COFFEE, yes please! 5 out of 5!

COFFEE
2016 was a big year for new cafes in Zurich. One of the exciting new openings in hip Kreis 4 was that of a cute little café called COFFEE. It’s all in the name really – a simple word we all love, that we connect with, that we have an opinion about, and that we enjoy when we get it and miss when we don’t. Yes, just like any relationship, when we encounter something different we are curious, we may have our fears, our doubts, we compromise, sometimes we even reject, and with each new coffee we learn. Geez all that from one word..

Right, let’s focus back on COFFEE – the café. This cute little café is the work of long time friends Shem Leupin and Thomas Leuenberger. One an ex-Swiss Barista Champion and now head roaster and the other a chef and master of fine foods. Their invitation to all of us to is to come into their world and experience their coffee and food. This is exactly what I have been doing over the past couple of months and I am happy to say, I am a big fan of the place! Here’s why..
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Home Brew Bar: Gardelli

gardelliWhat better way to kick-start a Monday morning than with a bit of home brewing! It makes a change than only brewing over the weekend when there is more time to really relax and enjoy the whole experience. Monday morning pre-work brewing takes some preparation and coordination… and it’s worth it.

Inside my lovely little Bean Bros subscription box were 2 Gardelli roasted coffees – Carmen and Moata. After readying the information on both packets, I decided to start the day in Panama with the Carmen. The taste description says plum, pineapple, orange, raisin and chocolate – what is not to like! For those in the coffee industry, this roast has an SCAA cup score of 90.25.. impressive. So the decision to make this my Monday morning brew was an easy one, which was great considering that I am not really a morning person. Continue reading

Espresso with impact at Auer and Co. 5 out of 5!

Auer&Co

Hidden amongst the buildings of Zürich’s Kreis 5 is one of the cities most best kept café secrets, Auer & Co. It sits within the Impact Hub Zurich, where young entrepreneurs, creative minds and technical gurus come together to share ideas, tech talks and, of course, coffee!

Since opening it’s doors in late 2015, this place has been buzzing with great coffee at the hands of great Baristas. It’s no wonder, as those who are in the Zürich coffee scene know that this place is a coffee project of Bear Brothers & Cow team Benjamin Prager and Kai Keong. As a regular to this little jewel, I thought it was about time that I shared this place with the world. Will the espresso here make an impact, or will it be one in a hub? Let’s find out…
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2016 in review..

2016. What a year! What story will you be telling your friends and family in years to come as you recall your 2016? It was the year where the world said goodbye to legends including Bowie, Prince, George Michael, Carrie Fischer and the many more. Where acts of terrorisms hit again in magical places like Nice and Berlin. Where we hear of acts of war daily in the news. Where world politics is at a place I can’t understand. Where cool Pope Francis reminds us to love and pray for peace and never loose hope. It was a year of change, of battles to be fought, of reality checks, a year that took courage.

Yep, it’s easy to recall the painful moments. But what about all the wonderful moments? Those sparks, exciting new beginnings, life changing moments, the laughter, those dances around the living room, and the long list of joy from those coffee moments, oh and the news that Brad (Pitt) is single again! In all of those moments, there are many awesome stories. 

On the coffee front, it was what I would call an ultra active year. Coffee took centre stage. From Zurich, London, Milan, Rome, Dublin, Brighton, St Petersburg, Taromina, Como, Sydney and many more places I had the previledge to visit. It was clear. Coffee consumers around the world are being hit with determined, passionate, coffee-high people, who are keen to introduce them to high quality coffee, whether it is known as speciality or not.
Here’s a short look back at what I experienced this year and some insights.

Zurich café fever: New cafes have burst onto the scene in Zurich, most of which are speciality coffee focused. Acid, Bank, Boreal, COFFEE just to name a few. With new concepts, determined owners and teams, and passionate and highly trained staff, they continue to strive to bring Zurich that unique coffee experience that is present in places like Sydney and London. Other cities in Switzerland are also starting to light up, including Basel, Bern and Lausanne. Exciting times to come.

The year of coffee festivals: The world of coffee comes to life around the world, and all you need to know is where to find them and when. I had three on my list – London, Dublin and Manchester, all of which allowed me to gain further coffee insights and experiences, and they were alot of fun too! My first media pass, meeting awesome coffee people, La Mazzocco party and more at London Festival, the buzz of volunteering in Dublin at the World Barista Championship, and well just getting to Manchester. With every event visit comes a new coffee bags, connections and ideas! Loved it and look forward to reporting on more.

The year of coffee competitions: This was the year I moved from observer to participant. The fun and spirit of the Swiss Aeropress Championship and the stress and focus of the Swiss Cup Tasting Championship. Putting years of my own brewing style and coffee knowledge to the test and keeping it fun for me. Such a great experience and the best way for me to get insights on what it is like on the other side. Is the Barista Championship or Brewers Cup next? Who knows!

Its about about sensory: Tasting as much roasted coffee bean varieties as you can and building up sensory skills and knowledge definately became ‘in’ in 2016. Well at least for me. How cool is it when you pick the coffee that you are drinking as originating from Kenya, Guatemala, Sumantra or Colombia. Does wonders for not only hour senses, but also for your geography skills. Learning about the difference between light and dark roast, natural or washed, shaken not stired – oops sorry that’s a Martini! The interest in sensory skills and cup tasting indicates that people are becoming more curious about what coffee they are drinking and more decisive about the coffee they like to drink, whether it is a milk based coffee, filter or espresso. It also makes it kind of fun. Again, it’s all about what you learn and the experience.

Home Brewing is the future: It’s happening. Whether you have your Nespresso or Keurig machines and move on from Voluto to the special blends, or you decide to start grinding and brewing your own coffee using an espresso machine, Clever, Cafflano, French Press or V60. This was the year of starting to promote and encourage the Home Barista. If you look hard enough, you will even find Home Brewing workshops where you can try your stuff with the pros. Home Brewing brings out coffee passion, precision and creativity and is a great dinner conversation with friends. Best of all, it is a great way to learn about the world of coffee and to open up the discussion about what is good coffee. Let’s see where all this leads.

Bring on the roasteries: All I can say i bring it on! I love what is happening right now in Switzerland, which has probably already hit in other countries and areas such as Australia, UK, US and the Nordic and Asia. For a coffee writer and reviewer like me, I love being able to walk into any café around the world and hear about the roastery that supplies their beans. I also love visiting roasteries and hearing their stories and tasting their coffee. Hundreds of wonderful stories and very passionate, coffee roasting freaks who work hard to bring their coffee to the coffee loving world. Bring on the beans, as I’m looking forward to tasting, learning and reviewing more!

The boom of coffee subscription services: They are everywhere. All you need to do is google ‘coffee subscriptions’ or any other related term and whalla! Take your pick. Although I haven’t tried or reviewed any yet, I am looking forward in months to come. Stay tuned.

Wow what a coffee filled year! Time for me to sit back and enjoy the Sydney heat and bring in the New Year feeling grateful and with lots of positive spirit. 

Whereever you are in the world, Happy New Year!! Thanks for following, for the support and sharing. 

Until the next cup… Maria

Oh, and apologies for the bad formatting… it’s the iPad..

I am a Cup Taster!

Cup TastingCup Tasting. The relaxed art of sipping a cup of brewed coffee and determining which country it comes from. Like tasting a fine glass of Pinot Grigio or Malbec. Right? Wrong! Cup Tasting, or cupping, is quite an elegant term given to the process of slurping brewed coffee, and then identifying a bunch of things relating to tastes and aromas – sweet, bitter, fruity, floral, nutty, chocolaty, spicy. You get the picture and if not, there are plenty of courses that introduce the speciatly coffee SCAA Flavor Wheel to help you out and to train your sensory skills.

Cup Tasting is fascinating. The more you taste, the more you discover and learn! You enter into the world of specialty coffee, where it’s like taking a journey to the land that has produced the coffee beans without physically travelling over there. It enhances the coffee drinking experience. Every cup of coffee you drink has gone through hours of cup tasting and grading from qualified cup tasters from around the world. These guys and gals are serious about the coffee slurping and if they do their job well, we can also thank them for the coffee drinking joy ride.

After 4 years of tasting and rating espresso, I made the brave decision to participate in the Swiss Cup Tasters Championship which took place in Basel on 2. October. It was on my 2016 coffee bucket list. As a first timer, I was extremely nervous.  I knew I was the outsider and would be sharing the stage with qualified cup tasters from companies including Algrano, Delica, Henauer, Kafischmitte, Keurig, and Nespresso. After completing some cup taster training from one of Switzerland’s finest, Philip Meier, and reading through the rules and calming myself that I didn’t have to identify the country of origin of the coffees, I focused on keeping my taste-buds fresh, keeping my nerves in check and having fun – because that is was it’s all about!

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BANK on a grand Espresso!

Bank Espresso

2016 is definitely the year of the speciality coffee. However you choose to spell it or say it, coffee lovers and freaks in Zurich are being spoilt by amazing coffee being served in some of the new, hip cafés in Zurich. One of which is sitting perfectly in the heart of Kreis 4 at Helvetiaplatz. Bank opened its doors earlier this year, with a lot of buzz and attention from the Zurich scene. It’s no wonder, with Benjamin Prager, one of Switzerland most talented coffee brewster as the Head of Coffee and local roastery Stoll supplying the golden beans. Finally, after months of visiting, tasting coffee, and giving feedack, I was ready to write my review! Would this be the time for the Bank grand espresso? On a perfect Zurich summer morning, I took my place outside in the sun, reviewed the yummy coffee menu and was ready to find out…
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What a World Barista Championship 2016!

WBC Dublin

Dublin. Home of U2, Guiness, The Script, Paddy AND the World Barista Championship (WBC) 2016. From June 22-25, the coffee world gathered in the heart of Dublin to experience the coffee event of the year. As Baristas and Judges from all over the world made their way to Dublin to participate in the prestigious championship, I packed my most comfortable shoes and made my final preparations to be one of the 240 volunteers at the week long event. Questions, check. Access to the internet, check. iPhone charger – oops knew I forgot something! A small hurdle in what was to be one of the most active, exciting, information filled, exhausting, memorable coffee experiences I have had to date. Continue reading