Late Night Coffee Treat – Coffeetunes #16

Good evening coffee mates! Here´s a little musical treat for you right before you go to bed I guess! Obviously depends when you are reading this, could be morning already where you are right now…in any case, it is a treat, be it a late or an early coffee one. 🙂 Hope you had a good long bank holiday weekend and surely a good start into the new week! You might have noticed the lack of coffee guides up here lately, I promise you, there´s a good reason for it. I will reveal more details about it soon, bare with me. Stay tuned and enjoy the latest coffeetunes edition you lovely bunch! x

ps: Let me know what your favourite track is!

Coffeetunes #15

This weekend marks two special occasions: first, it’s the last actual weekend during February and second, one of my best friends and I are going on holiday!!! There will be a couple of plane rides involved, hence the playlist.

A short trip every once in a while to catch some sun and enjoy some real friends quality time while exploring and getting a sense of a brand new culture, is just what a decent end of winter shall look like – right? I promise, we will do some coffee house exploring too. <3

Maybe you’re on a train, a bus, on a roadtrip, on a sofa, on a bench, the beach, in the garden, running, relaxing or whatever you’re doing, no matter where .. maybe you feel like listening to some tunes! Enjoy, fellow coffee mates & have a gorgeous weekend regardless.

A wee bit of Coffee Knowledge

Quite recently I took the time to do a bit of coffee reading. Besides industry magazines I am very much enjoying, I thought it might be time to refresh my basic coffee knowledge and see if there is anything new, particularly special or even newsworthy to catch up regarding the coffee industry. Obviously there are trends in every niche that come and go and I think it´s nice to keep yourself informed, like on a regular basis. Anyway, I thought I use this Monday to write down some basics about the coffee world and maybe there are some bits and pieces which are new to you as well. If all of that feels like a bit of a revision to you, then cups up — you are a true coffee chief already. 😉

There is Robusta & Arabica…

The two most common types of coffee are robusta and arabica coffee. The robusta coffee contains way more caffeine actually than the arabica one. As the name slightly hints to it already, robusta coffee is way more robust — which basically means, robusta coffee plants survive in regions where the weather can be a bit more stormy, harsh and unpredictable in general. Robusta coffee grows in countries like Vietnam, India and Indonesia. The taste is more chocolaty, darker, cacao-ish and bitter and this type of coffee actually is very popular for espresso. The caffeine level goes up to 4,5%.

Whereas arabica coffee has a caffeine level of about 1,7% maximum and tastes more bloomy, fruity, nutty and is a bit more pure which is great for filter coffee. Arabica coffee grows in Brasilia, Columbia and Ethiopia, to name a few.

Overall, robusta coffee makes 30–40 % and arabica coffee makes 60–70 % out of coffee cultivation worldwide.

Coffee comes from… And today we get it from…

The answer is, Ethiopia! Yes, Ethiopia is yet the very first country worldwide where coffee has its origins. There were several developments regarding coffee ever since, which are called the coffee waves. Today, we are experiencing the third wave of coffee which stands for high-quality and sustainability. The coffee scene has come a long way since its early stages which go back to the end of the 17th century. Europe is until today the continent which is most famous for its coffee house culture.

Today, we get our coffee from various parts of the world. The number one coffee exporter as it is the biggest, is Brazil. Amongst the top 10 coffee exporters generally are — besides Brazil which has up to 300.000 coffee farms and half of them result in homeland coffee consumption — are, Vietnam, Indonesia, Columbia, Ethiopia, India, Honduras, Mexiko, Peru and Guatemala. For instance, Columbia grows almost entirely arabica coffee beans — the harvest takes place two times a year, once between March & June and the other between September & December. Honduras on the other hand, does its harvesting once a year only between November and April and takes pride in standing for its balanced, fruity yet chocolaty coffee.

Some further coffee facts… Did you know, that…

The condition of the ground as well as the amount of sun and rain during the ripening time has effects on the taste of the coffee. Sensitive coffee plants actually need a well-balanced climate all season round — during the day and during the night. Plus, shadow and enough rainfall is crucial for a satisfying coffee taste. The ground quality plays a major role and ideally, the ph value is between 5 & 6, which is a bit sour. The richer in nutrients the ground is, the better for the coffee plant and eventually the taste.

Coffee plants can get a height of up to 3,5 metres. They are in their wilderness form only to be found left in Ethiopia. The bushes carry fruits which we call coffee cherries. The resulting coffee beans are the seeds of the coffee cherries. So, coffee is basically a fruit which grows in the nucleus of a coffee cherry. The coffee cherries dry either natural under the sun or get washed before the further coffee steps take place.

Last but not least, one further fact… Speciality coffee actually means hand harvested. The process of the whole coffee value creation chain is way more precise, detailed and sustainable. According to the Speciality Coffee Association, coffee which scores 80 points or above on a 100-point scale is graded specialty.

That´s a wrap! I hope it was some kind of useful to you and I´d be happy to write more about detailed parts in the future as well! Have a good start into the new week & enjoy your coffee!!

A love letter to the coffee house landscape

Visiting a café is an experience that engages all the senses. Everyone might associate something different when thinking of the term coffee house. You could either be thinking of something more traditional, classy, or of something like take-away place, bakery or hipster place. Maybe you were just thinking of a mobile coffee van — and I am sure probably in this very moment, there is opening a new coffee house somewhere in the world. It is actually quite hard to tell how many of such types of coffee houses exist in total — imagine all the coffee market stands, the places near the highway, the boutique cafés in the parks and museums or in the hotels plus the independent coffee houses and the chains — well there is definately no shortage! Hence I thought, I dedicate a few paragraphs to the historical side of this phenomenon, a beloved one for many people.

TischKult Atelier – Austria

Beginning with the early description of School of Wisdom which is a meeting place of men of arts and literature, then followed by the refer to Penny Universities in England that became popular forums to discuss all manner of political issues, current affairs while paying for a cup of coffee, and moving on to Seminaries of Sedition in England which is a view held by the authorities who saw cafés as anti-social and ordered them to get a license, and finally Kaffee Klatsch in Germany, the description of a women gossip afternoon coffee session, shows that the term coffee house has experienced quite a development before actually receiving its well-known name.

The coffee house culture in Europe has come a long way since the first coffee houses appeared in Venice, Italy back in 1629. You may have heard of or even have visited one of the most historical ones called Caffè Florian. It is one of the oldest coffee houses that is existing until this very day. A very traditional, classy yet fancy place which truly celebrates the coffee culture and its people. It is simply impressive when you just think of how many conversations have taken place over hundreds and hundreds of decades in one coffee place. So many stories! That is fascinating.

The coffee scene kept growing fairly quickly, followed by a few first coffee houses in England and France. In the five o’clock tea town London, the very first coffee house was opened by Edward Lloyd near the Thames back in 1685, called Edward Lloyd Coffee House. A few years later in 1696, the location of this coffee house changed very close to the centre of English maritime trade. While running the coffee house, Edward Lloyd launched a list which was filled with information on ship arrivals and departures and included some intelligence on conditions abroad and at sea. This list functioned as a daily news provider on stock prices, foreign markets and high-water times at London Bridge and reports of accidents and sinkings. Although the historical coffee house is not trading anymore, it is still very famous today. Indeed, it was from this coffee house that Lloyd ́s of London was established which eventually became the largest insurance company worldwide.

With Oxford, London and later on Paris being the first hubs for coffee houses, the Austrian capital Vienna is yet the place where the culture of drinking coffee was itself widespread in the country until today. While it is hard to tell an accurate number of the existing coffee houses worldwide, it´s relatively easy to limit it on one city. According to statistical evaluations by the federal chamber of economics of Austria about the current gastronomy businesses, there are almost 850 (by the end of 2018) coffee houses located in Vienna. Close to a thousand coffee places in just one single city in a country. Isn´t that a true homage to the coffee scene itself?

Vienna is the city which is probably the most famous one worldwide when it comes to the coffee house scene. Since 2011, the Viennese coffee house culture is classified as intangible cultural heritage by UNESCO. The tradition of the Viennese coffee house culture goes back to the end of the 17th century. Today, we are experience the third wave of coffee. Today we are experiencing the third wave of coffee.

To quickly fill you in, the main milestones regarding the coffee field´s developments are categorised in waves. I wrote more about the sparkling term coffee wave here if you want to dig a little deeper into the topic. Just to sum it up very briefly, the first wave was characterised by the traditional coffee houses, the second by the chains such as Starbucks and Costa and the current one, the third wave, puts its emphasis on speciality coffee and a sustainable and high-quality coffee value chain.

Generally speaking, coffee has always been more than just a caffeine kick for the majority of people. It is a lifestyle. It is a ritual. Cafés are a central hub of social life: a get-together place, an opportunity to meet up yet an activity, a place for people watching and exchanging opinions, a place to write and tell stories. Simply, a place for everybody, be it experiencing it by just yourself or in company with others. As brilliantly put in the latest edition of BRANDLife: Cafés & Coffeehouses by the Asian design book publisher victionary, coffee places tend to be highly personal expressions of their founders and overall, the presence of the coffee houses and their names do tell a story as well.

Coffee houses are enchanting many people from all parts of the world — an inspiring community that brings people sharing their coffee moments together.

And on that note, I wish you the best time exploring coffee houses and would like to close this love letter by quoting David Letterman, ‘Way too much coffee. But if it weren’t for the coffee, I’d have no identifiable personality’.

Why and where you should drink coffee in Valencia – Spanish Coffee Guide Edition

Buenos días!! My dear coffee mates, I feel the need to escape those cold winter days for a bit because let´s be honest, we are all counting the days when a scarf or even gloves are not necessary anymore when heading out. I am by all means a fan of winter, particularly snow, do not get me wrong, but as a matter of fact, I do want to start enjoying a nice cup of coffee on a café terrace or at least inside next to the window open like in two weeks time… It´s just soo good to catch some vitamin D and having a chat in the fresh air and enjoying a cup while not being afraid to catch a cold…or wearing a bunch of layers to actually be able to sit on a bench outside. It´s been way too long and temperatures above zero degrees are highly neccesary. Who´s with me? 😀

Nevertheless, I am grateful for living somewhere where you´re able to experience actual seasons. It´s a matter of balance and today – as the sun is shining the majority of the time here too – I´d like to introduce you to a nice, above all sunny place in Europe, where you´re able to experience just the exact café terrace moment without freezing: Valencia, that is.

Café con leche…
Sí sí, that´s the phrase pretty much every second Spanish person did say while queuing at a coffee counter. Those valencianos do like coffee with milk a lot. I would say, what the espresso is for the Italians, the café con leche is for the Spanish. Let me fill you in what my great yet special and for sure fun and inspiring company and I were up to coffee-wise during our sunny trip to Spain over New Year´s Eve.

Firstly, I´d like to say that I was quite surprised that a city like Valencia has such a vibrant coffee culture. You could also put it this way: I, or rather both of us, came here without any expectations and that´s what made it so exciting and wonderful. What can I say, there´s definitely no shortage in coffee shops and you won´t need to spend a fortune on good, fulfilling, maaagical coffee either! Obviously, the prices differ on where you go and what you want and like, but generally speaking when comparing the coffee prices to other European cities like Vienna or Munich, there is a bit of room to save up some cents.

Okay, let me introduce you to the coffee shop we did visit on the first morning called Dulce de Leche. This café is located in the so-called up and coming, trendy yet hip district Ruzafa. It has a café terrace/seating area outside and a bunch of tables and cozy sofas and chairs inside. A café terrace! Would you expect otherwise? 😉 When you come here, be it on a week-day or on the weekend, I can only partly assure you, you´ll find a place to sit right away, they are not taking any reservations sadly, so please be aware you might need to queue for quite a bit too. We went during a very busy time, it was the day before New Year´s Eve and many people were on holidays and craving for brunch on the same day, but even we managed to secure a table after a while – when you´re comfortable with sharing your table with others and just squeeze in, you should be fine!

I think, especially when you are on holiday, it´s nice to allow yourself a bit more time and also some moments to fully get yourself into the spirit of the culture abroad, its uniqueness and lifestyle.

It would be a shame not taking enough time to appreciate the vibe, the setting and in the end, the lifestyle people abroad are living and celebrating. Dulce de Leche is a place which very likely tackles all of the aforementioned and where you meet locals and get a sense of the coffee culture in Spain too.

The café Dulce de Leche seems to be very famous for its pastry and bread. There are this vitrine next to the busy working baristas and an open counter area where you find all kinds of delicious cake, cupcakes, sweet bread and many more delicious treats all decorated with fruit and/or covered in chocolate, lemon creme & co. Actually, it´s good you need to queue, otherwise, you probably won´t have enough time to figure out what you actually want to order because all looks so tempting!

When it comes to ordering, the staff is pretty keen on explaining to you all the specials and various options you can choose and surely the coffee or let me say café con leche is amazing! Bare in mind, it does help to familiarise yourself with some of the basics of the Spanish language – you help both, the locals and yourself to make sure you´re actually getting the type of coffee and meal you want! 😉

Pretty tempting, right?

So, from this heaven of a breakfast spot, we went on to do some exploring before heading to a few other cafés later on. For those of you who are keen on visiting Valencia, start looking forward to already. I can assure you´ll be having a blast. This city is nothing short of relaxing. It´s not too big or crowded – at least when there are not any public gatherings happening like a so-called San Silvestre run we actually happened to join right an hour after we left the airplane 😉 – besides, the people are very friendly and warmly welcoming you as a tourist/traveler.

The weather was a blast too, we were so lucky to get to look at a sky without a single cloud and nothing left but sunshine during our 3 days long stay. In terms of sights, I can recommend visiting the area where the Oceanographic of Valencia is located. It´s like a cultural and scientific area where you find a food market, an opera, a garden, and overall the whole corner is surrounded by specially designed buildings and amazes everyone by its incredible yet stunning architecture.

Moreover, the beach and coastal area are exceptionally beautiful and relaxing and definitely not boring – you´ll find people doing some kind of interesting sports, a random art exhibition, sailing boats, clubs, cafés, paella places and people creating sculptures out of the sand. Oh wow, it feels like we have been there longer as just a few days as we have seen and done a lot (carpe diem), but a weekend trip is perfectly fine to cover all, I promise. Overall an easy going and exotic place worth visiting when you´re craving some sun, playa, and tapas!!

Last but not least, in case you need some extra caffeine in between, here´s another café recommendation for you. The place is located pretty close to the train station, so it´s fairly central and it´s nice to stop by when you´re about to explore the parts of the city center including the old town, the museums, and cathedrals and the Colosseum.

The café is a very hip one called Bastard Coffee & Kitchen. This place has a huge selection of breakfast dishes and let me tell you, they do iconic combinations too. If you are in the mood for experimenting a little, you may want to choose a savory dish topped with maple syrup.. you´ll see. 😉 Bastard Coffee & Kitchen is a place where many freelancers, students, travelers and maybe writers or people of the creative industries would go to, if I may say so – the setting somehow reminds me a little of a co-working space. It´s a very industrial place in terms of the interior and decoration and it could be on the high street of NY or Berlin as well. What I am trying to say, the ambiente is less coffee chatting, rather more business-like. I am a fan of their americanos, they gave me the energy I needed for our journey back home to Austria.

Sí sí, that´s a wrap! I hope you enjoyed this Spanish edition of a coffee guide and I wish you a lot of fun already, whenever you are planing to visit this gorgeous place! Gracias and hasta luego & here´s some final pictures for you too! x

Vienna Coffee Festival 2019

Now it´s been a good ten days since the Vienna Coffee Festival warmly welcomed hundreds and hundreds of people (about 12,000 visitors in total during the 3-day long event) in the iconic venue Ottakringer Brauerei in Vienna. This January, it was my third time at the, as people labeled it “world´s coolest coffee event”. I couldn´t ask for a better company than the girls I went with – truly awesome coffeemates and we surely had a blast, and several espressos too.

So, in January 2019, the Austrian capital Vienna dedicated itself even more to its coffee culture. For the fifth time in a row, from the 11th until the 13th of January to be precise, the yearly coffee festival took place and today I´d like to fill you in on what my coffee girls and I were up to at this heaven of a coffee island in Vienna. This event stands for quality, sustainability and coffee trends and I´d like to show you why.

Each and every year, the organizers including many, many attentive volunteers at the Vienna Coffee Festival (VCF) ensure you´re having a blast at this yearly coffee event. Right at the entrance, you get a tote bag which comes in handy later on when you are about to collect a bunch of magazines, information material, some chocolate treats or cookies here and there and so on. Then, a wee bit later, the next thing you´ll probably notice at the festival right after walking up the staircase to the actual festival coffee stands, is the stage in the community/market area. This year, I sadly did not manage to watch any performances, however, I´ve seen some clips online and the Irish singer and songwriter Dave McKendry, for example, truly excited the visitors with his indie melodies. I´ve actually seen him perform a couple of times on the streets of Vienna already, so I am sure he nailed it at the VCF as well.

Amongst the exhibitors this year besides many others, were the following: Alt Wien Kaffee, Baileys, Gota Coffee, Dallmayr Kaffee, Fürth Kaffee, J. Hornig, Nespresso, Oatly, Röstwerkschaft… You would find coffee roasters, manufacturers, coffeeshops, distributors and famous coffee brands from different cities and regions from Austria like Vienna, Salzburg, Upper Austria, Burgenland, Carinthia, and Styria – to name a few. Every stand was super unique. I think, probably the most interesting part besides the endless coffee tasting (oh wow, we had a few cups indeed), is the part that you get to hear a story behind each and every product. It´s a bit of both really, coffee tasting and storytelling. Such an opportunity to ask all your burning coffee-related questions plus getting to know some insights and learning about coffee, its background, roasting, grinding and much more, is nothing short of precious knowledge. Moreover, it´s nice to have an actual face to the coffee brand and get to know the team and the creators behind a good you´re enjoying on such a regular basis. Cheers to that!

MY HIGHLIGHTS

One very special experience offered Dallmayr this year. Let me quickly show you some pictures in order to familiarise yourself with the setting and then I am going to explain what this was all about…

Coffee & Food Pairing

The chef who introduced us girls to some different matches – as in coffee, tea, and sweets – really made us curious about this whole coffee and food pairing process.

The lovely chef wearing all-white took us on a whole culinary journey accompanied by many stories. Imagine this: out of one single coffee bean, you get numerous kinds of aroma. As every coffee bean slightly differs, the outcome of variations is pretty endless. Such types of aroma go great with various foods, you just need to know which and how to best combine them. At the VCF for example, Dallmayr prepared four different variations for the visitors. We had two small cups of tea – fruits and herbs and two cups of espresso – a Brasilian yellow bourbon one and an Italian creamy, almost chocolaty one. The treats the chef and his team prepared us, not only looked amazing and special, they actually tasted like that as well. The teas came with the following: a dice out of yogurt and raspberry cream and a crunchy, sticky “Knusperheu” that had a bit of lemon, basil and mint taste in it. The espressos came with a glazed strawberry and the famous Italian almond confectionery Amaretti.
You can tell, we were all high on sugar and caffeine afterwards – cannot complain. 😉

This trend of food pairing actually has its roots in France. You are probably familiar with the famous combination of wine and cheese. That is actually the base of food pairing which inspired other cultures to do so too. Now, it´s pretty common to serve beverages with sweets – depending on where you go and on your choice and preferences of course, but at least it is not a rare thing. Amongst other well-known food pairing examples are the following: the Swedish ritual FIKA, the British tea time or the Italian Dolce Vita.

Overall, there are about 300 key aromas which help to find the perfect match. Whether it´s tea with savory foods or coffee with sweets, it´s about harmony in the end. Just remember this: the more aromas of the same kind, the better to combine.

The Fantastic Coffee Machine

A further stand that enchanted me, was the one from ELBE which distributes Oro Caffè. They had the most amazing coffee machine ever! Can you imagine this model actually weighs around 90kg? I did spend a few moments just staring at it, to be honest… It was almost like a piece of art to look at, very shiny and powerful.
Another product of this coffee distributor headquartered in Carinthia made me curios as well. I did not take a picture, but the team there introduced me to their latest edition of a milk frother. With this product, you´ll be able to even froth cold milk which is great when you´re craving for an iced cappuccino in the summer.

Another thing, I really appreciate about the coffee festival, is the intercultural energy. You meet all kinds of different people sharing the same passion which is great for exchanging opinions and expertise, not to mention getting familiar with new trends and cultural specialties. This year, even a coffee stand from South America was amongst the exhibitors which served delicious coffee rum on ice in a reusable cup. Cups up for that!

Another highlight, I´d like to add to my list here, is one about storytelling. Nespresso Austria took the visitors on a virtual coffee journey through the magic of virtual reality glasses. The visitors could simply escape into a virtual world of coffee – like from production to consumption. While having this virtual glasses on, you instantly felt as you would join the farmers and distributors on the whole coffee value creation chain. You would see how they collect the coffee cherries, what they do with the beans and how this whole process from coffee cherry to the capsule actually happens. In addition to this little virtual coffee journey, Nespresso presented its newest limited editions. To make it less secretly what the latest capsule flavors actually consist of, they prepared a little “tasting exhibition” – on the second picture below you see how it looked like. For example, the purple capsule is a very fruity one and the aroma comes very close to this whole bunch of wild berries and raspberries in the jar next to it.

Besides the coffee tasting and chatting with fellow coffee lovers and coffee entrepreneurs, there are plenty of other things to do too! There are workshops and masterclasses that fill you in different areas of the world of coffee. You can learn so much directly from the experts and this setting allows yourself to improvise and experiment a bit too. I am always a big fan of the live sessions, such as the cupping challenge and the latte art competition. One of the pioneers when it comes to latte art are definitely the MUMAC mates. Every time I see them creating new latte art motives, I ask myself…could I do that too? I am so keen on learning at least the basics someday soon. Luckily I even managed to score a voucher, so one more reason to finally try it out, right? Thank you MUMAC Academy, we will see each other soon!

All in all, if you´re planning to visit Vienna around the winter season, it does make sense to add this coffee event to your exploring list. As January usually surprises us weather-wise, it might be good to know where to have a warm, safe, coffee option to go and have fun. Thank you, until next time!

Coffeehouse Music – coffeetunes #14

Happy Tuesday everyone! Today is one of those days I am longing for both sun and motivation. Music has always been such a big deal for me. I like its company, like nonstop.  Also, I do find myself much more productive when I have got some tunes on in the back – like right now. To me, music is not only an element that brings people together and makes certain moments even more special, powerful and acknowledgeable, I see it as an everlasting yet inspiring source as well. Since we´re all fresh in 2019, a new coffeetunes playlist should be too, right? Here´s a bunch of my favorite tracks I am currently listening to.

Enjoy & have a good week! X

Festive Coffee Talk – Café Eiles – Interview #3

A good couple of months ago, I had the honor to have a chat with one of the most impactful entrepreneurs of the Viennese coffee scene. Coffee house owner and business man Gert Kunze and I talked about his beloved coffeehouse right in the heart of the Josefstadt, Café Eiles. The partly in Mallorca living Austrian has traveled all over the place, as well as has done projects in Germany and the US. Now, he´s running the Café Eiles in Vienna and has been enjoying it ever since.

I remember showing you a glimpse of this coffeespot like a year ago, however, today it´s time to talk about the person who runs it! You may remember, besides the Café Eiles is one of my favorite go to places when it comes to having a classy melange or breakfast, I personally consider this coffeehouse as the hippest traditional café you can find, at least what Vienna concerns! Yup, cups up for interview round number three!! Enjoy and stay warm, forecast is snow! X

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Coffee Talk at Café Eiles – Vienna 

C: Bonjour! Thank you so much for your time! Soo great having you as my next interview guest for my coffeeblog! I am very curious what you´re sharing today..
G: Sure, thank you for having me!

C: I need to say, your café is like my go to place when it comes to breakfast, especially during the wintery times. It does feel like a big classy yet cosy living room in here. I really like the decoration as well, very carefully selected. My top favourite item is probably the old cash mashine which looks like a type writer near the entrance.
G: Happy to hear that! To me, the most important thing is to make the customers feel at home! I take pride in getting to know my customers. It´s so nice to have so many regulars here already as well!

C: I was going to say, seems like every third person walking in here knows you!
G: I have got such a variety of people coming here regularly. Actors, ministors, journalists… It´s a place where culture and politics are made!

C: I can tell, with having both the parliament and the theatre Josefstadt just a stone’s throw away! I see there lot´s of young people as well, especially your staff.
G: Yes. I am so grateful for my team! In a way, they are the café and my customers partly come because of them. They feel welcomed and appreciate good company.

C: I can see that. They seem to really enjoy their job – I see them smiling!
G: To me, variety is an important aspect. I employed many internationals and the thing I am asking for, is to make an effort in speaking a proper language with the customers. I want them to speak German in the café, it´s a Viennese place after all and I want, that Café Eiles represents exactly that: a heartwarming and classy spirit.

C: It is a place which invites people to chat, read, watch and enjoy.
G: I believe, particularly my team adds so much positive value to this place. Customers come in and the first thing they see is the classy coffee counter – then they take their seat. Also, the whole café is a non-smoking zone.

It´s very important to know your customers. You need to listen, to understand and to be patient. – Gert Kunze

C: Though it´s quite full in here – literally every table is taken at 3.30 in the afternoon on a weekday – it doesn´t seem packed or noisy at all. You can hardly get that in a coffee house, it´s quite a rare thing.
G: True. There is a lot of space and the arrangement of the desks is perfect as people have their privacy. Plus, there is room for exchanging opinions with others if they want to! And the windows are so huge, they brighten up the room characterised by mainly dark furniture so well.

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C: So, what´s the story behind it? Was it more or less a coincidence to end up running the Eiles or initially your plan?
G: Well, the café exists since 1840. It was a little long-run project really. I started from scratch – you know, I build it up and focused on creating an identity. The Eiles was so different back then and it really took much effort to create a new and welcoming place. Along with it comes passion, know-how and expertise. You need an excellent team. I wanted to create something where people felt comfortable and welcoming. A coffee house to come to whenever you feel like. It´s open. Also, the quality needs to fit.

C: I wonder how it was back then. Clearly, you´ve made a lot of changes and people seem to love it, including me! Are there any other projects coming up?
G: Thank your. In fact, yes. My latest one is the Cobenzl. I am just in the process of refurbishing it and make it my next place where people enjoy coming to. I am aiming it to be just very similar as the Café Eiles. This will take around two years from now.

C: Sounds exciting! And, since Christmas is coming – will people have the chance to visit your café around the holidays? 
G: Of course, a 100%! Café Eiles is open all year round. It´s 365 days a year from 7am to 12 pm. It´s important to me that people have a place to come to, where they feel at home. Especially for families or anyone really, it´s great to spend some relaxing time before the holiday celebrations are about to start! It´s a very peaceful environment.

C: That´s wonderful. So, if you were to describe your café in just three words…
G: Those would be: open, heartwarming and consistent.

C: Generally speaking, what do you think does a true coffee house actually need? Is there a secret formula?
G: Every coffee house needs the right intention and drive. Obviously a good team is important which you can trust. It should be welcoming and heartwarming, like coming home.

C: Are you happy you chose Vienna over Mallorca for running your coffee house?
G: Totally! Vienna is the place to be, it´s the heart of the coffee house culture and people are admiring our country so much, I can see that when talking to my customers. Even though the Austrian tends to moan quite a bit, we often forget what a privilege it actually is, to live in Austria. It has very good life quality.

C: I agree! To end up our talk, I´d like to close our chat with the question I am always asking: what´s your favorite coffee?
G: I personally prefer a good classic melange. It´s just wonderful, like round and fancy.

-Thank you, Gert!

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Where to have coffee up north – England Edition

Yes, you read that right. I am going to encourage you to take the train from London up to Yorkshire. Totally worth it when you seek to get a bit of a city break. The province where places like York (the old-fashioned one 😉 ), Leeds, Sheffield, Harrogate, Manchester, Liverpool and many many other places are. I have had the chance this year to visit some of them and let me tell you, there are some gems I need to show you up here too. To be honest, it´s been quite a while I have been to the northern part of England, but I recently stumbled upon the pictures and thought, hey – there is indeed a few things I would like to share with you. Maybe you happen to be in one or two of those places in the near future and then you can rely on having this little guide when it comes to coffee cravings. I am going to keep this post a short one though, fairly picture based, but there is no shortage in recommendations, I promise! X

Let me start with York. When I first heard of this city, I did not really associate anything particular with it. Some relations like very English alike city with stunning architecture came to my mind, but that was it really. Now I can say, that York has made it to the list of my top favorite cities within the UK. I have traveled the UK a bit within the previous year and despite the moody wheather, I found some places I really would like to visit again at some point. York is probably one of them. It´s soo cute yet classy. And, surprisingly there are quite a few coffeeshops as well. My highlight was mainly strolling through the narrow streets and avenues, seeing the historical castle and how could I not mention them: the pubs.

So yeah, in terms of coffee I can recommend you the following…

  • Brew & Brownie – 5 Museum St, York YO1 7DT (make sure to order a latte there!)
  • Café Concerto – 21 High Petergate, York YO1 7EN (the store front itself is magical)

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The neeext place is Harrogate. It is located right in the heart of Yorkshire and used to be a spa town way back. The city itself is very beautiful. You´ve got pretty much everything there. From concept stores to nice restaurants and galleries to trendy coffeeshops and lively bars including live music as well as a huge park and a little classy theatre. It´s again, a very English place. A much more calmer place and you might see many families and people walking their dogs. Also, Harrogate is super posh, but in a good way – people are well dressed and overall the city seems to be very organised and simply a hub to all the people living close by on the countryside who seek to experience a bit of classy, cultural but still relaxed places and lifestyle.
When you happen to be in Harrogate, you should check those places out… FYI, I luckily had a local with me, so that´s why there´s an extra few fairly nice hidden gems on the list!

  • Lilly´s Café 24 Commercial St, Harrogate HG1 1TY (come on in, darling!!)
  • Bean & Bud – 14 Commercial Street, Harrogate HG1 1TY (their filter coffee is out of this world..btw.)
  • North Bar 2D Oxford Buildings, Cheltenham Parade, Harrogate, HG1 1DA (go and have a pint there 😉 )
  • Zinc John St, Harrogate HG1 1JZ (the place for vino and café! actually they do monthly wine tastings too.)
  • Harrogate Theatre (did not have coffee there, but the place itself is stunning)
  • Bettys Café Tea Room (same as above, actually there´s more of them in the UK, but Harrogate was the place where it started originally back nearly a century ago)

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IMG_7101IMG_7106IMG_7075IMG_7077IMG_7108IMG_7109And, last but not least, I´d like to share some impressions of Manchester with you. I always had those hiiigh expectations about this northern city – a la “Manchester, the music city!” I do believe in some ways this is true. I am pretty sure this is a great place for partying too. Anyway, I have to say that I was a little bit disappointed when I actually visited this city a good long while ago. I don´t know why, but it didn´t really excited me in particular…I was strolling around the Northern quarter, the media city, the city centre near the public library and the gallery which were both super beautiful, however other than that, I felt like Manchester is a big industrial place. In any case I will ever come up there again, I really would like to go with a so-called expert. I am pretty sure there is more than just chain stores and office buidlings, so maybe I should give it a further go sometime. Here´s what I would recommend to visit anyway…

IMG_0889IMG_0890IMG_0893IMG_0897IMG_0904IMG_0907IMG_0908IMG_0896IMG_0901IMG_0903IMG_0892Finito! x

In the beginning I said this post is going to be a short one, didn´t I? At least what the number of words concerns… Hope you´ve enjoyed this kind of post, I felt like approaching it differently this time…a bit of a mixture between travel and coffee content mainly in the form of visuals. For now I say:  Happy exploring, coffee mates! 🙂

Since you´re here…If you´re interested, I´d love to put together a sort of similar post about the South side of England…I got places like Brighton, Bristol, Bath and the Cornish Coast in mind…just saying. I´d love to hear your feedback! Coffee Kisses!