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

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! 

Holiday Feeling a la Coffeetunes #13

Coffee mates, I am back! Back to regular writing and most importantly, back to continiously sharing this exciting coffee journey with you! Honestly, I am feeling soo happy and delighted right now. It is actually snowing outside as well. Almost cheesy. What can I say…I am just a winter person and this time around the year until probably the end of February is indeed one of my most favorite ones of the year. Besides the fact that we hardly have daylight (well, no offense to the Scandinavian countries, but having a midnight feeling at already 4pm-ish each day is enough for me..) .. so yeah, besides the dominating darkness, the fog and the slush during winter in the cities, I am totally  a winter person – 110%.  I mean, the shining and glowing lights everywhere, the xmas markets (punsch), the freezing and fresh breeze in the air, ideally the snow, the quiet and peacful streets and alleys and the quality time with the beloved ones during the holidays.

What an intro… It´s not even December! But still, due to my surroundings yet the craziness going on in the shops and simply highly exaggerated consumer marketing, you can hardly ignore the fact that the next Xmas is approaching fairly soon.

Anyway, I thought I will do an unusual thing up here and casually drop you a little festive music collection a la festive season. In fact, today and today only. You have no choice 😛

You may want to start with this track… Released ages ago by a top band. The style is so different compared to bands these days which makes it even more appropriate to draw some extra attention to them, I believe. It´s Cheap Trick.  Their song is actually a kind of parody, I shall say, of their original one…just a bit more festive in terms of the lyrics. Unfortunatley I could not find this track anywhere on Spotify. Apparently the streaming platform does not have the rights for this which is a shame, but as there is no shortage in finding tracks elsewhere too, this must do. Enjoy, I am sure you know the original one! 😉

X – Carmen

 

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Vanilla Black Coffee & Books – London

Happy Tuesday, coffee mates! Ohh isn´t it a lovely day today? At least here in London it´s like 100% sunny. As always!! No kidding, I have enjoyed here way more sunny than rainy days to be honest. It´s just a rumour that London is the equivalent for foggy and uncomfortable weather. Well, anyhow…guess what, I have a little coffee tip for you today! 🙂

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I am going to introduce you to a spot in Kennington today. The place is called Vanilla Black Coffee & Books and is one of the cutest spots I´ve ever seen in South London. I went there with my sister the other day and we both enjoyed such a delicious breakfast including avocado toast, pastel de nata, porridge and black coffee. For those who don´t know what I am talking about when mentioning a phrase like pastel de nata…you will get an idea of it in the pictures below. An amazing Portuguese treat you find here in London surprisingly often!

The coffeeplace reminds me of a little cottage which could be in Sylt or somewhere near the Seaside really. It features two huge book shelves and you may find some cute birthday gifts there too. Mary Berry cookbooks, cutlery, coffee grinders, toys and gift cards – just to name a view. It´s a nice activity to do before ordering given the fact that there is mostly a little queue. Which is a good thing by the way, as it speaks for their specialty coffee. And let me tell you, every time I am popping into this place, the music enchants me. I once asked which playlist they are usually going for on Spotify and well, it sometimes happens that I play the very one at home as well, it´s just good and chilled coffee music. Hehe!

All in all, Vanilla Black Coffee & Books is a very cosy and child-friendly place! Usually people bring their dogs as well. I would say it is the perfect brunch place for families and coffee date spot with your besties! Happy exploring!

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Coffeetunes #2

Hey there! Right a few days before Xmas and right before the festive day tomorrow, I thought I need to share some tunes I am currently listen to with you again. A little bit of music on a daily basis is just a treat, isn’t it?

Well, to keep it short: new tunes, moody, relaxing, melancholical, rock and fun.

I need to admit that a Xmas song had to be on the playlist as well. I am well aware everybody knows that song – some of you may hate and some may enjoy it. It just felt right to add it to the list anyway, sorry and not sorry 🙂 Keep listening and singing and if you have overheared that specific Xmas song which is totally possible, do not hesitate to keep your ear’s attention to the other ones on the playlist.

Enjoy and have a great upcoming Xmas break with your beloved ones!! As an extra treat, this coffeetunes music selection is slightly longer than the very first one. 🙂

Coffeetunes #1

Hey my dear ones! I trust you´re doing great and enjoying the Friday feeling. Today I thought of writing a post which is about something different. As some of you may know, I am pretty much into music. Well, coffee is a passion that´s a matter of fact but another one is definitely music. So I thought of sharing a playlist with you which goes well while hanging out in one of your fav coffeeshops or while you´re out for a long walk – getting some fresh air, thinking with your earphones in and stuff. 🙂

Without a particular reason I call this playlist Coffeetunes #1 – number one ´cause it´s the first one I publish on this blog obviously. So if you like such different topic posts – just switch the button to music instead of coffee though – please let me know. I am more than happy to share a few more playlists or better coffeetunes with you.

I am the kind of person who really enjoys live music. Going to concerts is such a pleasure and I appreciate those nights sooo much. If I had to choose three types of music genres which I kind of take with me on a lonely island, I´d say pop, rock and indie. That might chance slightly but in general I always prefer songs which belong to that type. For the spotify playlist below I chose some songs I enjoy listening to at the moment – some of them are newer, some are older. It is a very relaxing list, so do not expect a dance or party music session when you´re about to tune in. The songs are listed in no particular order concerning preferences. Lean back and enjoy, hope you like it!

Two more words at this point: Tune in! (Whenever you feel like it.) 😉