The need for caffeine

The Hungry One loves his coffee.

No matter where we go in the world, there is one thing that is top of his to-do list. It’s the need for a decent coffee.
He’s a man with high standards. He can talk about milk texturing, bean grinds and the importance of tamping until the cows come home. Some lucky friends have been part of his diatribes about why latte art is more than just a way for baristas to flirt with pretty girls. (Apparently it’s quite a good  barometer for a barista’s ability to understand the relationship between crema and milk.)

Lucky for me, he’s also capable of making a pretty mean coffee himself.

Unfortunately  it’s  not always possible to bring his shiny silver beast (R2D2 is what I call it, an ECM Giotto is what he calls it) with us when we go jaunting off somewhere.

Not that it’s stopped us from trying- it’s been hauled into the back of the car and taken to ski trips and out of town weddings.

Here on the other side of the world we made the sensible decision to leave it behind, in the trusting care of a chef friend. Since we were only bringing 23 kilos with us, for 20 of those made up by a machine seemed a little cavalier. Pants are important in life too.

So, we’ve been making do with ‘espresso Saturdays’- excursions around London in search of the crema of the crop (so far Tapped and Packed is sitting at the top of our Saturday favourites)

And if we’re somewhere else for a couple of days? Then number one on the itinerary is a proper coffee. It usually involves an hour or so of googling and hanging out on coffee message boards to stalk where you can get the best coffee in a city. Let me tell you, coffee message boards can be pretty entertaining places to visit.

So, in case there are any other caffeine fiends out there, or anyone else is tied to one; I’m starting a new section that I hope will save you some time and pain.

It’ll be brief reviews of where we found the best coffee in a city (Brussels, Paris, Berlin, London and so on)…

It’ll also finally be a place for The Hungry One to park his photos of his flat whites, ristrettos and the like. I’m not sure my morning preference for a ‘weak skim latte’ will get a lot of play.

In fact, I’m pretty sure it’s mortifying for him to have to order it, but he does anyway.

Now that’s real love.

The best coffee…?

London and Berlin are done. Others to follow soon.

  1. I wish I could speak about coffee in such learned terms! He sounds like a man that definitely knows what he likes which is a good thing 🙂

  2. What an invaluable guide – will check out Tapped and Packed next time I'm in London. I used to live by the British museum and in those days – ten years ago the coffee selection around there was pretty poor so this is a good sign things are moving in the right direction!

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