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back to article Nuts to your poncey hipster coffees, I want a TESLA ELECTRO-CAFE

Tales from Bohemia, Silicon Roundabout style: in which intrepid explorer Alistair Dabbs goes in search of a cup of coffee in London's Silicon Roundabout tech district traffic feature... Indie cafe 1: Large soya latte, please. Am told they don’t do them in large. They weren’t wrong – drink is served in a vessel smaller than a …

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Get a decent grinder, a Rancilio pump machine and a regular posted coffee bean order from Dave coffee* and then lean how to extract a decent espresso and on demand caffeine shakes can be yours.

Or drink tea.

* name has been changed to prevent unauthorised advertising.

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I can't stop myself here. I must really love downvotes (given the site I'm posting on)...

I don't get this espresso thing. Perhaps I've just not drunk the right stuff, but I've drunk quite a bit of it and there only seem to be 3 flavours of espresso. Pathetically weak and watery, rancid or strong and quite nice.

Since the beans have been roasted to buggery, I've yet to detect significant difference in the taste of different espressos. Although I've read that there's been a recent fashion for using medium roasted beans, in order to get a fruitier coffee flavour into it. Which many espresso fans don't apparently like.

So you need a decent machine. Or possibly (so I've heard) one of those aeropress thingies? But you don't need to grind freshly, so long as you're not just shoving the ground stuff in the cupboard for several weeks.

What's then truly disappointing is when you ask for coffee and get watered-down espresso. Which is Americano as I understand it. Mostly what I want to drink is coffee. Get some light/medium roasted beans, grind and place in hot water. Drink black. Savour flavour. If I can't have that, I'll take a cappucino or cafe au lait. Or black tea.

Is a flat white more like a cafe au lait? I think we suffer from the collision of American and European terminology. So a latte doesn't seem to be the same as a cafe au lait, it's more like a coffee-ish milkshake.

I'm happy to be educated about espresso, and pointed in the right direction to learn the 'error of my ways'.

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I do believe that 'flat white' is cafe au lait, which is brewed coffee & milk. A latte is 1/3 espresso combined with 2/3 steamed milk (may or may not be frothed); a cappuccino is 1/2 espresso and 1/2 steamed and frothed milk.

I personally have been experimenting with a light roast espresso, and have been quite happy so far.

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Soya latte !!!,!,

Come and ask for that in Glasgow you big Jessie .

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"Mostly what I want to drink is coffee. Get some light/medium roasted beans, grind and place in hot water. Drink black. Savour flavour."

Your problem here is a case of definition, I suspect.

Coffee - or rather, a coffee beverage is dependent on Ohhhh so many factors and so many ways of being made, there is no real bog standard.

An espresso is considered by many to be the ultimate way to imbibe coffee, and when it is right it is SOOO right. Unfortunately, it isn't in most cases because of the lack of understanding by those making it. Just go to a starbucks in most places and ask for an espresso. Nasty isn't it? If you have a watery espresso, then that is NOT an espresso. It should almost have a slightly syrupy texture and taste, depending on the type of roast used, very smooth. Acidity and/or bitterness should be just the merest hints of suggestions

I tend to drink Cappuccinos, espressos or a Long black/Americano. Technically Americano is water added to an espresso, whereas a long black is the espresso added to water - btw - cappuccinos are a third espresso, a third hot milk and a third Microfoamed milk Microfoam <> frothy btw. There is argument regarding a Latte and a flat white which is apparently from Australia, but could be considered a stronger latte, but a latte is simply an espresso with steamed milk added and a light layer of microfoamed milk on top where latte art is usually performed. A Cafe au lait is more your UK defined version of a coffee which is brewed in a percolator with milk added.

If your Americano is weak, then you want to specify another shot. But the flavour this will produce is not the same as other methods of brewing coffee.

I suspect that you would prefer, inferred from your post, a french press style of coffee. Using a coarser grind and same beans, you should get a slightly more rounded body, slightly less acidic or thin, than you would get with an Americano. You could certainly end up with a stronger brew that could be quite easy to drink, but the caffeine hit could be considerably higher than a double espresso content because you can easily have more coffee in there.

Little experiment for those who regularly drink cappuccinos from the usual chains. Instead of ordering a medium or large, order the smallest one they do. If you normally have a double shot, then make sure they still do that double shot. I am fairly confident that the result will be far better than your usual. The problem also seems to be too much emphasis on quantity of water/milk in relation to the espresso base, in the case of chains.

Coffee, like wine, is incredibly dependent on so many factors and the process of making it is a chemical explosion. Get it right and I promise you will never forget that experience. But it will tar you because you will require more out of any purchased drinks.

If thos of you reading this don't see what the fuss is about please don't mock those of us who do enjoy searching for the best possible method to extract all the flavours possible of this amazing bean.

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Anonymous Coward

Cappuccini vs Latte

For a good espresso, the beans must be freshly ground (at least that day). Espresso sort of steams the surface of the grounds for a few seconds rather than soaking them through for 4 minutes. For this to work properly, the coffee must be ground very fine. Since the coffee is ground very fine all the volatile oils are exposed (which is the point) and will go rancid quite quickly.

I don't know what 'flat white' is but assume it is (drip) coffee with milk. A basic latte is one shot of espresso and about 4 shots of steamed milk with a dab of froth on top for garnish. A basic capuccino is one shot of espresso, one shot of steamed milk and one shot of foamed milk. An Americano is one shot espresso, 4 shots hot water. Like at the bar, you can ask for any of those double (twice everything) or long (one shot, more mixer).

Americano is arguably better than drip coffee with lower caffeine (less bitter) and more flavour. It also has the advantage that it is the freshest possible cup of coffee, no matter how much or how little coffee you sell, each cup can be made to order from whole beans in just a minute or two.

All that said, if you want a good, large cup of drip-like coffee from a shishi espresso bar, try ordering a double americano with hot water on the side (so you can stretch it to taste).

Before you think I'm a coffee snob, I've done my time behind a machine but most of my takeout cups have a yellow M on them these days (free wifi too).

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Espresso with milk

As a person who puts a lot of milk in with the espresso, its been my understanding that the difference between a Rancillo and a Mokita isn't really noticeable after adding milk.

If you drink it without milk then its worth the difference.

Disclaimer: I put my Mokita and my grinder in a box about 2 years ago and have been using a Saeco X-Small since then. It takes a bit less space and I end up with a lot less coffee grounds on the counter.

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If you want to get *proper* espresso..

you need to go to Portugal .. spain or france may do it, but I dont know personally..

And then DO NOT go to the big shops that sell 'english friendly water' :P :)

find a small cafe outside town, where the Portuguese go to drink espresso!

http://www.grapes-grain.com/blog/2014/5/13/researching-coffee-in-porto

http://www.danielle-abroad.com/2013/03/modern-porto.html

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@m0rt

Completely right. Personally though I recommend using the Aeropress coffee maker. It has geek credentials (designed by the Stamford University engineering professor who designed the Aerobie flying disk), is low cost, fast, convenient and makes awesome coffee. While it makes a great smooth, relatively acid free cup Americano or Latte, it doesn't make a true espresso. But having said that it does make a strong syrupy "espresso like" filter coffee drink that can best be described as it's own form of strong coffee. Like espresso it is an excellent base for Americano or Latte.

Espresso has been around a long time and so has tradition behind it, but in all honesty I slightly prefer the Aeropress version. Perhaps due to the physics of the way the Aeropress works, it seems, for my taste, to produce a more consistent purer strong coffee. The Aeropress is basically like a big syringe plunger which ensures hot water gets pushed through the grounds under pressure, which means the coffee can be made with water at a lower temperature, can be made faster, while less acid and bitterness is released into the brew. Because the resulting brew is paper filtered it is very pure and the brew can be stored in the fridge for a couple of days just fine. Plus the Aeropress offers endless ways to tinker with the process and is far better than e.g. a French Press for avoiding the mess of sodden coffee grounds.

If your into coffee I recommend getting one. Even if it doesn't turn out to be your coffee making device of choice, it's great fun to experiment with and at the price it's difficult to go wrong. At worst you will have the best highly portable coffee maker available for ensuring very good coffee brewing capability is always available to you when travelling.

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Americano is black piss. Make your coffee properly by infusion. Adding boiling water to a greasy expresso does not produce something that tastes of anything.

Phil.

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Aeropress for when you're far, far away from a barista

What SuccessCase said. An Aeropress will cost you buggerall and make an excellent cup of coffee in less than 3mins, even when you're camping. You do have to clean the damn thing between cups, though. It doesn't do a great big pot for all your mates, so it's no good for dinner parties.

And the disposable paper filters can be replaced with a stainless steel mesh one if you want to save the environment.

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m0rt,

Nice post. You are correct that I go for a french press/cafetiere nowadays. I dumped my drip machine a while back, as it took up too much space and the hot plate seems to bugger up the second cup. So my nice stainless steel insulated jobbie comes and sits on the coffee table by my chair. It's so much easier.

I probably need to do some investigation. To replicate tastes from my days living in Belgium, and trips to Spain/France. To repeat a good cafe au lait / cafe con leche is one job.

At least I havve managed to copy the perfect mojito from the cuban bar I used to drink at in Brussels (they closed for a month in January to go home to Cuba, and August for a European holiday).

I had a cheap-ish espresso machine with milk frother years ago, but it was too difficult to get consistent results. And I decided that I'd prefer the money in my pocket and do without. Plus the limescale in the South kills them.

It is amazing how much you can get all trainspotter-y about food. And how far you can go, if you let yourself. My brother has started curing his own ham and bacon (and salmon). Next he wants to get into smoking. Then he'll be making sausages. That doesn't appeal to me. But I've already started making bread, and I want to do all my own cakes and biccies too. It's a question of experimenting and finding what's worth doing and what's too much trouble. I decided espresso was too much trouble. Perhaps I should try an air press though.

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Re: Cappuccini vs Latte

My (coffe) teacher always told me that more than 30 secondes between grinder and machine and more than 15 seconds (so be quick - these 15 seconds are with or without the steam flowing so put it in let it rest for 20 sec => waste bin + grind new coffe) in the machine would ruin the coffe for an espresso. I live by this rule and it serves me well.

Just my 2 drops

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What I want is a Tesla Café. I want it so powerfully wired up that all the teaspoons end up pointing north, migrating birds flying overhead get disorientated and there is a risk of any spike in the mains supply causing a puncture in the fabric of time itself.

LOL - *love* it. As for Faraday cages, will that not actually provoke all the phones inside to switch to max transmission power?

A worthy end to the week :).

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Espresso

Just take the espresso, or If you don't like coffee then drink tea. Enough with the ponsey coffee lightweight nonsence

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Re: Espresso

Not to mention the poncey lightweight coffee nonsense.

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Re: Espresso

Yawn. I used to work with someone who used to tell me that the pizzas I liked weren't "real pizzas". Who gives a flying fuck? I'll eat what I like. I'll drink what I like.

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Anonymous Coward

2014

It's 2014! Doesn't everyone drink vodka now?

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Re: 2014

Mine's a scotch. If you're getting them in, that is.

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Re: 2014

It's 2014! Doesn't everyone drink vodka now?

Drink! Drink?

It's 2014! One doesn't drink for heaven's sake. This is the future! One takes ones vodka in pill form. To do anything else would be terribly passe.

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Re: 2014

No - Irish coffee!

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You think you have problems......

Try getting a decently strong cup of black coffee anywhere.

"did you want another shot of espresso in there?" No I did not want another shot of espresso, I wanted only espresso, up to the brim. And no, please no "Americano" watering down, I'd rather put ice in my whisky. Just fill the damn thing with espresso and begone from my sight.

Some days it is only the caffeine induced shakes that keeps the blood flowing round.

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Re: You think you have problems......

A couple of months ago I met a colleague for a coffee in an independent coffee house in Sunderland (the End of the Earth). I was asked by the 'barista' if I wanted another shot.

"Well that would depend on the size of the cup, how big is it?"

"It doesn't make any difference, it only affects the strength"

".........."

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Re: You think you have problems......

They have their own compression algorithm

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JDX
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Re: You think you have problems......

Complaining they aren't a proper coffee-house because they won't sell you a cup of espresso is like complaining your Indian isn't a proper curry house because they don't sell vindaloo.

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Re: You think you have problems......

My order is usually 2 espressos in one cup. And the do a Longo and I return it and say no pls 2 espressos one cup. After that i usually have to educate the barista about the difference of a ristretto, an espresso, a longo and (god forbid) an americano. I usually also have to ask about the bean blen since in this country everyonr seems to think that an espresso should be made using Arabica and not Robusta which offcource is BS.

Just my 2 drops

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JDX
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Re: You think you have problems......

2 espressos in one cup. Is that a bit like a double espresso?

You don't see ristretto that often but probably it's not very popular. My favourite would be espresso macchiato but that's not always available and often you'll get some frothy latte thing instead if you don't check.

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Move to the US

The land of big cups, free refills and abundant WiFi. Oh and customer service that depends on tips for their income and doesn't just shrug when asked for more (name will still be misspelled though).

Judging by your article, I'd think you live in some third world country.

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WTF?

Re: Move to the US

The US? The country that gave the world Starbucks?

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Re: Move to the US

Or abundant free WI-FI because of the ridiculously priced home broadband connections that require your firstborn to be held as hostage should you wish to leave.

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Re: Move to the US

Free refills? So that when you finally get the coffee/sugar/milk ratio right, and are halfway through your drink, some arsehole zooms past and brims it with coffee again?

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Windows

Re: Move to the US

Nobody does coffee like they do in Seattle.

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Re: Move to the US

The US is a possibility. Or just nip over The Channel to France....

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Unhappy

Re: Move to the US

I used to think that. A week and a half on the US west coast where my only goal (besides boring "work stuff") was to find decent coffee. No matter where I went the best coffee I found was to the level of "OK" and most was downright nasty. Basic things like overheating the milk, use beans that have taste and how about cleaning the machine every decade seemed to be overlooked.

Arrived back in Sydney to the over-priced so-so coffee places in the airport (of all places) and had the best coffee for a week; only in a relative sense of course!

The WiFi however, was very good.

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Decent morning beverage?

"First-world problems, eh? This is what it is like to ‘support your local independent coffee house’ – stumbling from one bunch of hopeless clowns to the next in an ultimately doomed hunt for a decent morning beverage."

I don't see how the words 'decent morning beverage' and 'soya latte' belong in the same sentence, unless it's "Soya latte is the very definition of a product which is not a decent morning beverage."

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Re: Decent morning beverage?

In my experience Costa also does a better and more consistent double espresso (a proper morning beverage) than any of the indies who think that an espresso just means a small cup of weak coffee. Nero comes a distant second.

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Re: Decent morning beverage?

Our local Costa even serves caffe corretto, albeit with amaretto rather than grappà.

It'll do.

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meanwhile in the real world

Majority of British small and medium business is fuelled on caffeine drawn from PG Tips and Nescafe Gold Blend - bought en masse from Macro (other wholesalers, and equivalent drinks, are available).

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Re: meanwhile in the real world

> Nescafe Gold

Horrible.

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Re: meanwhile in the real world

I wish we got Nescafe Gold... Our company only buys normal Nescafe for us.

I buy my own instant coffee from Waitrose, currently drinking some Percol which is surprisingly good for instant coffee.

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Re: meanwhile in the real world

Luxury! We used to get some crappy chicory mix which tasted like dry cleaning fluid. So people started bringing their own coffee in or going to Costa

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Re: meanwhile in the real world

Crappy chicory mix which tastes like dry cleaning fluid? Luxury! It could be Mellow Birds...

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Re: meanwhile in the real world

And they always buy the catering size and *leave the lid off day and night* just to ensure that it is disgusting and nothing at all like coffee.

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Re: meanwhile in the real world

Crappy chicory mix which tastes like dry cleaning fluid? Luxury! It could be Mellow Birds...

And you have to lick it off the road from between the poisoned gravel and then work 26 hours a day?

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Superb rant!

First world problems indeed - but those are the best kind to have!

Might I venture to suggest an addition to your Tesla Cafe? Along the lines of the vintage audio coffee shops in Japan, a pair of massive Western Electric horn speakers. Perfect for playing classical music with sudden VOLUME PEAKS to unsuspecting froth gurglers. My first encounter of such blasted the top off my flattie and left me having to prise my eardrums apart with a warm teaspoon.

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If you ask for soya 'milk'

You deserve everything you get. Just ask yourself what process is used to turn a bright green bean into a white semi-opaque imitation of a cow's mammary excretions.

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Re: If you ask for soya 'milk'

One that can be perfectly viable in ancient times, it seems.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soy_milk

"The oldest evidence of soy milk production is from China where a kitchen scene proving use of soy milk was incised on a stone slab dated around AD 25–225."

Not some modern hippy invention, as much as you'd love to believe.

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Re: If you ask for soya 'milk'

okay, so it's shit that's been around for yonks...

still shit tho

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Re: If you ask for soya 'milk'

I'm not trying to claim that there aren't any number of ingenious uses for soya beans, particularly in the Orient, from eating them boiled in their pods, to fermenting them to make sauces and miso, and processing to make tofu (evil though it is).

Soya 'milk', however, would not historically have been used in China as a whitener for coffee - it's not only anachronistic, but geographically unlikely.

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