Posts Tagged ‘Coffee Island’

The sad bitter truth of undrinkable coffee

September 18, 2018

In May, I met with a friend in a coffee shop in Cyprus.

Where we met in Cyprus, Robustos in Paralimini is a rarity, a speciality coffee shop that serves decent coffee.

Cyprus has more coffee chains than can shake a stick at. Chains you may have heard of, chains you will never have heard of, Costa (now owned by Coca-Cola), tax-dodging Caffe Nero, tax-dodging Starbucks, Coffee Island and Coffee Berry, the Greek versions of Starbucks, Second Cup, the Canadian version of Starbucks.

My friend Georgia does not like coffee. I explained why she found coffee to be unpleasant and bitter, poor quality coffee, bad machine, brewed by someone who not a skilled barista, too hot. Yes, she had found coffee to be served scalding hot, and yes, it was unpleasant and bitter.

Owner George joined us for a chat and I asked him to make Georgia a cappuccino. To Georgia, I said please try, if you do not like it, you are not obliged to drink it.

Georgia took a tentative sip, found it to be OK. Only when her cup was empty and she had said she enjoyed it, did I point out that that she had not had to add sugar.

The only reason chocolate is dumped on a cappuccino, sugar and syrups added, is to mask the taste of bad coffee.

Visit a speciality coffee shop, they will source their beans from a quality coffee roastery, who sources quality beans from a farm. The roast will be light to medium roast to bring out the characteristics of the beans. The roast varies with each batch of beans. It then takes a skilled barista to bring out the best from the beans, and the skilled barista needs a quality grinder and quality espresso machine. Any error en route from farm to cup will ruin the beans and produce a poor cup of coffee.

The coffee chains buy cheap low quality beans. These are over roasted to hide any defects in the beans. This though is not the only reason for the dark roast, it gives uniformity of the beans, a burnt coffee bean is a burnt coffee bean, it requires no skill of the barista, a robot could do the job, the only reason McWorkers are employed they are cheaper than robots.

An analogy would be McDonald’s. All their burgers are identical, maybe 200 cows in one burger. No skill required to cook the burger.

Brian Stoffel from the viewpoint of a coffee farmer in Puerto Rico explains in an excellent article The Bitter Truth About Starbucks Coffee why cheap coffee is dark roast and preferred by the global coffee chains and speciality coffee a lighter roast.

In a dark roast, bitter is the predominant flavor. That’s because bitter is the flavor you get when things get burned.

At El Toledo, he demonstrates to tourists how the beans change over the course of just a few minutes of roasting, and what those few minutes means for the taste that ends up in the cup. Beans sampled at one-minute intervals, beginning 15 minutes into the roasting process.

The main difference between the three different roasts (courtesy Brian Stoffel):

  • In a light roast, the flavors are more fruity and acidic. That’s because the coffee cherries that the beans come from are fruity and acidic.
  • In a medium roast, the coffee tastes more balanced and sweet. That’s primarily because the glucose has been heated up and activated, but it also hasn’t burned away yet.
  • In a dark roast, bitter is the predominant flavor. That’s because bitter is the flavor you get when things get burned.

Two speciality coffee shops to try light roasted beans, Base Camp on Steep Hill in Lincoln and Outpost Coffee in the Lace Market area of Nottingham.

Dark roasted coffee can be tried in any coffee chain, and sadly too many indie coffee shops that buy cheap rubbish catering supply coffee. One of the worst I have tried, Jacobs coffee served in an indie coffee shop in Cyprus, the coffee undrinkable, the beans, black, over roasted and the disgusting smell of the beans turned the stomach.

To buy quality coffee beans, from most speciality coffee shops or direct from the roastery.

Coffee Island

September 26, 2014
Coffee Island

Coffee Island

Coffee Island is a classic example of how not to.

A couple of days ago, a look around, walked out, deafened by a widescreen TV, unable to hold conversation without shouting.

Why widescreen TV? Because all have. Not a  good reason.

People go in coffee shops to relax.

coffee beans

coffee beans

Coffee for sale, many different beans, but no indication of roast date or country of origin, single source or blend.

Coffee is at its best, one week after roast date and for a three week period. From the wide variety of different coffee beans on sale, limited turnover, coffee is going to be long past its best.

Staff tried to be helpful, but unable to give any information on the coffee they were selling.

Coffee should be kept in dark, cool, dry conditions. Somewhat ironic, sign in Coffee Island actually states this.

30C during the day, 27C at night, high humidity, coffee exposed to strong Cypriot sunlight.

freddo cappuccino

freddo cappuccino

Freddo cappuccino requested.

Milk left foaming whilst wandered off to do something else.

It is important to watch, to get constituency right. Clearly was not right, as when poured over the coffee, did not separate into the classic, creamy brown, creamy white layers.

Served in plastic takeaway not glass. Yuk.

Freddo cappuccino not only tastes good, looks good too. But not if served in plastic, not if obscured by corporate crap.

A franchise. Why waste money on a franchise no one bar Cypriots has heard of? And not many Cypriots either. Open an indy coffee shop with skilled baristas who know what they are doing.

Loud music, though not as bad as football a few days previous.

The only positive,  slightly raised above street level, with views along the street.

For quality coffee, go to patisserie amelie across the street.

Coffee in Protaras

May 27, 2014

Three years ago, there were no coffee shops in Protaras.

Last year it was strongly recommended that indie coffee shops opened, if not, the likes of Costa and Starbucks would muscle their way in. And sadly there is already a Costa.

The advice has been heeded, several coffee shops are opening, but not indie coffee shops, Cypriot attempts to form local chains (a big mistake).

Cypriots are opening coffee shops knowing little if anything about coffee.

patisserie amelie

patisserie amelie

patisserie amelie

This lovely little coffee shop opened two seasons ago, cakes, ice cream, waffles.

The season it opened, they had an excellent Greek barista called George. Why was he not retained? Pleasant enough staff now, but not in the same class as George.

The coffee is LavAzza. Ok as a brand coffee, but not really good enough. It is now time to up the game, and use local hand roasted coffee beans.

The Coffee Club

The Coffee Club

The Coffee Club

New this season and only opened last week.

Coffee and fast food, coffee served in plastic! You got to be joking!

The fast food needs to be ditched, glass and decent cups.

The coffee is imported specialist coffee.

A Hungarian who knows about coffee is doing his best.

Sex & Beans

A rather brash, too brash, mix of coffee and cocktails. Do the two go together? Not really.

Cold brewed coffee.

Open maybe this week, maybe next week. The date keeps being pushed back.

Coffee Island

Ludicrous, raised platforms.

Little is known, maybe opens next week.

Costa

Overpriced, poor quality coffee, factory cakes, lacks ambience, screams corporate.

Popular with local Cypriots who have no taste, equally popular with English who also are lacking in taste.

Sirena Bay

Sirena Bay

Sirena Bay

Not actually in Protaras, not even in Pernera.

Disgusting nescafe, it could not get worse.

But, and a big but, if they get a decent espresso machine, quality coffee beans, a competent barista, then worth a visit for the location.

Hop on the Protaras-Paralimni bus, pass through Pernera, and hop off at Crystal Springs. Head down the road alongside Crystal Springs to the sea, walk along the coast towards Pernera. This is by far the best way to approach. Pick up the bus on the main road.

Epodi

A lovely taverna overlooking the main square in Paralimni.

They know how to make freddo cappuccino.

Need better glasses, slightly tapered.

Coffee is LavAzza. Ok as a brand coffee. Hand roasted coffee from local roaster would be even better.

Not Protaras. Hop on the Protaras-Paralimni bus to Paralimni. Alight in Paralimini. Epodi is across the square.