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.

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

Did I stop drinking coffee? – Personal

*A letter:

My dear readers,

The thing with writing is, it just so happens. The thing with writing passionately is, sometimes it just doesn´t work. I may have rejected my coffee page up here a (big) little bit within the previous months and I would like to share with you why.

People started asking me when there will be fresh content coming or whether there will be articles coming. I have to admit, I do feel a bit guilty given the fact that I used to share good coffee stuff quite regularly. And let me tell you, I have always enjoyed it soo so much.

IMG_0951To be honest, every few weeks I was sitting in front of my screen and intended to write an article for you – be it a review about a new spot, a fresh playlist or even an interview about a coffee entrepreneur. Some of you may wonder, has there been a shortage of good coffee places lately? Or, could it be that there are too many out there to get them in order and write lovely recommendations? Or maybe even questioned if I stopped drinking coffee at all?

My dear coffee mates,  it´s none of the three.

I moved to another country. I loved it there. I created a life there. Things went well. But also, things went not so well sometimes. I started missing my old place as in my home country. I came to visit. Still, I had my projects and certain priorities in the country abroad. At the same time, I was longing for so many things back home. I missed them. I missed my people. Then, things paid off and came to the end spurt phase abroad. I had fun. I started traveling again. I came back. Something was still missing. I moved back to my home country. I loved it there. Things went well. But also some not so well. I was sad. I was happy. I started traveling again. And the result of all of this? Precious time to figure out what works for me and what not. Precious time with people back home and abroad. Precious time for myself. And what else? The feeling of chance. I have changed as a person. So did my people. So did both places. Of course, everything changes. The world is in motion. All the time. Safety feelings come and go. Fun times come and go. Worrying times come and go. Thoughts come and go. And before you know it, you find yourself living between two worlds, between two places, within decisions, within thoughts, within worries, within joy and love and tears.

What I have learned: you simply cannot live the same life in two different places (or make them three or five). You think you can, but you just can´t. There will always be some things missing, be it, people, be it a regular place you go to, be it basic things. Every place is unique. Once you start exploring, you start adapting to a certain level. That needs time. Take the time. It is constantly evolving really. Things do you good and perhaps do you good for a lifetime. Things do you good at this very stage in life but not in the long run. Fear sometimes stops you. And that is the hardest part of all. You do something, you start realizing to be capable of doing it, it´s great, it´s tough, it´s great, it´s tough – you did it, and then? The then is uncertain. Which is terrible but so exciting at the same time. And there lies the beauty in it, I guess.

So, what about the coffee question then?
I can assure you to 100% – I certainly did not stop drinking coffee. I am having my regular two cups a day. In the morning and in the afternoon, sometimes it´s three actually. I still have this great passion for exploring new and beloved coffee gems. Actually, there is plenty I put on hold just because I had no inspirational writing minutes on my hands. Furthermore, I even have a great interview coming for you soon. This coffee page is a true gem for me. It allows me to express my passion with a bit of a personal touch ever now and then. I would not give that up. It is to a certain level a part of me. And I hope you can understand why I neglected it a bit in the past time. It just did not feel right to write. And I want to keep it that way, writing out of passion and I can feel it, the time is coming again, slowly but surely. I am excited about that and I am going to end this personal letter with a smile now. And do me a favor, please allow yourself to smile too.

Carmen X

Fun Fact: I quite enjoyed writing sooo many short sentences – probably half of them are starting with AND – just random but structured thoughts collecting really, maybe I should do that more often. AND for now, enjoy your afternoon coffee:)

 

I have got Notes for you!

Life is what can happen between coffee & wine. I personally think, this quote sums it up, at least when we are fully focusing on the sunny and fun side of it. Life is a row of moments we all are creating and sharing. And life is also what happens while we´re busy making other plans. Having a cup or a glass in between might do us good.
That´s what a friend of mine and me did before the lovely summer´s approaching. Honestly, I am so happy summer´s finally here. It just feels like recharging batteries truly. Continue reading “I have got Notes for you!”

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”

Happy St. Patrick´s Day!

For some delightful reason, I happened to be in a certain area in the western part of London quite a bit. That´s certainly good news. Becaaaause – you know why, but still – exploring new areas usually comes hand in hand with discovering new things, new places..to put it simply, just fresh stuff. And there it is: as a result of decent exploring, I am happily sharing a brand new coffee place with you right here. 🙂

The coffee place is called Wild Bunch and is located in Chiswick. Let me tell you, when you exit the tube or train station there, you would not believe that you are still very close to London. Why? Just because it looks so much more like a little hidden (but well infra structured) village in terms of everything really. The streets, the squares, the shops, the cafés and so on. Fairly nice. I love city life but in my heart I will always be drawn to smaller, greener and just more familiar alike areas which provide a sense of community feeling. Maybe because I grew up in a small town and always appreciate coming back to / living in a place which provides the very best balance between city and countryside ever since. Hence I experienced strolling around Chiswick quite positively. Not to mention that the flat white at Wild Bunch already convinced me enough. 😉

Living in new places, meeting new people, I love it all. I kind of pride myself on having the constant curiosity and somehow confidence to be open to adventures. It makes you learn so much about yourself and I could not be more grateful for the incredible experiences I have had recently and in the past. Never ever make the mistake to hold yourself back because you think things are supposed to be like ‘XY’ right now. Just trust your instincts and be there for your people in the best possible way. Actions have consequences and someday or even sooner, you feel them…but I do mean this in a positive way right now. Just enjoy your path and live in the moment rather than constantly focus on the next move. Wise wise coffee words…or so. 😉 

Anyhow, at the Wild Bunch you can get plenty of good stuff. For instance, such good bagels, soup, fresh juices, breakfast in general, turmeric shots, ginger shots (of which I am suuuuch a big fan atm) and very yummy treats including vegan raw energy balls, chocolate brownies plus much more. The café itself is not one of the biggest but it does offer quite a number of seating options. Even one right in front of the window which offers a great view straight to the town square garden. The staff and the owner of the café are very lovely and helpful. Not to mention attentive and keen on giving you some recommendations when you are indecisive about what to actually order. Besides, the atmosphere is very comfy. You can read, you can work, you can chat or simply listen to the playlist which had me every single time I spent some coffee moments there. 😉 Whenever you are curios about this part of London, make sure to put your foot into this café! I guarantee you´ll like it!

– Have a good weekend coffee mates & also, a great great St. Patrick´s Day!

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A glimpse of Miami in London.

Good morning my dearest coffee mates 🙂 This morning I have got a wonderful tip for you which includes both great coffee and decent pancakes. Dedicated to this week´s pancake day which was really a thing here in the UK – as a person who is usually used to eating so-called ‘Faschingskrapfen’ (= an Austrian carnival sweet which includes jam and sugar on top..not healthy at all cough cough) – it was quite refreshing to see people celebrating another tradition on this very day. Just a little background info, pancake day is Shrove Tuesday and as the name says it already, it is all about enjoying this dish with your very best mates.

So, as a little shout out for this year´s pancake day, I am happily introducing you to a coffee gem called Café Miami which is located in the London Borough of Hackney. As someone who is living somewhere in South London, it was a little journey to actually get there really, but believe me it was totally worth it. As soon as I saw the sign they put out on Shrove Tuesday, they had me!IMG_5814IMG_5828IMG_5822IMG_5820The café is very popular for its lovely dishes like waffles and of course, pancakes. We went for the vegan coconut ones which came with berries and coconut flakes. Almost every single dish on the menu sounded sooo tempting, so choosing took a while! Next time I am definitely going for the pancakes with forest fruits or the ones with peanut butter slash nutella maybe. We´ll see. 😉 Okay and enough pancake talk for now! I am almost getting hungry again…

In terms of coffee, you have got quite some options as well! Be it a classic cappuccino, a swift espresso or flat white, the Café Miami team got it covered. On that note, I highly recommend you ordering a mug of filter coffee. If you are having a thing for black coffee too, this one may go great with coconut pancakes!! Have a good rest of the week & a lovely upcoming weekend, mates! Slowly but surely, we are heading into spring. Yes!

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Coffeetunes #10

 

Yayyy it’s that time of the month again! Ironically it could be a weekly thing for me as well..that’s how much I enjoy putting playlists together for you. Being on track with the current and even not so current music blasts will always be a keen passion of mine. Hence I am delighted to share a bunch of songs I’ve been listening to lately with you. As usual, it’s a mixture of older and newer tunes, enjoy coffee folks – let the coffeetunes begin!! Coffee kisses from London.