THE UNRELIABLE GUIDE TO… COFFEEA wise man once told me that life is too short for scratchy toilet paper or bad coffee. I agree, and apparently so do you. According to a recent Nespresso survey, 50 per cent of us Aussies say that being given a bad coffee makes us angry, 17 per cent feel regretful, and a delicate 6 per cent reckon it spoils their whole day. If coffee is this important, how are you going to make sure that you get your mitts on a cup of the good stuff? The Unreliable Guide has some tips and tricks to get your fix in style…
LIVE RIGHT HERE IN AUSTRALIA
After many trips overseas, I reckon Australian coffee is the best in the world. Truly. I was desperate to try coffee in Italy (it’s a kind of religion to them, after all), but while Italian espresso is an experience, their lattes are just horrible. French coffee is passable, and if you’re headed to the UK don’t expect much. There are cafes in both London and New York that advertise the fact they’ve got Australian or Kiwi baristas. Think about that. Forget the Ashes, forget the Webb Ellis Cup, they know we’ve got them covered when it comes to coffee. The award for the worst coffee in the world goes to America. Their drip filter coffee tastes like manure mixed with battery acid. No wonder they offer you a free refill. So, yes, we have the best in the world, but who’s going to make it?
CHOOSE YOUR BARISTA WITH CARE
A great barista is like Coffee God, and must be treated with respect and adulation. I have cafes I only go to when a particular barista is behind the Gaggia’s gleaming chrome. Some baristas are variable and must be checked for mood; if they are having a bad day they may well take it out on my brew. To check if a barista is going to produce the goods you need to look out for flair, swish and expertise. If you take milk in your coffee, the barista must have the right milk-skills: silky and creamy, not bubble bath foamy, and served at just the right side of hot. And please, barista, once you’ve placed the portafilter in the machine, brew that coffee straight away; don’t leave it burning while you flirt with the hot waitress/waiter or I’ll show you the meaning of bitter.
INVENT A ‘COFFEE NAME’
Having found a great barista who’s turning out the good stuff, you’ll probably find he/she has quite a local following. This means you may have to queue and give your name. This can be a problem if your name is generic. ‘Nat’ can be short for Nathan, Natalie, Natasha, or Natalia, plus it sounds far too much like Matt, Brett, Pat and Kat. Due to coffee shop name confusion I’ve been accidentally given a hot chocolate, a cinnamon mocha, and the most disgusting cappuccino with three sugars. It was awful, but it led me to adopt a unique ‘coffee name’. Genius. I no longer ask for a latte for Nat. Instead, I give them my new ‘coffee name’. It works a treat, but I’m not telling you what it is. Find your own. I’m not drinking your skim soy moccachino with honey!
Finally, if you like takeaway coffee, make sure you get yourself a reusable cup. The planet has enough shit taking up valuable space already.