Saturday, 22 July 2017


There is hardly a (non-alcoholic) beverage that is so much and so often celebrated than coffee. Empires have been built around it and wars fought over it. It has shaped the outlook of cities (think the café-lined streets of Paris) and its ruthless cultivation has destroyed a great deal of natural habitat.

However, my palate came a long way from instant-cappuccino and liters of filter coffee to one-button-lattes and burned caffettieras. Then my revelation came in the form of a caffe latte at Southside Espresso in Houston, a small coffee shop set back from a main road neighbouring a fancy Japanese restaurant, that was to become my second home. Bemused about the baristas talk about the different sorts and tastes of the coffee they had on offer that day, I ignorantly labelled it hipster talk until I took the first sip.
A velvety texture spread through my mouth and suddenly, the barista's words made sense, each and every one of it. There was a full bouquet of sweet berry notes with a slight hint of tanginess.

impressive latte art at Southside Espresso

Speechless, I savoured my cup silently begging the barista for forgiveness. I was hooked. And soon spoiled. How come I did not know? How much money did I waste on bad coffee if this existed?

Ever since it became difficult to find cafés. My willingness to drink bad coffee rapidly declined. I left cups unfinished. I did extensive research before going to unknown places and thoroughly inspected other people's beverage and the coffee machine set up before daring to order. I drank my coffee on a new maxim: Life's too short to drink bad coffee.

In the US, there is the so-called third wave of coffee and of course, there is an extensive Wikipedia article about it. This movement "aspires to the highest form of culinary appreciation of coffee, so that one may appreciate subtleties of flavor, varietal, and growing region – similar to other complex consumable plant-derived products such as wine, tea, and chocolate."

Mainly, this passion for detail and effort to create a superior product is also extended to the surroundings where this coffee is consumed. Most cafés pay attention to their furnishing and atmopshere. And even though with most things in America, some of the early  third wave coffee makers have turned their businesses into ever growing enterprises, here is a growing number of independent cafés and coffee lovers who are devoted to quality. 

When I moved to Hamburg, I set out on a quest to find this quality coffee here too and get to know my new home town along the way. Follow me here to discover the best and most lovable spots and for your caffeine dose.   

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