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!

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!

double coffee – when looking for a pit stop

There are those people in your life that you really enjoy spending time with.  These people you call your friends. Then there is this other group of people. You know the one. People you grew up with. People that live or have lived next door to you. (You don’t even live next to them anymore and they are still sms’ing you!) And of course some of your former work colleagues. By convenience, many of these people also come to assume the title of ‘friend’. But when you think about it, your life would not be any worse off (perhaps better) if you encountered these people a little less often.

And so it goes with cafes. There are those cafes that you seek out. And there are those that come into your life out of convenience.

Today´s coffee stop has taken me to Hauptbahnhof (Hamburg’s central station). I’ve just finished work and I have an hour or so to kill before meeting up with a mate. So I’m in search of something adequate, nothing too special, just something drinkable really and if it would be welcoming, well that would be a bonus. Of course, it’s a little too soon for me to return to the Rösterei after my recent debacle there. All I wanted was a café latte, but after four attempts they still were not able to satisfy my order (but more about that in a separate post).

So I wander down Kurze Mühren. The clocks running so I need to make a quick decision. Two cafés stand before me. Balzac and Double Quality bylined ‘enjoy the quality’. Hmmm… not exactly what I was looking for, but I guess I’ll give Double Quality a go. For those who haven’t visited Hamburg, Balzac is your standard Starbucks imitation with worse coffee.

a decent latte from a mystery supplier

Double Coffee has gone for the ‘student café’ feel and for the most part pulls it off. University students and academics seem to fill up most of the booths and be situated on the Ikea-ish leather couches. The spiral staircase leading up to the mezzanine level is a nice touch.

The line at the counter is long as three baristas work in rotation. Prices are student friendly starting with an espresso for 1€ through to a double shot café latte at 2.80€. I order a single shot café latte (400 ml) which sets me back 1.99€. Not bad for a quick stop.

The coffee is what is to be expected or perhaps a little better. It’s not great, it’s not terrible – I would say that it is a slight touch better than average (depending on where you set the average bar of course!). The baristas look like they are taking their time and preparing coffees with adequate care despite the high traffic. And this comes through in the coffee – the milk is not burnt, the coffee is served at the perfect temperature and is not watery. The machine is an Elegance. My barista makes me a latte macchiato and with one shake of the head she pours it down the sink and makes me a café latte without any fuss.

The taste is quite strong and perhaps a little harsh. One of the waitresses told me that they are using Lavazza, though she was not 100% sure. Lavazza would make sense, given the type of business that it is (high traffic – wanting to impress, though not overdo it). But downstairs the baristas had another story. They told me that the coffee they are using is almost 100% Arabica beans and that they could not tell me anymore. The supplier is a secret. A few more points then for intrigue.


Not the place to seek out. Not the place to spend a lazy afternoon at leafing through your favourite magazine. But if you need a place to kill an hour, with drinkable coffee and plenty of space, stop by Double Coffee.

elbgold – something to dream about?

elbgold, sternschanze in hamburg

A café built just for me! All serious coffee drinkers dream about it. Friendly, helpful  staff, owners anxious about their coffee choices  and lots of space – well at least that’s what I dream about, whenever I go out for coffee.

But alas, now I live in Hamburg and finding a place that meets my criteria for coffee success is not as easy as you would think.

La Cafetteria in Eppendorf has failed me time and time again on the service front. As my wife blogged about in her last post, Mikkels, as welcoming as it is, just doesn’t have the equipment necessary to prepare the ultimate brew. And coffee close to Jungfernstieg! Don´t talk to me about coffee close to Jungfernstieg! Our web research promised a café with the highest quality coffee but delivered only a subway sandwich shop at the most highly billed location.

hmm... how do you drink that?

But today I am happy, as I sit here in Elbgold, the first Hamburgian café that just may have the chops to compete with the best, perhaps even the best in my beloved hometown Melbourne.

The staff as soon as you enter the door, greet you with a friendly hallo. If you have questions they are willing to guide you through the 15 available single-origin filter roasts, all made from 100 Arabica beans. The choice of espresso however is limited to two elbgold house blends, one made from Latin American Arabica beans, the other a blend of various African Arabica beans.

Today I felt like a strong brew so Julian my waiter recommended the Columbian roast. Unfortunately, as I get more and more ambitious with my ability to speak German, this sometimes translates into confusion about what I actually want. So instead of getting a creamy café latte I ended up with filter coffee.

In any event, the coffee did not disappoint. The filter coffee was adequate though I do not pretend to be as well versed in the nuances of the filtered types as I am in the subtleties of espresso.

a real latte in hamburg...

For my second choice I clarified that I wanted a café latte and would prefer the stronger Africana brew. On previous occasions I had tested the Classico (the Latin American blend). It is creamy, round and light. The African blend is indeed stronger, but still maintains the creaminess and smoothness of the Classico.

Of course, there are also options for lunch and on a warm afternoon I could see myself spending quite a bit of time here in open outdoor space. It’s a nice mix of guests too. Neither laptops, nor mothers, nor the elderly, nor young professionals dominate.  There is space and a place for all.

Potentially one of Hamburg`s finest!


Quality coffee with the potential to compete with the best.  If filter coffee and 100% Arabica beans are your thing than elbgold is definitely for you.