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It's perhaps about time we shared a secret with youthe secret of our favorite coffeeshop in Chicago. True northside Chicagoans should know it already, but visitors to the Windy City would likely skip over the cafeand indeed its entire, awesome neighborhood of Andersonvillecompletely. You shouldn't do thatyou should go to Kopi: A Traveler's Cafe.
Sure, we were originally attracted many years ago by the name "Traveler's Cafe," but Kopi delivers on many levels above and beyond the bookshelf stacked with an okay selection of travel guides. For one, it has a huge menu of coffee drinks (spicy Oregon chai? check. Viennese coffee? check. Thai iced coffee? you know it). It's casual and affordable, and the lack of WiFi means it's not a laptop farm (yet).
This week, Jaunted correspondent Heidi Atwal takes us along to Paris, uncovering the hidden bits found in between sessions of copious macaron and butter consumption. And we do mean copious. Make sure to check in daily for dispatches from the City of Light.
It was a passing tip in a free magazine we picked up on London's streets that led us to Paris' Coutume Café, a coffee shop as decidedly anti-Starbucks as it gets. With a barista flown in from New York to head up their java producing operations, a carefully curated selection of imported beans, and monthly coffee tasting sessions for hardcore aficionados (think wine tasting, only sniffing and dry tasting rather than swirling and sipping), it's clear that Coutume is a place where the art of Joe is taken very, very seriously.
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ST. ALi is the latest Antipodean transplant to London's burgeoning coffee scene, a veritable sanctum to champion blends and artisinal brews. The cafe/restaurant, located in fashionable neighborhood of Farringdon, originated in Melbourne over a decade ago, a city well regarded for its commitment to quality coffee and exporting talented baristas.
As London's pint- and tea-centric culture ever so slowly evolves into one dominated by Clover fanatics and espressionites, ST. ALi may prove to be a key player in said change. Jaunted recently had the opportunity to sit down for brunch and a hearty helping of caffeinated beverages at ST. ALi, in addition to interviewing its Director of Coffee, Tim Williams. Where exactly is London's coffee industry heading, and how can you brew the perfect cup at home? Read on for more, and for photos from our visit.
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Where the magic happens: the on-site roaster
This week, Jaunted contributor Heidi Atwal will guide you through a series of food and shopping-rich travels through Copenhagen, a quaint European city trafficked by many a bike and artsy hipster. Stay tuned for suggestions on where to eat, hang, drink, and what to see in the city.
My trip to Copenhagen was largely informed by the insider knowledge of a gracious host who literally pulled out a map of the city upon my arrival, then proceeded to circle and scrawl the names of his favorite food and shopping haunts upon it. This quintessentially cool, moustachioed local shared secrets that no run-of-the-mill guidebook would impart, his word as good as travel gold.
So, when he stated with complete conviction that Coffee Collective, a micro roastery located on Jægersborggade, served "easily Copenhagen's best coffee," my mission was clear: visit and adequately caffeinate at CC by trip's end. And caffeinate I did, stopping by for a black Amerikano on a brief break from trolling for fashion and art finds in Jægersborggade's many boutiques.
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You had us at "Coffee Festival." When we heard that a three-day event dedicated to all things espresso, latte and so on was coming to London, we booked tickets immediately, anticipating an afternoon amongst the city's best artisanal purveyors and nerve-jittering samples galore.
What we didn't expect was to be met by a sea of high street stalls and a singer musically professing a deep-seated love for her morning cuppa (that's tea, not joe). In short, the London Coffee Festival, held at the Old Truman Brewery just off of Brick Lane from April 8-10, wasn't reflective of the cafe culture we know and love in the city. The imposing, though admittedly unavoidable, presence of Costa and Starbucks overshadowed the few independent purveyors we encountered. Beer and tea abound as well, as you might expect in a country often defined by pub culture and tea time. But what of the coffee we were promised?
Jaunted's ongoing Starbucks Alternative survey of London expands with three new additions today. In a country known for copious tea consumption and pint quaffing, the blossoming of quality coffee shops comes as something of a surprise, even to the local caffeine connoisseurs we've interviewed.
Many of these outposts are run by Antipodean expats with a preference for Square Mile coffee or beans of comparable quality, the flat white being their drink of choice (think cappuccino, with foam of a slightly less frothy consistency).
Expect more reviews as we continue to espresso our way through the city's many cafes. In the meantime, read up on our most recent picks below.
Across London, especially in areas traversed by out-of-towners, Starbucks' twin-tailed siren calls to weary travellers in need of an energy boost. Not the best option for true coffee connoisseurs, but then again, neither are the city's other high street vendors (Caffè Nero, Pret a Manger, Costa). We could've sworn we saw instant packets being used at one of these establishments, much to the horror of our caffeine-starved tastebuds.
Any true coffee lover will have done their fair share of research before visiting Londontown, lest they be stuck with a cup of joe whose taste might be likened to battery acid.
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Here's something that many who've visited Italy and definitely those who live there already know: one of the first and best friends you can make is your local barista. You see, when a place has the simple sign for a "BAR," that doesn't indicate a place for ordering booze, but rather for coffee, panini, pastries and other sweets and it's from your barista that you can hear the day's gossip and get a perfectly pulled espresso. Or...you could just learn how to use one of these super-easy Lavazza Blue machines, which, if widely introduced into the states (like, on every street corner in Manhattan especially), could put Starbucks out of business.
You find these machines typically in shops that don't have the space or money to install a proper bar with barista. Occasionally, these are even on the street and in other public places, like train stations. This particular one we fell in love with inside a pastry shop in Bergamo, so let us introduce you:
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For all London's highfalutin, offensively overpriced afternoon tea sessions (see: Harrods, The Berkeley, et. al.), there are several locales that will serve you a solid cuppa minus the prohibitive price tag or touristy kitsch. Drink, Shop & Do is one such place, though not by any means a traditional tea room. The endearingly twee café bar/design shop is located just a short walk from the Kings Cross tube station, its nondescript storefront belying a bright, cozy interior that we love to duck into on chilly London afternoons.
Oh yes, and you could end up drinking from a porcelain mug pre-painted with a mustache, for an extra dose of quirk (and maybe in honor of Movember).
Call it an addiction, an obsession, or just damn good taste, but we here at Jaunted are on a perpetual search for the perfect cup of joe. Yet, a lauded Bay Area company has half-convinced us to call the search off.
San Francisco's historic Ferry Building, a favorite stop of tourists, locals, and above all, those with fine palates, is home to a Farmer's Market and many a gourmet retailer. It's where you'll find warm loaves of Acme Bread first thing in the morning, Cowgirl Creamery's rich selection of cheeses, and artisanal olive oils by McEvoy Ranch. It's also where you'll find a Blue Bottle Coffee outpost, the famed product of one of the Northern California's expert roasters.
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Maine's Grand View Topless Coffee Shop has had a dramatic year. After only opening up in the town of Vassalboro back in February, the place has been had it's moment in the media limelight, been burnt to the ground by an arsonist, and then reopened in a tent. Now it looks like it's back for good, as the owner has received the permit to reopen in a business trailer on the propertynot as great as the original, but it exists nonetheless.
According the Boston Herald, business so far has been slow, but it could also be because the arson fire from last June is still under investigation. But for those anxious to have a place where they can make "I like my women like I like my coffee" jokes, the Grand View is back in business.
Things get a little more NSFW after the jump
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Starbucks might be attempting to create more of a cafe with their concept "15th Street Coffee & Tea" restaurant, but it will simply never equal the awesomeness of truly great, very authentic cafes that still exist and serve up homemade goods around the world. One such spot, which might not last too much longer as the owners grow old, is Stockholm's Konditori Valand.
The cafe, in the Surbrunnsgatan section of town, is run by Magdalena Åström, who has maintained the original interior of the cafe since it was begun and designed by her husband in 1954. The result is a mid-century modern stunner, with well-worn teak furniture and an imported black stone floor from Italy. The cafe is a fixture in German guidebooks and on the lists of retro furniture enthusiasts, but that doesn't mean that a regular old, design-appreciating tourist can't enjoy a coffee and slice of cake here.