Black Coffee

Somewhere along the line, somewhere at the time when espresso machines and whole coffee beans landed on NZ shores in the late 1980s early 1990s, budding new coffee roasters and their espresso pulling co-conspirators decided upon a meme that has spread like a terrible virus throughout NZ. That meme goes as follows "the stronger and darker and over extracted you like your coffee the more manly you are". This being a country where cauliflower eared rugby playing men are like demi-gods, people all seemed to agree and this dark and henious style of coffee quickly spread. It's rare to meet an short espresso drinker in NZ, most people drink flat whites (cafe au lait) because to drink it without milk usually entails having to suffer through drinking a thick black gunge that is so over-extracted it will instantly give you the shits. Those that do order short espressos (or short blacks as they are known in NZ, not small blacks...Austin) are quietly viewed by kiwi barristers as "tough".

It's time to call a spade a spade. Its not tough or macho and does not signal a sophisticated palate to drink a cup of undrinkable black bitter coffee.

I mentioned this to a roaster in NZ and all the kiwis smiled in embarrasment by my forwardness on the coffee subject

But really....isn't it at least supposed to be.....ummmm....drinkable?

It probably suits the dairy farmers that it isn't.....and I have to say, even though the few NZers reading this post will roll their eyes and think me an insufferable snob (as if that hadn't been established already)....but when I went to Rome I could drink and even enjoy an espresso...there in the home of espresso


more burnt

even more burnt

My advice when in Auckland, don't do as the Roman's do and get your coffee with milk even if it's past breakfast time...although you might get someone fucking with the froth, trying to write your name for half an hour, believe need the froth.



    hahah! funny post.

    true bro
    butttt but IF you are fond of a milky breakfast drink, the kiwis & ozzies &seattle-ites do a 'melange' (as the Austrians call their own signature 'flat white') way better than anywhere in europe, yesss, erik & I think, also better than Italy...
    they might have invented espresso-expression but they didn't invent the coffee bean ha!
    (do I sound like a kiwi or whut?)
    You'll never get such a smooth, creamy 'umami' latte in Italy as in Wellington...

    I thought it might be something to do with the milk or even the water but that wouldn't explain the parallels in quality consistency between cafes in Seattle and Melbourne for instance?

    Water is remarkably chalky/limey in much of europe, people I know in London use special shampoo to stop lime deposits...

    Strength: definitely the norm over here is to have milky coffees so weak it's like drinking frothy milk soup. Sometimes if I ask for a double strength latte or capuccino, it is almost undrinkably bitter. I am not sure if that's because they overextracted (let too much water through the beans) or the roast itself is bitter and the beans not good quality... and you simply don't taste that when the coffee is diluted with milk or water.

    I am interested to find out more about coffee roasting, how is it that crertain beans can be stronger than others? Does burning them darker make them stronger or weaker?

    There doesn't seem to be many boutique bean roasters in Europe in general... I only know of the (very good) Monmouth company in England who make delicious coffees at the Borough market... but I had a coffee made from monmouth beans at one cafe and it was far to weak & soupy for my tastes so I think a lion's share is down to the barista.


    whoops, I forgot to change the author...couldn't you tell by the scornful ranting tone that it was, moi Maytel who wrote the post?

    re: roasting, yes the longer you burn it the stronger it gets, add that with a tendency to over extract and you have one awful coffee.

    People say it depends on the beans, arabica versus robusta....most coffees mix the two. Italian style coffee which I like is a mix of both but connoisseur's say that the best coffee is 100% arabica and maybe it is if you don't burn the fuck out of it.

    I guess it depends how you like your coffee, with milk or without. I agree that flat whites are good in NZ because the coffee is so strong that you can taste it through the milkiness, but I prefer my coffee black...thus my rantings on the foulness of black coffee in nz.


    v true, I should've known the author was M, I somehow knew that you prefer coffee black!

    ... it is indeed all down to taste... besides those nice smooth short blacks I think that Europeans actually also prefer their lattes to be very milky !
    I guess they are more docile and breakfasty that way. Whereas I am more in favour of a kick in the guts.

    There is a great house music producer in South Africa called Blackcoffee.


    Harder water (more calcium and magnesium) tends to clog up coffee machines and screw with the flavour - although I don't really know the effect of harder water in a clean machine on coffee. It is a very elegant theory that Melbourne coffee drinkers have become accustomed to the taste of Melbourne water though. We could always test it using bottled water and tap water.

    Beer brewers tend to have big issues with water, and will add various chemicals to simulate water in London or Vienna for different beer styles.


    didn't know that about the beer.... water has an effect on bread, too, doesn't it?

    would love to do some coffee tests, think that would be VERY interesting.


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