Monthly Archives: December 2015

Fashion & Coffee in London

   
 If you follow me regularly on Instagram, then you’ll know that I’m also into fashion. In fact I’ve even toyed with the idea of setting up a purely dedicated blog on fashion but time does not permit. Nevertheless, although I know far more about coffee than I do about fashion, the first career path I wanted to choose after being a pilot, was a men’s fashion designer. I digress a bit, but when I visit London, I find it to be if not the best, then one of the best cities to combine my passions for coffee and fashion.

Before and after treading up and down, checking out the latest fashion and sartorial stuff on offer, I’m always looking for coffee. So, if you visit the epicentre of fashion shopping in London, Oxford Street, during the Retail Sale season there’s plenty of coffee spots. My favourites are:

Workshop Coffee Fitzrovia, located in St Christopher’s Place – located parallel to Oxford Street and near Bond Street Tube Station on the Central and Jubilee Lines. I’ve written about Workshop before but, in essence they are one of the premier London-based coffee roasters with a few locations dotted around London. On offer is great coffee (espresso, filter), teas, hospitality and small bites.

  
Origins at Selfridges – Voted the best store in the World, I’m pleased to report that Selfridges now have a great coffee roaster, originally from the South West End of England, who roast and prepare coffee the artisan way.

  

 They’ve got all the gadgets

  

  And a special blend for both espresso and filter on offer. So, when shopping in the best store in the World, you can also grab a great cup of coffee – life’s good.

Still in the Oxford Street area, walk down or take the tube to Oxford Circus, and head to Carnaby Street to check out the Department of Coffee and Social Affairs spot in Lowndes Place. Delectable cakes, sandwiches, filter coffee and well-pulled espresso shots await the Soho shopper. There’s lots of space downstairs, so you can bring the kids too.

  
At the end of Carnaby Street, by Boots the chemist, turn right onto Kingly Street to be greeted by Soho Grind. Complimentary wi-fi is on offer in a dimly lit, but cosy looking funky coffee spot with seating downstairs too.

  
If it’s raining, then there’s only spot to go to in Central London, Westfield Shopping Centre, located at Shepherds Bush Central Line tube station. There’s tons of the famous shopping brands and in the section called the Village, all the premier brands await you too from Louis Vuitton, Boss, Hacket and Mui Mui. In other parts, there’s  Zara, Top Shop, Apple, as well as a multiplex cinema and huge food court, but where’s the coffee ? Head to the ground floor for Sacred, located next to Apostrophe, also with a La Marzocco Linea. Sacred are stocked with female baristas, who pull a chocolate based espresso shot, which goes well with milk.

   
 So, that’s it from me for 2015, here’s to a more pleasant and fulfilling 2016 with more coffee discoveries on the horizon.

  

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Vienna Coffee Diary: At Jonas Reindl – A Piece of NYC & London in Vienna

Cortado

Cortado

The first thing that hits you when you walk into this Vienna Coffee Shop, which sits opposite an iconic Viennese building – the Votivkirche (People’s Church) housed inside the Sigmund Freund Park in the 9th District, is that you could easily be inside a London or New York Third Wave Coffee Shop. From that, I mean the design – its classic Anglophone – with a fridge on the right hand-side stocking trendy looking soft drinks, a basket with goodies and a display of tools for coffee lovers.

As you move further towards the ordering counter, there’s a display – not of Austrian style cakes – but rather of Anglophone style goodies displayed in delectable glass dome cake stands – double layer chocolate cakes, carrot cake, banana bread, brownies, granola pots and sandwiches wrapped in organic looking brown paper – there’s even a counter behind, where sandwiches can be freshly made to order, together with the preparation of couscous bowls for a healthy lunch.

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If you want to “escape” to NYC, they even have Pastrami Nights every Thursdays. Furthermore, if that wasn’t enough, they open until 10pm every night, except Sundays, which possibly makes them the only new age style coffee shop in Vienna that stay open to 10pm and possibly in Europe. So, after a long day at work, shopping, visiting museums or if you want to meet up with friends to have a great cup f coffee, Jonas Reindl is open to satisfy your cravings.

If you visit the website you will get a full description of the amount of work that has gone into selecting their furniture – recycled Indonesian teak wood, 100 year old chairs – very vintage, but in summary, the décor is very cosy with homely brown leather chairs and sofas, natural wooden tables, high chairs with black metallic frames – in the summer, you can sit outside, get a tan or just people watch. In the winter, it’s cosier, with calming lighting and Frank Sinatra-esqe music. So, you can imagine – people come here to hang out, relax and enjoy the atmosphere with a good cup of coffee and cakes.

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Now to the coffee – on machines, they’ve got a Dalla Corte 2 group machine, top class espresso grinders, a brew station for filter coffee (V60, aeropress, chemex and more).  To compliment the tools, there’s a coffee menu, displayed on a blackboard style wall highlighting the espresso and filter blend coffees on offer, accompanied by mouth-watering taste profiles – coffees tend to be a house blend, from Süssmund Kaffee (a local Austrian roaster) and guest espresso and filter blend from top coffee roasters on Europe’s mainland.

BUT gadgets and coffee never maketh a café to be featured on this site, so you’ll be glad to know that well-trained and friendly baristi, who speak English are on hand too. The barisiti are always open to discuss what’s on offer and how it might go with your chosen coffee – on one occasion, I wanted a Cortado, using a 150ml glass and that wasn’t a problem – happy customer – see top of post for pic.


I love coming here, because I can get a nice slice of something sweet, accompanied with at least 2 good cups of coffee – usually a milk based one and to finish off with an espresso or filter brew – sometimes a very short Americano, made to order (gee! I’m fussy). On my first trip, being a little bit doubtful, I went straight for a filter blend to check out the skill of the barista (a half Austrian and half Australian guy), where my coffee was prepared using the kalita wave brew filter – see above for brew action and below for the end product – delicious !

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All in all, a great place to hang out on a Saturday afternoon with friends and family – my daughter keeps asking me when we can go back to have that chocolate cake.


I’ve also noticed that their clientele is not just increasing but is becoming more and more diverse with respect to ethnicity, age and culture.

So, if you want to ”escape”, come here and well done Jonas Reindl and staff.

Jonas Reindl

Währingerstraße 2-4, 1090 Wien

http://www.jonasreindl.at/the-cafe/


Making Espresso: Take 2, The Serious Edit

  
Ok, so, let’s go into more detail on making espresso – let’s slow it down and take it step by step. For this, I’m going back to the origins of espresso. As espresso is an Italian mainstay, let’s check out what they say about making espresso. In summary, the Italians refer to  the 5 Ms when making espresso –

Mescla (coffee type or blend),

Machina (the type of coffee machine),

Machinadosatore (the grinder that grinds the coffee),

Mesura (the grammes of coffee used per espresso shot) and

Mano (the hand of the barista)

So, for me this means…

Mescla – I’m using an espresso blend from a recent Colombia Cup of Excellence lot, so it’s expensive, but the most important point is that it should be a coffee roasted for brewing espresso. Some professionals, brew using different blends, but for the vast majority, an espresso blend is used.

Machina – I’m using my newish espresso prosumer (a merge between professional and consumer) machine, a Profitec700, dual boiler machine with a rotary pump and a PID (i.e. I can change the temperature of the espresso boiler) and a whole lot more, but let’s say it costs more than $2,000.

Machinadosatore – I’m using a top of the range prosumer espresso grinder, a Macap M4D, yes, a grinder just for espresso

Mesura – I’m using approximately 18 grammes of freshly ground coffee for a double espresso. Most experts recommend always brewing a double shot – a single just doesn’t taste the same.

Mano – Well, mine of course – I will never participate in a Barista competition, but I’ve been making espresso, practically almost everyday since 2007, so I think I have a good idea how to make espresso.

Next, the process;

  1. Make sure your espresso machine is warm enough – mine’s is set to 93C and takes about 7 minutes to warm up.
  2. Pour your beans into the bean hopper of your espresso grinder and grind away.
  3. Make sure the setting is correct, whereby previously you checked that when you grind the beans, approximately 45ml of coffee comes out in 20-28 seconds – if it doesn’t, then keep playing around, trying not to waste too much coffee.
  4. Grind your beans right into the portafilter
  5. Flatten the ground coffee. Tamp with about 30 pounds or pressure
  6. Let water run through the espresso machine for about 5-9 seconds
  7. Then place into the portafilter into brew holder
  8. Extract your espresso
  9. And hopefully what comes out, is espresso. Too watery and coming out after 2 seconds, the grind is too loose, tighten it, so that if your grinder is set on 8, move it closer to 7, like on mine and try again
  10. If the coffee starts coming out after 10 seconds, the grind is too fine and coffee will be over extracted, bitterness.
  11. So keep playing around until you get that sweet spot – I must confess it is a lot of hit and miss, and can be quite expensive, excluding the cost of the machine and grinder (together over Euro2,000), but the beans, especially if you’re like me and buy really expensive stuff.

and here’s the video…