two points for pois café

Could I be happier? Sitting on a 25 degree day in pois, café in Alfama. The picturesque pinnacle of the enchanting city of Lisbon, Portugal. My mind is turning to questions of cost of living, average rental payments and could we really live here? But of course it is just a holiday dream.

Pois Café, Rua de São João da Praça, Lisboa, Portugal

It’s been an eon since I last strolled into a cafe and felt so at home. The couches surround a large buckled chest and rows of books on shelves to the left and the right. The menu looks appealing – too bad we have just eaten.

So I order a double espresso and Julia requests a soy latte. And they have soy! Are we in coffee paradise? Leider nicht (unfortunately not).

Julia’s latte is obviously a latte machiatto (coffee poured in after the milk) and just doesn’t quite cut it.

chocolate coconut cake

The Portuguese Austrian version of a lamington

But my double espresso is adequate – it does the job  together with a coconut chocolate cake that reminds me of the one and only Aussie speciality, the lamington. I may not be in coffee paradise, but I am in cafe bliss!


Come for the ambience, the German book and magazine selection and enjoy Alfama!

a great shot of kaffeine

The great lunch selection at kaffeine, 66 Great Titchfield, London

So here we are on our tour of London. Instead of the usual visiting of sights or shopping tours we decided to visit London the way we usually like to visit cities: one café at a time, trying to find the best coffee in town.

It’s my favourite way of travelling, you end up seeing all the sights but in a fun relaxed way, you get to enjoy great coffee and you usually discover many gorgeous back streets that you will not find in any travel guide. Small cafés are simply at the heart of the culture of any city, or show the lack thereof.

On top of our list was ‘Kaffeine‘ at 66 Great Titchfield. An Australian/New Zealand operated store with (of course) a Synesso coffee machine. So here we were, our second café for the day after having visited ‘flat white‘ and a nice shopping stroll through Soho, London we were ready for the next shot of goodness.

And good it was indeed! A nice bright and friendly place with adequate seating and a large selection of sandwiches and other lunch items that we didn’t try but looked delicious and based on the Londoner queues that started to arrive at lunch time I am guessing we should have had lunch there as well – our seats where sought after by the crowds that arrived for lunch.

Coffee perfection at Kaffeine

The coffee was first class with friendly service, nice latte art – I just finished it too quickly. Really great coffee, their nice interior was a reflection of their attention to detail and passion for great café culture.

You won’t be disappointed by Kaffeine. They understand coffee and café culture. A great place to meet a friend to have a chat over a great cup of coffee or for lunch. High attention is given to the quality of beans, service and food selection. A+++

pasmarose – a day in lüneburg and the next door cafe

All but the weather looked promising for our Saturday afternoon coffee tour of Lüneburg. Qype and foursquare had some suggestions, as did google. Wikipedia told us that Lüneberg has more bars per square metre than any town in Europe other than Madrid and that fortunately, it had survived World War II completely intact.

We started at Anna’s Cafe and while Anna provided tasty cakes and a homely setting for a dreary afternoon, the coffee fell well short of the mark.  Froth full of bubbles, a coffee bowl not filled to the top and watery coffee.

café pasmarose in Lüneburg

Chandler’s Coffee understood the difference between a cafe latte and a cappuccino and served up espresso made from 100% Arabica seeds. Again however, I was somehow disappointed.  For my taste, the coffee was too bitter and the decor too Starkbucks. As I suspected on arrival, the smallish one-barista-only Elektra machine could not produce the goods.

We then made our way to Pasmarose. A bit out of the way, unless of course you have planned a Saturday afternoon trip to the Salzmuseum which lies directly at the cafe’s rear.  The decor and the layout were inviting. White and black tiles, sturdy tables and coffee and many other coffee accessories to purchase on display from A. Nannini, Beneficio, Santa Rosa and Varesina. Interesting inoffensive music to keep you relaxed.

The menu differentiated between filter coffee, espresso and espresso mit milch (with milk).  Under the ‘espresso mit milch’ section we were given the choice of ordering an espresso macchiato, a pingo, a cappuccino, cappuccino doppio, grosser cappuccino, flat white or latte macchiato.

nice latte art at café pasmarose

Here again we see another example of confusion over the flat white reigning in Europe.  While in Berlin we saw it described as a ‘small Australian coffee’, at Pasmarose it is bylined with the words ‘große tasse sanfter cappuccino.’ Hmmm… In any case, I ordered one and it came with minimal froth as hoped for.

The coffee turned to be gentle and buttery in taste.  Attention was paid to latte art and the service was very good.  The owners appear to be very customer conscious, and were seen lighting candles on tables, offering free slices of strawberry cake whilst being careful not to get in your way.  Happy to have a chat about the coffee also, if you are up for it.


As Julia commented, we would be happy if this café opened up next door to our apartment!

bonanza coffee heroes – one coffee to try before you die

‘There’s this place in Prenzlauer Berg, that has one of these special coffee machines of which just a few exist in Europe.’ explains our friend excited when she hears that we like coffee.

I am straight away interested, since up until that day I had not seen a Synesso coffee machine anywhere in Germany. Only in Australia. So, when I hear this I am hoping this might be the place.

So, on a hot Sunday afternoon just before we are due to leave back for Hamburg we decide to try this place out. Strange name: bonanza coffee heroes, but then it’s also cute. I used to like to watch Bonanza when I was seven. I am intrigued.

When we get to Oderberger Str. 35, Berlin is at its best. Loads of people hanging out in the park, it’s hot and everyone is enjoying a beautiful summer day in June. We get to the place and we can hear a few English speaking tourists sitting outside. The coffee in their hands looks promising and you are welcomed by a large coffee heaven sign saying: ‘Don’t die before trying’.

smooth café latte

But then it’s just after six and we haven’t eaten yet and this place only does cake, so in an attempt to not die before trying, we need to eat something rather substantial, rather soon. Having quite a few options on the same street, we end up having some Indian from across the road (quite nice as well) and then run back to the coffee shop to make sure we make it before it’s closed for the day.

The inside is quite small and has a cool mix of industrial concrete cosyness that you expect from funky café. And voilá – I  feel like hugging the barista when I see the beautiful Synesso machine!

We order our coffees but we are amused to see again that flat whites are a special small size and cost more than a regular latté.

I stick to latté and Luke goes for a cappucino. The first sip is like heaven. It has its own rich chocolate like interesting flavour and texture with a lot of depth to it.

I am in love and since the office I work at has a decent ECM machine named Don Vito (check out his FB fan page) and our entire office is in a coffee fever, I decide to buy a whole kg of coffee beans.

That’s when the trouble starts – there are no 1 kg bag, only 2 kg and the barista starts to fill it up in 250g steps…. when it comes to paying the EC machine is not working and all of this takes half an hour to work out.  But the staff is very nice and the owner tries to convince me to walk a mile to a cash machine, so that he can get his 25€ for a kg of coffee beans before he closes for the night. But I am wearing heels, so I don’t think so. So, unfortunately no extra nice coffee beans for our office.

But then I am sure I will be back and now I have something new to look forward to my next time in Berlin.


Great roast of coffee, well trained baristas and the perfect machine. Lacks a bit of inside seating space and warmth but all in all this place is about great coffee and it shows.

flat white – an australian coffee becomes famous

There’s this funny thing about flat whites which Luke and I have recently noticed. It’s like the latest in coffee codes for ‘I know something about coffee’. In Europe some cafés even charge extra for a flat white. A bit like paying to go to the toilet. Real nuisance.

flat white, 17 berwick street, soho, london

And some cafés are also letting us know that flat whites come only in a particular size. Real funny that.

In reality flat whites are nothing but a café latte with a little bit less froth (approx. 2-3mm) and really nothing special, except if you are into very little froth. In Australia, where the flat white comes from (or New Zealand, who knows, doesn’t matter, we get along), it is nothing cool, not more expensive, not a special size and not a trendy code for knowing more about coffee. It’s an ongoing mystery to me why less froth is more expensive. But then, hey, Australia (& NZ, too, of course!) are far away and exotic, and Australian travellers are so desperate for good coffee and willing to pay for it. So, why not make some money out of it?? 🙂

a real cafe latte!

Anyway, this post is actually about a café called ‘flat white’. The term is so famous these days that a cool Soho café in 17 Berwick Street, London (their website account was suspended at time of writing, hence no link) deemed it worthy to name itself ‘flat white’. You cannot imagine how excited I was to find a place bold enough to associate itself with Australian coffee and so we visited it on our last trip to London in May. And yes, the coffee IS excellent. Smooth and tangy, after being deprived of good coffee for a year, I could have had 3 lattes at once. The place itself is quite small, some graffiti artwork on the walls and tight seating which lets you know that you are not supposed to stay there for too long. But drink your coffee, enjoy it and come back. I certainly will!


These guys know their stuff. Although the smooth taste of the coffee is not everyone’s cup of coffee, I really enjoyed it. Good friendly barristas and nice latte art. The place is a bit squeezy for my liking. Wouldn’t hang out there for hours, but then which café owner really wants you to, especially if you have to pay London rent?

mikkels – a sweat treasure

Ottensen, Hamburg. A colourful neighbourhood with loads of interesting street performers, street inhabitants currently on the edge of experiencing the transition from an alternative rough neighbourhood to a trendy one which is welcomed in varying degrees of enthusiasm by its inhabitants.

mikkels front

mikkels upfront

In fact it is the only place my husband was once told that he was dressed to nice for the area. They are definitely not shy around here.

Ottensen has a large variety of little coffee shops, restaurants and cafés that vary greatly in price and quality. Amongst all of these places is small hidden gem called ‘mikkels‘.

mikkels interior

mikkels interior, ottensen, hamburg

It’s a fairly new cafe hidden in the Kleine Rainstraße 10 that offers an amazing variety of hand made miniature muffins, little cakes, scons and other delicious sweets with names I have never heard before. My favourites are the Linzer Törtchen and ‘almond nonnettes with raspberry’. Most of which are priced around 1-1,50€.

Lunch options are fairly limited to scones and a few sandwiches, but what about the coffee?

Well, unfortunately it is somewhat short on the pallate and not exactly what I call state of the art – the service is very nice, but the barrista untrained as 95% of all barristas in Hamburg.

But then one of the nice things about mikkels is that the interior shows a lot of love for detail. Interesting typography, local art and gorgeous nick nacks that are out of place and yet make you feel as if you are visiting your grand mothers living room – if only she was as cool and funky…


Go for the sweets and the atmosphere. It’s worth a visit and a great stop on a busy afternoon when all you need is a short quiet escape and something sweet to brighten up your day.