Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Why bother?

My old friend John Scott taught me a saying. "Life's too short to drink shit coffee."

Sydneysiders take their coffee very seriously, and while I am not yet ready to proclaim that it's impossible to get a bad cup of coffee here, it's bloody hard. Part of this is because it's an espresso based coffee culture thanks to the large Italian influx way back when, and the lack of chain outlets. Starbucks just hasn't got a foothold here. There are currently only 50 branches of Starbucks across the whole of Australia (only one or two more than in Islington then) and there's a completely different coffee lexicon here.

No more double tall skinny soy extra hot moccachinos with wings or venti frappuchinos with a caramel swirl and java chips. If you want a milkshake, go to a juice bar or the local gelateria (more on these another time) If you want a perfect coffee, you need to learn about the flat white and the short/long black. It's quite simple really. The flat white is an espresso based drink, roughly one third espresso to two thirds steamed milk. It's less milky than an latte and less foamy than a cap. The short black is an espresso, the long black basically an americano. You are allowed to add milk to a long black. The standard size is about 220-240 ml, slightly smaller than a Starbucks tall cup. To my mind, the perfect amount.

But what I love most about Sydney is that I haven't had a bad cup of a decaf yet. I don't take caffeine, what with it having the effect on me that crack cocaine has on most humans, so I'm all about the decaf. And if you think it's hard to get good coffee, try getting a good decaf in 98% of the developed world. The only problem is that some Sydneysiders* find this a bit weird and I experience some ribbing at every morning's coffee run. It has got so bad that my cup today had "why bother?" written on the lid, rather than the contents.

I'll try and get round some more places and hope to report soon on where Sydney's best cup of coffee is. Suggestions are welcome!

*you know who you are

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Anonymous Marco Abis said...

That's one of the reason why Sydney is on my list! :-)

2:33 AM  
Blogger Matt Deiters said...

MoMo's off of Martin Place in the BNP Paribas Building. Best cup and just blocks from the TW office.

11:00 AM  
Anonymous Josh Graham said...

Suzi, you'll soon start to discriminate based on the blend of coffee too. A great one is at Don Adan (Honduran) based in Mosman and with a small outlet in Cremorne. They also do great tea, have interesting art work up and sometimes have good live music.

As for "why bother", I believe that these days the decaf blends are almost up-to-scratch in terms of taste - but some of us just enjoy the caffeine hit.

To really test a coffee place, ask for a macchiato, it's a short black (espresso) with a small dollop of froth. This will prove the flavour, texture, and crema of the coffee.

PS: G'day Matt!

5:32 PM  
Blogger Suzi Edwards said...

Coffee latest: Mecca at the Grace Hotel. Mmmmmmmn. Thanks to Derek for the suggestion.

9:57 PM  
Blogger grocer said...

you are living in latte central after all!

there are plenty of rubbish coffees to be found - just be grateful you haven't had one.

I hope this ribbing was all in good fun, and if not I do hope it wasn't Bertoni's who, IMHO do great coffee.

11:41 AM  

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