Black Gold Around the World

7 Mar

Life’s too short to drink bad coffee! Or so they say. I must say in my travels I have been granted some of the best and worst coffee experiences that I’ve ever experienced. So what are the best countries (and worst) to chase that caffeine hit?

The Good

Italy- Some of my favourite memories of travel are sitting in the piazzas of Rome and Florence and throwing back anespresso. Before I went to Italy I was a super sweet, caramel latte drinker but Italy taught me to love coffee in it’s simple, pure form. While I still indulge in the odd latte (skim to cut down on the milk taste) my coffee machine definitely churns out espressos on a daily basis.

The Surprise

Vietnam– It’s not really that much of a surprise when you look back to the French colonial days that the Vietnamese can pull off a good coffee. There was nothing nicer than sitting overlooking the valleys of Sapa on a cold winter day sipping a glass of the thick, nutty cup of coffee (with some sweetened condensed milk to mix in) perhaps accompanied by some delectable French pastries. Another surprise was down in Ho Chi Minh City and some of the great cafes where you would be transported out of the city into cool gardens indulging in brilliant Iced Coffees and forgetting that the bustling traffic was only a few metres away.

The Bad

Cambodia- As much as I love Cambodia the coffee was rather bad. Dishonourable mention goes to our attempt to have a caffeine hit at 4:30 am when waiting to see sunrise at Angkor Wat. In the darkness we drank what can only be compared to mud and despite how tired we were I couldn’t force myself to finish it. Other than that it was a case of instant or 3 in 1 mix, drinkable to satisfy the cravings but not something that sticks in your memory. Better to stick to the juices or Angkor Beer!

The Strange

Indonesia-There’s no doubt that Indonesia has some fantastic coffees to offer (Aceh and Bengkulu beans are new favourites of mine) and a lot of rather bad ones. However there is one that draws mixed reactions from people- the infamous Kopi Luwak.

Kopi Luwak- Expensive but not spectacular

Gathered from the faeces of a civet cat after it eats the beans it is the most expensive coffee in the world. I paid $10 to give it a try one day and despite my amusement at the ceremony in serving it, it was mostly disappointing with a real earthy flavour, tasty but not worth the ridiculous price tag. It’s worth a try- you might like it.

The Best

Canberra- I know it’s not the most exotic place or known for its coffee but truth is we have a lot of good cafes thanks to the thousands of public servants and university students. One place worthy of mention is Lonsdale Street Roasters which gets rave reviews for good reason. Consistently great coffee and quick, friendly service, what more could you ask for? Maybe some delicious paninis or reasonably priced beans roasted on site? They’ve got that covered too!

That’s just my opinion. What are some of your best and worst coffee experiences from around the world?


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