Humans of coffee: Grindstone Runaways

Who is Grindstone Runaways?

We are a traveling couple – Lyndsay Zinn & David Gonçalves, who sold it all back home in South Africa (just over a year ago) to explore the world in search of amazing coffee and incredible cafes. No matter where we are in the world, we aim to find the best, as well as experience all the local coffee in that country. We love nothing more than sitting at a cafe, meeting new people and sipping away on new coffee flavours and unique variations.

We freelance as designers / web developers to keep this dream alive, and are currently working on some photography to start capturing all the the amazing creations and local coffees we experience.

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What is your favourite childhood memory?

Lyndz:

There are so many – which I guess is a good thing, right? But, if I really have to choose one it would be getting to travel with my family every few years to experience the happiest place on earth – Walt Disney World in Florida, USA. We used to visit during the Christmas season and the memories that were made with them can never be forgotten. Even as child just getting to the airport, walking on to that plane and knowing where we were about to go created so much joy and excitement. Probably the reason why I adore travelling!

Dave:

Eating. Every great memory I have as a child involves eating something delicious. I have a pretty big family and our Sundays were spent devouring massive roast lunches and sharing crazy (and sometimes inappropriate) stories while stuffing our faces with really tasty food. After a hefty lunch we would all enjoy a cuppa’ coffee or tea with mom’s weekly homemade cake or her new dessert creation. Good times.

If you could have a do-over in life, what would you do differently?

I think for both of us it would have been to get more involved in food and coffee from a younger age. We would both have loved to have gone to culinary school. Instead we both studied graphic design but, even though we still both love design, coffee and food are definitely our passions.

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What do you feel most proud of?

The fact that we took the leap and quit our jobs to pursue something that we love is what we are most proud of. It is really difficult to leave something that you are comfortable in and it took us some time to pluck up the courage to sell everything we own, quit our jobs and detach ourselves from the stability and get on a plane to drink coffee in cafes in all the countries we have dreamed about visiting.

If you could keep only 3 possessions, what would they be and why?

Dave:

  1. My guitar & Ukulele – music is another passion of mine.
  2. My camera – the more I get into it more I love it.
  3. Our portable pour over coffee maker – that ones self explanatory

Lyndz:

Since we have sold almost all of our possessions, this is a toughie… but let’s go with:

  1. My watch – The first gift that David ever gave to me.
  2. My hair dryer – Hate wet hair ☺
  3. My passport – Need it to travel

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What do you want your tombstone to say?

Dave:

“Here lies David Goncalves born 1982 died 2082.”

Lyndz:

Filtered coffee, not people.

Made love, not war.

Created. Contributed. Inspired.

+ a date that is FAR into the future

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What is @Grindstonerunaways

We are a duo who want to travel while focusing on finding the most amazing coffee shops and tasting the best coffee the world has to offer. At the same time, helping cafes get recognition for the good work they do. We also want to teach the average Joe about coffee and how great it is. The more we learn, the more we want to give back.

What is your favourite kind of coffee?

Dave: I love a Cortado, but I’m a sucker for a Double Espresso too.

Lyndz: A Flattie or a caramel & nutty-noted Pour Over (no milk or sugar)

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In which coffee shop are we likely to bump into you?

Well, that could be anywhere. We are trying to visit as many as we can while we can, so have a look out for us anyway.

What does a perfect day look like to you?

Coffee. Breakfast. Cook. Visit a new place. Coffee. Visit another new place. Wine & Dinner. A caffeinated nightcap. An episode of FRIENDS. Bed.

Follow the duo’s journey on facebook, youtube and instagram

This is a good story and we are only on the first page

Today a team from TriBeCa Coffee Company will head to Kilimanjaro to both build a dairy for a woman farmer who produces amazing organic coffee on the slopes of Kilimanjaro and, in celebration of woman in coffee, will also be climbing Kilimanjaro and brewing Kilimanjaro coffee on the summit.

They’ll not only be continually updating their social media feed, but will also have a live tracker that people can follow to see exactly where they are! Starting on the 12th of March to the 24th of March.

Of the world’s estimated 1 billion poor, 70% are women. Women own less than 1% of the world’s titled land. The World Bank estimates that more than 500 million people throughout the world are dependent on coffee for their livelihoods, and of that number, 25 million are coffee farmers. Unfortunately, coffee farmers typically live and work in substandard conditions, which are compounded by the fact that they receive only a small percentage of the actual price for which the coffee is sold to the consumer.

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Image by Al Jazeera

Women, who represent a good majority of coffee farmers, face additional challenges. Aside from the day-to-day struggles women coffee farmers face in order to maintain a respectable standard of living, they also struggle with the gender inequality prevalent throughout the world’s coffee growing regions.  Frequently suffering from abuse, neglect and poverty, women are unable to gain economic, social or political power in their family’s coffee business, or in their communities.

It is for this reason that Tribeca have decided to support woman farmers and their families through this project.

Rain Forest, Western Usambara Mountains,  near Lushoto, Tanzania
Usumbara Mountains. Image by Wikipedia.

This isn’t something new for TriBeCa, in 2016 they built a dairy and did training with Anna, a farmer in the Usambara region of Tanzania. It was so successful that she was then able to buy two goats to add to her dairy with the money that she got for the coffee that Tribeca bought from her.

This isn’t just the story of a few cows and a farmer. This is one about a community coming together for the greater good. This is the story of a value chain that actually adds value all the way from crop to cup.

This is a good story and we are only on the first page.

 

Cover image by Enchanting Travels

From a farm in Ethiopia to a Rocky Mountain bike trail

I’m sitting on a summit 6500′ above sea level where the Rocky Mountains of Canada meet the Columbia range. Surrounded by postcard views and staggering cliffs, I take in the crisp alpine air and turn my attention to the bag of carefully roasted beans I had stashed in my pack. Coffee is beautiful. I am reminded of this every time I open a new bag. These beans are more than vessels for caffeine, they have a story, and a purpose. The label on the bag can tell me where they came from, but how did they end up here?

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As I run my fingers over their smooth, chocolatey skin I like to think about all the hands involved in bringing these beans to my cup. I try to picture the faces of the people who planted the seeds and watched them grow into trees, then carefully harvested, sorting through rows upon rows of plants using calloused and cracked fingers to delicately select only the ripest cherries.

For the farmers growing coffee, these beans are more than a job. It provides them with income to raise a family and put their kids through school. It’s a community, both locally and globally. They form relationships with buyers around the world, who in turn form relationships with the shops, roasters, and home brewers. Coffee connects me to people,  many of whom I’ll never meet, but who’s hard work and passion for great coffee binds us.

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My cup was empty, hanging from my pack as I pedalled my way up this beautiful alpine single track. Now, at the top of the mountain, it is filled with coffee that minutes ago was beans spilling between my fingers. The story of these beans, from seeds, to trees, then harvested and processed, sold, roasted and bought, is long and beautiful. This particular coffee started life in the mountains of Ethiopia, and has now found its cup in the rocky mountains of Canada. I take a minute to revel in the fragrances cocooning around me, the alpine flowers and moss gently fraternizing with the sweet and floral aromas of the coffee. I appreciate the warmth of the cup in my hands against the mountain air, then enjoy in the view, and take a sip.

By Tim Friesen

Tim Friesen grew up exploring the forests of northern Alberta, Canada. As he got older his backyard expanded to encompass the endless mountain ranges of Canada and the US. With a mountain bike as his tool and coffee as his fuel, he is as at home in a tent in the La Sal mountains as he is in the back of his truck in the parking lot of Kicking Horse Bike Park. You may mail him here, or find him on instagram, facebook or his blog.

A Guide to Specialty Coffee in Tokyo and Kyoto

Most people don’t associate Japan with high quality coffee. Traditional coffee houses generally serve a filter variety of coffee, and Japan’s ubiquitous vending machines carry canned coffee, hot and cold. However, the specialty coffee scene is growing in popularity and quality. Starbucks and big chains still dominate streetscapes, but hidden down quiet lanes you’ll find the following cafes slinging quality espresso. Off the beaten tourist track, the search for the best brew is a great way to discover different neighbourhoods (and importantly stay caffeinated while at it). That’s the point of travel, right?

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Fuglen

1 Chome-16-11 Tomigaya, 渋谷区 Tokyo 151-0063, Japan

This cafe and bar is the sister outpost of Fuglen Oslo, and you can tell. If you’re wandering around Yoyogi Park and surrounds in Tokyo, and have a hankering for a smooth cappuccino inside what feels like the coziest Scandinavian cabin, then Fuglen is your place. Who doesn’t love coffee with a vintage modernist aesthetic? It’s open well after dark (till 2am Friday and Saturday) for late night cravings.

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Onibus Nakameguro

Japan, 〒153-0051 Tokyo, 目黒区Kamimeguro, 2−14−1 

Coffee underneath a rumbling train line in the trendy neighbourhood of Nakameguro?  Yes please. Onibus is one of the city’s best roasters, with another outpost in Okusawa, as well as being a major supplier. Once you start sipping away at your preferred brew in the cosy seating area at Onibus, the trains completely fade into the background.

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Switch Coffee

1 Chome-17-23 Meguro, Tokyo 153-0063, Japan

Located on a peaceful residential street a short walk from Meguro station lies Switch, a roastery and cafe. It may be small, with just one bench for seating, a touch of vintage furniture and a sprawling plant, but Switch served up one of the smoothest, tastiest coffees I had in Tokyo, in a peaceful setting – I can’t think of a better way to start the day.

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About Life Coffee Brewers

1 Chome-19-8 Dogenzaka, Shibuya, Tokyo 150-0043, Japan

Walk a little way up Dogenzaka, away from the central bustle of Shibuya, and you might spot a small crowd of people gathering in a laneway. Welcome to About Life Coffee Brewers, a tiny hole in the wall coffee bar that is serving up some quality brews with beans from its partner Onibus.

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Single O

2 Chome-23-2 Kamezawa, Sumida, Tokyo 130-0014, Japan

Single O Japan is a personal favourite, and well worth the effort of tracking down in the Ryogoku district near the Edo Museum. Single O has been one of Sydney (my hometown)’s best cafes and roasters for over a decade, and last year opened its first overseas location in Tokyo. It’s hidden down a quiet street, and you’ll be greeted by friendly faces and some of the best Aussie-approved brews in town.

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Tokyo Bike

4 Chome-2-39 Yanaka, Taitō, Tokyo 110-0001, Japan

Tokyo Bike is a heavenly minimalist bike and retail store with a built in coffee counter. Tokyo Bike now has stores located around the world, but its original store in Tokyo’s central yet sleepy neighbourhood of Yanaka is a lovely place to stop for a coffee and then rent a stylish bike for the afternoon.

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Blue Bottle

Shinagawa Station 2-18-1 Konan Minato-ku, Tokyo 108-0075

Japan is the only country outside of the US in which California-based roaster Blue Bottle has set up shop so far. There’s not one, but seven Tokyo cafes (Aoyama, Kiyosumi, Nakameguro, Roppongi, Sangenjaya, Shinagawa, Shinjuku), which operate with smooth service, sleek interiors and an emphasis on quality espresso and manual brews. I particularly enjoyed the outpost at Shinagawa station, from where you can watch the immense rush hour crowds make their way through the station.

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KYOTO

Visiting temple upon temple can be a tiring business, which is when quality coffee is desperately called upon. Kyoto has stepped up its specialty coffee game, and if you’re combining Tokyo and Kyoto as most travellers do, the following cafes are well worth a visit.

Kurasu

Japan, 〒600-8235 Kyoto Prefecture, Kyoto, Shimogyo Ward, Higashiaburanokojicho, 552

Kurasu is tucked away right next to Kyoto Station, making it the most convenient starting point in town. They rotate beans from top roasters around the world, meaning you’ll always have a slightly different tasting experience in this lovely coffee bar, but the quality will remain second to none.

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Weekenders

Japan, 〒604-8064 Kyoto Prefecture, Kyoto, Nakagyo Ward, Honeyanocho, 560

Weekenders is the definition of a hidden gem – it’s located inside a small parking lot in the fantastic central shopping district of Kyoto (Teramachi Dori and surrounds). Weekenders has been around for over ten years, a pioneer of Kyoto’s specialty coffee scene. The little cafe feels far from the bustle of the city, giving you a few moments to recuperate with a lovely cup of coffee, made with its own roast.

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By Rose Levy

Rose is a student of journalism, social sciences and is a German with a home base in Sydney and her heart in her favourite city of Berlin. She’s most often found wandering laneways, camera in hand and dog Mitzi in tow, searching for the best coffee and slickest cafes in town. She recently spent two weeks hunting for the best brews in Japan’s culture capitals. And was kind enough to share her experience with us. Follow her at her beautiful instagram page for more of her adventures.

How I spent 48 hours in Amsterdam: Little Collins

Brunch isn’t really a thing in Amsterdam. But it is in Melbourne. So Little Collins‘ Australian-born owners brought a slice Melbourne to Amsterdam’s De Pijp neighbourhood.

I could write a book about how good my breakfast waffle was. And turn that book into a best seller by including images of my perfectly prepared flat white. Instead I’ll leave you with this – the most important piece of advice you’ll ever hear about this spot:

Go early.

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How I spent 48 hours in Amsterdam: Scandinavian Embassy

My only regret about my visit to Scandinavian Embassy is that I took an Uber. Hidden away in Sarphatipark in De Pijp, it took my driver ages to get there. But like all of life’s great adventures, it was worth the trip.

The shop is run by the owner / operator duo of Rikard Andersson and Nicolas Castagno. Rikard is a chef. Nicolas is a champion coffee maker. My expectations were high.

Every blog post I read recommended the freshly baked cinnamon rolls. So I ordered poached eggs with salmon on toast. I washed it down with a perfectly prepared flat white. And then I had a freshly baked cinnamon roll.

I recommend it.

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How I spent 48 hours in Amsterdam: Screaming Beans

Screaming Beans‘ Singel 276 shop is a cosy gem.

As usual I settled into a table at the back. From there I watched locals pop in for what seemed to be their daily fix. Greetings were warm. Conversations were meaningful. Recollections were fond.

It made me wish I lived in Amsterdam.

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