Friday 27 February 2015

Quick Tips: Coffee! (and tea)

Commuter Java Press
People the know me know that I like coffee, good coffee that is. So while there is coffee everywhere
in the north America, it isn't well know for good coffee and I've been a little worried about getting my fix.  Here's the low down on my plan and how it all worked out..

On landing in LA near the top of my shopping list was a travel coffee cup plunger and some good coffee to look after my addiction.  I had done a little research and headed to REI in Santa Monica however they didn't have my first choice for plunger cup so I picked up a GSI Personal Java Press anyway.  A few weeks later I replaced it with the Commuter Java Press because it would fit in cup holders (just) and seemed to make more sense for what I needed.

As it turned out, right across the street from REI was a cafe call The Refinery who seemed to know their stuff.  Our barista recommended getting a single origin coffee (Ritual Coffee Roasters from Rwanda) and happily ground it for us for french press and it has been fantastic.  He also served up a rather good cafe latte and chai to go as well.  Interestingly the chai was not so much of a latte (something that seems to be quite common) but Jackie still says it was good.

So that was the plan however there as been one major unforeseen problem.  Hotel rooms don't have kettles and either do half of the Airbnb places we have stayed!  The single most common appliance in Australia is almost unseen in US.  The rooms tend to have mini coffee machines that mostly do some form of filter coffee or pods but no kettle.

The brings me to the next issue, which relates to Jackie more than to me, and that is the availability of tea.  There is 'tea' everywhere but in the form of iced tea and 'warm' tea was not at all common south of Montana and only offered in hotel rooms as pods occasionally (that go into a coffee machine *shudder*).  Couple that with the lack of kettles it makes it difficult for tea drinkers (of the hot variety).  This improves a little as you head north but Arizona and Utah were pretty bad.

Brulerie Saint Roch, Quebec City
So what's a coffee drinker to do?  Well I would say follow the locals and drink filter coffee as they are much better at making it.  As always it is still possible to get a bad one (and I had a few) but if it is fresh then it is usually pretty good.  I haven't had much luck with ordering lattes, they are the trend think on the menu but are not very good at making them (we saw some strange variations) so stay clear of espresso based coffee for the most part.

Places that I did try espresso coffee and would recommend:
-Brulerie Saint Roch - Quebec City

Having said all that, most coffee I've come across is drinkable, just not very interesting but I guess drinkability is helped by being a milk and (at times) sugar person.

Disclaimer: we didn't visit all of the US and didn't research heaps of cafes of spend a lot of time searching so I'm sure there's plenty of others that could go on the list.

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