Monthly Archives: January 2009

My Bodum Pavina Glasses

From my pictures on my blog and on my flickr account, you should know by now that I like different types of glasses and cups to take my coffee pictures in. After all, with just a little dark brown liquid, sometimes with a dash of milk to take a picture off, you have to make the best of its surroundings and by this I usually focus on the container, the cup. So on my trip to Bodum’s first shop in Vienna, located on 2 Marc-Aurel Strasse, 1010 Vienna, in freezing -6 C temperature, I was shown Bodum’s Pavina glasses. I thought for about a few seconds how these double wall glasses would look like with espresso or cappuccino in them and being someone who usually knows what they want and tempted by very good customer services, I bought a set of 2 glasses – the 12oz version, just right for your classic cappuccino. The next day, I couldn’t contain myself and used the glasses straight away for my morning dose of cappuccino and of course poured a heart;

I just liked the way you can see how the frothed milk blends in with the espresso and you can see the foamy part just sitting on top. The added bonuses of this glass is that because it is double walled and mouth blown, you cannot feel the heat from the coffee when you hold the glass in your hand and it keeps the coffee hot for longer, plus of course it looks great, doesn’t it, especially when you pour latte art, with different shades of milk and espresso milk combinations ?

If you want to impress your friends and love cooking and baking, then you can make a hot dessert in these glasses provided that the oven temperature doesn’t go over 180C and alternatively you can make cold desserts in them. From the coffee side, the glass is just the right size for a double shot espresso Cappuccino or Caffe Latte. So, if you’ve got about €20 to spare during these tough economic times, then buy a set of two.

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I’m Drinking…. Harrod’s Coffee

If you know me, you know that I cannot go to London, see freshly roasted coffee from someone I trust and not buy it. So, when I went to Harrods and the guy at Andronicas told me that in the Harrods Food Hall I could buy freshly roasted coffee, I ran down with my son and bought two 250 bags of coffee, one was Mocha Italia and the other Mountain Blend. A word of caution – when you go to the Harrods Food Hall, look for the counter stacked with gold coloured tins of coffee, which should contain coffee beans, freshly roasted by Andronicas and supplied once a week to Harrods. If you peep over the counter and look at the back, you will see the original bags from Andronicas as if to confirm the coffees are viable. I mention this word of caution, because you can also buy Harrods Coffee from beautiful designed tins, which will be already ground. Yes ! these tins look nice and good to give as presents, but for coffee geeks, this coffee might not be up to the standard, so go for the good, and buy the fresh stuff from the speciality counter. I also want to add Harrods have about 5 cafes, including the Andronicas World of Coffee cafe on the 4th floor, which I recommend. In any case, I promise to do a “Drinking coffee in Harrods” post one of these days God willing.

 

I started with the Mountain Blend, which as far as I can remember from the sales assistant had a mix of Central and South American coffees. I found it sweet with caramel undertones and although it was fine for an espresso, I preferred it as a milk based espresso drink like a Cappuccino and Caffe Latte, where I find the caramel taste really compliments the milk.

On tasting the Mocha Italia the exact first impression was wait for it….”nice”. OK ! what does that mean Lameen ? It was full bodied, glossed my tongue, went down right and made my tummy tingle – does that make sense or does that make me sound “bean” crazy ? OK ! Mocha Italia is exactly what is says. It has a mocha or chocolate taste and definitely reminds me of drinking coffee in a typical Italian cafe.

To finish off, this coffee, extracted as an espresso had a nice thick brown crema, keeping the sugar on top for a few seconds before sinking in. I’m going to have to give Harrods my “best place to buy really fresh roasted coffee in a Department Store” award because the other department stores I’ve been to did not sell freshly roasted coffee and the coffee from Harrods passes the test for freshnest, courtesy of the guys from Andronicas of course.


Bean There – New Coffee Shops in London

When my mum offered to take the family to London for a week during the Xmas period I thought “Great, one week away in good old London” and then I thought “Hey ! now I can check those coffee shops that I missed in London last summer”. So to start of the “New” Year, I guess it is apt that I start of with “New” coffee shops in my favourite coffee city, London.

MILK BAR, 3 BATEMAN STREET, SOHO

So, as promised in my post of 17 October 2008, this time I found the new Flat White coffee shop, called the Milk Bar, located on 3 Bateman Street and also in Soho.  

Milk Bar is on a busy street in Soho and it has a bit of a different vibe to Flat White. For one, it seems like there’s a little bit more space, which doesn’t make it as cult and cosy as the original Flat White. They also offer cakes and snacks and naturally the star of the shop, the customized black La Marzocco is centre stage almost right in front of you when you enter the shop like a display. There are some seats outside the shop. Milk Bar has a bit of a psychedelic feel to it and I think that is what inspired me to add this psychedelic tint to this freshly poured Flat White, which I had to order naturally being in Flat White’s second shop.  

BAR ITALIA, FRITH STREET, SOHO

Not too far from Milk Bar is one of Soho’s landmark drinking establishments, Bar Italia, located on Frith Street.

Bar Italia is appealing to its followers not only because when you enter you think you are in Italy with tiled floors, manual lever ancient espresso machine, 1960’s style ring register and that continental feel but because it is one of very few coffee bars that is open 24 hours a day – “Now how cool is that ?” (one of my wife’s famous quotes). It is kind of assuring that if you are out late in central London and really want some good tasting Italian espresso, then you can find a coffee shop open all hours, where you can get one. So going with the flow being in a little bit of Italy in downtown London, I ordered an espresso naturally.

It had a very Italian taste and I’m guessing that the coffee beans had both arabica and robusta in them, just like the Italians like. In any case, my visit in the afternoon was quick and Bar Italia was quite empty compared to the last time I walked past it, when I walked on by because the crowds were spilling onto the street.

ANDRONICAS WORLD OF COFFEE, HARRODS, KNIGHTSBRIDGE

For my next stop, you will have to take a taxi (if you are in a hurry and can afford one) or jump on the Tube (London’s underground rail network system) and head for probably London’s most famous department store, Harrods.  Ok ! for those who know Harrods, it is located in the most prestigious and expensive part of London and probably the UK, and Harrods is not a cheap store either. In any case, I was drawn here because during my attendance at Caffe Culture, May 2008 (see my post of 30 May 2008) I spotted a Mirage La Marzocco machine owned by a coffee roasting company called Andronicas World of Coffee. I was duly informed by the owners that they were located in Harrods (confirmed by a blog post in coffeegeek.com) and as the Exhibitors gave me a voucher for a free espresso at Andronicas, I thought on my next trip to London, I’ll try out their cafe at Harrods. I’ve been trying ever since, until now in the middle of the shopping frenzy that is London in late December, I dragged my 7 year old son to Harrods with a promise to visit the toy shop there.

Andronicas is located on the 4th floor of Harrods, set in a pristine environment that inspries you to relax and take it easy. They’ve got lots of coffee stuff around their seating are like cafetieres, coffee cups and this antique looking mini-espresso machine, which I couldn’t resist taking a picture off.

Being late afternoon, I ordered an espresso macchiato from the barista.

The owner was otherwise occupied and I was dying to chat to him about the shop. As soon as he finished, I quickly grabbed his attention and started talking to him about Caffe Culture and the shop. Being a true gentleman and noticing that I kept on instructing my son to behave and sit down, he offered to make him a hot chocolate in an espresso cup to calm him down, at least until he finshed it. I liked the macchiato and promptly asked the owner what part of the World they were from, but as it was their special 1849 blend and I wasn’t known to them (I could have been a secret coffee blend spy), I was just told that it is made up of 4 of the World’s finest coffees. In any case, I was delighted to detect two types of tastes in my mouth, one at the tip and the other at the back. Nice coffee. I tried to buy some bags of this special 1849 blend but being unique, Andronicas let you buy the raw green beans and choose from one of 5 different roasting blends, which takes around 25 minutes to roast. You can choose between light to burnt dark roast and I am guessing they would advise you which roast goes best with which bean, see below;

Now ! that’s really unique and if I had a specialist coffee shop I would follow this example. Sadly, because I was in a rush and had to take my son to the toy department I missed out on this opportunity, Ahhhhh ! However, I was informed that as Andronica have been supplying freshly roasted coffee to Harrods for over 20 years, I could get some coffee downstairs in the famous Harrods food hall. I rushed down there but the special 1849 blend was naturally sold out, so I bought two other varieties (more of that in my next post God willing).

For more on Andronicas, see 

http://www.andronicasworldofcoffee.com/

and if you can, I strongly recommend ordering their coffee (they might ship outside UK – I’ll check God willing and let you know) a visit and would like to confirm that Harrods is the best department store that I have been to, to buy freshly roasted coffee, because their coffee is roasted by serious experts and people committed to quality, who ensure that Harrods receive freshly roasted coffee twice a week in order to maintain the quality and of course their reputation.