How many specialty coffee shops can one neighborhood support? In the case of Istanbul’s Nişantaşı neighborhood, the answer is at least one more. As we’ve written elsewhere, the neighborhood has perhaps Istanbul’s densest number of specialty coffee shops. The latest addition is a new location from Turkish coffee pioneer Kronotrop Coffee Bar & Roastery. …
Coffee Shop Reviews
The Nashville coffee landscape gained a distinctive cafe and roastery this August in Berry Hill. Stay Golden is the latest project from Sean Stewart, Jamie Cunningham, and Nathanael Mehrens. Last December, they began working with parent company, DesignWorks on the concept and enlisted many familiar faces from the Nashville coffee community to be part of it. The trio have all worked in various parts of the Nashville coffee scene for the last several years, Steadfast Coffee being their most recent project. Cunningham said this concept is an evolution on their thoughts on coffee and hospitality and a “resurrection and completion of ideas and past projects.”…
Driving along Dickerson Pike in East Nashville, you can’t miss the brightly colored mural that has been added to the landscape. Take a closer look, and you’ll see the gold lettering and green interior of Retrograde Coffee. After a swift ninety day building period, the café opened on July 14. Before Retrograde’s opening, there wasn’t a cafe in the neighborhood. The community’s response has been positive– in the short time since they’ve been open, they’ve already established a base of regulars….
Amsterdam is well known for its coffee shops, which, famously, sell more than just coffee. But if the only stimulant you’re after is caffeine and maybe a pastry, we’ve got you covered. These four cafés serve some of the best coffee in Amsterdam.
For most of its history Bocca has been focused on wholesale roasting, but its Amsterdam café is something of a showroom for the company, and is without a doubt one of the most impressive places to drink coffee in Amsterdam. When we visited, the Gesha Village 2018 harvest was absolutely singing as a pour-over (which broke our hearts a little when we learned they were out of retail bags). With…
Between Brexit and the growing discontent in other member states, it’s safe to say the European Union has seen better days. But perhaps one of the better examples of European unity in Brussels is not at the EU, but at a small Scandinavian-inspired coffee shop, called Fika.
Fika, famously, is the word for the coffee and cake break that is a daily tradition in Sweden and other Nordic countries. But one need not be in Scandinavia to appreciate a daily coffee ritual, or, as it turns out, minimalist café design. The interior at Fika is simple but elegant, with all of the natural light that Instagramers long for.
The coffee at Fika when I visited was roasted by Copenhagen-based April Coffee. In my biased American opinion, sometimes there’s a thin line between Scandnavian-light and underdeveloped, but I found my cup of autodrip, a Tanzania brewed on a Marco Bru, to be sweet and fruity. Soft berry notes made for a fruit-forward cup that still paired well with my chocolate and chia seed pastry. My espresso was dense and rich, with a moderate acidy and nice sweetness.
Certainly, Belgium has a long coffee history of its own, but this small consulate of Scandinavian coffee culture is not to be missed when in the Belgian capital. And yes, you do need a piece of cake to go with that.
Fika is located at Rue de la Paix 17, 1050 Ixelles, Belgium
Long time readers of The Compass will remember our first post highlighted an exciting new espresso bar in Downtown Louisville. That espresso bar, of course, was the third retail location for Louisville specialty coffee pioneers Sunergos Coffee. Just shy of 6 years later, the Sunergos retail family is growing again, though their fourth location couldn’t be a sharper contrast from the closet-sized standing room-only espresso bar, in the shadow of Michael Graves’s famed Humana Tower. Sunergos Norris place occupies a refurbished garage, in quiet Deer Park. We caught up with Sunergos’s co-owner Matthew Huested to find out how the project came together….
Three flat screen televisions are showing The Wizard of Oz on mute while loud speakers blast classic 50s rock and roll. In the background, a dull screeching sound, accompanied by the immediately recognizable smell of roasting coffee, fills the expansive space. A small army of baristas, all dressed in identical horizontally striped shirts, swarm behind the bar, making drinks for the quickly growing queue of office workers on their lunch break. Somehow, all of these disparate things harmoniously join to create Petra Coffee’s headquarters in Istanbul’s Gayrettepe neighborhood….
There’s a coffee shop on every side street in Istanbul these days, but, on a whim, I pop into Borderline Coffee in Teşvikiye. Something about the thoughtful design of their sign inspired confidence to take a chance on an unknown café. Inside, I notice all of the calling cards of a quality-focused specialty coffee shop, with a few extra flourishes: La Marzocco Linea PB espresso machine, house-made baked goods, foliage wall, Marco SP9s instead of the typical pour-over bar. But La Marzocco espresso machines far out number cafés actually serving specialty coffee in Istanbul, so I withhold judgement until my coffee arrives. Per usual when I visit a new shop, I order an espresso.
As I sit down, I notice a bright red sign boldly declaring in sans serif font “George is here.” At first, I assume the proprietors of Borderline Coffee must be fans of the Beatle’s most underrated songwriter, but then a scan of their retail shelf reveals the referent: legendary American coffee professional George Howell. Next to Howell’s cursive logo is another iconic coffee company: Oslo’s Tim Wendelboe. These two larger-than-life figures in many ways are representatives of the specialty coffee movements of their respective continents, and I begin to understand Borderline’s project. In a scene where there’s almost as many roasters as cafés, Borderline Coffee is curating a selection of the world’s most esteemed brands, providing a standard for a burgeoning coffee scene.
In subsequent visits I notice other roasters in the line up, like England’s Assembly alonside local roasters Probador Collectiva, Boxx, and Kimma. Whether as a filter coffee or espresso, I find each coffee to be brewed with precision. Highlights included a cappuccino prepared with Tim Wendelboe’s aptly named Espresso for Milk, and a natural Kochere, Ethiopia espresso roasted by Boxx.
Equal attention is paid to the food menu, which stands several steps above typical coffee shop fare. A dedicated staffer prepares a selection of seasonal salads and charcuterie plates that make Borderline a worthy dining destination in and of itself. Vegan and gluten-free diners will find designated menu items and pastries- still a rarity in a city where dietary restrictions can be hard to accommodate.
With warm hospitality, a delectable food menu, and an unrivaled coffee selection, there’s nothing unsure about Borderline Coffee. In a few short months, the café has become a welcome addition to a maturing coffee scene.
Panama is known globally for producing some of the world’s most exquisite coffees. But it’s not just a fantastic origin. The capital, Panama City, is a coffee destination like few others, where patrons can enjoy worldclass coffees just a few miles from where they were grown (well technically a few hundred miles, but whose counting?). If you find yourself in Panama City, be sure to check out these cafés, serving the best their country has to offer. …
When I first starting blogging about coffee, specialty coffee shops were few and far between, often in far flung places well off the beaten path. These days, it seems like you could throw a rock in any global mega city and hit a pretty decent coffee shop. In rare form, a recent trip to London saw me mostly visit coffee shops I happened upon (rather than meticulously — one might say obsessively — researched ahead of time). But even though I found these cafés by chance, I dare say they’re worth planning a visit to next time you’re in London.
If there’s one thing about the shared economy that has us ready to return to conventional hotels, it’s the absurd hoops one has to jump through sometimes to get the key to an AirBnB. Thankfully, the mile walk between our key pick up location and apartment …