Posted on February 05 2018
The best thing about having family in Ireland is that when we go to visit them we get to travel around Europe a bit .. spoilt I know! So this time we checked out the Coffee in Northern Ireland, Rome and Barcelona.
First stop, Ireland. The Murray's are all from a wee town called Portaferry in County Down. It's about 30 miles south of Belfast on the beautiful Strangford Lough.The coffee though is rubbish, we bring our own and would rather have a good filter coffee then terrible espresso ... it's ground too coarse, its under extracted, there's no body, a measured 25ml shot .... forget it we are filling up the cup!! The thing we did notice was that there's not a huge Takeaway market, most Northern Irish take the time to sit down and drink coffee from a real cup, it doesn't take that long all of about 10 minutes and your done, even the ones that took them away brought their own reusable cups.
We tried a couple of different cafes (in really busy spots in Belfast and surrounds) using Specialty Roasting Houses like La Casa - again no technique, under extracted, weak watery slop... in one well-reviewed cafe we saw an espresso shot extracted in less than 5 secs, and this cafe would be using in excess of 30kg per week! The chain Caffe Nero was about the only decent espresso available.
On to Rome. Can't fault it..we even had a trip to La Casa del Caffe at the Pantheon. The espresso's are short with a rich crema - no fuss, no takeaways! Romans take 5 minutes to enjoy a coffee all day, everyday! The beans are a medium roast, shots are pulled from double baskets at around 15 grams, not a cup over 6oz, you want a large .. buy two....completely different to Australia where a single shot is extracted from around 20 grams, but that's what's needed for our mega latte coffee craze!
Then over to Barcelona, a fabulous city with parallels to Sydney, with its beaches, shopping, and laid back fun loving culture. As most of you already know we import our range of espresso equipment from Quality Espresso who manufacture Futurmat, Rimini, Ruby and Ottima all out of their Factory in Barcelona. We always receive the warmest welcome when we visit and love catching up on the new designs and technologies they are developing. The coffee in Barcelona was okay, a few times we caught the barista just before he hit the button to fill up our espresso cups, the beans were a bit inferior in quality or perhaps it was just that they like to get in-excess of 150 cups out of a kilo (True!!) Again no takeaway market, just knock it back at the bar and let someone wash up your cup! I really think this is habit worth adopting here in Australia.. it's about 10 minutes and it will save millions of takeaway cups going into landfill.
So when we landed back in Sydney on Monday it was straight to La Casa, a beeline to the Futurmat F3 and a couple of espresso's later ...ahhhhh..... Happy days!!!