Tuesday, September 15, 2009

The fix.

You know what most places in Europe have that Melbourne doesn't? Terrible coffee. Like what I did there? Seriously, it's a disgrace. Maybe I was drinking my cup of Joe at all the wrong places or maybe the baristas' were having a bad day, but I just couldn't for the life of me find a decent daily grind.

Now I'm no coffee connoisseur, but I believe I have the capacity to tell a good cuppa from the next. I tried cappuccino, caffe latte and even espresso in over five countries, but all were horrible - even bordering on undrinkable. I thought the Europeans were renowned for their coffee making abilities! I was wrong. I even tried Starbucks...on both sides of the street.

Actually I stand corrected. Today I found my first decent coffee. I was in Berlin, waiting for the Ramones museum to open. I found a homely little cafe called 'Weinerei.' It was a last ditch effort and I put all my chips on the table and bought a double espresso. It was delicious. Perfect temperature with the slightest hint of caramel and chocolate.

This doesn't mean my argument is flawed however. One good espresso over an eleven week period of drinking coffee does not equate to good odds.

Maybe it's because I'm a snob then. A snob that knows nearly nothing about coffee, just one that has been spoilt by Melbourne's selection of marvelous morning mud.

Alliteration aside I make a valid point. Last year Starbucks announced it would be immediately closing 61 of its stores across Australia. It is an extraordinary number, considering it reduced the overall number of stores to just 23. I even did the research on which stores are still open. Queensland has 8, New South Wales 10 and Victoria a mere 5. This leads me to the conclusion that either Brisbane and Melbourne have great coffee or that people from Sydney have no taste. Either way there was something greater than a 'troubled economy' driving the Green Giant away from Melbourne. I know what it was. Do you?

I even found an anonymous quote that stated 'In America you can buy bucket-sized cups of coffee in any flavour you like other than coffee-flavour.' Hilarious. Case closed.

I'm sorry, I had to get that off my chest. It's me bothering me for weeks.

To end this brief rant I just want to say one thing: Melbourne, as far as I'm concerned, makes the best coffee in the world. Cherish it. Think about it next time you travel abroad. You will long for it dearly.

I will happily talk to anyone who feels they can prove me wrong. I think I have a certain friend in New York who may like to discuss this topic further...

Until next time, espresso yourself.



  1. Hi James,
    I have just logged on to your blog - haven't read anything except your post of coffee and just have to respond immediately! Loved this post- such a suject close to my heart and like you, just dont get how the rest of the world drink such bad brews! And, as for the states- never been but have certainly heard how awful it is and as for starbucks...says it all.
    Think you are right- we are spoilt in melbourne.
    I am going to read the rest of your blog now. It looks terrific! I work with your mum at the ark! cheers JOni

  2. Hi James, mum here, just wondering did you make the coffee-map of the world? It certainly grabs your attention.
    Here`s Joni.
    James hi again, We are working hard at the ARk...and have just had another peek at your blog. Photos are sensational. I want to frame some of them, other pics have me wanting to jump on a plane and visit these wonderful spots. You have a talent!
    Enjoy your hols and keep on writing- I will be looking forward to next posts.
    cheers joni

  3. Hey Ferny,
    Your coffee comments truly amaze me, didn't you drink coffee in Italy?!! They have perfected the art of making coffee and Melbourne doesn't even come close.Let's discuss this over a cup of tea when you get home. Have fun, Judith