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Where is my nearest Good Coffee Shop?

Updated: Mar 25


We have no idea where your nearest good coffee shop is … but we did notice that this is the most frequently asked question as it relates to coffee on Google.  (Disclaimer - other search engines are available)

 

And then we noticed that the second and third and fourth most frequently asked question on this well-known search engine are "where is the nearest ***?"

 

Which then got us to start thinking about whether lots of people are really looking for their nearest good coffee shop … or are they looking for a place to purchase over-priced, sugar-laden, milk-based beverages and a place to be seen scrolling through their "socials"?



Hipster coffee
The usual suspects...

Which then got us talking about whether people really KNOW about coffee and what to look for and order.  Or whether this whole "coffee culture" thing is really about coffee at all and therefore whether it's about something else entirely.  Some of us at Cannon remember a time when it was possible to walk "into town", spend a couple of hours doing what needed to be done "in town", walking home "from town" - and doing all of this without feeling the need to hold a disposable cup of some kind of hot beverage.  I know, imagine!

 

So, with that question in mind we're going to answer the question of how to order coffee and through that make a pitch to everyone to seek out, support (which is a euphemism for give money to) your local, independent, speciality, artisanal, and therefore authentic coffee roasters and coffee shops.


V60 Specialty Cafe
V60/pour over option is a hallmark of a proper specialty cafe

Coffee is like wine.  Different origins, species, varietals, climates, methods of production, roasts, and different brewing methods creates different tasting notes, aromas, florals, botanicals and overall flavours.  As New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc is famously described as having a bouquet of "cat pee on gooseberries" … so there are different coffees with anything from blackcurrant to chocolate to orange to sweet hay.  And like wine, if you want to enjoy these bouquets and aromas and taste profiles we need to drink these coffees in the right way.  We don’t chuck a load of lemonade into our wine if we want to enjoy the buttery, caramel notes of a good chardonnay.  Neither should we be chucking a load of vanilla syrup and half a litre of milk into our single origin Ugandan.


Coffee and Wine

 

If I Want to Taste Good Coffee What Should I Order?

 

The best way to experience the nuances and bouquets of a coffee is to order a "batch" coffee or a filter coffee.  This is where the beans have been ground to a specific size that suits the speed in which water drips through the coffee and extracts the flavours, notes and bouquets.  This coffee is not produced through a machine it is merely hot water poured over ground coffee and through filter paper.  That’s it!  Most, if not all, authentic coffee shops will have a batch brew, or a filter brew available.  In many cases the coffee offered as a batch brew is their current "best" coffee since it is served without milk and other things that mask the flavour.  The batch brew should change fairly regularly and the barista should be able to suggest tasting notes and profiles of what he/she/they are offering.  If you're met with a shrug and a pleading look in the eyes on asking for the batch brew, you’re in the wrong shop.


Pour Over Coffee
Come into Cannon and we'll pour any coffee you'd like to try!

What Can I Find in my nearest good coffee shop?


Some coffee shops really go the whole way by offering an AeroPress brew.  The beans will be ground, passed through a micron filter, brewed through an AeroPress and then presented with a refractometer reading to ensure that they have delivered the correct TDS measurement.  (TDS = total dissolved solids - and should be at 1.3% for the perfect cup).  But that really is pushing quality to the limits … but really good fun to experience. If your local barista can do this for you, you have a really good coffee shop on your hands. Lucky you!


Coffee Refractometer
The coffee uber nerd's companion

Then you have your espressos. Which as we all know are literally shots of coffee.  These by definition are small, should be served in a small cup and drunk immediately.  They tend to be darker, Italian style "shots" and thus are very strong and dark and quite frankly burned or over-roasted coffees.  Subtlety is not the espresso's strong point in most situations. They need to be drunk quickly, like a shot should be.  An Italian friend of ours laughs every time he orders a espresso in *** when they invariably ask him whether he is drinking it in house or taking it away.  "Hey, why do you think I would take away an espresso?? Mama Mia!!" (Try saying this this in your best Italian accent while waving your hands around in a pleading manner and you get the picture)



Espresso
Espresso from a lighter than usual dark roast but NOT burnt and oily!

What Is Proper Coffee?


At the very most order a flat white - or a "cortado".  This is a shot of espresso coffee with SMALL amount of milk.  There are subtle variations between the definitions here.  But at the every most it should be 50% coffee and 50% milk.  Any more milk than that and you're into "latte" territory .. And lattes are merely flavoured milk concoctions.  Hey, we enjoy a hot vanilla milkshake as much as anyone - but let's not pretend that it’s a "coffee".  Ideally your flat white should be 75% coffee and 25% milk or less.  There are some arguments that the milk content should be no more than literally a few drops. 

 

So there you have it.  If you want to explore the complexities of different taste profiles, bouquets, aromas and flavours of the many coffees, beans, origins, production processes, roasting profiles and brewing methods then either get yourself a V60 dripper with filters and start ordering filter grade ground coffee from your local coffee roaster.  Or support your local, nearest, good, independent coffee shop

 

If you prefer your hot flavoured milk shakes … go to ***

 

 

*** insert large coffee shop chain conglomerate here

 

 

(see what we did there? .. :)

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