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!

When Italians and Austrians talk about Coffee! – 21 Sid Coffee London – Interview #1

Have you ever wondered what´s going on in a barista´s mind who is busy making coffee behind the counter for dozens of people in their morning rush? What must it be like to prepare the seventieth cup of flat white after hours and hours of standing? Same goes for the non-liquid section, running a bakery for instance. Have you ever given it a thought how must it be like when there is to prepare a range of pastries that need to go out for delivery the next morning? – Must be loads going on. And, there is a woman who does it all! An Italian named Laura who´s been living in London for nearly 10 years now. I got to interview her the other day in her brandnew coffeeshop in London Fields. Today, I am delighted to share our coffee talk with you!

Laura is originally from Sicily. Back in April she´s opened her very own coffeeshop called 21 Sid Coffee, nowhere other than in exciting and multicultural London! It´s open 7 days a week and she serves the most delicious brunch, lunch, afternoon treats and doubtlessly incredible coffee. I had a blast there, spent a good four to five hours or so, I am sure you´ll have one too!

Continue reading “When Italians and Austrians talk about Coffee! – 21 Sid Coffee London – Interview #1”

Moin Moin, Milk

Just milk. Surprisingly it is that simple. Milk is the dearly needed ingredient for the awesome coffee creations at this spot. Milk is the colour which represents the setting in terms of furniture, decor and art in this spot. Milk is actually the name of this spot too. Well, enough milk talk. I better just keep going and show you some visuals. You may can tell yourself why this spot has made it to my coffee dedicated diary here.

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The café Milk (actually called Milch for the German mother tongues of you) is located in one of those streets you probably would miss as a tourist when you are in Hamburg for the first time, I guess. And probably also when you do not really know a few born and raised citizens of this Northern city. Thankfully to good connections aka beloved Hamburg native coffee friends, this street was one “must-see” point on the Hamburg exploring list. In addition to this aforesaid insider knowledge we kept in our heads, the weather could not be any better on that day. Super sunny and no rain which is kind of unusual for a city like Hamburg which is basically famous for its clouds and rain drop fun.

Milch is situated in a building which is a bit of an old fashioned one. A little traditional/vintage alike looking is the entrance too. And the way how the letters “MILCH” / “MILK” are fixed above the doors. It feels like being somewhere around the early 90s. Not that I could remember exactly how everyday live used to look like more than twenty years ago – I mean, I was a little little little one 🙂 – but as far as I can tell because of pictures, videos, stories and stuff, it probably fits best into that decade.

At Milch they are happily serving you gorgeous latte all day long, really tasty pie and in case you are in the mood for, quite a few newspapers are waiting for you. If you ever enter the café, please appreciate the coffee machine – you will see it on one of my pics below, it is a dream. – Moin, moin.

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Secret Pocket – Burggasse 24

It was one of those days Vienna got even a bit prettier. What I mean by saying that? I am talking about the fast and innocent way loads of snow showed up within a few minutes some days ago. As i love snow and winter in general that much – although I am craving for a bit of sunshine already and looking forward to a hopefully warmer march – my mood could not get any better expect the moment I was holding a coffee cup in my hand.

I found one pretty good secret pocket in the 7th district. It is like a concept store: I would say, a point where fashion and coffee come together. Cosiness would be the word which defines the setting at its best. There is an old-fashioned stove, many cute chairs and sofas and pretty stunning design, art and furniture. Furthermore it is pretty student friendly. Great to study, work on projects, bring a foreign into the fancy Vienna lifestyle a la seventh district and to hide as well. 🙂 The coffee machine is pretty nice to look at. I do apologise for not showing you a coffee picture here, but I will make it up to you soon. Probably the following spot pictures are a little excuse already. Have a nice day, we are already heading towards the weekend!!

FullSizeRenderBesides, you may find a few pictures about the Burggasse 24 coffee place on Instagram as well.

Coffee Machine Goals

When there happen to be a headline like this, there is no way of not representing my second love after coffee itself of course and coffee machines – say hello to those lovely cups! It is no secret at all, I do love coffee cups. Especially when they are a little more colourful than the usual white ones. So it definitely feels right starting this post with an appropriate picture. 🙂

The represented coffee pocket, Balthasar Kaffee Bar, is pretty new in Vienna though. It is located in the second district not far away from the busy Schwedenplatz when it comes to ice cream or pubs and the big amusing park Prater, by the way. Whenever you are strolling around in that area, make sure to stop by at Balthasar´s. It is really cosy and there is so much space which indeed surprised me a bit. Normally it can be quite tricky to find a calm or an actual space in a popular café to sit down and chat. There is definitely loads in this one – also some bar stools, for your interest.

Everything is covered in light colours: it begins with the coffee cups, as I said so in the beginning, continues with the barista counter, the walls, the decor and finally the dishes. I do not know, but light pastel colours are pretty good in making me feel totally relaxed. I really like the light blue wall on the left hand side in the café. It is soo nicely decorated and the combination fancy lights and flowers in front of the wall including lovely art, amazes me too. Concerning the coffee, cappuccino and caffé latte happened to be on the list. Both amazing. The latte art was a wee bit minimalistic but hey, I am no expert either!! I am kidding, they did a good job. 🙂

I am truly sorry for not showing any pictures of this amazing place up here – due to technical issues the visual content is partly missing, new ones are going to be up here very very soon, I promise! For now, feel welcome to head over to my Instagram.