Showing posts from 2012


THE NEED: The Bean Cutter We are finding it crucial to dose espresso using exact Mass Of Beans (MOB).  To this end, we have begun counting beans using our Bean Accounting Procedures (BAPS). THE PROBLEM: A major challenge in achieving the desired precision has been occurring when non-integer bean sums (NIBS) are required. THE BREAKTHROUGH: The answer to our sleepless nights came in a dream (somewhat paradoxically).  Yet again, it was a nightmare of the shower scene in Scarface; only instead of mobsters, this time Al Pacino was sawing up coffee beans. Making the Cut Upon waking, and as I tore through the pages of Freud, the meaning of the dream eluded me. But later, while reading the latest new-ageing self-helpless guidebook, "Advanced Blindfulness Curriculum- An ABC of Learning To Stand On Your Own Two Shoelaces" I stumbled on the answer and twisted my ankle. Fortunately, the chainsaw wasn't running the time- unfortunately, it's still not r

Inhouse Roasting, Inhouse Tasting (Blind)

GCL-Richmond Division Roasts reviewed by GCL-Ontario Office Tasting Notes: A Note on the Notes: these were tasted completely "blind" (i.e.) with NO hints as to the origins. This allowed for freedom from bias and also made for very different ideas as to the countries of origin. P4538- Nicaragua, Microlot Los Congos- Pacamara Blend "Blind" Tasting We like it. Are they Maragogype beans? (Which I have just read are a mutation of Typica, originally found in Brazil and now grown in Latin America). Tasting notes of cigarette with an aftertasted of pipe and the menthol coolness of an alcohol or alcohol sugar such as erythritol. A pasty, dull, burnt roast although sweet like brown sugar and baker's chocolate. Even. Following "pure" tasting, we tried blending this with 20% Sidama Ardi (Social roast) which brought out liquorice. Finding that the Sidama was not overwhelmed, we concluded that P4538 was an excellent blending bean. Could t

Parlour Coffee, Winnipeg

"We came, we looked, we searched with ardour. At last our quest, found rest at Parlour." Image courtesy of Lynne Freeman Perhaps because the prairies are far from shore, it has taken some time for the third wave of coffee to reach Manitoba- but here it is. The friendly staff at Parlour Coffee opened shop one year ago and have been serving high quality roasts to Winnipegites (or is that Winnipegetians?) ever since. Sporting a new La Marzocco, this downtown cafe is "currently grinding, dosing, tamping, pulling, dripping, serving and selling 49th Parallel, Phil & Sebastian, and Detour Coffee."  We tasted the Panama from Phil and Sebastian and were delighted by the astringent lemon mouth-puckering flavours. Such a pleasure to engage with staff who clearly love good coffee.

Star Pours: May the Froth be with you

Star Pours: A new Hepa From Papua New Guinea to Nepal, then from Germany to Canada (and for completeness,  I suppose originally from Ethiopia) the Nepal Mount Everest Supreme beans travelled most-way around the world before finding their way to our cups. Papua New Guinea:  Forty-six years following Hillary and Tenzin's surmounting of Everest, a humble PNG bean made the attempt. It ascended 500 m before taking root.   Nepal: Grown on Mt Everest?- well actually 100 km away in the foothills of the Himalayas. Still, the Plantec Coffee Estate in the district of Nuwakot is the northernmost coffee grown in the world. Germany: Hepa Roastery, Wiesbaden is a tucked away, nondescript establishment, who have been roasting for more than sixty years. It is still unclear whether their name is an acronym for an air filter or the Hawaii Environmental Policy Act. Canada: Home to the GCL, where we espressed the Hepa NMES (perhaps also the name of a Navy vessel) and expressed such cri


We received two new coffees yesterday which we tried out today. One was a Hawaiian coffee from the island of Maui, coffee varietal originally from Mocha, Yemen; grown on the "cool lower slopes of the West Maui Mountains" on the Ka'anapali Estate and sent by a friend. The espresso, after three grind settings, OK to good, definitely tasted just like a traditional Mocha (which we have been using; a roast from Green Beanery in Toronto). Very caramelly with milk, probably due to the long roast time, maybe just over the edge a touch. Then there was the new coffee, we picked up at Discovery (Victoria, BC), a Guatemalan from a farm called Guataloompa. Made quite a good espresso after a few grind setting changes; very acidic, bright with a light mouth feel. So classically Guatemalan. Then we made a 50:50 blend of both beans. Not great, too chocolately, the Hawaiian swamped the bright notes. So, after lunch, and after adjusting the grind setting finer, we went for a 40:60 (Guat

49th Parallel 2009-2012

49th Parallel  2009-2012 2152 West 4th Avenue, Vancouver, BC Not to be missed in Vancouver (shall we say Canada, or North America?). No need to go on about this extraordinary establishment, can’t praise them enough. We have been visiting this cafe and buying their coffee for years: consistently one of the finest cafes and roasters in the world! And never have we encountered such buttery and flaky croissants! A tribute to the highest standard in the specialty coffee world. 

Molino, Wiesbaden, Germany

Molino Schwalbacher Strasse 3 Wiesbaden Martin Mayer, barista and owner of Molino is warm and friendly person, open to discussing his cafe's coffee, as well as sharing some views on Germany's coffee scene. His espresso roast is a blend of 6 beans- the result being complex, subtle, sweet chocolate flavours; wonderfully acidic, giving forth a melody of citrus and fruit notes. A seriously good cafe, striving for the brilliant possibilities that good sourced beans and medium roasted, holds and can be released with a skilled barista using first rate equipment (Molino is a La Marzocco dealer!). This is third wave coffee at it's best! He also served us the very last beans of a single origin Indian from Has Been roasters in England with a pronounced blueberry note. It was such a pleasure to taste a single origin espresso so rich in complexity. Just thirty minutes from the airport, Wiesbaden provides a reason for choosing to fly i

Lola Bikes & Coffee, Noordeinde 91, Den Haag, Nederland

Enjoyed a yummy single estate Ethiopian Sidamo #3. And subsequently have been taught what the numbers mean. Ethiopian rating for green beans: #1 washed beans of the highest quality #2 washed beans with some minor defects #3 unwashed beans of the highest quality #4 washed beans with some minor defects The first espresso: The Ethiopia Sidamo #3 roasted by Bocca, was fruity blueberry, sour acidic bitter chocolate with perfume of vanilla. It was that perfect cup with full body balance. The second espresso: The semi-washed Costa Rican- again roasted by Bocca in Amsterdam. This is a first for me; the initial flavour was rubber, but in a good way, followed very quickly by liquid alcohol sweetness combined with Cassis. It a had a thin body with hints of clover grass, nuttiness and ethanol. The aftertaste was ashy, acidic with hints of grasses. Owner and Barista Mark Jordan offers the highest quality espresso based drinks, roasted beans and good warm-hearted conversations! He has only been

Cafenation, Mechelsesteenweg 16, 2000 Antwerpen, Belgium

A Wonderfully designed and layed out cafe. Three separate floors, each with a separated but integrated feeling in the cafe— you can be at the bar and fully engaged with others or in the back of the place with privacy.  Tasted two espressos. The feature for the day was El Progresso, El Tunel, La Palma, Chalatenango, El Salvadore. Beautiful aroma of fruity vanilla perfumes, tasting acidic, pumpkin pie, turkey roasted sage, slight bitter grapefruit and quinine. Also hints of grass, earth and vanilla, but mostly as an aftertaste.  The second espresso was a 50/50 blend of Colombia and Guatemala. It had a pleasant dry mouth feel, tastes of bitter orange and a honey chocolate aftertaste. Wafting through in aroma and taste was fine herbs de Provence.  All coffees served were Arabica! The Latte art was excellent and creative and the Barista is more then willing to be open, friendly and generous with their time and knowledge, which I deeply enjoy and look forward to more experie

Rocanini, 115-3900 Moncton Street, Richmond, BC

Fresh (or rather...well, not) off a flight from Europe, and deprived of the black elixir (no espresso machines allowed on the flight it seems) since Wiesbaden (see cafe Molino), salvation came by the name of Rocanini. This cafe is located in Steveston, conveniently less than thirty minutes from the Vancouver airport. Evan, the barista, served up feathery rosetted 'piccolo lattes', which quickly revived our coffee culture shock at relearning this local name for our beverage of choice, after a month of using the German name, 'espresso macchiatos'. We were treated to "Espresso  #3",  a blend of what Dr. Coffee correctly divined to be Guatamalan, Peruvian and Brazilian beans. We were delighted to take away some beans to try at home. Rocanini- almost reason enough to look forward to the next flight.

Espresso Perfetto, Koln, Germany

Espresso Perfetto Kolumbastraße 8, Koln, Germany An Italian barista prepared us well-made espresso macchiato's at Espresso Perfetto after our visit to the Cologne Cathedral ( Hohe Domkirche St. Peter und Maria ). Full of chocolate and vanilla, it may not have been intended but a lovely desert coffee (especially so, as they were served with chocolate coated almonds)!

Experiments while staying at Hof Frohling, Hurst, Germany

While staying at Hof Frohling in the small town of Hurst, we tried many coffees that were roasted by the excellent Kaffeerösterei in Konstanz as horses ambled by the window. The Malawi proved to be consistently delicious: blueberry, chocolate,vanilla, sweetness and depth. It held its own in completeness of flavour as a single origin espresso made through the ingenious Presso. The Burundi was also tasted solo. While enjoyable, it was not as full bodied as the Malawi, the predominant flavour being red wine. Accordingly, the Burundi was best enjoyed as a component of various blends.

Kaffeerosterei rabenschwarz, Schwelm, Germany. June 4, 2012

Today we visited rabenschwarz cafe in the delightful town of Schwelm, about 4 km east of Wuppertal.. The first round of espresso macchiatos left a distinctive and lingering- Dutch cocoa taste in our mouths. We also bought some beautiful espresso cups for the Coffee Lab collection. Yannik, the barista was engaging - he discussed the relative merits of espresso versus French press, while Dr.Coffee gently asked if he could try out his new cup by making an espresso!  We were curious to get behind the machine to see what could be plucked  from their blend as it had some suspiciously hidden tastes that held lots of promise. With a little change in tamping, extraction time and latte art, we again tasted the predominant flavour of rich, unsweetened, powdered Dutch cocoa but now with some distinctive notes: orange, grapefruit, cherry and macadamia. This is an excellent  espresso roast and we plan to get a chance to return to this cafe. Also aim to have a chat with the roaster and pe

Kaffeerösterei, Konstanz, Germany.

Konstanz, a city straddling the Swiss-German border is a university city with history dating back to Roman times. Tucked within its winding, cobbled streets of the old city lies the roastery/cafe, Kaffeer österei. Last year, we stumbled upon this cafe and roastery and were greatly impressed by the professionalism and excellence exuding from every corner of this business. Not only did we have wonderful coffees, beautifully made, but spent quite a bit of time with the owners discussing coffee, the market, watching and learning about how they roast. There are few places we have encountered that have so many quality single origin beans and roasted with such care and attention.  On this recent visit--yes we traveled from Zurich just to buy their coffee--we enjoyed cortados prepared from their Cimbali machine, a hearty and deep espresso, one of a few they have roasted, this one  incorporating Robusta beans. It packs a punch of flavour, no subtly here, but the roastery is giving i

Coffee Lab, Auckland, New Zealand (May 9, 11, 12, 2012)

This cafe and roastery, tucked away in an industrial section north of Takapuna, is a must visit! Now these are serious coffee artists; people who know what they are doing. They experiment, use high quality green beans, have one of the best baristas in New Zealand I have encountered (that’s Ben) and are so pleased to share their knowledge. Thanks Ben, I learnt heaps watching you pull shots and letting me hear your strategies for pulling out the best possible flavours, extracting the ambrosia from each type of bean. The combination of roastery and cafe together (the cafe only opened four weeks ago) is beautifully designed, airy, spacious, without blaring music, is greatly appreciated and allows one to concentrate and muse on the complexity of tastes and aromas permeating one’s mind. On the first day we visited this masterful emporium to coffee we carefully sipped Coffee Lab’s current espresso blend; a mix of Sumatran, Brazilian, Yergacheffe and El Salvadorian (very clean and crisp

The Fire Roasted Coffee Company, 900 King Street, London, Ontario. (corner of Dundas and Ontario Street)

I was visiting family in south western Ontario when I came across this cafe-roastery in London. They are located in the Western Fairgrounds building on the top floor. They offer an enormous selection of green and roasted beans for sale and, luckily for me, it turns out that they have some of the finest green beans I have ever sampled. We bought Sumatran and Ethiopian Harrar green beans, and both turned out excellent as expected from the visual quality.  As well we bought two whole bean roasted coffees; the Galapagos San Cristobal Organic and the Mexican Chiapas FTO. These were evenly roasted, smelt fresh and were packaged nicely. Once I was at my friend's home, I set myself to the task of grinding the Chiapas... Oh my god! Even with a  Hario  hand grinder and a stove top  Brikka  Espresso I had one of the best espressos ever, and my friend said it was the best coffee of her life — and this was with equipment that I spent only $100 on! The Mexican Chiapas is chocolatey —  like a f

Chateaubriant, Devonport, Auckland. (May 1-12, 2012)

Chateaubriant is a genuine French cafe-pâtisserie and has a delightful supply of ‘specialités francaises’. This cafe is charming, with a warm European vibe; a cafe we would often drive to for an after breakfast coffee and croissant. With so many children and parents coming here it makes for a very fun experience. Their espresso coffee (we would normally order piccolos) is excellent.  Currently serving an organic Fairtrade blend (roasted by ‘Chaisso’, Devonport), deep and chocolatey, low acidity with some faint berry and citrus flavours, perfect for the early morning. Each cup is very well made by Yannic the owner and Genevieve the barista who take their time to care for what is being served and get it right. The croissants are the best I have had, so far, in the whole Auckland area (try all their breads- superb); and served by the ever charming Jo. A beacon of coffee and food illumination in the midst of Devonport!

Chiasso Coffee Co., Devonport, Auckland (May 1-11, 2012)

Chiasso is an excellent roaster, retail and wholesale supplier of coffee-making supplies and top quality equipment. This is a seriously good place, pleasant atmosphere, friendly staff and you can feel the passion for superb coffee ooze out in every direction. And if you wish for a delicious and very well made coffee, this is a great place to go! We went often, mostly in the afternoon for an after lunch coffee. When I first arrived in Auckland this year, in February, we decided to test out the Presso espresso machine ( ) for which Chiasso is New Zealand’s distributor. After pulling lots of shots with the Presso at Chiasso, we became confident of its potential to turn out a good espresso. And after discussion with Chiaso’sbarista and also theirdirector Brendan McKellar, we bought one and we gave it a thorough testing, day in day out for five weeks while in a cabin with no electricity. We used a Hario hand grinder and lots of single origin coffees and blends from v

Old Rock Cafe, Sudbury, ON, Canada

Sunday morning and we find ourselves at Old Rock Cafe in Sudbury. A small roaster/cafe that by first glance seems to offer up to 45 different coffee roasts! I hope to return for another visit to find out exactly how many roasts they offer and what types. Nonetheless, lots to choose from!  We had a single shot espresso with the same amount of milk; a kind of Cortado-like drink. The Barista tells me he is the son of the Master Roaster - his Mom- lovely! The espresso is a blend of 4 coffee regions, as far as I can remember him saying: Yemen, Brazil, Ethiopia and ?... Regardless of the blend, it was made with care, with a predominant barley taste, aromas of earth and grasses abound, a thin-body coffee - leaving an aftertaste of cigarette and ash. It was unique to my tastes and palette. 

Jaibalito, Atitlan, Guatemala

On January 30th we took a boat across Lake Atitlan to the small town of Jaibalito for two reasons; we are intrepid explorers curious about people, culture, craft and the multi-dimensionally of all life; and we heard there was a roaster named Hans!  Hans owns a hotel/cafe/restaurant/green bean processing/roastery etc..., he seems to be a quiet man but also very industrious. There are many small farms within the Jaibalito valley, some on cliffs, others on gentle slops and some right in the village. Hans estimates that 10% of all the green beans in the area come to him: he only purchases coffee cherries that have not been chemically fertilized or sprayed (non-certified organic). Hans also grows his own coffee.  He kindly gave us a tour of his small roastery and green bean processing area. He doesn't process coffee as thoroughly as many other Finca's we have visited here, but still obtains a good result, as we know from roasting his beans and conducting our own espresso style

Guatemala Espresso Blend

Beans blended are: Finca Zorn, Fernando's roast, Azotea roast, San Pedro Chrisitiana's, Finca Oriflama roasted by GCL, and a FEDEPMA roast.  Cherry, liquor, sour, nuts, a flat dimension to the flavours, and not so sweet.  The blend proved to be flat but "nice" . The base note is our agreed upon consensus that is missing. We hope to find it, just for the fun of the investigation and pursuit of a perfectly balanced Guatemalan espresso!

Finca Zorn, Santa Cruz, Lake Atitlan, Guatemala

2 x- chocolate like many Chiapas, Mexican coffees we have tasted, very base, not so acidic, few fruit flavours, cigarette-ash, sweet Hans roasted it. Posato Jabalito - Hotel/restaurant Upon trying Hans roasted Finca Zorn beans (from our friend Thilda’s garden in Santa Cruz la Laguna ) I became very hopeful, that we had found our possible base note for the perfectly balanced Guatemalan espresso blend. But as you will see in our next post, we tried the blend and it wasn't to meet our expectations or hopes! Since there is only 5 lbs of Finca Zorn produced each year and all have been roasted, it will be difficult for us to speculate, but I hope that with a lighter roasting of the beans this could be in fact the base note we are looking for - until next year!

Canton Pames, Carretera a Finca Tzantziapa, San Pedro La Laguna, Solola, on the shores of Atitlan Lake, Guatemala

Roasted last night some organic green beans at Balam ya that we picked up on a Finca tour of FEDEPMA (aka the title of this post). Not the best of size sorting, but curious how that would affect the roast. Not a single estate coffee, but a gathering from 26 different small farms.This morning after breakfast we had an espresso; beautiful tastes of quinine, bitter grapefruit, chocolate and ash. And then a cortado. Excellent mouthfeel. Very impressed to be able to make such a fresh and new kind of taste-flavour profile in coffee! The second day, after the roast, the quinine taste dropped significantly, just a faint hint which we agreed was a smoother coffee. Impressed by the quality, even though the beans were not well sorted nor so even looking. However, the range of flavours is narrow and recommend pretty good for blending with other coffees. Would be interesting to try out this coffee from different harvest periods. The tour was excellent and in depth. We found out that this 32

Finca Oriflama, San Marcos, Guatemala

We received a kind gift of green beans from Andrea and Ñuno. Their neighbor  has a coffee Finca, and they encouraged us to try the beans. Last night (Jan.21) we roasted  green beans from Finca Oriflama at Villas B'alam Ya. Lighting wasn't so good on the deck, but the weather was great! This morning Cynthia came for millet breakfast, coffee and a lovely talk about discrimination, kindness and mindfulness using coffee as the avenue in. We had our first espresso, it was really good! Chocolatety, bitter in a good way, extra-dry, grapefruit, sour cherry, nutty-earthy, tart and a tiny bit ashy. And with milk, as a cortado, it was excellent, fairly complex in flavours. One person commented later-on how good it was as a laxative... Currently we are experimenting with blending Finca Oriflama and 4-5 other excellent but slightly acidic Guatemalan coffees, and using an equal percentage of a PNG beautifully roasted by the Green Beanery in Toronto. We are striving to produce a wide ra

Villas B'alam Ya, Km. 4 Carr. Sta. Catarina Palopó, Panajachel - Sololá

Galiano Coffee Lab (GCL) Blend: 1/3 Azotea Coffee Estate roasted by GCL, 1/3 Yeman and 1/3 Galapagos roasted by Kafeum Roaster in Konstanz, Germany. One of our best coffees yet....a cortado giving wonderful complexity, a Chateau d'Yquem of coffee, with mild acidity, enjoyable sour with hints of cherry, grapefruit, macadamia, some faint floral notes, peppery, many mild light to bitter chocolate aromas, wine, cigarette ash-faintly smokey, a bit of a phenol taste, good mouthfeel, a delicate sweetness, and a lingering exquisite aftertaste over all range of flavours; we never experienced a coffee like this before! 

Villas B'alam Ya, Km. 4 Carr. Sta. Catarina Palopó, Panajachel - Sololá, Gautemala

We are staying at a delightfully elegant Villa near the town of Panajachel. It's not rated, but definitely falls into a five star quality hotel for comfort, beauty, service, vistas and everything else one really needs for rest, contemplation and quiet. We are very fortunate, the owner is very kind and generous and has loaned to us her Rancillo espresso machine and grinder to use and experiment with.  As well I brought our Gene Cafe roaster in my carry-on luggage.  Yesterday we roasted some green beans, kindly provided by Ricardo, the owner from Azotea Coffee Estate. The beans were a little varied in size, and  from the first pick of the season, not the premium time we were told. The roasting went fairly well for the first roast since arriving and the beans turned out to give a lovely chocolatly taste accompanied by lots of grapefruit finish, not too acidic and gentle fruit notes. Today we made a blend of 60% Azotea, 30% PNG from Green Beanery Roasters in Toronto and 10% Ethio

Azotea Coffee Estate, Calle del Cementerio Final Jocotenango, Sacatepequez, Guatemala

Ricardo Pokorny, the owner of the finca and 4th generation of coffee growers and roasters, gave us an in-depth tour of his estate starting with the history of coffee to viewing all the machinery and walking the deck to see the sun-drying green beans. He was very generous with his knowledge and time, unlike some of our experiences in Europe where the cafe owners don't even want to tell you which part of the world the beans they are using are from just in case you are doing some kind of espionage for a coffee house or something! In general it has been refreshing to be in Guatemala and to see and meet so many smily friendly people. If you ever have the opportunity to tour an estate, then I highly recommend going to the Azotea Coffee Estate. ... At the Azotea cafe we were treated to an excellently prepared espresso and cortado by Miguel Angel. Miguel seems eager and well practised when it comes to making and serving coffee. He is keen to learn more and more about coffee and is al

Finca Filadelfia, 150 metros norte de iglesia de San Felipe de Jesús, La Antigua, Guatemala

We went on our first group tour of a Finca (coffee plantation) today. Many thanks to Laurel's (owner of Panza Verde and Villas B'alam Ya) generosity and planning to organize this for us!  We prefer to go impromptu to finca's, roasters, cafe's etc... because then we may find our own way into someone’s craft and profession! Going with a group can mean a multitude of things i.e. waiting for the whole group to be ready to move onto the next piece of the tour, and if the majority of the group are newbies then you will be certain they will control the questions and movement of the tour. But, to our surprise the group interest and tour was quite good. Our guide "Jose Jesus" had a routine that was well practiced but not too slick and rigid, so  he was open to our questions.  We learnt how to pick ripe coffee berries by turning and pulling the bean as to leave the stem on the branch for future blossoms to take hold. How beans are then weighed, sorted by float

Fernando´s Kaffee, 7a Avenida Norte #43 D, Antigua, Guatemala

This morning we walked the beautifully colored walled streets of Antigua from the hotel-restaurant Panza Verde to Fernando's Kaffee for an espresso.  Fernando roasts his own coffee as well as chocolate. He has a piston espresso machine made in Italy that seems to pull-off (pardon the pun) some very nice shots, full of chocolate tasting flavours and hints of sour and sweet. The milk he uses is of good quality and makes a difference in final taste. I highly rate his espresso's and other types of coffees! And he is an excellent chocolate producer as well! It is refreshing to be able to order a cortado and have the Barista actually understand what you are asking for!!! On a second visit, Fernando had time to give us a detailed tour of his facilities where we saw his roaster that is gas fired with a convection fan and chocolate making equipment ,got to sample some chocolate while in production. Fernando is actually able to roast evenly to a medium roast in just 6 minutes using

CaffeCouture, Garnisongasse 18, Wien (Vienna), Austria

On our first day in Vienna we went to a cafe/restaurant called Madiani. We had a good espresso and met with the owner whom suggested that we visit CafeCouture because he could see we really love to explore coffee. CafeCouture is located in the University area of Vienna. Unfortunately it was closed for the first 10 days that we spent in Vienna because we were here over the Christmas holidays, which is exactly when the University is closed. It was worth the wait! We had an excellent coffees on both days; actually world class coffees. The barista/owner Georg mentioned he competed in the Czech National Barista Championship, and also competed at the World Barista Championship two times.  The atmosphere of the cafe is very clean, crisp and has a minimalist feel. Georg made perfect hot thickened milk, via the La Marzocco machine’s steam wand (a new model being tested by George for La Marzocco) to add to an excellent espresso that comes from a blend of five beans; Brasilia, Nicaragua, Gu

TGB cafe, Ahmedabad, India

Exclusively elusive, this tucked-away cafe is worth the search. Behind the cake cabinet sparkles the well cared-for espresso machine, from which all manner of drinks are prepared- one menu item involved espresso, chocolate sauce, whipped cream and Peanut Butter! Despite such exotic options I ordered a cappuccino. It was delightful. Although not complex in flavour, its taste (and cup) was clean and enjoyable and prepared with care. Just like in Italy, yet only ten minutes from Mahatma Ghandi's ashram- TGB, Thank God it's ...?

Testa Rossa Caffe, Mahlerstrabe 4, Wien (Vienna)

Conveniently located to most museums and the downtown area; this cozy little cafe on a side street is in the heart of Vienna. Luckily for us, the espresso was good and the barista and owner of the cafe, "Michael", were open to making a coffee for us that was designed by us. We enjoyed the well balanced and flavourful cortados (1:1 espresso ‘cut’ with warm steamed micro-foam milk) that was prepared with care.  A complete difference and refreshing experience to the general Viennese cafe scene. To speak more about this particular idea: in many cases, when we enter  a cafe, restaurant, or any place of business, and ask for a style of coffee, whether it be a cortado, machiato, cappucino, etc., generally no matter what we order, we are going to be served what the server (barista?) deems to be served, and not particularly what we have asked for. Get our drift: “you get what I serve you!” I suppose many people are happy to order from a menu and not ask how it is being made, or a

Max + Muh, Deggendorf, Germany

This was our third time to Max+Muh. Again Sabrina was the sole staff person, being barista, baker and sales woman! Sabrina makes, from scratch, high quality baked goods, quality sandwiches as well as she is the head barista of the cafe. Her croissants were delicious; light and buttery, a very good accompaniment to a decent espresso macchiato. Although one suggestion is to go deeper into the quality of espresso making., However, although it seems to us that the beans are fairly well roasted,  perhaps they are not of high quality,  because there is little range of flavours, not very alive in the taste - just good! Would be great to have more flavourful coffee, as the talent and equipment is there to pull some great shots. Over all, a friendly enjoyable place for coffee and excellent fresh baked goods.

Blueorange gastro OG, Margaretenstraße 9, Vienna

We found Blueorange in the downtown of Vienna. A slightly modern facility with Cimbali grinder and espresso machine. The Barista seemed open and interested in what we were hoping to drink, but unfortunately split our shot between two cups and ran it for over 40 seconds. Such a long shot can invariably produce nothing short of a watery shot and bitter grey flavours. So, up to the bar for a second try, this time the barista, again very open and friendly, made an espresso into one cup only and for only 20 seconds. Unfortunately the milk was the leftover milk in the container from a previous latte and was over-whipped. The Barista allowed for me to try and bring the milk back together, which is a seemingly impossible task at this point, but nonetheless we gave it a go and had a much better Espresso macchiato. Flavour notes are a little orange, sweetness and a touch of chocolate. 

Alt Wien Kaffee, Schleifmuhlgasse 23, Wien (Vienna), Austria

Finally we found a roaster, cafe and Barista (Oliver) who actually has knowledge and a passion for  coffee! Oliver expressed succinctly our findings while being in Vienna; he mentioned something like the following... the traditional coffee houses in Vienna don't know what coffee is, they serve over roasted burnt coffee with milk that isn't prepared properly... The espresso bar at Alt Wien Kaffee has 6 grinders, some of them are Luigi Mazzers and they use a Faema espresso machine. We tried three single estate espresso's; a Brasilia, a Hawaiian Kona by the name of Captain Cook and an Ethiopia Sidamo. All were very nicely roasted, good even brown, not very oily and fresh smelling. The Hawaiian was very good, fruity, a little weight and body and (with floral notes)perfumey. The Brasilia was delicious; missing the licorice taste we know and love, but was a medium to full body coffee, with a creamy rich sensation. The Ethiopian Sudamo was good, but not great. Possibly becaus