Friday, February 29, 2008

Latte, Wall 280, St Kilda East

I came over this side of town to get some more beans, but then figured I may as well just get someone to make me a coffee too. It was sound. Maybe a bit weak, but that could be only in comparison to the groin-grabbingly strong one I had here the other day. Nice day for it too.

Long Black, home

My grinder made the "I'm out of beans" sound, but it had ground just enough to make something acceptable.
There is so much that can go wrong with a long black. Most often they turn out too long. One time at Bar Corvina (who I would usually trust with this sort of thing), after ordering a weak long black, they bought out a MUG, citing, "It should be weak enough with that much water." Often a perfectly good espresso shot is blasted to smithereens with boiling water, which winds up tasting like burnt crap and is scaldingly undrinkable for about two hours. I like my method: get a jug of hot water out of the steam wand, then add some cold water until it's about the temperature you would have the milk if you're making a latte. Or better yet, steam-heat some water. Either way, you should follow the same rules of not getting it too hot. The coffee won't like that. I don't have long blacks outside the house very often, so I'm not sure how widespread this method is.
An aside note: "smithereen" is not accepted by the spell checker, whereas "smithereens" is. "Smithereensy" most definitely is not either.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Espresso, Transit, City

"Just out of interest, do you guys make an espresso and a short black any differently?"
"Uh, yeah."
"Really?"
"Yeah, they're the same."

He must have been in a hurry. So far that poster at Australia Zoo is the only source that condones more than 30ml for a short black. I'll have to do a survey.

Espresso, Las Chicas, St Kilda East

My god. I can't believe Ollie has never mentioned this before. In a conversation about the ads for Hungry Hungry Hippos in the 80s:
"I was in that."
He was in the Hungry Hungry Hippos ad!

Well, I can't see him in that one. That ad just gets better and better with repeated viewings. Did you notice it rhymes the word "hippo" with "hippos"? Genius. Nice use of the word "whosever" too. It's far less clumsy than "whoever's". Ollie also added that he never saw the ad he was in, and isn't sure if it ever made it to TV. They also didn't give him a free HHH board game. But he got $400 for it. That money can buy many, many Hippos, and they needn't go hungry. Never mind that being a lot of money now, that was a hell of money back then. Especially when you're a kid.
"Umm...how much for a whole BOX of Redskins?"
"Thirty dollars."
"Mmm. Ok. And if I get a WHOLE BOX of White Knights too how much money do I have left?"
"Thirty plus thirty is sixty. Four hundred minus sixty, that leaves $320. Are you sure your parents said you could spend it all here?"

Latte, Las Chicas, St Kilda East

Yeeeeah! That's more like it. I had breakfast too, my order reflecting what I really wanted to order but was not on the menu. I ordered eggs florentine with a hash brown, but what I always thought would be really cool is florentine with little bits of potato fried up with the spinach. I don't think that exists though. A hash brown on the side works too.

Latte, Parkers, Parkdale

Nope. Too hot, not strong enough, tasted like it had sugar in it but it didn't, tasted...er...weird too. Couldn't finish it. I think that means it's a bomb. I was impressed that the girl got my change from the cash register with one hand while steaming milk with the other, but in the end it wasn't worth it. I would have preferred to wait another 20 seconds than be impressed by the multitasking.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Strong Latte, Wall 280, St Kilda East

It's hard to believe that I haven't been to the Wall since I started this blog. I've been put off by the new paint job (you gotta be careful painting a brick wall pattern on a brick wall) but I like to think it's not all about appearances for me. I also got sick of the Wall because it's always so damn crowded there. Well, it appears the tides have turned. Since the paint job, less people have been going there, leaving plenty of seating room out the front for those of us who aren't quite so superficial. Ehem.
Rad. That's Ollie's jasmine tea on the left. It looked and smelled pretty amazing, but it would have been a crime not to have a coffee. I'd have to have quit coffee to not have one when I go to the Wall. I also think the slowing of traffic (which I am basing entirely on my observation during the twenty minutes I was there today) has resulted in the coffee being better. Ahh.

Espresso, home

Still watching Seinfeld.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Return of the Mac, home

I wasn't really sure what to call this one. I started making an espresso, then thought I might as well have a short mac, then thought, "Meh, I might as well use all of the milk." Then I came up with something like this:
It's like a really strong, really small latte. Lea thought "Return of the Mac" was a good name. I nearly called it "piccolo latte", which is what they call this type of thing in Sydney, but then I realised I'm not in Sydney. So a Mark Morrison tribute it is.



Woah! How many out-of-focus slow-motion walking shots can there be in one video? How many people sampled that Genius of Love break? Everyone, it seems. Mariah Carey's Fantasy is unfortunately the most famous one. That reminds me, here's the original:

Latte, home

I don't think the grind is quite right. The water is getting through a bit too quickly. Still drinkable though.
Watched the Seinfeld episode where the mechanic steals George's Twix, claims he was eating something other than a Twix, and George then makes a candy lineup to see if the guy can pick out what he ate. I really want a Twix now. That product placement in Seinfeld was huge. I remember when Snapple came out in Australia for a while, and I don't think they could have done it without those two mentions of it in Seinfeld. But the moral of the story is, I need a Twix.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Espresso, Markov, Carlton

Does that make it five in one day? Er, no. It's four. That's still quite a lot though. Hard-to-stir Lavazza cup. Luckily, I didn't feel like I needed to add sugar, and so it didn't need stirring.
Just saw There Will Be Blood. Daniel Day Lewis is a badass. Awesome music by Jonny Greenwood too.

Latte, Brunetti, Carlton

It looked like a Volvo, but it tasted like an Alfa Romeo. A Volvo-coloured Alfa Romeo. The outdoor heaters were on. In summer! Well, it was pretty freezing out there.

Espresso, home

So that's how big 30ml is!
Excellent. All descaled and back in action. You should've seen how many scales came out. It was off the scale.
Watching Seinfeld series nine. The Strike. I remember all the festivus stuff, but not the rest of the episode. Well, I guess I probably haven't seen it for ten years.
Off to the movies.

Latte, home

Not the greatest. Something's not right. I think I need to descale or something.
This laptop, however, is awesome! The tiny keyboard is sort of hard to get used to, I keep pressing up instead of shift, which winds up in me accidentally sneezing a lower-case character into the line above.
Here's a photo:It even has a webcam. I didn't really dig the Xandros operating system it comes with, so I installed Ubuntu 7.10 on there. Several hours of "Why isn't this working?" later, and it's all working. Mind you, the boot time on Xandros was mental. About 15 seconds from pressing the on button to being able to do things. Buntu doesn't do that. One of the downsides of this machine is it only has a 4 gig hard drive. That only leaves you with a bit less than 2 gig for actual data after you install an OS. A lot of people would say, "That sucks, why doesn't it have more room? Where am I going to put my 200 gig of music?" Well, that's why this thing is so light and cheap and rad. If you need to carry more than 1.5 gig of stuff with you everywhere, buy a bigger laptop.
Or get the biggest SD card you can get your hands on, and keep things on that. JB Hi Fi calls me yet again...

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Latte, home

Woah, Simpsons is on! Gotta go.
Also, just bought an Asus Eee PC. Smallest laptop ever! It can hide behind way smaller things than my other one!

Latte, Sousou, Fitzroy

It's a shame. Sousou is totally bad ass, except for two things:
  1. the coffee, more often than not, is disappointing
  2. they don't have a bottomless supply of croissants
I nearly went out and bought them more croissants once just so I could have one.
As for point 1, I think the coffee is only disappointing in comparison to how amazing the food is. Fig, apricot and walnut french toast with cinnamon ricotta and maple syrup! Woah! It's like having dessert and breakfast at the same time!
But yeah. The coffee. Big-bubbled foam. Hmm.

Espresso, home

Ahh, ABC2 really delivers the goods sometimes. First up this morning was a doco about...er...what the hell was it about? I've got no idea. It started off with some percussionists in San Francisco saying about when they were banned from playing in the park, then it showed one of their gigs, then it showed Billy Cobham for a while, and diverted off to Gene Krupa, then went back to Billy Cobham, then there was some weird link to Rick Allen from Def Leppard, then there was an interview with him about when he lost his arm, and how that really made him want to keep playing drums (?!) then showed footage of the drumming therapy group he runs with his wife. The program guide lists it as "Pop(b) Session":
"This episode is all about the rhythm that holds music together - be it the beats in today's urban music or percussion in orchestras."
Hmm. Yes, I guess it's vaguely about drumming in general.
And then the Classic Albums series came on. It was the one about Fleetwood Mac's Rumors.
Never seen that one before. Actually, haven't really heard the album. I want to check it out now though. Has anyone else noticed that the outro bassline from The Chain is nearly the same as the one in Hip Hop by Dead Prez? Here's Fleetwood Mac (the bassline comes in about at about 3:50):

And Dead Prez:

Wow. Blue King Brown have a song with that line too. I'll have to dig deeper on this one...
Oh, the coffee was good too. But I just realised I don't really know where 30ml is in these cups.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Espresso, home

Just finished reading No Country for Old Men. With coffee. And a biscuit. In bed. This is what the holidays are all about.
Rock.
I loved the book. I thought the end of the movie was a little convoluted, it seemed to end about three times. Well, the book goes into far more detail there. It's nice though, it gives Sheriff Bell more of a focus in the story. It was impossible to read it without Tommy Lee Jones's voice in my head though.

QANTAS coffee, Brisbane to Melbourne

Agh. So sick. Flu type thing threatened to kick in yesterday, and now it has. And I ate something weird. And I'm hung over. I thought, "it's going to be a long flight."
The coffee sure helped though. As soon as I was sure I could keep liquids down, they brought one over. At least I could keep my eyes open and drive my car after we landed.

Friday, February 22, 2008

QANTAS coffee, Melbourne to Brisbane

I almost forgot the one reason to be excited about flying Qantas. The coffee! I think I know why it's so reliable too. Planes are always air-conditioned to freezing point. If that doesn't make the plane a controlled testing environment, I don't know what is. I assume the portions of coffee and water are the same every time too. Ahh. Pure, mediocre, caffeinated regularity.

Latte, home

Off to the airport. Had enough time to sit here and drink it, rather than take it in the car. Looking forward to coffee at Ric's in Fortitude Valley. They have an interesting pricing structure: lattes cost 50c more than a flat white, and everything goes up by $1.00 after 5PM or something. That's fair enough, they've got plenty of less time-consuming things to do in rush hour than make coffee. But lattes being 50c cooler than a flat white? They are almost the same thing, but one is hip.
I digress. Latte, home.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Espresso, Transit, City

I came here once when I didn't have a gig. I had an espresso. It was $5.00, but it was very good. I'd much rather have them when I don't have to pay. Hence tonight.
Furthermore, they only have Stella or Pure Blonde on tap. $7.50 for a pot. Ouch. Likewise, I wouldn't come here if I didn't have a gig.
BUT...
I should re-iterate:
It was very good.

Short Macchiato, Las Chicas, St Kilda East

The more people I catch up with over coffee, the more coffee I drink. That makes it three before midday. Woah. I'd better do something REALLY creative today.

Latte, Little Peninsula, City

Little Peninsula. Mornington, that is. At least, I'm pretty sure that's what they mean. The logo on the sign out the front is shaped like the Mornington pie-nine. Lots of Morno-Penine wine. Rad coffee too.
It's on Little Lonsdale, between Queen and Elizabeth. Just in case you can't be bothered driving for an hour down the Nepean Highway.

Latte, home

Ahh. I sure missed my coffee machine. I should just get it built into my amp and take it on tour. Hell, my amp's got a bottle opener, I guess having a 19"-modified Saeco machine and a 19" water tank would be the next step. Hmmm...scheming...
Gotta drop off the Tarago. I didn't drop it off yesterday because I figured walking home in the rain would be more annoying than dropping the car off in the morning. I'll never know what's more annoying. The latter sure involved a hell of a lot more coffee though.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Latte, Animal Orchestra, Carlton

Last time I came here I forgot that I had to be at the US Consulate at 8:30AM. It was 8:28AM and I didn't have my passport. So I had to run out on my coffee. I'm glad I stuck around for this one today though. Radness.
The bangers and mash were sound, too.

Flat White, Cross, St Kilda

Nope, I was wrong. I made it to Cross before Batch.
Ahhh. It's awesome to be back on the mainland. What's more, they hadn't run out of egg sandwiches yet. It's hard to explain, but Cross's egg sandwiches are amazing. Egg, lettuce, a few sultanas, toasted. That's it. But it's incredible.
But this blog is not about eggs. It's about coffee.

Wow, my camera phone really sucks.
Nice choice of spoon. They've got a huge bucket of them. I only really went for a flat white because I like the look of their brown cups.

Latte, Launceston Airport

Pretty good. Surprisingly so for a churned-out airport effort. Way better than last time I was here.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Latte, cafe next to Albert Hall, Launceston

Not bad overall, but I couldn't help but notice the same symptoms as my other latte this morning: slightly too hot, weak, and large. Maybe that's just how it is around here. Don't forget that I'm judging all this on my own experiences with rad coffee in Melbourne. Well, I'll be back there tomorrow. Might have to hit Batch on the way back from the airport if possible.
However, bonus points for being situated next to that park that the cafe was situated next to.

Ristretto, Cafe Rossilli, Launceston

I thought to myself as I ordered a ristretto, “I'd be very surprised if this wasn't strong enough.” I noticed that, curiously, a ristretto costs 30 cents more than an espresso. This is odd, as a ristretto has even less water in it than an espresso. Well, I'm not sure what happened, but it came over looking more like a really long short black. And not very strong. Thumbs down.

Latte, Cafe Rossilli, Launceston

Luke worded me up on this place. Unfortunately it came out in a big-ish glass, the milk was verging on being too hot, and it wasn't very strong. This is the kind of entry that makes me look like I just complain about everything. But it wasn't right. It looked good, but it didn't really taste like coffee. Unfortunately they don't have the same policy as these guys:MONEY BACK GUARANTEE. Oh yes. They weren't open until midday though.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Plunger, Moorilla Estate, Tasmania

Take two.  Aaaah.
It was a bigger plunger this time, but it was only me drinking it, I only half filled it with water, and I used the whole bag of coffee.  Same result, really.
There are many schools of thought on the to-stir-or-not-to-stir issue when using a plunger, but I've never really explored how this effects the resulting cup of coffee.  I stirred it twice:
- Once, so all the grounds actually got wet.
- A second time, so the plunger would actually go down.
Leaving out that second stir can result in a nasty case of Plunger Knuckle.  My mum thought she had that for years, until she realised it was the same knuckle you cannot avoiding hitting on the doorframe when you open the door to her office.
Tuesday February the 19th is International Plunger Knuckle Awareness Day.  Give generously, that they may plunge.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Plunger, Moorilla Estate, Tasmania

Moorilla Estate have some damn nice coffee in the coffee/tea facilities in their accomodation. They have a two-cup plunger, but unfortunately the little sachet of ground coffee would probably be enough for about six cups. I could have not used the whole bag, but I don't use plungers very often so I didn't realise what was going on. I couldn't push the plunger all the way down, there was so much coffee in there. Strong. Rad. A nice antidote to only four hours' sleep.

Espresso, BLD, Brisbane Airport

I think it was BLD. What does that stand for? Breakfast Lunch Dinner? That can't be right. I'm sure they're not open that late. I received a warning when I ordered my espresso.
"Okay. Now, you know that's just the shot, right?"
"Yes."
"Right, just wanted to make sure. A lot of people don't know."
"Why do they order an espresso if they don't know what it is?"
"I'm not sure."
"Is it because it's only $3.00?"
"Maybe."
You gotta fight those airport prices any way you can. It was damn good. I really should have slept on that flight, but instead I watched five-and-a-half episodes of the Simpsons.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Strong Latte, van on windy bridge, Brisbane

It was damn windy out there. I'm impressed the guy could even pour the milk into the jug without it flying everywhere. Drew pulled out my favourite coffee quote of the year:
"I want it so strong that I'm crying and shaking."
Mine was good. I wasn't far off shaking. Extra points for wind difficulty.

Strong Latte, Coffee Club, Buddina

I'd had pretty good luck with Coffee Club, and went back for more. Luke had an interesting experience just before I got there, when he ordered a double macchiato. The girl didn't know how to make one, and the manager stepped in to explain what to do.
"Just do a long black and add a bit of milk."
Luckily, Luke heard this in time.
"No, that's not it. That's not a double."
I'm starting to think the staff training is the weakest link at these chain places. Anyhow, my strongy came out in a slightly silly-looking glass, but other than that it was pretty good. The glass looked like it could be a bit bigger than 8 ounces, but that could be an optical illusion because of its tallness.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Espresso, Australia Zoo

Did anyone else know that Steve Irwin was in the Solo ad? The one where the two guys kayak down a cliff? Not this one:

No, he's not in that ad, but I figured it was so awesome I had to post it anyway. Anyhow, I saw a photo of Steve Irwin with a can of Solo, and for the rest of the day all I could think was, "I NEED A CAN OF SOLO." I couldn't find one at Australia Zoo though. It turns out they're sponsored by Coca Cola, who are not the makers of Solo.
They did, however, have coffee. I was well impressed with the little coffee-description chart. It described coffee the way Steve used to talk about reptiles:
"Short black is an Australian term. Italians serve about 30ml of strong coffee with a thick golden 'crema' on the surface. A short black is usually a little longer than the Italian espresso."
Concise. Informative. Educational. So a short black is longer than an espresso, eh? Maybe that's what I've been doing wrong: ordering a short black. Let's cross that off the list.
Unfortunately, the poster was where the good stuff ended. Too long, no crema, and served in a giant cup. Sorry Steve, this one gets a bomb.

Strong Latte, Coffee Club, Buddina

Having assumed Coffee Club was a trustworthy source in these parts, I headed down pretty damn early in the morning, having been informed by the hotel information folder thing that they open at 7:30AM.
"That'll be $4.20."
"Really? Why is it $4.20?"
The menu said it was $3.60.
"Oh, the sizes are different for take away."
She assumed a large by default. That's not a good sign. They don't seem to serve larges when you eat in, so why would they bother not only offering a large takeaway, but assuming I wanted one. That's not a good sign.
The coffee was good though.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Espresso, Coffee Club, Buddina

Coffee Club. "The place where the cool people meet", according to their advertising material. Just don't look too closely at the gal with the nasty nose job and lip job on the poster. If that's the cool people, and they do indeed meet here, I'll go some place else.
The espresso was damn good though. A bit cold by the time it got to me, but still tasted okay. I'm not sure how that is possible.

Virgin Blue Coffee

The menu says, "Nescafe Gold". Does that necessary mean that it's instant coffee? This requires more exploration. I'll have to just eyeball them on the next flight while they make it. Sadly, this means I have to order another one. It was $3.00, and nowhere near as tasty as QANTAS. Somehow I don't think I'll be ordering another one.

Espresso, Aromas, Townsville Airport

The bottom of the cup has a slightly larger circumference than the cup-shaped depression in the top of the saucer. As a result, it's impossible to get the cup to balance, which makes stirring especially hard. Woah, look out, the waitress nearly lost the whole lot when she came to collect it.
But not many airports have free wireless internet. That is impressive.
Curiously, it's listed as a "short espresso" on the menu. Possibly a decision made in an Aromas marketing meeting.
"Okay so then in the next column we have long black for $3.90, latte for $3.90, espresso for only $3.20, macchiato steps it up to $3.30..."
"Woah woah woah slow down, espresso?"
"Yes, an espresso. That's $3.20."
"What the hell is an espresso?"
"The shot of coffee."
"You mean a short black?"
"Yes, but it's an espresso."
"Why?"
"That's what it's called."
"But aren't they all espressos?"
"Sort of."
"Hmm. It seems confusing to have 'long black' and 'espresso' on the same menu. What if somebody wants a short black?"
"Then they order an espresso."
"But how do they know that it will be short?"
"By definition, it will be."
"I don't think we should alienate too many customers by not having a short black on the menu."
"But espresso is on the menu. That's a short black."
"Should we just write 'short black'?"
"That's too low-brow."
"Ok ok ok guys it's time for lunch, how about we write 'short espresso'? It specifies the length while still utilising metro/euro nomenclature."
"Yeah let's have some lunch."

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Not Very Short Black, Deli, Townsville

I ordered a double short black. Bad move. The guy brought over a cup filled almost to the brim. Odd.
"That'll be five bucks."
"Really?"
"Yep."
"Why is it five bucks?"
"Two shots, mate. Boom boom."
"Yeah, but I didn't order two coffees. It's not twice the labour."
"Okay, make it four bucks."
Maybe this guy was just making it up as he went along. Even if you pull two espresso shots into one cup one after the other, you shouldn't end up with that much liquid. I wonder what would have happened if I ordered a double shot long black. It would be either the same thing, or twice as long, possibly spread across two cups.
The end product was at least drinkable, so I won't be awarding this one a BOMB rating. But it was pretty poor form.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Espresso, Coffee Dominion, Townsville

These guys are good. Also, add La Marzocco's cups to the "stirrable" list:
There's plenty of room for a spoon in that one.
Okay, better go back to the hotel and get creative.

Espresso, The Balcony, Townsville

When most people think of Lavazza, they picture something like this:

Italian dudes wired off their arses on caffeine, leaning out the doorway to leer at that bird who Tony Soprano imagined living next door to him every time he took prozac. That photo is pretty old school, 1996 according to the internet. These days, Lavazza are more into this kind of thing:
There ain't no horny Italian dudes leaning out no doors for that.
But what I'm getting at is the cup. Take a closer look. See how much it tapers at the bottom? This afternoon as I attempted to stir sugar into my espresso (it was a bit bitter) at the Balcony I realised that the Lavazza cup and the Australian standard teaspoon do not work well together. The spoon tapers at the end, sure. It reaches to the bottom of the cup, yes. But just try stirring the damn thing. You just can't make it go in a circular motion, there's no room. I used the handle instead.

Strong Latte, Coffee Dominion, Townsville

Not really what I'd call "strong", but it put me back on the map. Only had two QANTAS coffees yesterday, so I gotta catch up.
Nice place, they have a few machines for sale, and I think they roast their own beans. Ok, better go get some breakfast.

Monday, February 11, 2008

QANTAS coffee, Perth to Brisbane

Second cup. Ahh. Looking forward to the third cup, which I'll have on our next flight.
(note: I slept through the coffee on the next flight. Damn.)

QANTAS coffee, Perth to Brisbane

We drove for three hours from Busselton to Perth, then waited at the airport for two hours, but I resisted the coffee gamble this whole time because I knew what I had to look forward to on the flight: coffee. QANTAS-style. I explained a few days ago that I'm a big fan of it. They really did something right there.
You might think, “You're insane, weren't there a dozen places at the airport to get a real espresso coffee?” Well, no, it's Perth airport and therefore there are TWO places. I ordered a flat white at Firefly last time I was here, and wound up leaving it on the bench, citing, “I'm not drinking that.” Not subtle, but I think they got the idea. So I was a little squeamish about trying that place again. But there you have it: if you're flying QANTAS out of Perth, it's worth waiting until you get on board. I had two cups, and I think that means it has to be two entries. I can't vouch for Virgin Blue's coffee, though.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Espresso, gig

Shithouse. Too long. Didn't taste like coffee. I might grab a Red Bull from the rider instead.

“Expresso”, Hungry Jack's, near Mandurah, WA

We've been giving Jumps shit for a while about saying “expresso” instead of “espresso”. But you gotta admire how he's standing by it. Anyhow, we drove past Hungry Jack's a few weeks ago and couldn't help but notice the huge “Expresso to go!” sign. This morning, it was time to try it out.
Jumps and I walked in, assuming an “expresso” would actually mean an “espresso”.
“I'll have an expresso.”
“I'll have an expresso too. And a Whopper with Cheese.”
She served us two cappucinos.
“Er, we ordered two expressos.”
On closer inspection, the nomenclature “short black” is used on the menu. So the girl heard “expresso”, thought “Expresso to go!” and then served us the default coffee, which at this Hungry Jack's happens to be a cappuccino with way too much chocolate stuff on top.
Aside from that, it was pretty good. This, combined with the research Will and I did at Sydney airport a few months back into who makes better coffee out of McDonald's and Krispy Kreme, clearly puts HJ's on the top of the last-resort open-only-in-an-emergency pile.

Flat White, Sebel, Perth

With breakfast. I don't know what the hell that was on my eggs, but it sure wasn't hollandaise. It looked more like grilled cheese. Maybe that's what happens when you try to reheat an entire eggs benedict. Coffee was okay though. I think UB40 are staying in our hotel. Gotta drive to Busselton.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Breville dripulator thing, Backstage, Belvoir Amphitheatre, Perth

Yep, that jug kept about five people awake all day. The beans were some Brazilian-sounding name. I originally planned to keep this blog strictly espresso-related, but coffee is coffee and it's worth tagging this as “jug” for statistics' sake.

Espresso, Manhattan Cafe, Perth

I would have walked further (see yesterday's note about having to walk for coffee in Perth) but then I saw about eight dudes I know sitting in Manhattan, so I figured it was time for a second visit. That I went back after the nail polish remover incident is surely testament to how far-flung coffee is in East Perth. I'm sure there was no actually no acetone in there, but it's the first thing I thought of.

Flat White, Manhattan Cafe, Perth

They have one of those how-to-make-each-coffee charts stuck to the machine here, and I gotta say the photo of a latte looks disgusting. They do that weird layering thing that seems to be big in Germany. I thought that meant there was a high chance that the staff go by what the chart says, so I ordered a flat white. Something didn't smell right, and I couldn't figure it out what it reminded me of until the end of the cup, when I finally said to Paulie B, “Nail polish remover.”

Friday, February 8, 2008

Espresso, Sebel, Perth

I generally don't trust hotel coffee due to its
a) high price, and
b) unreliable quality
But unfortunately staying up this end of Perth means a long, long walk to find any other coffee. Places seem to open and close at odd times around here. For example, the pizza place across the road is open from 8:30AM to 6PM Monday to Friday. It is closed on Saturday and Sunday. This raises some questions:
a) who eats pizza at 8:30AM?
b) wouldn't there be a big crowd on the weekend?
c) wouldn't there be a late-night crowd?
Odd. Anyhow, for these and other reasons (lack of time) I had an espresso in the lobby. It wasn't bad. Paying for it was a complicated procedure (as is often the case in hotel bars) and the glass was a bit weird, but it was okay.

QANTAS coffee, Melbourne to Perth

It's a little hard to explain, but I love the coffee that QANTAS serve on domestic and international flights. Maybe it's because on long-arse flights from overseas, that coffee is what I'm drinking when I realise we're nearly home. It comes around in a jug, I have no idea how it's made, but it works for me. I can't find anyone else who agrees with me. Their tea policy needs some work though. This, on the way back from Newcastle a few months back:
“Can I have an earl grey tea?”
The guy looked at me like it was the single weirdest request he'd ever had on a flight.
“Aw, nahh mate, we haven't got anything like that.”

Short Mac, Melbourne Airport

I'm not sure what the place was called, but it was on the QANTAS side, hidden past Billie Chu's, past the newsagent. That bar up the stairs. That's the one. Kudos on the short-mac-sized take away cups too. It always feels weird walking away with a giant paper cup 1/10th-filled with coffee.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Espresso, Sphinx, Geelong

This may well be the only blog I ever post with the tag "geelong".
With Nick's parma in one nostril and Luis's fisherman's basket in the other, I knew it was time for another coffee.
The Sphinx (a huge pub in Geelong, topped by a huge fiberglass replica of the Sphinx) has a nose. Disappointing. We considered lopping it off.

Latte, Cross, St Kilda

Off to Geelong for the gig. Considering we've never done a gig there, some may ask, "Why start now?" Well, we're about to find out.

Latte, home

Today's status has been upgraded from, "Meet at 10AM", to, "We can't get the cars until 2PM."
With the extra three-and-a-bit hours (I was running late for the 10AM meeting) I got my Wiimotes to talk to Ableton via bluetooth and MIDI. I'm slowly getting closer to my dream of playing a jazz gig and turning up with a Guitar Hero controller and a laptop.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Latte, Alimentari

About a week ago I wrote, "I should come to Fitzroy more often during the day so I can got to Alimentari and have a meatball wrap." Well, this blog just came in handy. I had another meatball wrap. We got the last one, too.
We're off to see Cloverfield.

Latte, Batch

I flicked through the Melbourne Coffee Guide (or some similarly-titled book) and noticed that they rated Wall 280 at four stars, and Batch only got three. This is a crime. Batch just have it down. You may prefer the Wall's coffee - you are free to do so - but Wall's new paintjob is shithouse, and it's annoying if it's crowded. QED.
Batch had bunches of what looked like parsley from a distance, but broccolini up close, in bottles along the bar at the window. I'm still not sure what they were.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Short Macchiato, home

I just bought an iPod Touch. It's rad. Just trying to jailbreak it so you can run crazy-other-apps on it. It's partially Suzannah Hoff's fault. Here's how the thought process went:
1. Eternal Flame is on the radio. Yeah, haven't heard that for a while.
2. Maybe I should buy that on iTunes.
3. I was thinking about getting an iPod Touch.
4. Maybe I should go home via JB Hi-Fi and get an iPod Touch today...

Interestingly, if you write the word "ipod" or "Ipod", it auto-corrects the capitalisation to "iPod". What an extravagant branding exercise.

My "reminders" function in my phone came in handy today, when I was driving past my chiro, and my phone beeped and said, "Chiro appt."

Latte, Coffee Trader, Mornington

My last experience with this place was a bit annoying; I was running late, and the guy before me ordered four large lattes. Large. What a stupid concept. If you really want that much coffee, just have two.
Anyhow, it still took a while today. I ordered a "small", part of my defiance against the "large" movement, and I'm pretty sure he just three-quarter-filled a "regular" cup. Still quite good though.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Latte, Leroy's, St Kilda

It's a nice day for a day off.
Also, San Churro have opened a shop on Acland St! Woo! If I hadn't totally OD'd on their hot chocolate when their Brunswick St store opened, I'd probably go there! But that chocolate fountain sure does look enticing.
Leroy's are the business. There is a very specific ordering procedure, where you have to supply the following information:
a) what coffee would you like
b) what size
c) how many sugars.
If you abide by that, it all works. The coffee is rad too.

Latte, home

Woah. Big night. Haven't slept much yet, but I may as well coffee up and get some things done.
Got five stars on Miss Murder on medium on Guitar Hero III. Sick. Five stars on Barracuda too.
Ok I've been putting off writing this Inpress thing for long enough. Better go.
Considering buying an iPod Touch.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Short Macchiato, EQ, Southbank, Melbourne

Myer Music Bowl gig starts in two hours. Ash Grunwald just finished his set, Beautiful Girls must nearly be on now too. Need more coffee...

Ristretto, Quickfix, Sydney Airport

Harry just yelled, “What's a ristretto?” from his seat over at the Boost juice bar. I thought, “That's a great idea.” It turns out it's an espresso where you only pull 20ml of water through, as opposed to 30ml. So it tastes even stronger. Like a shorter short black. Off to Melbourne now.

Latte, Quickfix, Sydney Airport

I always feel excited when we go in or out of Sydney on Virgin Blue, because I know it means an opportunity to go to Quickfix. I'll go out on a limb right and award them with the prestigious “Only Decent Airport Coffee in the World” award. Not only is it consistently very good, but they seem to be able to do it very quickly, while charging you less than most airport food places. They also serve real food. That vegemite on toast for $3.00 has saved my life a few times.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Long Black, some roadhouse near Goulburn

Another stretch on the no-man's land that is the bit between Canberra and Sydney. We all pictured the same roadhouse in our heads, thinking it was near Goulburn, but then realised we were thinking of Gundagai. My long black came out and probably would have been ok if she hadn't blasted it with boiling water. It was still the perfect accompaniment to my roadhouse-strength eggs and sausages on toast, though.

Friday, February 1, 2008

Espresso, Cat Empire gig, Stage 88, Canberra

That first one didn't quite wake me up. The second one must have worked; I got onstage during changeover with a Sharpie and started writing weird shit on everybody else's set lists.

Espresso, Rydges, Canberra

“Thirty-six bucks is too much just for something for me to slosh back.”

Overheard in the bar of the hotel next to ours – our hotel has no coffee machine. Or bar or restaurant or box of cereal, for that matter. I'll never understand why so many hotel rooms bother having a six-cup plunger in the cupboard, but only sachets of instant coffee.

“We've got a Rosemount for $25...?”

The customer seemed unenthused. I wanted to tell her to go to a bottle shop.

Miss Murder by AFI comes on the TV. I realise I like the song much more in Guitar Hero III, when I don't have to look at the singer's haircut.

Espresso, somewhere in Mittagong

My last coffee experience in that bit of New South Wales between Canberra and Sydney was around October 2006. I left Wagga Wagga for Sydney around 5:00 AM, with the intention of driving straight to the airport. I pulled over at the dog on the tuckerbox in Gundagai, presented with either a McCafe or some other place that was possible called Dog on the Tuckerbox Cafe. Adhering to my “never buy coffee from McDonalds” rule, I ordered a take away flat white from the DTC. I should have known it wasn't going to work out when she pulled down the welding mask and picked up the milk jug. The end result was thermonuclear steamed milk, which still wasn't drinking temperature when I got to Yass, nearly an hour's drive north. But if you've read the sidebar on this blog you know that already. My short black from some bakery in Mittagong this morning was much better. I didn't get much sleep last night, but I really hate falling asleep in a twelve-seater Hiace. Even the passenger seat up the front doesn't tilt back.