Showing posts from May, 2012

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