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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  • Marion Ogier, in reply to giovanni tiso,

    Being a literal sort of gal I consulted the Yellow Pages as advised.13 results for expresso, 392 for espresso and 46 for guru. Gumboot guru, rug guru, parts, dogs, gardens, food, information, even a glue guru(???). But we think we'll stick with our catalogue guru - he knows his stuff and he is clear that expresso was commonly used at the time the photograph was taken - 1950s. I searched our catalogue and indeed the dreaded word expresso appears a number of times - some Portuguese items, the notes to a BBC Sounds Effects cd where we would copy their liner notes and a collection of short stories by Norman Bilbrough, one of which is titled Expresso. We really do try to be accurate but in the context of recording the details of the actual item we are listing.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2010 • 20 posts Report Reply

  • Rob Hosking,

    I'm not a coffee snob - my main criteria is 'I want liquid jumper-leads and I want it now!' but I have to say my first exposure to Starbucks (in New York, off Broadway, in 1996) had me going 'Plah!' after the first sip.

    I gave the place a second go on a road trip back home (Palmerston North, around 2000) and didn't finish either the coffee or the stodgy muffin I bought in a burst of optimism.

    Nice chairs though. Comfortable. With padding and all.

    One other Wellington coffee snob story - just after moving here in 1995 I went into Neo on Willis St and said 'Just a latte' thanks,' and the then-owner drew himself up to his full height and said with great mock dignity 'We don't do just lattes.'

    South Roseneath • Since Nov 2006 • 830 posts Report Reply

  • George Darroch,

    .
    Win?

    Strange expression. You are in a dark cave: You find a grue.

    WLG • Since Nov 2006 • 2264 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Patrick Reynolds,

    Tom Beard, above, is completely on the money

    +1

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19680 posts Report Reply

  • recordari,

    You are in a dark cave: You find a grue.

    You are likely to be eaten by a grue. Who knew?

    AUCKLAND • Since Dec 2009 • 2607 posts Report Reply

  • Geoff Lealand,

    That coffee place in Chancery Lane was neat: I patronised it as a ’varsity student (1968/69).

    I remember it well. It had raw sugar in wooden boxes on the tables, which seemed hellishly sophisticated. The owner who was Hungarian also owned La Boheme Restaurant in Chch, and I washed dishes there through my univ years. Got quite chummy with Leon, the Dutch chef, and we used to go out for early morning food in local greasy-spoons, after serving up jugged hare and escargot to the locals. I once snaffled a $500 empty wine bottle (Chateau La Something) from there, and used to take it to parties re-filled with local cheap plonk.

    Screen & Media Studies, U… • Since Oct 2007 • 2537 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso, in reply to Marion Ogier,

    We really do try to be accurate but in the context of recording the details of the actual item we are listing.

    One thing is recording a mistake, another saying that it's an acceptable alternative spelling. It isn't - at least not yet.

    Lives have been lost.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7473 posts Report Reply

  • Stuff n Things,

    I always love these discussions, being a coffee speculator myself. One of the resons I love Wellington is its wonderful cafes. I was reminded recently that on a cold and stormy night, a dimly lit Cuba St cafe is one of the best places to be...

    Oh, and Marion - I went all oldschool-like and pulled out my Concise Oxford. It confirms that 'expresso' is a varient spelling of 'espresso'. So it must be true :-)

    Having had a few speech and drama lessons in my day, though, I still think it's important to spell it the way you *should* annunciate it (IMO).

    Wellywood • Since Apr 2007 • 50 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Jacqui Dunn,

    Ooh, thanks for the info! I thought it always was vegan-friendly. Lashings of guacamole and aioli….fantastic. (Never thought of honey though.)

    Never heard of a vegan aioli ...

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22747 posts Report Reply

  • Islander, in reply to Russell Brown,

    There aint no substitute for eggs...

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • Islander,

    There aint no substitute for eggs...but I do know of an aioli based on finely sieved potatoes, EVO, and garlic-

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • Dismal Soyanz, in reply to Stuff n Things,

    Not sure if there is a proper way to annunciate it (poise?) - maybe enunciate....

    Wellington • Since Nov 2010 • 310 posts Report Reply

  • HORansome,

    Yeah, the Burgerfuel aioli, like most (but not all) aioli is not vegan, as it contains egg.

    Which is a shame, as it's quite tasty.

    Tāmaki Makaurau • Since Sep 2008 • 441 posts Report Reply

  • Lyndon Hood,

    I guess it may have come up already, but another thing I just remembered regarding Starbucks. When we had a American intern she would go there for the filter coffee. I suspect in the US they're not even as espresso-y as they are here.

    Writing that, now I recall I once saw a study comparing caffience levels in different Starbucks filter servings, ranging widely, all the way up to most of you daily maximum.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1115 posts Report Reply

  • webweaver,

    I’ve only ever had one coffee from a Starbucks and it was truly awful (Reading Cinema’s Branch, Courtenay Place, Wellington, come on down!)

    Oooh yes - bought one under protest one time when I was late for a meeting nearby and desperately needed a coffee fix - and assumed they'd at least be fast (which they weren't). By the time I'd walked across the road to my meeting venue the latte fluff on top had completely disappeared and I was left with a cup full of pale brown lukewarm watery tasteless liquid. Bleagh.

    Midnight Espresso was my favourite hangout for years, back from when I first arrived in NZ in the early 90s. I just adored the atmosphere and the painted walls and the "tattooed and pierced" staff - and of course the very yummy coffee and fab food. I'd sit at the open window looking out onto Cuba Street with my latte and just people-watch. Very satisfying.

    I loved the place so much that when Debra Bustin (who did their original "train journey" branding) was auctioning off old artworks I bid on her original designs for the poster - and I was bidding against the owners of Midnight - and I won! Brilliant.

    Also.... People's Coffee - yum yum and ethically-sourced to boot. LOVE their free coffee cart at Webstock. Fantastic.

    Does anyone else ask in cafes whether their coffee is Fair Trade? I started doing it a year or two ago - and having established that all the good coffee places in Welli that I frequent do do Fair Trade coffee, I don't need to ask much anymore.

    I figured I could do my bit to help increase the spread of Fair Trade coffee by asking for it (and going somewhere else if they didn't do it).

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 331 posts Report Reply

  • Islander,

    There aint no substitute for eggs...but I do know of an aioli based on finely sieved potatoes, EVO, and garlic-

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • Dismal Soyanz, in reply to Lyndon Hood,

    Speaking of caffeine levels, apparently 42 cups in one sitting is bad for you. So glad I stop at 40.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2010 • 310 posts Report Reply

  • Islander,

    O gag- dont know how the double post was committed. Apologies all (and recipes available, soon as I get back home (early early February…))

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Stuff n Things,

    my Concise Oxford. It confirms that 'expresso' is a varient spelling of 'espresso'. So it must be true :-)

    Collins (Australian version) says the same. Also, Wikipedia, at least when I looked.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10631 posts Report Reply

  • recordari,

    Wikipedia for expresso

    Expresso, a alternate spelling of the express served coffee, Irish

    I rest Gio's case.

    Sheesh, next we'll be calling a spud a potato.

    AUCKLAND • Since Dec 2009 • 2607 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel,

    That coffee place in Chancery Lane was neat:

    Number 17, I think... Opposite the original Media Club.

    Did the Victorian (cnr Montreal and Oxford Tce)
    do coffee - maybe it was Cona or filter...

    and what about Leon Langley's
    upstairs next to Ballantyne's in Colombo st

    @ Marion O
    fair enough
    after all
    it's not a contest
    context is everything
    ;- )

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7886 posts Report Reply

  • Stuff n Things, in reply to Dismal Soyanz,

    See - I do really well and then I muck up 'annunciate'. Sigh. Well - at least it was correctly spelt.

    I'm liking Midnight Espresso even more now that it has moved to Cuba St. The coffee is consistently good - although I they continue to make you wait for your order at the counter. So many times I walked past the Courtenay Place cafe and saw lines of people waiting for their coffee, and furtively hoping a seat would become available once they'd received their drink.

    Mephis Belle and the Supreme place on Guznie St are both fun to check out for their alternative-to-espresso options. Tried the various drip options - it was quite fun (and akin to drinking tea - in that you get your own pot at the table).

    I think it's our technique that makes us stand out. Steaming milk is an art form here. Anyone can shove a steam wand in milk - but it takes care to turn that into a microbubbled, creamy, sweet wonderful cup of wonderfulness. Sure, there are people all around the word who can do it - but I think Australia and New Zealand wins the award for the highest ratio of cafes that get it right consistently. I had some great black espresso-based coffees in Europe, but most of the milky ones were horrible messes. THAT is what keeps me coming back.

    Wellywood • Since Apr 2007 • 50 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Beard, in reply to Stuff n Things,

    I'm liking Midnight Espresso even more now that it has moved to Cuba St.

    Do you mean Espressoholic? Yes, I'm starting to like it more now, especially since they do a bacon buttie with hollandaise & homemade hash browns. The owners really seem to love what they do, and it really shows.

    It was one of mainstays in the early 90s, both in the original Willis St location and in Courtenay Place. I got a lot of writing done, and discovered a lot of (to me at the time) new music: Sven Vath and Gary Clail in particular. I don't think you'd ever catch Starbucks playing German techno or industrial dub :-)

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1040 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Stuff n Things,

    Sure, there are people all around the word who can do it - but I think Australia and New Zealand wins the award for the highest ratio of cafes that get it right consistently.

    I recommended the Kiwi flat white as a compelling promotional tool to Fonterra, five years ago. Buggers ignored me.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22747 posts Report Reply

  • Martin Lindberg,

    Somehow this coffee discussion makes me think of Anthony Burgess's memoir You've Had Your Time. In 1970 he travels to Australia and New Zealand. When in Palmerston (sic) he's served a cup of tea with the words "If you don't like sugar don't stir it."

    Stockholm • Since Jul 2009 • 802 posts Report Reply

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