Tag Archives: Mazzer Robur E

Drinking Coffee in Vienna: An Update

 

I’m glad to report that the specialty coffee scene is improving in Vienna, which is based on two key factors; an increase in people’s appreciation of good coffee and more coffee shops to meet that demand – the demand and supply of specialty coffee – I know it sounds very economist like, for which I confess my guilt of being trained as an economist.

so, let’s move on.

Café EL.AN, Werdertorgasse 4   •   1010 Wien

I start with a confession – this is actually not a new coffee shop, but one that’s been around for about 3-4 years but for which I never had the pleasure of trying out, as they only open from Monday to Fridays, which I find difficulty in visiting. In any any case as soon as the opportunity presented itself when I finally had a day off to wander around Vienna in late Autumn last year, I headed here. Cafe EL.AN is made up of a combination of the owners’ name; Elke and Anna. Coffee is sourced from Austria’s most famous barista and CafféCouture owner, Georg Branny.

It’s very simple in design and as you enter you are confronted with steel bars (see picture at the top) that lines that front of the brew bar and on your right where the magazines and italian style espresso stand up bar is located. Equipped with a La Marzocco GB5 and Mazzer grinders for espresso drinks and an Uber boiler to facilitate filter brews on a range of options; Hariov60, chemex, Syphon and aeropress.

As it was late afternoon and I wasn’t in a rush, I thought why not and ordered an ethiopian coffee brewed on a Hario Syphon. Elke was very relaxed despite a few customers as she was the only one working there. In between pouring latte art and making espressos, she calmly began making my Syphon filter brew. It took about 5-7 minutes to brew but it was worth the wait – a fruity brew, with medium acidity, at the right temperature and easy to consume.

 

The good thing about coffee made on this type of apparatus is that you get quite a bit. As the shop is quite small, a lady with a toddler sat opposite me and as I had quite a bit of coffee, I offered her some so that she could appreciate coffee brewed differently. She was pleasantly surprised and I advised her to try ordering that next time.

 

Wolfgang Coffee .  Zieglergasse 38, 1070 Wien
Opened by a former Balthasar coffee barista, Wolfgang Coffee, is fairly new, located in Vienna’s hip district, populated by the up and coming youth of Vienna. Wolfgang is actually located in Qwstion store, a non-brand concept store, selling hip designs and of course bespoke style perfume for both men and women. In fact when I first visited them on a  very hot day in August – it was 34C – I almost missed the shop. As you enter there’s a  display of their coffees, roasted by Sussmund – one of Vienna’s premier coffee roasters. They pull their espresso on the classic Faema E71 espresso machine and sell some snacks too.
I ordered a cortado as it was hot outside but still wanted a bit of milk.
On another day when I walked past going to another spot, it was crammed on a Saturday afternoon. One additional pull they have is that you can always elapse into the concept store and read magazines will you sip a beautifully crafted cup ion coffee.
Jonas Reindl Coffee Roasters, Westbahnstrasse 13, 1070 Vienna 
Literally around the corner from Wolfgang Coffee is for me the most exciting coffee opening in Vienna. Why? It’s the first time that a coffee roastery has been “allowed” to open in the heart of Vienna. Apparently, the City of Vienna, likened for bringing coffee to Western Europe does not like people to roast coffee in the city where dwellers are because the smell might irritate them – perplexing, especially as coffee has been ranked top three smells that humans love, even though I know that the beginning of the roasting process, the burning smell can be a bot off putting. anyway, many have tried and failed, but now we have a winner – Jonas Reindl Coffee Roasters – the main reason, Philip, the roast master, told me was that the spot was previously owned by a pizzeria that had an oven, enabling them to obtain the very hard to obtain license to roast in the city.
As you enter the shop, cum roastery, the roaster is on the left, giving the impression, righty implied, that some serious coffee business goes one  in here. So, what do we have here? A 12kg Probat Roaster, hooked up to a iMac and other bits, surrounded by baskets to store coffee before they are packed.
In front of you, is the brew bar, with their freshly roasted coffee packed and ready to be bought as the backdrop. To the right of that spot is their new Synresso S200 espresso machine.
If you want to know about this machine, let me let synesso tell you,

The goal with the S200 and S300 was to make an approachable, volumetric machine with the quality we are known for. All internal components are Synesso standard as found in our MVP and MVP Hydra machines. This includes group heads with no wear parts, individual brew boilers, digital shot timers, programmable temperature per group head, and cool touch steam wands.

Extraction is controlled by volumetric programming, with two user-defined programs per group.  The wired hand held display allows control of total water count and optional preinfusion duration, which can be saved across both group heads.

Additional settings include the programmable hot water tap with mix valve, arcade-inspired group purge buttons, and an auto back flush program. (extracted fork Synesso website)

My daughter and I ordered espresso milked coffees the  first time
On my second visit, I went full filter of a guatemalan finca la bella coffee.
They have all the other perks, gadgets, filter brew options, etc, but the definite pull for me is the roastery and beautiful packaging.
Also on offer are artisan teas and cakes and pastries. The spot isn’t too big and you may have to stand during busy hours. They’ve only been opened since late 2018 and I’ve been there thrice already and I’ve picked up three bags of their delicious smelling coffee. More on this next time God willing.
Remember 2019 should be a year of drinking better coffee.
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London Coffee Scene 2011: Summary, PART I

Wow ! Wow ! That’s what I have to say about the London Coffee Scene in 2011. A few years back, whenever I went to London, I headed straight for SOHO, and to be precise, order a flat white at Flat White on Berwick Street, and stop for an espresso at its sister shop, Milk Bar on Bateman Street, also in Soho. If I wanted a little tasty snack to accompany an espresso or a piccolo, I would go to Fernandez and Wells on Beak Street, Soho. In fact, that’s what I did when I last visited London in July 2009 – head to Soho for great coffee. BUT, in the space of just 18 months, the speciality coffee scene in London has literally mushroomed, so that on my visit in April 2011, I had to carve out London just to check out the coffee scene. First up, I wandered into unknown territory for me, East London and more specifically Clerkenwell. I had lived in London for many years but I had never been to this part of London before – OK! I knew this is where Jamie Oliver’s famous Fifteen Restaurant was located, but that was it. Now to the coffee.

Clerkenwell, East of the Centre of London, Hangout for the Legal Types, etc – Get off at Chancery Lane Tube Station

This has to be the new hot spot for coffee with three choices, Prufrock Coffee, Department of Coffee and Social Affairs (the coolest name) and St Ali UK. I headed first for Prufrock Coffee on Leather Lane, 2009 WBC Champ, Gwilym Davies, spot. This is a must for all serious coffee lovers, with a brew bar hosting almost all forms for brewing coffee (hario woodneck, hario siphon, hario V60, aeropress, espresso machines, uber boiler, prototype grinder, a slow brewer and probably more). I had an espresso and a piccolo on my first trip and on my second (yes ! I had to go twice despite the distance) I had probably one of the best espressos of my life, using Square Mile roasted Colombian Pomorroso arabica beans.

I plan to do a separate post on Prufrock, so the above is just a taster.

Almost opposite Prufrock on Leather Lane too, is Department of Coffee and Social Affairs, which only opened in December 2010.

I went around lunchtime as it was rapidly getting packed with office workers looking for something tasty to eat to accompany their great cup of coffee. I was pleasantly surprised to learn that for a cafe that had only been opened for about 4 months, there were streams of people coming in and out of the Department. Hmmm ! perhaps I should have opened up my cafe in London’s East End and not Cape Town, but better weather and better cost of living in Cape Town won the day. With the lovely display of sandwiches on display, I’m not surprised that people were pouring in for lunch to fill their tummies with these tasty delights;

I met with Chris and sensing that I wasn’t just a normal customer, all the way from South Africa and with a hint of coffee knowledge, he gave me a complimentary piccolo and Spanish anise biscuit.

I really loved the space, which reminded me off my own (they even had the same La Marzocco 3 group linear machine I have at escape caffe), but a little more rugged and with little spaces to work. I really liked their Globe bicycle, pic below.

So, finally, St Ali – UK. If you are an international coffee buff, raise your hands – me, me….. okay I’ve got to keep writing this, you’ll have heard of St Ali, who are one of the most famous coffee establishments in Melbourne, Australia. They are like crazy about coffee – a destination in their own right. So, when I heard they were opening a cafe in London, I kinda went berserk, especially as they were going to be open before my trip. They are located at 27 Clerkenwell Road, almost hidden, but as you enter, there’s a coffee roaster in the window and their signage is lit up, so you’ve got no excuse in missing it.

I really loved their decors, which was a bit similar to mine at escape caffe, with exposed brick, but a bit darker and hence cozier than mine. As you enter, there it is, the famous Slayer Espresso machine (see below) greets you – sort of letting you know that although they serve food, they are serious about coffee. If that wasn’t enough, once you pass the Slayer and wander tot he back of the cafe, they have a gigantic coffee roasting machine.

Also at the back and next to the coffee roaster, there’s a green plant wall and an atrium of about three floors (I promise a pic summary of the London coffee scene later). I met with Baptiste (a French barista who worked at their Melbourne establishment, but has been relocated to London) and Tim Styles, formerly of Intelligentsia and more recently Square Mile Coffee and who has been recruited to oversee their coffee roasting operation. I had a flat white with my brother, looked around and on my second visit, bought their Cult of Done espresso blend. From what I’ve been reading, St Ali is becoming extremely popular with the London fashionista, featuring in Vogue, with queues outside on Sundays and their hiring like crazy already as they prepare to operate from 2 floors, offering both coffee and food.

In summary, head down to this part of London for a great cuppa (very English lingo) and as I observed, all cafes had a Mazzer Robur E grinder, which hints that each one is making hundreds of cups of coffee per day, so expect a queue at busy times.

For PART II, I’ll take you to central London, so watch this space.