All posts filed under: blog

How I spent 48 hours in Amsterdam: Lot Sixty One

When I arrived at Lot Sixty One both the outside benches were occupied. By locals. Always a good sign. Two of them had dogs. An even better sign. I walked inside and perched myself at the bar. The heat outside inspired an iced coffee. Which tasted like friendship. It had me at hello. Which is how Claye introduced himself. He told me about the shop, the coffee and himself. I liked all three. And you will too.  

How I spent 48 hours in Amsterdam: Sweet Cup

It’s the driftwood, the succulents and the adorable basset hound that make you feel like you’re in Lisa Rooimans and Paul van Duuren’s living room. And that’s exactly what they were going for. A warm inviting space where customers would receive personal attention. It’s not often you find a speciality coffee shop (and microroastery) that promotes pourovers over espresso-based drinks. Sweet Cup is that shop. And after I tasted my V60, which Lisa recommended I let cool before my first sip, I understood why. If you’re in a rush, head buried in your phone, you’ll easily miss Sweet Cup’s discreet but beautiful storefront on Lange Leidsedwarsstraat. And you’ll completely miss one of the best coffee experiences in Amsterdam. There’s a lesson in that.    

Humans of coffee: Maja Wisniewska

Who is Maja Wisniewska? A girl with too many interests and not enough time to follow them all! From coffee (obviously!) through history of fashion, rap music, sports, ending on forensic sciences and criminal profiling. I’m from Poland where I have done my BA in international relations and MA in cultural studies. I have moved to UK and currently I’m living in Southampton. At the moment I am not doing anything related to what I’ve studied which is so common in today’s world. Instead I’m focusing more and more on a career switch as I would love to start working in a coffee related environment. What is your favorite childhood memory? To be honest I feel like my brain ran out of memory space and has started replacing older memories with newer ones. Most of my earliest memories are from my teenage years. From really early years I remember playing with my cousin which has always led to massive fights so that we had to be separated from each other. That was until we realised …

Here’s where to find the best coffee in Johannesburg: Father Coffee

There’s a Charles Bukowski quote that goes “We don’t even ask (for) happiness. Just a little less pain.” And that’s really all I ever ask for. I mean, if you had to ask me what I look for in a good restaurant, it’s only this: room temperature butter. Everything else will follow if there’s room temperature butter. That’s why I like Father Coffee. The attention to detail. In their roasting. In their coffee. And in their spaces. One of the co-founders, Nicholas, said it best in a Humans of Coffee interview I did with him: First and foremost we’re a coffee roastery and espresso bar. We’re hoping to improve the state of the coffee industry in South Africa by helping grow an informed and excited consumer. We put a huge amount of effort and consideration into everything we do, from sourcing, to roasting, to brewing and to our communications with our customers. Father Coffee is also an incredible place to hang out, whether you’re in Braamfontein or Rosebank. If I had to choose between the two shops, …

Here’s the best advice if you’re thinking about getting into speciality coffee

I had a serious bout of cabin fever a few nights back. I needed to get out. So I grabbed my camera and laptop and headed to a coffee shop. The plan was to blog. When I ordered a cappuccino the barista asked me if I’d like to try their festive season blend. And after describing it to me I asked him if a cappuccino was the best way to appreciate the work that went into it. His eyes lit up and he asked if he could prepare it in a chemex. He was super excited about the idea. I listened carefully as he described each step in the brewing process. Why he was wetting the filter paper. Why he chose the grind size he did. Why he let the coffee bloom. Why the pour was a slow, circular exercise. Why he was watching the timer. And why he really appreciated me giving him the chance to brew me a chemex. We tasted the coffee together. He complimented my slurp. We talked about the tasting …

This is my favourite coffee shop in Paris

I’ve been to Paris a few times now. Enough to not need to climb the Eiffel Tower. Enough to not need to see the Mona Lisa. Enough to not need to eat a Nutella crepe. Enough to have favourite coffee shop. When I first popped into Fragments I had to wait for a seat to open up. I grabbed a take away coffee and waited outside. The notes of caramel and nuts in my flat white were as delicious as the notes of music coming from the big box speakers on the floor. I finished that cup at a table next to the bar. And before I ordered another, I had fallen in love. As one does in Paris. It’s not that the coffee was excellent. Which it was. It’s not that the service was thoughtful. Which it was. I fell in love with Fragments for the very same reason I fell in love with my wife. She’s a young lady with an old soul. Trying to capture everything that Fragments is with a photograph …

If you’re in Durban, here’s where you should be drinking your coffee this weekend

I woke up this morning to a tag on Instagram by Counter Culture. They’re celebrating the fact that their Simnikiwe Mkhize (@iamsimplicity) has just been voted the best barista in KZN. The news came as no surprise. I’ve met Simnikiwe. And within minutes she became one of my favorite people. If you’ve met her, I’m sure she’s one of yours. She served me a perfectly crafted chemex and, without a doubt, one of the best smiles in coffee. She’s one of the reasons I’m so keen to check out Counter Culture’s new space on Florida Road. One of many reasons. Like their Tanzania and Brazil blend roasted by Bishop’s Coffee. Or their rotating single origin pourovers. Or their ramen and beer nights. Or just shooting the breeze with Luke about the state of speciality coffee in South Africa. Until you and I are able to pop in, here’s a peek at the new shop:  

Here’s why your next holiday needs to be to Vietnam

Viet Nam, a diverse Southeast Asian country bordering Cambodia, Laos, and China, has a lot to offer to a curious traveler, with the sprawling Mekong River Delta and non-stop rhythm of Saigon in the South, relaxed rural pace of Hoi An in the country’s center, and the stunning landscapes surrounding the capital, Hanoi, in the North. Charting a course from the South to the North, let’s embark on an in-depth exploration of this fascinating country, with stops below serving as guideposts to your own journey. South Vietnam: The energy, youth, and future of Viet Nam is here, in Saigon (officially known as Ho Chi Minh City). So is the foreign investment, the startups, and the momentum. The city is on fire and does not stop; there are more motorbikes than people in this metropolitan of more than 8 million – cross the roads at your own risk! The city is divided into 24 districts. Most visitors stay in Districts 1 and 2, but a more authentic experience awaits outside of this overdeveloped, backpacker-friendly scene. Districts …

How does a barista champion brew an Aeropress?

Ishan Natalie has been a friend of @manmakecoffee for a while now. He is a 3 time South Africa Barista Champion, a 2 time Africa Barista Champion, the South Africa Aeropress Champion 2012 & a Humans of Coffee alumnus. And this is his Aeropress recipe. Coffee: Ozone Coffee‘s Burundi, Munyinya Hill by Long Miles Coffee Method: inverted Grind: medium Coffee weight: 15g Water weight: 220g Pre-infusion: 50g water, 35 seconds Action: swirl, fill water to 220g Action: place cap, release air pocket & flip Action: press & extract Result: juicy, bright, sweet & fruity Enjoy! For more, follow Ishan on Instagram at @dodgybarista. The cover image of Ishan competing at the World Barista Championship in Seattle was taken by Pavel Zhdanov.