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Coffee abroad

I truly enjoy travelling, maybe as much as coffee. So, when packing for a trip I wonder whether I will be able to enjoy this two passions in the coming days. Fortunately for me coffee culture is expanding and in my latest two trips I have enjoyed nice coffee in nice cities.

Last week I visited Riga with a good childhood friend. This city has a beautiful downtown: a fascinating combination of a medieval old town and art nouveau buildings. And while wondering around the city, I had a hard time not stopping at every coffee place! The coffee culture in Riga is really outstanding. There are a few major coffee chains, local but still chains, that deliver reasonably good coffee in creative beverages. But the most interesting is the little cozy coffee places, full of character, where I enjoyed good coffee served by friendly owners.

Chocolate powder topped cappuccino

Chocolate powder topped cappuccino

This week I am writing the blog from Melbourne, Australia. It was a long way to get here but the city is really worth the trip. And after a 30 hours trip I was carving for a good cup of coffee. That proved to be not a problem in Melbourne. Every block in the downtown has a few restaurant and coffee places, and they serve proper espressos. So far I have only spotted one major coffee chain. Local business with their own coffee trends seems to be the way to go here. Melbournians are generous with the cocoa powder topping the cappuccinos. They also like serving the cafe lattes and moccas in glasses instead of cups or mugs. Furthermore, they also serve cafe cortado, or “short mac” as they call it, after “short macchiato”, in cute little glasses. Getting acquainted with the local terminology I learned that if the short mac is completely filled up with milk then it is called a piccolino. On the other hand, if made from a double espresso the “short mac” becomes a “long mac”.

A "short mac" ...

A “short mac” …

A few years ago I was in Australia for the first time, only visiting Sydney. That time I already learned some of the coffee names found in Australia (and in New Zealand). A long black is an americano but sometimes a lungo. A lungo is usually referred to as a short black. A latte macchiato is called a flat white, though sometimes I have the feeling that the difference between a cappuccino and a flat white is only the chocolate powder on top. Also, then and there I had the feeling there was hardly any coffee culture in Australia. Coffee at restaurants was usually over roasted and not properly brewed. Most of the time I could only get a weak and bitter long black. I wonder now if for coffee matters Melbourne has always been different or that it is part of a changed coffee culture in Australia. But that I will let you know next week when I am in Sydney.


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