Mostly espresso although the occasional pour over is not an impossibility. Considering the amount of time spent dedicated to the search, consumption and general appreciation of said beverage, denying it the right of some space would, at best, be decidedly lacking in respect. That being said, sources of high altitude beans, secret blends, roasting temperatures, ideal grinds, tamp pressure and such are not something I particularly wish to inflict, but rather, a number of extremely biased yet well intended thoughts regarding various cafe like establishments that have proved invaluable in getting from one end of the day to the other.
Excellent single shot. Really. Beans from Caffènation in Antwerp. La Marzocco GB5. They (being Karlijn and Caroline) also have Wouter Strietman’s latest invention, the wall mounted ES2, which is the kind of thing that one could easily decide they need. If they’re that way inclined.
rue de Babylone – Paris – France
Kyoto style. Cold extraction. 24 hour drip. Not perhaps what I would normally lean towards, but it was there, and I have to say, something special. Also very good espresso. A short shot from a La Marzocco Strada. Yeah. Thinking about it in retrospect. I’m going to go as far as to say that, until now, this is probably the best coffee I’ve had in Paris.
Auguste Ortsstraat – Brussels – Belgium
Brussels has never been the easiest place to find good coffee, but over the last few years this has started, albeit slowly, to change. OR was first opened around 10 years ago by Katrien Pauwels and Tom Janssens as a coffee roaster in Aalst, with their first espresso bar following a few years later in Gent. This new addition in Brussels is not dissimilar with the bias being unquestionably towards slow coffee, in particular Chemex. There’s a large board listing the different roasts available at any given time. Still (ok, so no surprise here), I opted for a single shot from the La Marzocco Linea against the back wall. Excellent. Worth a journey if you’re in the city.
Department of Coffee and Social Affairs
Leather Lane – London – UK
Run by the same New Zealand pair as Tonic, Coffee Collective, Speak Easy and Liberty of Norton Folgate, this is one of a number of excellent stops in the pursuit of caffeination on or around Leather Lane. Prufrock (yes, yes and once again yes, but more on that anon) for example, is just a few doors away. For the slow coffee there’s constant rotation of bean, so every week one could, if so desired, try something new. With the espresso, it’s a custom Climpson & Sons blend from the La Marzocco fb80, making for a subtle, almost bright, single shot with a great finish. I could imagine that for those more inclined towards, say, a flat white, this may not produce quite the kick of other blends, but as that’s not my thing, this is little more than hypothesis, and for my part, I was left very much content.
Mechelsesteenweg – Antwerp – Belgium
It’s very possible you’re familiar with Caffènation’s bean without having ventured as far as their Antwerp premises, given that those black, green and red bags seem to be popping up all over the Netherlands and Belgium (and rightly so, considering those that I’ve tried have been consistently excellent). The short black shot from the Simonelli didn’t disappoint, but what caught my eye was a seemingly disproportionate number of aeropress coffees being made. After a little investigation (ie, asking) I found that this was indeed something they were particularly into. I pondered. Debated a bit more. And ordered another ristretto. That being said, I should point out that this was nothing to do with the coffee but rather the need to get to the station. Definitely worth a visit.
Sort Kaffe & Vinyl
Skydebanegade – Copenhagen – Denmark
Great place in Vesterbro. You get exactly what the name tells you. Coffee. Records. Enough said. There’s no slow coffee, which doesn’t bother me in the slightest, but still, it’s probably worth pointing out. Very good, strong, double shot from the ECM Raphaello. They’re also open late on Friday and Saturday, so more time to browse the vinyl.
No Fire No Glory
Rykestraße – Berlin – Germany
Beans from Coffee Collective in Copenhagen and a beautiful Kees van der Westen Spirit, not to mention the terrace which is, well, a terrace, but a rather lovely one at that. Not the strongest single shot, but in a very good way. Plenty of slow coffee options too if that’s what you are looking for. Excellent.