Hey EasyJet do you know what an espresso is?

Hey EasyJet do you know what an espresso is?

Flying with EasyJet I knew that when I asked for an espresso that was highly unlikely to be a proper espresso. The kind that is made with high pressure nearly boiling water through coffee grounds. That kind wouldn’t be done on a plane, there are probably safety issues. This kind was made from a packet, an instant espresso, well one with fine coffee grounds in it.

Having said that I was a little perplexed and surprised when I was asked if I wanted milk with my espresso.

Ah, I think not.

This happened both on the outward and the return flights.

Faculty – Artisan Coffee

Faculty

Visiting Birmingham recently I took the opportunity to visit Faculty, an artisan coffee and tea shop in the heart of Birmingham. This is in the Piccadilly Arcade close to New Street Station. A typical hipster coffee place, with a mix of wooden furniture and bare floors.

I went with the espresso, which really tests the skills of the barista and the quality of the coffee.

espresso

Service was excellent, once they knew I was drinking in, they asked me to take a seat and they would bring me the coffee. I really do like that, allows you to get on with stuff at a table, rather than just standing around waiting whilst they make your coffee. You usually get this in the chains, so I always appreciate it when you visit an independent coffee place.

The coffee was, well the best way to describe it for me, it was different. There was a flavour to the coffee that I found not really to my taste. It was smooth and had an excellent crema.

I did like the environment and the food menu looked really interesting, I might go again, maybe go with a different kind of coffee.

It was supposed to be a macchiato…

espresso macchiato

So what do you think that was?

That is a small espresso cup by the way.

It was supposed to be an espresso macchiato.

From my understanding, an espresso macchiato, is simply a shot of espresso with some foamed milk. This was a single shot of espresso with a dollup of hot milk!

I have had a decent espresso macchiato from the Pumpkin Cafe chain at railway stations before, so was unimpressed with this effort. I was going to complain, but ran out of time as I was heading for a train.

Now checking the wikipedia, I can see that globally there is a fair amount of varation in how people interpret the macchiato, in some cases it appears to be more like a flat white than a small espresso based coffee.

Next time, I will be more explicit about what I want when I order.

Coffee at Caffé Veneto

Having had some good coffee at the Portivo Lounge in Gloucester I have for a while been meaning to try out the Pinto Lounge in Banbury. Having some time for lunch, I took a walk down to the centre of Banbury to have a look at the Pinto Lounge and see if it was a good place to have something to eat. Having had a look over the menu, I wasn’t that inspired, not that there was an issue with the menu, just that there didn’t seem to be anything that really took me. Maybe another time…

Having a quick wander around the area, I found the Caffé Veneto, this is an independent coffee shop with an continental feel to it, that only opened in April 2014.

Caffé Veneto

Entering the place you immediately feel that this is a comfortable environment for drinking coffee. There is the bar, but unless you are taking away, then sit at a table and your order will be taken and presented at your table. This is quite an Italian thing, whenever I was in Italy I would often order coffee whilst sitting in a café and was waited upon. The concept of ordering from a barista and then waiting for your coffee, is much more an American way of ordering coffee. The decor is not very traditional Italian, but has wooden floors, round tables and chairs and a range of coffee sacks attached to the walls. It’s a calming environment, and sitting down you feel relaxed and comfortable. Service was friendly and efficient and you were made to feel very welcome.

Sat at the table I looked over the menu, there isn’t a huge amount of choice, a range of sandwiches, panini, lasagne and salad.

I quite liked the idea of a salad, so I went with the chicken caesar salad, along with an espresso.

Espresso

I enjoyed the espresso, but I am not really a fan of drinking out of, what is basically, a shot glass. Glass conducts heat really well, so it’s not easy to lift and drink a hot coffee. Despite that it was a really good coffee, and the little biscotti was a nice touch.

The salad was good, nice plate of cos lettuce, chicken and olives. The dressing was tasty, just the right amount, not too much and not too little either.

Chicken Caesar Salad

Overall I was pleased with the food, the service and the ambience. I think they should reflect on their menu and possibly add more options for lunch, but I may be missing the point, it is first and foremost a place for coffee, rather than a place for lunch.

Single Espresso please

Single Espresso please

More and more I have been disappointed with places that sell coffee that can’t get the simple Americano right. It’s not difficult is it, just take some espresso coffee and add some hot water.

I think part of the issue is I quite like a strong Americano, but don’t want to pay for an extra shot, so I ask for less water, doesn’t always quite work. Also the other issue with have too much water, is it is quite difficult to drink or carry a cup filled to the brim without spilling it. Or am I just clumsy?

As a result I have moved much more over to drinking espresso, sometimes a single, usually a double.