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Thread: Bitterly disappointed in coffee from Italy and Paris (Trip Report)

  1. #1
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    Bitterly disappointed in coffee from Italy and Paris (Trip Report)

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    I recently returned from 4 weeks honeymooning in Italy and Paris.

    ITALY
    I must say that I had some decent caffes (espresso shots) in Italy, but only had two good cappuccinos. In Italy, they pre grind their beans hours/days ahead. That may partly explain the lack of crema in their espresso shots! Ordering a milk based coffee is an adventure. Youll invariably receive a cappuccino with MASSIVE bubbles on top... lots of light frothy bubbles. Over the 3 weeks i spent in italy, i never saw a single barista actually clean the milk frothing arm after use! They all just leave the milk on there ready for the next customer. One can only imagine how burnt the milk would be by the end of the day. They think big bubbles is what people want, and dont seem to get the whole concept of dense microfoam.

    PARIS:
    This place had the worst coffee ive ever found anywhere in the world. They use warm long life UHT milk from a carton, no fresh real milk to be seen anywhere! Again they have issues with frothing microfoam, they dont know how and the baristas just jerk the milk jug up and down violently a few times to create some froth. Coffee beans are pre ground, espresso shots lacked crema, etc. Upon receiving a caffe (espresso) several times i remember there was no crema in the middle of the glass at all! The french also do a long 90mL shot for some reason. If you want a normal shot you ask for a ristretto... then you get 30 to 45mL. As in italy, they dont clean steam wand arms.


    I landed Friday morning, slept then went straight to Di Bella to pick up some beans for my home machine. Ordered a cappuccino while i was there, and i have to tell you it was one of those God cups.... absolutely amazing, like something had been turned back on in my body after a month of being switched off!

    I had expected more from Italy. I thought cafes there would at least know how to froth milk, grind on demand, and I thought it would be easy to find cafes that specialised in single origins, but my search was in vain. At least in italy you can get a caffe for 1 euro. In Paris, a cappaccino is often 6 euros (10 dollars AU)! For that much money, i expect something half way decent... but all i got was long life UHT milk.

    Glad to back in Brisbane, where i can go to campos, di bella or veneziano any day of the week and get a range of awesome coffees from friendly knowledgable staff!

  2. #2
    Super Moderator scoota_gal's Avatar
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    Re: Bitterly disappointed in coffee from Italy and Paris (Trip Report)

    Welcome back, rival...

    I dont really know why anyone thinks that coffee should be good in France...the French know food and wine, not coffee. Im yet to see a World Champ Barista come from France...

    Italy is another story as I think that they are mired in "tradition" with their coffee making and have not yet had the "Third Wave" revolution hit them.

    Of course, both these countries quite rightly believe that theyre making the worlds best coffee because they keep getting customers coming back to buy product...hmm...that sounds familiar... ::)

    I had a customer come in to me a few weeks ago after returning from being over there for six weeks and his complaint was pretty much the same. His compliment was that he had to come home so that he could get great coffee again! ;D

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    Re: Bitterly disappointed in coffee from Italy and Paris (Trip Report)


    I always have family coming back saying how amazing the coffee & pizza etc is in motherland, but i think while theyre sipping their espresso with a sugar or two by the Trevi Fountain. How could it taste bad..

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    Re: Bitterly disappointed in coffee from Italy and Paris (Trip Report)

    oh the memories 0f a 4 euro espresso in paris........



    But Rival we will always have Paris :)

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    Re: Bitterly disappointed in coffee from Italy and Paris (Trip Report)

    Ive been to France and Italy a few times, most recently July this year. I agree, by and large, French coffee is pretty ordinary. I find Italian coffee to be generally good - it is hard to get a bad coffee in Itlay, but it is also hard to get a great one. My comments are all in relation to un caffe (espresso) - in Italy, forget about cappuccinos.

    The best two coffees i had were the last one before leaving home and the 1st one when i returned ;D

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    Re: Bitterly disappointed in coffee from Italy and Paris (Trip Report)

    It occured to me that maybe someone from the Australian coffee scene would do well to set up a few cafes in France and Italy. Someone like Phil Di Bella for example. Its a long way from home, I know, but it sounds to me that they would be an instant success. The French and Italians would lap it up (excuse the pun).

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    Re: Bitterly disappointed in coffee from Italy and Paris (Trip Report)

    I thought the same, when we were there this year (Paris) we stayed in Montmarte for a 9 days. I had lots of coffees but none very good :( I thought to myself then that a hole in the wall shop just called "good coffee" that did just that would soon be very busy in any tourist area.....

    Fresh milk was available just it seemed no one used it?

    I would love to live in Paris..........

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    Senior Member Dennis's Avatar
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    Re: Bitterly disappointed in coffee from Italy and Paris (Trip Report)

    Quote Originally Posted by 757E756D667B2123140 link=1255987713/5#5 date=1256006522
    The French and Italians would lap it up
    Im not so sure. You only need to walk around any of the capital cities in Italy for a short time to know that Italians love their own traditional foods. Tried ordering a ham and cheese sandwich and thye found it hard to comprehend that I wanted both the ham and the cheese on the one sandwich. ;D


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    Re: Bitterly disappointed in coffee from Italy and Paris (Trip Report)

    Behmor Brazen - $249 - Free Freight
    I’d agree that I found coffee in Italy to be consistently good but never exceptionally good or exceptionally bad. *

    I also agree that they are probably too fixated on what they traditionally like to lap up something different, even if we think it is better. Same reason many places in Italy (at least in the main tourist areas) offer (over)brewed coffee and instant because many Americans who go to Italy order instant coffee because that’s what they drink and have no interest in branching out and trying something different.

    Someone mentioned St Marks Square the other day in another thread, and it instantly brought back memories for me of the fact that even there you could order an espresso at the bar for about $1.50 or sit at a table and order a Nescafe instant for about $12 (and people did it too).



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