All posts filed under: travel

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.    

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, …

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:  

How about some coffee in New York?

“Welcome to New York, concrete jungle where dreams are made of, there’s nothing you can’t do.” These words perfectly describe New York. Perfectly describe the coffee scene. Perfectly describe the people there. I have had the massive privilege of travelling to the amazing New York City twice in the past six months. I have experienced, seen and tasted so much awesomeness that it only seems fair that I share such experiences with you. If you are a coffee lover, love experiences and want to know where to get the best cup in the Big Apple, then this article is for you. I first want to preface this article by telling you what the coffee scene is like in this City. One word comes to mind: explosive. Absolutely explosive. I was in the city for over three weeks and every day I made it my mission to visit at least two to three stores a day. I wanted to meet baristas, I wanted them to make and tell me about their coffee and take some nice …

How to drink coffee… like an Italian

What could be better than enjoying a coffee… in Italy? Knowing what to order, and how (and when) to drink coffee like an Italian! That’s because Italian coffee isn’t like coffee in the United States or anywhere else. Even the names don’t mean what you might expect. Take a story we heard from one traveler to Italy. Since she was familiar with the “Italian” lingo of coffee from Starbucks, she thought she was all set when she arrived in Italy and, proudly, ordered a “latte.” The server looked at her funny. “Latte? Caldo o freddo?” (Hot or cold?). She spoke a little Italian, so it was her turn to look at him funny: “Caldo, of course!” she said. He disappeared for a moment, came back, and handed her a cup of exactly what she’d asked for—hot milk. Don’t want that to be you? Then it’s worth knowing a little bit about coffee in Italy! Here are some starting tips. A “bar” is really a “cafe” The number of places labeled “bar” in your average Italian city would make you think all Italians have a …

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 I spent 48 hours in Edinburgh

After 2 caffeinated days in London it was time for the next half of our 5 year wedding anniversary celebration: Edinburgh. Virgin Trains took us along the scenic route. Free wifi came in handy for the parts that weren’t so scenic. Four hours later we arrived in one of the most beautiful cities I’ve ever been to. We Uber’d the 10 minutes to our hotel. Booking.com came through for us on this one. The welcome was warm. The check-in swift. The room luxurious. More about this hotel in another blog post. As was the case in London, and for the same reason, I only visited 4 speciality coffee shops in my 2 days in Edinburgh. Here’s how I spent my time… Brew Lab Fortitude Coffee Steampunk Coffee Roasters Filament Coffee My thoughts overall There’s a caption I normally add to my photos on my Instagram page when I run out of witty banter. “Coffee spaces are my favorite kind”. Edinburgh didn’t disappoint. Exposed brick. Herringbone floors. Friendly faces. Excellent coffee. My top tips For some …