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Coffee in Europe

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  • Coffee in Europe

    Calling all well traveled CSers!

    I am a relatively new (but strangely enthusiastic/obsessive) about this thing called coffee. I have a job as a barista, and Im going backpacking in Europe for 5 months very soon!

    If you cant tell Im pretty stoked, but it dawned on me this morning that it means that I will not be pouring my own coffee for 5 months I dont have the budget or the room to carry a portable coffee *machine/contraption*, so I am calling out to anyone who has traveled around:

    Where can I find good coffee in Europe?

    I understand this is a broad question, but any recommendations of good cafes/roasteries/factories will be appreciated

    Thanks!

  • #2
    Re: Coffee in Europe

    Disclaimer: thoughts below based on my 4 weeks in italy and paris last year. Some people may have had a different experience.

    Hmm, you wont find any good coffee in Paris, i know that much. The vast majority of the cafes there use warm long life milk. I spent a week there last year and only managed to find one cafe that had fresh milk. They just arent into freshness for coffee like we are. Its a different culture. To them (the italians and the french at least), coffee is coffee. They arent interested in the subtle nuances of different origins. Its usually just a house blend.

    The third wave has really not reached italy or france yet... so you generally wont be able to get a good milk based coffee, or at least that was my experience having spent 3 weeks in italy. The baristas dont seem to know how to froth milk into microfoam, dont clean the steam wands, and have enough ground coffee in the doser to last the whole day, etc. In terms of foam, they know how to make big bubbles and they seem to think thats what westerners want. Best to stick to a caffe (espresso) for less than half the price of a milk based. You also will struggle to find any cafes that do single origins... and of course they roast dark. Which is why the italians can drink coffee late at night (less caffeine in a dark roast).

    Having said that, there is a lot of history in europe and some cafes have been there for hundreds of years, which is pretty cool. I found a few that were fantastic (one in rome even had JBM and a bunch of other interesting single origins) but you have to hunt to find those kinds of places. Some baristas in italy dont even bother tamping... but ive seen that in australia, too. I wonder if Beanhunter app for iPhone has many reviews from europe.

    Ive only been to italy and france so someone else might have some ideas on places to visit elsewhere.

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    • #3
      Re: Coffee in Europe

      prepare yourself for 5 months of "interesting" coffee ......

      see the link.....
      http://coffeesnobs.com.au/YaBB.pl?num=1243287877

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      • #4
        Re: Coffee in Europe

        thanks guys!

        any chance you remember the name Rival??

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        • #5
          Re: Coffee in Europe

          Where in Europe do you plan to go? Im sure France and Italy wont be a problem. I have this assumption other countries are more of a tea-drinker than a coffee-drinker.

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          • #6
            Re: Coffee in Europe

            hmmm I am pretty much going everywhere in western europe - UK, Spaini, France, Italy, Germany, Croatia, Greece etc

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            • #7
              Re: Coffee in Europe

              what is the quality of doppio (double) espresso like in Italy (Rome, Florence, etc) at present? how much is it these days? I have not been there for 20 years... It used to be fantastic and cheap (if you drink at the bar).

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              • #8
                Re: Coffee in Europe

                Originally posted by 24262C211A372C212037450 link=1270438469/6#6 date=1272179842
                what is the quality of doppio (double) espresso like in Italy (Rome, Florence, etc) at present? how much is it these days? I have not been there for 20 years... It used to be fantastic and cheap (if you drink at the bar).
                Was in Italy (Rome and Naples area) 12 months ago. Away from the tourist spots (which tend to be overpriced and poor quality) we got great, cheap coffee in small towns and suburbs.

                We only drank espressos (caffes) or sometimes macchiatos and paid from 70 to 90 euro cents. And they generally came with a small glass of aqua minerale and sometimes a little biscotti. Italian coffee is fairly distinctive and some dont like it, but (if done well) we loved it.

                France, Belgium, UK (a few London exceptions) and Ireland, on the other hand, were coffee wastelands.

                BTW - Had a coffee (ended up having 3) in Journal Cafe (Flinders Ln, Melbourne) a few weeks back and, whilst not expecting much, was pleasantly surprised at how much we enjoyed it. Imported Italian coffee through a beautiful lever machine, well made - took us back to Italy. If you want to see what good Italian coffee (IMMHO) tastes like (without the 23 hour flight :P), thats the spot. (And a great fitout!)

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                • #9
                  Re: Coffee in Europe

                  Sant Eustachio Cafe and terra something or other are the two to see in rome.

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                  • #10
                    Re: Coffee in Europe

                    I was in France, Belgium and Holland a few weeks ago and the one thing they all have in common is that the COFFEE IS TERRIBLE !!!!

                    I had dreams of sitting in cafes all over paris, sipping coffees, watch the girls go by....but the coffee was just dreadful. Not only because of the UHT milk....everything about it was wrong ! ( same in New York City by the way... )

                    Your best bet in Europe I believe is Starbucks. Yes, by our standards its pretty bad, but over there its comparably good - you can see why they stay in business!

                    Best coffee I found in Europe was at a small chain called "Coffee Company". I found one in Amsterdam, so they might just a dutch thing.

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