Saturday, 18 August 2012

The Coffee Diaries

It takes a whole load of caffeine to successfully schlep around European cities. Here’s some of what I drank to make it all happen...

Black coffee at Carr Saunders Hall, LSE, Fitzroy Street, W1
I decided to start this blog at the very beginning so everything that came after would be an improvement. And it was. This coffee was oily, weak, and came from a plastic jug that I was allowed to pour myself. It was an odd colour, just generally awful in fact, but the amazing view from the rooftop courtyard of the BT Tower across the street made that seem so much less important. Hello London, I've missed you...

Latte from the courtyard coffee cart at the V&A, SW7
The V&A courtyard is lush, even in the floaty, spitty London rain, and brightly peopled with Chinese yuppies splashing in puddles and a beautiful tiny boy playing in the fountain. This was not bad coffee at all, good and malty and the froth lasted really well. Suitably fortifying for the treasures of the V&A.

Flat white at the Serpentine Bar & Kitchen, Hyde Park, W2
This coffee was the perfect temperature, which I appreciate for others might count as not hot enough', but I like things close to room temperature (I spill a lot, it’s a safety thing). This had a good deep flavour, just the right amount of bitter, and a little creamy; a coffee worthy of the neighbourhood.

Black coffee at Cafe in the Gardens, Russell Square, WC1
The sunshine had hit hard by now. I could’ve had a lemonade you know. This murky solution was weak and soapy with a sour lingering aftertaste. Not good. Russell Square, you deserve better.

Black coffee at Elliot's Cafe, Borough Market, SE1
Borough is my absolute favourite bit of London. The view of the Shard peering over the shoulder of Borough Market is thrilling, even if you don’t like the Shard much (I don’t think I do). Elliot’s is suh a beautiful place; handsome staff, lovely atmosphere. I wanted to do a Truman Capote thing and say, ‘Oh, bring us something that takes forever...’ A delicious, Market-sourced meal was crowned with a cup of the finest coffee of the tour so far; rich, smoky, and a beautiful colour. I’ve not had anything as good since North Tea Power back home.

Black coffee and flat white at Creperie du Monde, Chatsworth Rd, E5
It’s very trendy round here, which is good, the hip tend not to settle for bad coffee. The black coffee was really robust and great and the flat white was, well, just a latte. I’m kidding. But really, what's the difference? I can’t tell them apart, I’m too much a novice. Basically, it’s really good coffee here. 

Black coffee at Royal Teas, Greenwich, SE10
Nice and earthy and strong, and a truly scrumptious gorgeous veggie breakfast on the side. Plus a lovely outside table for earwigging the well-heeled Mums of SE10.

Soy latte at Old Shoreditch Station, E2
Boy, this coffee tastes fresh, like they grew it and ground it right there for me. Soy lattes are becoming a bit of a desert wine for me though, I will go for the real deal next time, I think this high standard of coffee deserves it.

Algerian Coffee at the Savoy Cafe, Prague
Since we have no clue what the exchange rate could be for the wonderfully arcane Gothic currency that is the Czech Koruna we have no idea what we’re spending so we go to the Savoy Café. The Algerian coffee is astonishing; thick with egg liqueur, smothered in cream, strong as an ox underneath. I’m almost too overwhelmed to eat the enormous caramel cream choux creation that I accidentally ordered.

Iced espresso at God Shot,  Prenzlauer Berg, Berlin
Cringe at the subtitle (‘The Future Urban Coffee Klub’), and only a really hip coffee joint can afford to be so surly across the counter, but the goods are up to scratch and beyond; super strong with the right amount of bite and, weirdly/pleasantly, a kind of citrusy thing going on afterwards. Go out of your way for this coffee. All the way to Berlin if you must.

Flat white at Café CK, Prenzlauer Berg, Berlin
The coffee in this city gets better around every corner. A block from Gunshot, CK’s offering is nutty, buttery, served by a friendly bearded English barista, and best drunk out of doors with bikes and dogs aplenty.

Filter coffee at Anna Blume’s, Prenzlauer Berg, Berlin
Everything at Anna Blume’s is superb; the three-tiered vegetarian breakfast, gorgeous pan-European clientele, the sunny Prenzl’berg street corner location. The coffee is so nice I had to get two of them, the second bigger than the first.

Flat white at Bonanza Coffee Heroes, Prenzlauer Berg, Berlin
Staffed by three handsome, sharp, moustachioed fellows. All very East London. And vaguely intimidating in fact. But the coffee is rich and mellow and so full of flavour. It tastes expensive, but really isn’t. Hit there before you hit Mauerpark.

Iced latte at Engelberg, Prenzlauer Berg, Berlin
The last coffee of the holiday and by now it’s too hot for the hot stuff so this chilled creation is divine; rich, looks like brandy, and spills a lovely glow across the table as the sun pours into the sides of the glass. So long Berlin, we love you, we’ll be back …


1 comment:

Chrissy Brand said...

Wonderful way to travel, by coffee stops as much as sights.