As our resident coffee
[Also, we highly recommend Cafe Bauturm in the Belgische Viertel on Aachenerstr. The Käsespätzle was amazing as well as Matthew's bio burger which was huge. Jackson got a large, fluffy banana pancake with chocolate sauce and was not disappointed either.]
On the hunt for good coffeeDuring our brief tenure here in Europe, we continually have occasions where we find that some long-held perception is unhinged or contradicted. My internal perception/value system for what good coffee has been completely associated with U.S. available roasters and I have struggled with finding beans that I like here. Now that I am unable to rely on a trip to one of my favorite roasters in Atlanta, I have been on a months-long search for good coffee to make in our home.
To add some complication to my quest, it's worth acknowledging that Europe is primarily geared toward an espresso culture. Said another way: if coffee is served anywhere, it's an espresso based beverage. Are you at a restaurant? Don't bother asking for a cup of coffee - order an espresso or latte machiatto instead. Still want one? Make sure you ask for a café Americano. In Germany, you can get a cup of coffee at some cafés but you have to order it as a Filterkaffee (filter coffee).
While I'm willing to forego my filterkaffee when I'm out and about, that doesn't change my desire to having brewed coffee in my own home.
Arabica vs. RobustaWhen buying beans in the U.S - most higher end roasters only sell 100% Arabica beans. I reached out to one of my favorite roasters (RevCoffee in Smyrna) and while they don't advertise 100% Arabica, they confirmed it to me this afternoon. Another species of coffee, Robusta, is generally used for lower end coffee (think instant coffee and Folgers). There is a lively debate on the Robusta vs. Arabica issue that you can read about from the Atlantic here.
However, some espresso connoisseurs place a high value on Robusta blends for the better crema texture that the species lends. Crema is the froth that sits on top of a shot of espresso and can dramatically affect flavor and finish. We witnessed this fact today by tasting a few Robusta espressi today at Moxxa Coffee in Cologne.
The Moxxa barista took great care in telling us that it was appropriate to stir in the crema to sufficiently mix it in with the shot. I can say that it was good, albeit a different experience from most espresso that I have tried. Moxxa's philosophy is that predominantly Robusta proportioned coffees can be used for espresso and Arabica blends are appropriate for filter/pourover/etc. Other roasters strongly believe that the bean species (read: Arabica) is paramount to crema and therefore only 100% Arabica should be used for espresso.
In My Cabinet
My cabinet is full. of. coffee.
1. Kurt - Der Kaffeeröster
Found at their café here: Clemens-August-Str.55 Bonn, Germany 53115
Found at this Edeka market: https://goo.gl/maps/cFzgAvmswhS2
3. The Barn - Berlin
Found at the Black Coffee Pharmacy in Bonn: https://goo.gl/maps/aVdw6WX5iB92
Found at any Edeka
5. Moxxa Ethiopia Sidamo
Found here in Cologne near the Belgian Quarter (Belgische Viertel)
I tried only the 100% Arabica offerings from each brand and while taste is subjective, I preferred The Barn and Gepa most.
I noticed that The Barn offers subscriptions - the first service of its kind that I've found here. We picked up one of my favorites, and Ethiopia Sidamo from Moxxa yesterday and I'm anxious to try it.
U.S. roasters I like:
|Counter Culture Coffee|
|Blue Bottle - Online|
|Rev Coffee Roasters - Smyrna, GA|