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Commercial automatics have killed coffee

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  • Commercial automatics have killed coffee

    We went on a group bus tour of Europe spanning several countries, lots of cities, and countless bus/truck/car stops with massive bistros and cafes able to accommodate hundreds of patrons simultaneously....

    Can I say that with one or two exceptions on this tour the coffees were dreadful.
    What nearly all these unpalatable coffees had in common was that they came out of oversized commercial fully automatic machines where the operator, or the purchaser, pressed espresso or macchiato or lungo or caffe latte or whatever, put in the money....and the machine did the rest.

    Out of 40+ people on the tour, though, I was the only one
    to choose espresso. Most others chose lungos or cappuccinos, claiming that they found espressos "too strong" and "I don't know how you can drink that".

    Well, I don't know either, but not because they were strong. They were watery, thin, weak, that's why! What my fellow tourists' palates called strong, mine called bodiless black weak.

    These ubiquitous automatics have displaced the traditional 2 and 3 group espresso machines to the detriment of taste.

    The machines have even invaded Italian cafes.

    But if I am the only bunny who noticed...what hope is there.

  • #2
    The horror. It's a shame to hear that. I toured around Europe 12 years ago where you could get a decent espresso from any old Autogrill. This of course contrasted with the UK where the norm was push-button dishwater at that time. I am sorry for your loss robusto.


    • #3
      I’ve noticed an improvement in the UK over the past 10 years, but only in larger towns/cities... the initial rise of Costa Coffee now seems to be balanced out by a small proper espresso/coffee movement (I think thanks to lots of aussies and/or hipsters)

      If in doubt, find a cafe where the barista has a beard & tatts [emoji3166]


      • #4
        Yeah those auto machines are very common in Europe these days, which is a shame.

        Long life “milk” is also a common problem too.


        • #5
          I travelled through Europe a couple of year ago, and was able to find good to reasonable coffee in most cities throughout Eastern Europe. Netherlands and Germany were hit and miss.
          Mcdonalds ( best place for a quick pit stop when driving) often served an ok cup, but I made an effort to search via a few websites, places where good coffee could be found.
          The specialty places (especially in Poland) were on a par with the top cafes in Australia.
          Trick as suggested above was to look for a barista with tattoos.
          If you found one with a neck tattoo, you knew the latte was going to be awesome.


          • #6
            Originally posted by herzog View Post
            Yeah those auto machines are very common in Europe these days, which is a shame.
            I'm just back from a trip to the UK and France and noticed the same. French coffee was never great, in fact it was generally pretty terrible (apologies to any French folk here), but the arrival of these machines has seen it drop further. If they've started appearing in Italy then the end of the world must be nigh.


            • #7
              I'm not a traveller so I wouldn't know, but here in Oz, my observation is that the more "tourist-geared" the Cafe, the worse the coffee.
              I've been known to walk in and walk straight out again because I didn't like the look of the machine, Barista or the customers.
              Cafes full of Grey-Nomads drinking buckets of milky swill see me out the door in a hurry.