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….
Coffee Shop Reviews
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 …
The first thing any visitor to Athens notices, of course, is the Parthenon. The ancient temple to Athena sits atop the Acropolis and is visible from almost any place in the old city. A few kilometers away, on a quite side street, is another sort of temple, only instead of wisdom, pilgrims come seeking a cup of coffee.
My recent visit to Taf Coffee in Athens was something of a redemption story. …
Istanbul’s Nişantaşı district occupies a unique place in the social strata of the city. Equal parts West Village and Upper East Side, it’s home to the older, upper crust, but also writers, academics, and expatriates. It’s a cosmopolitan neighborhood where you you might spot a soap opera star ducking into a boutique wine shop, but you can still buy fresh artichoke hearts from a street vendor. The district almost functions like it’s own village surrounded by the city. With some of the city’s best parks, restaurants, and schools, Nişantaşılılar need not leave their little oasis hidden in the hills between bustling Taksim and Beşiktaş. With a café like Petra Coffee in the neighborhood, we don’t blame them. …
Coffee shops have long been the cultural informants of their neighborhoods. When traveling, you can usually count on a barista to know the best restaurants, which tourist traps to avoid, and some hidden gems off the beaten path. Balat Coffee & Guide takes that role to another level….
South Carolina’s Low Country has been on the culinary map for some time now. The live oaks, Spanish moss, and colonial era houses have captured the imaginations of both chefs and food television executives. Meanwhile, upstate South Carolina has been largely overlooked, unless it’s an honorable mention of their unique, mustard-based barbecue. But a coffee renaissance is happening in the Greenville-area. When we visited, we discovered a passionate, growing coffee community that’s attracting coffee professionals from around the nation. Here were three of our favorite cafés.
Tandem Creperie and Coffeehouse
American coffee shops are starting to figure out what Australian cafés mastered a long time ago: your food needs to be as good as your coffee. Being served an exquisite single origin microlot next to a cellophane-wrapped pastry is more than a little disappointing. And if we had to pick a top-five meal we’ve had in a coffee shop in the past year, our crepe at Tandem Creperie and Coffeehouse in Traveler’s Rest might be in the top spot. The coffee is provided by Durham, North Carolina’s Counter Culture and brewed with expert precision. Coffee gear nerds will geek out about Tandem’s Mahlkönig EG43, which they use to mill their own flour.
If there’s any café that’s responsible for bringing national attention to Greenville’s coffee scene, it’s Methodical Coffee. In two short years Methodical has earn accolades as prestigious as Imbibe magazine’s coffee shop of the year. Methodical only recently began roasting their own coffee, but can already be found in places as far afield as Los Angeles. We also were excited to discover that Methodical had launched a natural wine program since our last visit.
Due South Coffee Roasters
If there’s a café to keep your eye on, it’s Due South Coffee Roasters in Taylors. The roaster/retailer recently brought in outside talent from as far away as Miami and Bali, Indonesia to take their program to the next level. Their close connection with local coffee importer Ally Coffee ensures they have access to premium greens. A new location is in the works, but we loved their industrial chic vibe in a repurposed textile factory.
Although Seattle is widely considered America’s coffee capital, if there’s any city that gives it a run for its money it’s San Francisco. The City by the Bay has been known for locally roasted coffee at least since Peet’s introduced European espresso culture in the 1960s. Today, the number of coffee roasters is staggering, and that’s without even counting Oakland. It could take weeks of intentional effort to get to every good café in the city. Here’s three of our favorites.
Andytown Coffee Roasters
Most tourists don’t make it to San Francisco’s Sunset neighborhood, but the low (for SF) rents make it an attractive neighborhood for budget conscious baristas/software engineers who don’t want to commute in from Oakland. Perhaps the best reason to live in the Sunset is Andytown Coffee Roaster’s newest retail location. We always enjoy the espresso here, but the real star is the Snowy Plover, a slightly-sweet espresso float made with a generous scoop of Andytown’s house-made whipped cream. Throw in one of Andytown’s gluten-free cornbread muffins– ours was still hot from the oven — and you’ve got a breakfast dreams are made of. There’s not much in the way of seating, so we recommend taking that coffee to nearby Ocean Beach.
There’s perhaps no more iconic symbol of San Francisco coffee than Ritual’s bold red, Soviet-inspired logo. Ritual Coffee was an early third-wave pioneer, but has managed to stay on the bleeding edge with an array of trendy retail spaces in some of the city’s hottest neighborhoods. We grabbed a pour-over of their Ethiopia, Duromina at their Hayes Valley location. This repurposed shipping container is located next to Patricia’s Green, a popular park and art space, which makes for some prime people watching on those rare sunny days.
Saint Frank Coffee
Saint Frank, like San Francisco, is named for Saint Francis of Assisi. Taking a queue from the 13th century friar, Saint Frank has a penchant for roasting coffees that have a social impact on the communities that produced them. Whether or not you believe in altruistic capitalism, you can believe you’ll be served some delicious coffee with some of the best service we’ve had in the city. Coffee nerds can skip straight to the tasting flight, which features an espresso, cortado, filter coffee, and iced coffee. We took our drinks to the second floor, where we admired the baristas’ clean and efficient bar flow.
I hate drinking coffee on an empty stomach. Most mornings, if I had to choose between a cup of perfectly brewed Ethiopia, Yirgacheffe and two eggs over medium, I wouldn’t even hesitate, though I would likely find myself longing for the floral aromatics of my favorite coffee origin as I licked the last bits of runny yolk off the plate.
Thanks to All Day, residents of Miami don’t have to choose between a good breakfast and good coffee. …