

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.

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Wednesday, May 16th, 2012

History of the Espresso Machine – Part I

Confusion and error still plague the history of the espresso machine and its inventors. Coffee expert Ian Bersten has gone further than anyone else in getting to the true story in his book ‘Coffee Floats, Tea Sinks’.
We publish the first of a three part piece comprising edited extracts from the chapter entitled: ‘The Espresso Coffee Machine Revolution’.
From the first days of brewing coffee, inventors were confronted with the interplay of grind size, water temperature and brewing time, the interaction of which they never fully understood. These critical factors had to be just right for a complete extraction of the coffee flavour.

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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.

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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.

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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…)



Tuesday, June 21st, 2011

Coffee Profile – Chiapas, Mexico

Blanketsby Rob Stewart

My love affair with eating chillies is something that has developed over a number of years; I simply can’t resist the sensation of a good hot chilli! I love exploring the various levels of heat and the subtle unique flavours that individual chillies have such as the ‘Guajillo’, which has a red berry flavour and the’ Ancho’ with its smokey dried fruit notes. This fascination for chillies has evolved into a deep appreciation for Mexican cuisine. I have also come to value that there is more to the country than tequila and tacos, Mexico also grows some pretty good coffee too. (more…)



Wednesday, June 8th, 2011

DeClieu

DeClieu_webOn the corner of George and Gertrude streets (part of the Gertrude Street boutique/shopping strip) is a smallish café which is part of the Seven Seeds stable [run by Melbourne coffee don Mark Dundon] curiously named De Clieu. Not so curious perhaps when you look into the taxonomy of Mark’s other café names [Seven Seeds, Brother Baba Budan] and see that they derive from the colourful history of coffee and its discovery.

The original De Clieu was a french naval officer who is celebrated for his claim to have introduced coffee to the French colonies of the Western Hemisphere in the 1720s. According to l’Année littéraire of 1774, he arranged to transport a coffee plant (or perhaps several) from the greenhouses of the Jardin Royal des Plantes [which had originally been given to the French King from Holland] to Martinique in 1720.

The story goes that water was rationed on the voyage and De Clieu was so dedicated to his mission that he shared his ration with the seedlings. The story may be apocryphal, but most sources do in fact credit De Clieu with the introduction of coffee to Martinique & thence the Caribbean.

But enough of history – De Clieu is a funky spot where everyone seems to hang out in black jeans [& black jackets, shoes or whatever] but this belies its class – it’s trendy, but it also serves good coffee and very good food.

The menu reveals an elegant simplicity as would be expected from the kitchen of Steven Carr (previously of the Healesville Hotel) and offers a slightly exotic take on otherwise prosaic items – our Pork Neck Roti [sweet roasted pork neck on a spring onion roti, with a fried egg and hoisin-flavoured BBQ sauce] was exquisite.

And the coffee – we had one shot which was excellent and one which was [only] good, which given the general state of espresso coffee, is still very good overall! Definitely recommended.

De Clieu
187 Gertrude Street
Fitzroy
(03) 9416 4661



Thursday, May 26th, 2011

Cafe Cities of the World – Wellington

Havana_CoffeeWidely regarded as New Zealand’s arts and culture capital, Wellington or ‘the windy city’ as it is colloquially known, has a wealth of museums, art galleries, theatres and festivals. There is an innate confidence here, be it borne from the fact that this is New Zealand’s capital city, or perhaps from its role as a cultural and artistic epicentre.

Although a city with a population of little more than 300,000 Wellington has the cosmopolitan vibrancy of a much larger city. This is, in the main, due to the fact that the CBD of Wellington is principally structured to be accessible by foot and, with a civic policy of discouraging generic malls and outlying shopping precincts, it draws a communal breath into its restaurants, cafes, bars and shops, giving a pulse to its streets and a beat to its heart. Venture out on a Friday or Saturday night and you will be greeted by the buzz of the city’s populace in its myriad of  forms, all congregated around the restaurant and bar precincts of Cuba Street and Courtenay Place. (more…)



Tuesday, May 24th, 2011

Coffee Profile – PNG Sigri AA

beans.homeboxBy Rob Stewart

By now I guess you have heard the term ‘third wave’ in coffee. It refers to a worldwide movement whereby specialty coffee roasters and boutique cafes are devoting their efforts to exploring the pure flavour of the single origin coffee and it’s something that the coffee industry and its consumers in Australia have embraced. The movement is also about innovation and patience which is seeing brewing systems like the Clover, Siphon and temperature controlled espresso machines such as the Synesso and Slayer becoming commonplace in our cafe strips. We are also seeing the green bean standard raised with access to Cup of Excellence, micro-lots, Rainforest Alliance, Fairtrade and roasters creating direct routes to the farms. One such country I believe has always been able to deliver coffee to the standard we are demanding today is Papua New Guinea. (more…)



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