Sunday, 12 September 2010

Trendy coffee

Not being a coffee drinker (or alcohol consumer: abstaining from both due to a heart condition, with coffee, chocolate and alcohol being huge heart stimulants which Rita should stay well away from, according to my doctor), I don't follow religiously where the current 'in' place for the coffee connoisseur is, but have been reliably informed that it's currently the Italian Pantry in North Hobart.

The Cupping Room has also been mooted as THE place for Hobart's best coffee, as well as Villeno in Criterion St.

Years before owning a coffee shop in Hobart myself (many moons ago) but still not, at that time, being a coffee drinker (for the same reasons as named above) and extremely often since, I have found myself in the position of being able to observe coffee afficionados and their pronouncements about what exactly constitutes, in THEIR opinion, a good and/or the best coffee.

I have come to the conclusion that actually, once again as in the case of food, it really is a personal choice and matter of taste preference.

Practically all my closest relatives and friends are coffee drinkers - and not just ANY coffee, but they all strive to make or drink only the best coffee. They can wax lyrical for hours on the subject. I have long since learned to glaze over once the familiar listing of the prerequisites for "the perfect latte, or cappa" or whatever, commences, whilst still appearing to look enthused and interested in their pronouncements!

Truth is: whatever pleases each and every one of you! All I want from life is that everyone gains the maximum of enjoyment or satisfaction from their cuppa - whatever it is.

I have found that there is no single thread of consistency regarding exactly what constitutes a "perfect" coffee, from all those surrounding me, both personal and professional.

I don't write this easily - and expect to be taken to task bigtime by all the coffee drinkers out there in Rita-land - but, hey, I'm just reporting it as I have observed it over the last 20-30 years, without having actually been involved in it myself!

Your thoughts, coffee-freaks?
Posted on by Rita


Tassiegal said...

Not a coffee freak per se (one cup about every 2nd day) but GOOD coffee makes all the difference.
I like oomph coffee. Havent tried Italian Pantry, and villeno I can take or leave. Its the CAFFINE I want!!!

Rita said...

Exactly what I'm talking about TG - the point I was trying to make was that every coffee drinker says what you did - ie that GOOD coffee makes all the differnece - but it's that qualification of what exactly makes that elusive "GOOD" coffee that I find interesting to observe varies so much from person to person!

I'd love to sit you (and a few others) down, get you to blind-taste a few coffees from various places, then get you to make a calling as to which (in your opinion) was the best one. I'll bet you everyone makes a different judgement on which they preferred (and naturally vote as being the best in the world!).

Eva said...

I consider myself to be a coffee drinker, and have been known to knock back a shortblack or two, but the looks of disgust that I have received on asking for a 'skinny mocha' at places that truly know their coffee do tend to scare me somewhat.....

Tassiegal said...

For me a GOOD coffee is one that isnt bitter, has something resembling a caffine hit and smells like cute italian. Actually that SOUNDS wrong. Smells like green stuff and earth and oh hades I dunno. I never drank coffee before my thesis!!! :-)

Tassiegal said...

ACtually in retrospect, its the purity of the coffee. No additives/chemicals etc. Someone told me once people get withdrawal from BAD coffee due to the chemicals it contains. Good coffee shouldnt make you addicted. I have yet to run an experiment on myself to see if this is the case...may do it early next year and see.

Anonymous said...

for me - temperature, beans fresh and ground to order, velvet milk, not burnt, not over extracted, quick service and consistency,consistency -
Island cafe, Lotus Eaters Cafe, Criterion cafe, Tricycle, and Pigeon Hole are where I drink.

Forde Montgomery said...

I drink long blacks: Pigeon Hole at the moment. Smith St Store is also good (so long as Nicole makes it).

Snuva said...

I'm a Villino girl. I find The Cupping Room's coffee burnt/over roasted - and the customer service awful!

Susannah said...

My favourite caffeine hit is from Breadd in Murray Street. The coffee is hot (enough to hold its heat as I walk to my office), the coffee is full bodied but not burnt/bitter, and the various staff members manage a consistent product, with the milk being heated enough, but not burnt.

I am usually a cappuccino girl, but recently my daughter told me that cappuccinos are bogan; lattes are old hat, and the cogniscenti are all drinking flat white now.

As long as it is reasonably strong, not bitter or scorched, and has a good shot of caffeine, I probably don't care!

sir grumpy said...

I like tea, Niow what makes a good cup of tea. I know ME. (For Me).
I just couldn't bring myself to ask for something called a skinny mocha.
But the secret to good anything is the quality of the product and getting it prepared the way YOU like it.

Tassiegal said...

I tend agree with you Snuva - I find the cupping room coffee burnt/over roasted - which is odd considering it is run by the same people (I think) who run oomph.

simon cordwell said...

I am with you Sir G a good cup of tea for me any time, I just do not drink coffee. But I must say the Italian Pantry fabulous. Mrs Chef and I arrived there one wet and cold saturday afternoon, as it turns out 10mins after they close for the day. We had heard about this italian food store for a while so went to chek it out. A bit late though, I knew I let that second pot of tea draw for a bit too long. So dissapointed, we were walking back to the car when the door burst to the Italian Pantry burst open and amid shouts of "un momento" we were ushered back inside. I can not remember the names of the two gentlemen that looked after us that afternoon but the customer service was outstanding. While we were there they also opened the doors for another couple as well. The product range and quality are excellent. And we went home very happy with our pruchases for dinner that night. This store will be a regular stop for us from now on.

sir grumpy said...

Yes, Simon, it's tea for me.
I always think coffee is overpowering when served after food.
Those lingering tastes are obliterated by the coffee. But lots of people love that.
The only time I go for a coffee is at Turkish places, that hot-sweet-sticky stuff suits their cuisine as a closer.
But just a little cup does it with a sticky dessert.

Sue said...

The Italian Pantry is now on my list for a regular Saturday morning stop. Why? consistently good coffee, plenty of space to read the papers or chat, delicious toasted fruit brioche, not too noisy, not too quiet, cheery but not pretentious service. You can get one of each of these at Lansdowne Cafe, Pigeon Hole, Villino, Cupping Room and Dev'lish. You can get them all at once at the Italian Pantry...for now.

Sue said...

..and while we are looking for the perfect cafe..I know it is early days but Basket and Green (corner Brisbane and Elizabeth) could take a leaf out of the Italian Pantry's book. Background of unpleasant commercial radio, cold space, undewhelming toast (how could you wreck toast?) warm and weak coffee...I'll go back in a week and see if it was teething problems. Hope so.

Anonymous said...

Em at Kafe Kara makes a mean coffee and the service is the best in Hobart. The girls there make you feel so welcome

Anon2 said...

Skinny flat white or, if the coffee is really good, short black. Freshly ground for max aroma and full flavour-must be strong, I like a little sugar. Like good wine,there are so many different coffees from so many different regions it's impossible to pick out and out winners. Happy with good filtered coffee at home. I like Oomph in Liverpool St when I'm in town.

sir grumpy said...

I just wish making the things didn't keep the staff so busy for so long.
Even at Banjos the process was so slow I almost walked out instead of waiting for some rolls.
By the way, one of these super-duper time wasters (coffee machines) blew up at a Sainsbury cafe in England yesterday, injuring lots of people.
Check the Daily Mail.

Cartouche said...

The unspoken truth....

The best coffee is the one your hanging out for. For me this is the first coffee in the morning after the first hour of the morning preparations. At this point I'm wanting that caffine hit. Its perfect because my body and mind are at their peak receptiveness. Its got bollocks all to do with extraction, pour, grind, bean origin etc. Thats not to say it can be shite either, but averagely good and its sublime.

This goes for a good cold one too. Lets face it the best cool beer you sink is the one your hanging out for.

So at the risk of offending all you uber coffee officionados, if its a line up of coffee tasting in the way wine is tasted, then hats off to you all; but lets face it thats not what happens, your customers love it most when it was just what they wanted at the time they realy felt like it. Sorry if this kills a few egos but I think I'm right, this can also be said of many things in life.


sir grumpy said...

One is never hanging out, Cartouche, old chap.
One should always make sure one has tucked it in.
But one has a good point.

Anonymous said...

disagree Cartouche - if my first coffee is not how it should be then it is down the sink - if my front of house is not happy - she chucks it and starts again - this isn't ego it's called service, consistency and how to run a business - what is wrong with knowing your product? why does that equal wank -?????? My ego is just fine.

Blossom said...

I had a t/a coffee from La Torta, only cos I got a park outside,and coudln't at Zum and it was really good (skinny flat white)
Previously had one there that tasted like dishwater but they have a new owner I think

Mr Latte said...

Just got back from Africa (of all places!) and log in to see the coffee debate raging again!

Well I have to say I love coffee, and as with many things, everyone has different tastes and expectations so it's hard to say what the "best" coffee is.

Some people like instant.
Some people like Percolated.
Some people like Drip Filter.
Most people like espresso.

I personallly prefer espresso, I don't like sugar or flavour syrups and I look for coffee with nicely-texturised milk, not too hot, or too cold, friendly service, reasonable service... I like it to be tasty... Not weak, watery or insipid.

I enjoy lattes, cappucinos and ristrettos. Some people say things like "Lattes are old, short blacks are for wankers" etc etc but I ignore them.

You drink what you want to drink, where you want to drink it, because its what you like.

I also like those little cards they give you, which give you freebies after every 5 or 10 purchases.

$20 a week spent on takeaway coffee is $1000+ per year! Scary thought for many. I have a tab at the local cafe, and with my 5 children and better half always popping in to the local for drinks and food etc, that tab runs to $500 a month..... I have to cancel it!

The profit cafes can make out of selling masses of coffee is huge! I hate to think how much profit oomph etc make!!!

and FWIW, I dislike oomph coffee as it is always strong and bitter. The takeaways are anyway.

And anyone who buys bloody FRANCHISE COFFEE had no credibility to enter in to this discussion, Gloria Jeans and Dome coffee is piss weak and luke warm, beans taste like soil and I would rather not have a 12 year old make my coffee.

Don't support franchise's, go to real businesses!

Thats my 5 cents worth....

Anonymous said...

I live in Kingston, and the ONLY place to go for coffee is breadd.

The milk is texturised nicely, the coffee tasty, and its a nice place to sit and relax.

When in Hobart, I head for Criterion St which has two great cafes.

Oh and don't ever bag out Oomph coffee over the internet, the owner will come on to this blog and write a 5 page essay about how good he is, why he is so good, he is busy etc etc etc

Anonymous said...

RVL, the best fair trade, organic, single origin in the state.

Anonymous said...

Must be a different RVL to the one I know -

sir grumpy said...

Crikey, I just had a look on the Oomph web page after that mention by a Kingstonite.
`` single origin, organic, shade-grown, washed Arabica beans.....'' it witters on.
Shit, I just open the jar, take a spoony of the powder into cup, whack in the hot water and milk, et voila, medicine.
Only time I'd touch the stuff is as a pick me up when I'm desperate.
And don't go on about Nescafe giving me my view of ALL coffee. My missus has her fancy brands and occasionally (very) I sip some of that when I'm, desperate for a lift...and that all tastes crap too.

Anonymous said...

Jeez,sir grumpy, you really can be a fuckwit at times!

Lady Jayne said...

Hey Rita,

Your comment about what makes a good coffee got me thinking...I have realised that the answer is so much harder than what makes a bad coffee and I'm going to be thinking about it for ages now!

I try to have only one coffee a day (as I have sugar and it's my trade off). I usually get it from Oomph on Mac st as it's close to work. The coffee is always reliable, but the service can sometimes be a bit dodge! Apart from that I'm a big fan of Villeno and Tricycle. And I'm definitely going to have to check out the Italian Pantry now that I've heard so many good comments!

Anonymous said...

Never understood why Sir Grumpy comes on this site. Criticises every restaurant, every poster and anyone who has a clue about food. He's a little bitch sometimes.

sir grumpy said...

I think the coffee brigade need a cup of tea.
Fuckwit, bitch, my goodness we are grouchy!
And selectively blind.I heap praise all the time. You are just being a mean rotter.
But I'll still come out to play.

sir grumpy said...

By the way, anon 12.37pm, there are lots of places I love.
RVL, Lotus Eaters, Ball and Chain, Dom's Tea House, Touch of Asia at Sandy Bay, The Muffin Munchies people, Jefferson's Teas, Spice World, Wing & Co, the German Bakery, the fabulous hole in the wall in King St that used to be just called the Wall, Tandoor and Curry House, Jackman and McRoss, Mure's for fish and chips, and lots more.
No real silver service, top end, dining anymore though. I'm over that.
Bistro-style will do and that leaves me plenty time to cook at home. After I buy my top ingredients using my hard-earned.
I do hate pretentious sites which wax on about their product, slick advertising agency style.
They deserve a serve.
Very few fall for that stuff anyway, it's just plain embarrasment, as Effy might say.

steve said...

I dont think Sir G is always criticising actually anon 12.37.
I've had my differences over the years with him but he is consistantly consistant even if he's an instant drinker!

Spritzer Shaker said...

I think that Sir G in general represents those food lovers who have been around a while and have seen food fads and fashions come and go, have got heartily sick of pretentious foodies who represent it as high art, and who want good quality produce and value for money. More power to you, Sir G....

sir grumpy said...

Why, thank you Steve and Spritzer Shaker.
Yes, competion dining is not my thing. It can be too starchy for me.
A happy, busy, easygoing bistro with good food and atmosphere will do it every time.
If there were 10 sort of RVLs around Hobart (but each with their own take), I'd be quite happy spinning between them. Or bigger Lotus Eaters.
Ah well....

Georgia said...

Am I the last in town to find out about Next Door cafe? just up Collins Street, past Artery? What WONDERFUL coffee. Every bit as good as my current faves, Villino and Oomph. Kooky decor, crunchy snacks and a choice of beans and grinds. Nice service too. I've been twice and it's totally worth the walk.

Anonymous said...

on-next door cafe.

3 staff=a high probability you'll get service promptly, considering its size.

I got bored quickly listening to the barista hiss at the other two at who was waiting for a coffee.

In the end I suggested helpfully that it was I, the only one of the eight seats occupied without a coffee cup afore me might be the oustanding client needing caffiene.

With another hiss at the other two, my coffee found its way to my tiny, obscure, hidden, tucked away, minute, overlooked, secreted, veiled, unseen, concealed, secretive, mysterious, cryptic, covert, baffling, perplexing, puzzling, bewildering table for two of which I was the only occupant.

My reserves of empathy were stretched as the minutes ticked by.

Finally after a shave and beard clip my coffee, insipid, luke warm and milk over-boiled was ceremoniously dumped on the table with a 'There Ya Go Matey' bluster.

I felt defiled.

Made my way shaken from the stifling confines of the constrictive and oppressive space and into the release of the streetscape outside.

My tip.
People will low esteem will love it.

Jack said...

Crikey anonymous, such vitriol, clearly you have swallowed a thesaurus whilst waiting for your coffee and must have had a very rare experience as I buy coffee there every day, sometimes have lunch and rate it higher than any other coffee venue in the CBD. I find the staff extremely attentive and friendly and have never heard a single hiss from anyone. Maybe you have interests in another coffee venue and found the pleasant and quirky atmosphere with great jazz music, friendly staff and clientele and most importantly a well trained and knowledgeable BARISTA (you got that right) a bit threatening OR maybe you are just a grumpy git who would rather get a shite coffee in 30 seconds for 99 cents. BTW I don't have low self esteem....I just appreciate good coffee and good service and don't consider myself to be more important than anyone else

Anonymous said...

i have to say as a student of hospitality we went to The Cupping room and loved it the coffee took awhile to get to us and the girl who served us wasn't in the best of moods but we sat down with out pieces of paper (all 6 of us) and started writing about the place and the coffee other bits obviously they noticed us and we had the manager completely off her own back come and talk to us about the place and also asak questions about drysdale and really was helpful, the fact that a manger actually made the effort to talk to us and was genuinally interested in what we were doing really makes this place 5 star how many managers bother to aknowledge young kids like ourselves?

Anonymous said...

Dear Jack Doff,
Yes I'm grumpy. The Thesaurus was large and swallowing it took much time, so much time in fact that I did as you say, read the entries as I munched. I dont own a cafe but I would suspect you do. The end.

Anonymous said...

Anon 11:08.

Use punctuation and capitals!

Anonymous said...

That really shows the calibre of Drysdale Cert III students.... Cant even use a CAPITAL letter.

Now, my comment I want to chuck in is that I seriously dislike being a loyal customer at a cafe. After a little while they just treat you like crap, they have the attitude "Oh she's a regular, who cares, she will come back anyway"

Anonymous said...

Don't know what your regular cafe is Anon 2.47PM is but the staff at mine (JP Bellerive and Smolt) are friendly, serve a coffee I enjoy and do not treat me like "crap". If you want to be picky many posts on this and other blogs are not technically correct re their English usage but their points are still valid. Go the Drysdale students!

Anonymous said...

If you had any idea how much that place is falling to pieces, you would not say that!

Anonymous said...

Last anon-Drysale has been unravelling at an alarming rate for about two years now but the last six months are particularly scary.
Good staff
Bad and indifferent staff run the place and resist anything that might challenge them.
Students dropping out and those that turn up often have no one to teach them

Anonymous said...

Not sure about any other years, But I was a student there for the first 6 months of 2010 and I can confirm its gone to shit.

- Totally understaffed:
Robin Black - Gone.
Kathryn Wakefield - Gone.
Paul Morel - Gone.
Deidre Cheers - Gone.

During the past 6 months they have also had about 3 new team leaders, they generally leave very quickly.

Numerous other staff coming and going, all with varying levels of competency.

Other staff on annual leave for 6-8 weeks at a time, two staff on long term sick leave.

Complete lack of organisation, timetables wrong, students turning up to classes that do not have a teacher, teachers not turning up, teachers trying to teach 2 different classes at once... No one seems to be in charge of anything, and classes seem to be "made up as they go along"... With no real direction.

Look so many students lost motivation due to the above reasons and stopped turning up. I no longer attend as it was simply a waste of time! Working full time now anyway.

One teacher had the nerve to make the comment 'Do you realise I have come here from a highly lucrative, profitable cash business to come here and teach you???'

Enough Said??

Anonymous said...

Forgotten to add to the above, with rumour (started by staff) spreading that the Drysdale Restaurant may be closing it's doors for the final time in December 2010, who knows whether they will bother employing anyone else.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

"Bad and indifferent staff run the place and resist anything that might challenge them."

This is the funniest thing I have seen all day, and is 100% true ... sadly!

Jack said...

Anonymous I don't own any cafe or business and can quite happily say I have been a gainfully employed tax payer employed in service related industries (emergency & financial services), none of them obviously food related, unless you count working at Kmart in the old Hollies cafe whilst at school 26 years ago! I buy coffee at many places, I am also happy to mention The Machine, Jackman & McRoss, The Cupping Room, Fullers, Aubergine, Criterion St Cafe, Villino, Oomph and The Groovy Penguin...yes in Penguin of all places, as places where I know I will get a great coffee! I like friendly service where people know my name and how I like my coffee and I make no apologies for sticking up for locally owned businesses that are trying really hard to deliver a good service and differentiate themselves from the pack. Lighten up, it's amazing how much better life tastes!

Kate said...

Sweet Envy is pretty, with tasty eye catching delights...but don't go there for coffee. You will be very disappointed. Just buy the goodies, take them home and make your own coffee. It's can't be worse.

Pete said...

Has aznyone tried Bathurst Street Food and Coffee. They have a sign out that their burgers are "gourmet". Has anyone had a burger, coffee or tea there. I'm a tea drinker and it looks like they have a good range.

Anonymous said...

Regarding Drysdale....I was a student at Hobart College with an interest in commercial cookery and when the representitive from Drysdale came to our careers day she told me not to go there and to find an apprenticeship. I am a keen learner and wanted to get straight into training. I Just don't understand why she would bother coming to our school. So I am now attending Industry Link training with no regretts.

Anonymous said...

Industry link is for sale

Gozz said...

Thank you to those who appreciate and recognize the acknowledged quality of Tasmania's Oomph! Coffee, and the efforts of the Cupping Room.
We really do appreciate the business we get in this city, and will continue to strive to bring you ethically produced, and perfectly roasted coffee.

Anonymous said...

How bout doing some decent food and some friendly service