Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Because it's about time we had another coffee post

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  • Russell Brown, in reply to BenWilson,

    Yes, I tend to agree that coffee snobbery can be self-defeating. It’s a bloody hard ask at home during a party to serve 10 espressos/lattes, but not at all difficult to do with a largish plunger. It’s still coffee, still tastes OK, many people prefer it.

    Heh. Am I the only one who gets frustrated when guests insist they’re fine with “just a bit of milk”?

    NO, YOU ARE NOT “FINE”. YOU ARE GOING TO HAVE A DELICIOUS FLAT WHITE FROM OUR KICKARSE ESPRESSO MACHINE. ALL TEN OF YOU.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 19019 posts Report Reply

  • Simon Grigg, in reply to Russell Brown,

    FROM OUR KICKARSE ESPRESSO MACHINE

    Gotta take a stand and say that coffee from Chez Rae-Brown is an Auckland highlight for me

    Just another klong... • Since Nov 2006 • 3209 posts Report Reply

  • Martin Lindberg, in reply to Danielle,

    f you’re referring to a little stovetop espresso pot, I disagree. I use one of those every morning, and I don’t think my coffee is bitter at all. (I like my coffee very strong, but I really hate bitter coffee.)

    Ditto. I’ve used a Bialetti at home almost daily for nearly 25 years. Black and strong. Milk? No thanks.

    Stockholm • Since Jul 2009 • 797 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    If you're referring to a little stovetop espresso pot, I disagree. I use one of those every morning, and I don't think my coffee is bitter at all. (I like my coffee very strong, but I really hate bitter coffee.)

    Yes, I'm still a bit mystified by those machines. I have had several over the years with varying degrees of success. I'm not convinced that I know what's really happening inside them. Is it water or steam that goes through? Or a mixture? I think the latter, which suggests that the temperature might not be nearly as hot as steam.

    They take practice, but can produce good coffee. My reason not to use one is mostly convenience - the electric machine is faster to set up and put away. It does take up bench space, though. The stove-top is quite good if you lose electricity for some reason, can use the BBQ to make good coffee (and breakfast while you're at it).

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8615 posts Report Reply

  • wendyf,

    A looong time ago, 1957, I lived in Welling ton and the expresso culture was very strong there. I recall a couple of coffee places that were owned by either Italians or Greeks. Magnets for bleary looking suits having a restorative morning coffee break. And Auckland, where I lived the following year had a great coffee bar in Customs St W. Great food too - even had salami. And an interesting assortment of customers.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 79 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Russell Brown,

    NO, YOU ARE NOT “FINE”. YOU ARE GOING TO HAVE A DELICIOUS FLAT WHITE FROM OUR KICKARSE ESPRESSO MACHINE. ALL TEN OF YOU.

    My back-rod is even worse. People usually ask me for latte, knowing it's what I make for myself, and man does it take a long time to steam ten cups of milk. I really should put more thought into production lining it. It would probably teach me sympathy for Starbucks staff, at the very least.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8615 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    Curious, anyone out there have a good word to say about Nespresso machines?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8615 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Simon Grigg,

    FROM OUR KICKARSE ESPRESSO MACHINE

    Gotta take a stand and say that coffee from Chez Rae-Brown is an Auckland highlight for me

    Dude, that was the old machine, which was wracked with scale. The new one is proper nice with filtered water.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 19019 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to BenWilson,

    My back-rod is even worse. People usually ask me for latte, knowing it’s what I make for myself, and man does it take a long time to steam ten cups of milk

    I sometimes pretend to be drunk so my darling does the steaming if there's a lot of it. It's a distraction from the business of trying to get the espresso to come out perfectly, IMHO ...

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 19019 posts Report Reply

  • Patrick Reynolds,

    Funny read wasn't it, I guess he can't stand the success of businesses he can't advise investment in..... I was delighted when the Starbucks Milkbar closed on Ponsonby Rd last year.

    The recent resurgence in real coffee in Auckland well predates DKD, it really started with John's Diner on Albert St 1981-83. There artist John Reynolds ran a 1970s boxy coffee coloured Faema, and before that along with fellow artist Judy Millar, had Starship downstairs in Vulcan Lane. I know this because I worked in both places- they got me through Elam and gave me a coffee habit at a time when NZ was still really part of the tea culture world [along with Britain and East and South Asia]. Millar is no relation to Craig Miller, of Millers Coffee, who I've always understood as the initiator of the Flat White. Which is, in my view, a way better morning coffee than you'll ever get in France or Italy.

    For a cracking history and analysis of the 'The Coffee House' follow the link below and read with your next 'dish of coffee'. Written by University of London professor and fellow ex John's Diner Barista Markman Ellis, who has also written the definitive book on the subject, THE COFFEE HOUSE:
    http://www.cabinetmagazine.org/issues/8/coffeehouse.php

    Auckland • Since Jan 2010 • 35 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Patrick Reynolds,

    The recent resurgence in real coffee in Auckland well predates DKD, it really started with John’s Diner on Albert St 1981-83. There artist John Reynolds ran a 1970s boxy coffee coloured Faema, and before that along with fellow artist Judy Millar, had Starship downstairs in Vulcan Lane.

    Ah ... John's Diner. Although I only remember the K Road one.

    Am I right in thinking Domino's in Lorne St also operated an espresso machine in the early 80s?

    But it would be fair to say that things really changed when the independent roasters started

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 19019 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to BenWilson,

    OK, many people prefer it. Even a plunger is overkill if you’re traveling, a small sieve does the same job.

    Here's where I admit that we also have a Presso.

    One-shot portable espresso machine with twin levers to push down manually. It takes a bit of skill, but I've extracted some most acceptable coffee from ours.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 19019 posts Report Reply

  • Tim Welch, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Allpress Expresso at 266 Ponsonby Road has a Clover. It's fascinating just to watch it, nevermind the taste. Take a leisurely bike ride from The Chev..

    Auckland • Since Aug 2008 • 34 posts Report Reply

  • Patrick Reynolds, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Domino's was later, that was Judy Millar too, and Markman and I worked there as well, as The Diner had closed by then. There was never a K'rd one, not sure what you're referring to there.

    Auckland • Since Jan 2010 • 35 posts Report Reply

  • Simon Grigg, in reply to Patrick Reynolds,

    John's Diner on Albert St 1981-83.

    Now I'm getting a little shaky. Those huge fabulous burgers too........

    And Francis Hooper behind the counter as well if I recall.

    Markman Ellis

    is a professor now? Wow.... I had no idea.

    Am I right in thinking Domino's in Lorne St also operated an espresso machine in the early 80s?

    There was the Expresso [sic] Love place in Ponsonby too, plus a large mirrored joint between Milnes & The Herald in Queen and a downstairs place between the two pubs in Vulcan with pinballs, all with machines. I'm thinking Judith Barragwanath's place in Vulcan also served espresso.

    Just another klong... • Since Nov 2006 • 3209 posts Report Reply

  • recordari,

    I wrote my redemption post, and the MB Air ran out of battery, slept, then rebooted.

    NO, YOU ARE NOT “FINE”. YOU ARE GOING TO HAVE A DELICIOUS FLAT WHITE FROM OUR KICKARSE ESPRESSO MACHINE. ALL TEN OF YOU.

    I resemble this argument, sooooo badly.

    Thanks Patrick for the history lesson. My bestest worked at the Robert Harris from 1981, and while they weren’t part of the city coffee culture that developed over the mid 80s, they did apparently make a very good coffee, and sold the famous Atomic machines from very early on.

    On that note Chris Priestly has returned and opened a new cafe in the Ng building on K’Rd, if that hasn’t been mentioned before. Haven’t been yet, but love that building, and always enjoyed Chris’ hospitality. This herald article from 2008 indicates the Flat White debate is one of those perennial discussions, a bit like the Pavlova. As one of my favourite Baristas says ‘it’s a coffee with milk in it. You really think you invented that?’

    AUCKLAND • Since Dec 2009 • 2607 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Patrick Reynolds,

    Domino’s was later, that was Judy Millar too, and Markman and I worked there as well, as The Diner had closed by then. There was never a K’rd one, not sure what you’re referring to there.

    Ah. I'm confused then. What was the place near the Ponsonby end of K Road? Hubcaps on walls? Anyone?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 19019 posts Report Reply

  • B Jones,

    I think I patronised Starbucks once before I thought "you want me to pay how much to drink that scorching mess out of a paper cup and wait how long? And then someone I know told me that friends don't let friends drink at Starbucks* and that was that.

    My dad has a whiz-bang machine, but was nonetheless impressed by the coffee we made in a stovetop espresso on holiday. And polite about the saucepan coffee I made before we found the stovetop number. Still better than instant.

    *except for their chai latte apparently.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 814 posts Report Reply

  • Patrick Reynolds, in reply to Simon Grigg,

    yes Francis was there, and Simone Horrocks who is now a film director.... do you remember all of A Certain Bar staggering down Albert St at closing time and swamping the Diner? AK was soooo small....

    Auckland • Since Jan 2010 • 35 posts Report Reply

  • recordari, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Here’s where I admit that we also have a Presso.

    We have this also. Quite fun, isn't it?

    AUCKLAND • Since Dec 2009 • 2607 posts Report Reply

  • Patrick Reynolds, in reply to Russell Brown,

    The Hubcap Cafe, on Symonds St, can't remember the guy, but he was a punter at the Diner... that's how it worked... crazy isn't it? can't move for espresso bars in NZ now..... the coffee idea has spread like a disease. I guess the stuff freights so much more than just a refreshing drink- there's a thesis there for someone......

    Auckland • Since Jan 2010 • 35 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Patrick Reynolds,

    The Hubcap Cafe, on Symonds St

    Yes, that's it. Should have been tipped off by the, er, hubcaps ...

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 19019 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to BenWilson,

    just stopping before you get to the grounds

    caffeinus interuptus

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16838 posts Report Reply

  • Simon Grigg, in reply to Patrick Reynolds,

    do you remember all of A Certain Bar staggering down Albert St at closing time and swamping the Diner? AK was soooo small....

    Countless times. We'd worked out that John could be persuaded to offer the odd 'special coffee' if the moment was right.

    I do remember standing outside with 50 odd people who had tumbled up Albert Street from ACB only to find it closed. There wasn't even an Alfies to go to in those days.

    Next door of course, was the Ralph E Boy office which also doubled briefly as the Propeller office in mid '83, where a mohawked Patrick 'Dubhead' Waller also used to make chicken-bone jewellery.

    Just another klong... • Since Nov 2006 • 3209 posts Report Reply

  • Lisa Wilde, in reply to Deborah,

    I haven’t yet found good coffee in Palmerston North, ’though I haven’t been cafe hopping all that much either. Anyone got any helpful suggestions?

    I frequent Cafe Cuba when I'm down that way; Cafe Express on the Square also does a pretty decent cuppa. Everywhere else I've tried there... hmmm... not my taste.

    Petone • Since Jan 2011 • 3 posts Report Reply

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