I hear Flat White in London is a good place to get a coffee. Run by some Kiwi guys I think.
Folks I need advice.
I need names, directions and GPS coords if possible of decent coffee in London, Coniston (Lakes District - UK), Munich, Berlin, and Paris. If thats no trouble.
Seriously though, I really need suggestions of where to get a decent coffee in the above. Im spending a week in each so Ill take any advice you can offer. I havent been to Europe for years and the last time I went I was backpacking with no money and while theoretically it should be easy to find a decent coffee in Europe - I dont think I had a good coffee in the entire 3 months I was there.
I hear Flat White in London is a good place to get a coffee. Run by some Kiwi guys I think.
Its been 9 years since Paula and I did all those places and we solved the problem by taking a moka pot and bought a gas "Gaz Stove" (back packer sized) not far from Heathrow when we landed.
Everywhere we went we sourced fresh (or close to fresh) beans and always knew that in 10 minutes we could have a pretty good road-side coffee.
I would also suggest thinking about getting a Presso into the bags (now they exist) as another good travel coffee machine and you can still boil the water for it in the moka pot.
As far as good cafe coffee goes, we found very little although... wait for it... the service station vending machines in France were pretty good. True! A vending machine in the EU both knows what an espresso is and is heavily used so the beans are fairly fresh. While not a CoffeeSnob "god shot", they are quite good and worth a try for how ever many francs it was.
I remember El Espresio (a fellow CSr) was in London a couple of years ago and had a lot of trouble finding something to drink.
Sounds like a exciting trip though, I hope we get the CS road stories during it.
There is great coffee now in London...The place to go is Flat White- 17 Berwick St, Soho...Their website is easily Googled. Run by NZers, you will be in safe hands ;)Originally Posted by Andy Freeman link=1177334559/0#2 date=1177337439
Wow I had to go back a few pages to find this original thread.... it was only 5 weeks wasnt it?
anyhoo... I went, I drank and was mostly dissapointed. The combination of UHT milk (which drove me to short espressos) and fully automatic machines nearly everywhere... meant I didnt drink too many good coffees while away.
Some notable exceptions were flat white in Soho (mind you they were busy and attention to detail was missing a bit that day I think - milk wasnt SO great) and a place in Borough market (London bridge) that also served flat whites but whose name escapes me presently (although the espresso was a tiny bit sour, the latte art was happening and I was desperate for a milky coffee)
France was mainly dissapointing but we had a nice "petite noir" in Paris after a very expensive dinner at a Guy Savoy restaurant called lAtelier Maitre Albert (in St Germain). We did have to come home and tell Ava that she had to get a job after her first birthday came around and she couldnt go to that nice school after all... but hey we were in paris.
I did meet a couple of French "micro-roasters" though. THere was one in Paris near Notre Dame (we had a very confusing conversation in Frenglish about Yirgacheffe - which I bought and enjoyed) and another in a little town in the South of France called Aurillac (another conversation but my french seemed to hold up for me this time). I bought some "moka" from her which was lovely in the plunger.
In Germany, the nicest espresso I had was in a little town called Ichenhausen (1.5 hours out of Munich) at an Italian Gelati Bar. In Berlin, the only joy was at a sort of chain of cafes called Caras.
So Im really sorry I couldnt pull out some big time coffee stories cause they didnt really happen. Now if you asked me about the beer and the wine and the regional cuisine.... well... now THAT was worth it!
nice to be home but already getting VERY itchy feet !
...and thanks for sharing that itch Meg!
Id heard that the French were not very good on coffee, Meg, as well as the micro roasters that were making up for the lack of it.
And I guess the English are more into tea!
Scoota if only my french were good enough I could tell you more about it!
And there are so many Australians in London that the flat white will soon become the drink of choice I imagine ;)
My first ever espresso, indeed the first time Id ever even seen an espresso machine, was some 30 years ago in Marseilles France. Id been cooped up on a crowded naval ship with 2,500 people for 3 weeks and was enjoying my first shore leave in Europe and was walking down the street taking it all in when this wonderful aroma of fresh coffee grabbed my nose. I quickly traced it to a very busy corner cafe and waundered in to see what was making such a wonderful smell.
Once inside I could see this strange machine with several people working like mad around it pulling levers and twisting knobs with strange sounds and puffs of steam coming out of it. It looked like a true Rube Goldberg machine so of course I had to see what it was all about! Not knowing what the drink was called and not speaking any French and with no one willing to admit they knew any English I was forced to order by pointing at what someone else had sitting in front of them. In hindsight this turned out to be a double espresso. I watched in facination as one of the waiters (remember I knew nothing about the equipment or the process of espresso at this time) ground the coffee, pressed it into this little handled thingy, attached it to this monster machine, and then started pulling on a handle with the result of this very rich looking coffee coming out into a tiny cup. I took the cup and sat down at a table and buried my nose in the cup that had the most enticing smells arising from it! I sat there and enjoyed these wonderful aromas for a little bit and then took a sip. Whereupon I had to forcefully stop myself from immediately spitting the sip out!
OMG what was this nasty bitter swill?!?!?!?! YECH!!! So I followed the example of an older gentleman sitting next to me and put a couple of sugar cubes into it. After theyd disolved I tried again. Very sweet but still YECH! As enticing as the process and aroma was there was just no way I could drink this swill! So I sat there fiddling with my cup while admiring the steaming monster machine with all the levers and knobs being put through its paces. Eventually Id had my fill of watching the machine and left, leaving the mostly untouched cup behind.
The machine facinated me but its output left me looking for something else to drink to wash the nasty flavor out of my mouth. In hindsight I can identify the machine as a gas powered 4 group manual lever machine with a steam dome, brand unknown.
It wasnt until many months and several countries later that I again tried an espresso. Id made friends with the owner of the Canadian-American club in Palma de Majorca and wed gone out to dinner, at the end of which he ordered lattes for us. OOOOoooOOOooo...They were wonderful and I was hooked!! So began my long journey down the road to where I find myself today. :)
Apparently things have not changed much in 30 years in France in re coffee. Im glad your experience wasnt as bad as mine was there Meg! :)
Java "Still shuddering" phile
Welcome back Meg.
Italy is in the EU isnt it? Maybe try there next time ;)
OTOH France+food = awesome. Our new years eve feast at Carpentras still makes my taste buds tingle.
I recently had a wonderful espresso experience in Vancouver. It was at The Elysian Room, where they take their coffee very seriously but in a nice relaxed way. I wandered in in the mid-afternoon, ordered an espresso and sat down in a booth giving me a view of both the snow-capped mountains in the distance and the espresso machine. The barista ground, dosed, tamped & loaded. Then he scrutinised the pour through the naked portafilter. Not good enough. Chucked it down the sink. He adjusted the grind, then again dosed, tamped, loaded and followed the pour. Still not good enough. Chucked this one out as well. He adjusted the grind yet again, dosed, tamped, loaded. Watched the pour. A bit over-extracted. Once more into the sink dear friends!
By this time, as you can appreciate, I had wood.
I cant remember if it was actually the fourth shot or the fifth that he finally deemed good enough to serve up. Fantastic stuff.
Im sure baristi do this all the time, especially when they get started in the morning, or at the beginning of their shift, or when opening a new batch of beans, but as a consumer you rarely see it and given the reputation the Elysian Room has as one of Vancouvers premier coffee spots it made the experience just perfect.
we had the best espressos in Italy.... at the service stations!!! cant remember what theyre called now, but they are like mini shopping malls, not just your ordinary BP on the side of the road. The italians buy their fast food (I still remember "rustichella" or something, basically ham and cheese in a pita bread/pizza bread), probably with a juice/coke, followed by an espresso at the espresso bar... is was so surreal for a flat-white-have-a-chat-girl to go and stand in this corner devoted to coffee and drink an espresso shot whilst IN A SERVICE STATION. Totally fabulous and ridiculously cheap.
place in london would have be monmouth.. they have a shop near borough market, and one near covent garden in monmouth st..
working around the corner from them in borough, i was always impressed by them. from the roasted on dates on the blackboard, to the tastings they gave you when trying to decide on the coffee to buy (they have a filter rack where they do individual filter coffees, ground on order, and topped up with as much hot water you want)... they had a big pitch about not supporting fair trade, as the quality was so-so, but they had pictures and stories from the farmers in central america that they bought direct from..
and its next door to the greatest cheese shop in the world, neals yard dairy, where many a lunch was had trying the different cheeses, only to buy a small slice of chedder!
You are absolutely right thats them. How funny I just found their coffee info sheet today in a bag I hadnt unpacked yet. They have two stores at borough market - 1 inside the market and a proper cafe/shop outside (next to the cheese). Ahh and theres a really cool sausage shop nearby as well. Very groovy part of London, you can see why the Australians flock there (there were an awful lot of them)!
The tasting filter rack is cool. But looked a bit dirty?!? maybe because they were busy?
Anyway, they did good milk and thats what I was craving after 5 weeks of short blacks!