A Brief Tour of Italy: Specialty Coffee

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Italy is a country of tradition, that much is clear visiting the long heralded espresso culture prevalent in Naples. There’s a love of coffee, but one that’s steeped in the nostalgic rituals of short pulled espresso shots and moka pots. That’s slowly changing and more and more single origin espresso and even filter coffee is beginning to peak through the menagerie of counter top standing espresso bars where coffees are drunk as quickly as they are made. A caffe e cornetto is certainly not disappearing anytime soon, but for those looking for a little something more there’s a bunch of passionate individuals willing to bridge that gap.  Continue reading

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Cup North 2017 Part 2

Raw Materials

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I’ve cupped with Raw Materials before, after discovering the taste sensation that was their Rwanda Kilimbi lot at London Coffee Festival. This time they were presenting their lots from El Fenix, Colombia, a project of theirs that goes beyond the usual green bean importing. In 2016 they ran a kickstarter to help fund the construction of a community wet mill in Quindío, Colombia in order to offer farmers that traditionally sold their coffee at market prices the opportunity to process their coffee at a central mill and engage in education to improve the quality of their coffee. Paying farmers above the market price for producing great coffee is one thing, but improving the quality of coffee in an area not traditionally producing specialty, so that farmers can charge more is another. You can read more about the project here https://www.elfenix.coffee/

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Cup North 2017 Part 1

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This year’s Cup North was slower and more relaxed than in previous years, less sirens, less amped up music and as Brian Williams pointed out it was warmer too. Warmer not just in ambient temperature, but in spirits and that oh so intangible of currencies, conversation. The coffee’s great, it’s almost always great at festivals these days, cups of excellence and bags of unusual microlots for showcasing the length and breadth of specialty coffee’s extremes and well it wouldn’t be a coffee festival without it, but to my mind as good as the coffee is, it’s not necessarily the most valuable thing on offer. Coffee, it seems to me, is somewhat of a vocational calling and it appears to attract some pretty passionate individuals, the kind who talk about hard work, difficulty and problem solving all through the encouraging smile on their face, they’re interested and interesting all at the same time. It’s these people that are the real gems of a coffee festival and so while I might mention the odd geisha or natural microlot from time to time, this article is dedicated to those people, those conversations and to those at Cup North who make this kind of thing possible. Continue reading

Best of Paris: Coffee & Chocolate Part 3

Chocolat Chapon

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Selling more than just chocolate bars, Chocolat Chapon are also well known for their ice creams, their chocolates and above all their single origin chocolate mousses. Arriving a suitable time after breakfast we popped inside to pick up some chocolate bars from their healthy selection of single origins and also to try one of those fabled mousses.  Continue reading

Best of Paris: Coffee & Chocolate Part 2

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After an unbelievably good breakfast at Hardware Societe, featuring espresso based beverages from Melbourne based coffee roasters Padre Coffee, we made our way across town to 10 Belles for some filter coffee. Continue reading

Best of Paris: Coffee & Chocolate Part 1

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Paris, the capital of all things couture, was one of the later adopters of specialty coffee, but it’s a scene that has blossomed so significantly that it’s impossible to visit all of its cafes in a week, never mind a short trip. As a city of romance, it’s clear that Parisians have fallen in love with lighter roasts and distinct expressions of terroir, just like they have with wine, cheese and chocolate. There’s a very definite offering of all things distinguished and there’s a shop selling something interesting on nearly every street. Strolling the boulevards, parks and galleries it’s easy to be enchanted by the city as you make it from one destination to the next. Continue reading

Best of Barcelona Coffee Part 2

Caravelle

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Waking up the next morning we were in need of some breakfast with our coffee and so headed to Barcelona stalwart Caravelle. A kitchen, a bar, a makeshift office, Caravelle provides a lot alongside brewed specialty coffee, which is no doubt why it’s so popular. Entering in we picked up a table in the centre of the room and browsed the menu for some food, while ordering a couple of cups of the Burundi Gahehe on filter from NOMAD coffee. Continue reading