CRASH course in Coffee… written by a hopefully non-pretenious drinker.

Yesterday, I had a friend send me the following message: “I need to start drinking coffee so bad! Ugh I just feel like an 8 year old tasting beer for the first time. What are some fancy coffee drinks that taste decently good?”

Here was my Coffee 101 answer:

The taste is definitely bitter and takes getting use to. That’s why you should start with the milkier and sweeter options. Generally, you have two types of milk coffees – latte and cappuccino. Latte has more milk and cappuccino more foam. And then you can add a syrup (vanilla, caramel, etc) and that will sweeten it. So maybe start with those in hopes of adjusting to the coffee taste. My personal favourite is a flat white (coming from an Australian origin) and that has less milk than a latte, with a stronger coffee taste. And in France, you have your café au lait (which as the name suggests is coffee with milk). So around the world, the strong taste of the coffee bean is mellowed out using sugar and milk. And then if you’re feeling brave, you can venture into black coffee. At your typical Starbucks, there are two kinds: Americano and Filter coffee. Americano is an espresso with hot water (instead of milk in a latte) and a filter coffee is hot water run through coffee beans. They each have a particular taste (plus the origins of the beans matters as well), so you can try both and see which one you fancy. And of course if you’re feeling a bit childish that day or just need the sugar rush, you can always go for a Caramel Frappachino!

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*Latte in a cute cafe (New York, USA) 

For you visual souls, infographic here. 

Today’s agenda: Coconut Pancakes and the Start-up community

If there are two things I like more than anything else: it’s breakfast and lists.

Today’s breakfast: Coconut Pancakes. Recipe here. 

Coconut Pancakes

Today’s list: 10 things I’ve learned from working with start-ups

  1. Start-ups exist in a COMMUNITY and the more you participate, the easier it gets to network and meet others in this community.
  2. Authenticity is needed for ‘commercially-minded corporates’ to successfully enter this sector
  3. An idea is worth nothing, but a company with actual products, strategy, and a team is worth something (potentially).
  4. The definition of a ‘start-up’ is impossible to pinpoint. And that’s never going to change.
  5. Corporates and start-ups are not enemies; they just don’t know how to speak to each other. It’s a classic lost-in-translation situation.
  6. Money is not the issue; execution of ideas and scaling up past ‘shiny new start-up’ is a problem.
  7. It’s a numbers game – the number of start-ups, investors, mentors, accelerators, brands, clients, etc.
  8. There are two types of people in this world: entrepreneurs and curious observer. Having or not having a start-up is NOT the defining characteristic. It comes down to personality – there are people who build and people who support.
  9. There are a lot of bad ideas, confused business plans, and inapplicable pieces of tech that have hundreds of thousands of pounds in investment funding. Again, how much money you’ve raised is secondary to the monetization strategy.
  10. Both breakfast and the start-up community involve a lot of coffee.

Samedi matin à la start-up.

Cherry Yogurt ice-cream at 7AM creates instant happiness @DuckandWaffle

One of my favourite things to do in London is have breakfast at Duck & Waffle.

Duck And Waffle

It’s a treat filled with excellent caffeine, interesting menu offers, and a view of the whole city. As the sun hits the Gherkin’s glass exterior, the waiter brings my flatmate’s poached eggs on ox cheek. It’s moments like these that  make me instantaneously happy and grateful for the life I’ve built as an expatriate in the United Kingdom. Sandwiched between an Italian-Swiss film buff and British northerner, I think back to the day my parents left me at LAX with two suitcases. And now I have a full time job, apartment, and network of life-long friends around the world. Ultimately, you live the life you create and I choose to create little happiness every day (always start with breakfast, and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise).

One of my favourite quotes:

“I always wonder why birds choose to stay in the same place when they can fly anywhere on the earth, then I ask myself the same question.”

– Harun Yahya

I had the English Cherry Waffles (cherry & yoghurt ice cream, white chocolate crumble). Here’s the full breakfast menu. 

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Address: The Heron Tower, 110 Bishopsgate, London EC2N 4AY

Open 24 Hours

Make a reservation on OpenTable or by calling 020 3640 7310. Weekend reservations fill up far in advance for their brunch menu. So if you can manage to get up early in the mornings, I would recommend going at 7AM! I love going before work as a little treat thats woven into my ordinary regime.

Happy Sunday.

My latest BRUNCH adventures in London.

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Forge & Co. 

http://www.forgeandco.co.uk

Address: 154-158 Shoreditch High Street, London E1 6HU

What I ordered: Eggs florentine, americano, and immune boost smoothie 

Best Part: If you buy a glass of Prosecco at 10 and receive free re-fills throughout your Saturday Brunch. The atmosphere is the perfect mix of classy and chilled.

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At home

Lemon & blueberry buttermilk pancakes with french press coffee w/soy milk

Recipe: http://southernfood.about.com/od/pancakesandwaffles/r/bl80613j.htm

Best Part: You get to stay in your pjs, perfect your cooking skills, and relax with your flatmates in that lazy Sunday fashion. 

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Duck & Waffle 

http://duckandwaffle.com

Address: 110 Bishopsgate, London EC2N 4AY

What I ordered: Duck egg en cocotte and filter coffee

Best Part: The view above London from the 40th floor, especially if you go in the early morning and see the sun rise. Weekend reservations are impossible to get, so I would recommend booking for an earlier time before work (6:30-7 AM reservation). 

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Nama Food

http://namafoods.com

Address: 110 Talbot Road, London W11 1JR

What I ordered: Lasagne Verdure and espresso with coconut milk

Best Part: If you’re feeling experimental and want to try something new, then vegan is the latest trend. Don’t confuse veganism as being the ‘healthiest’ or most ‘delicious’ option; however, it is definitely something to spice up a typical Saturday.

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Nordic Bakery

http://www.nordicbakery.com

Address: Multiple Locations in London

What I ordered: Filter coffee, egg & herring dark rye sandwhich and half a cinnamon bun

Best Part: The dark bread is great to purchase and take home as your weekly supply of delicious healthy bread. 

Sunday mornings were made for Pumpkin Buttermilk Pancakes.

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Good Mornin’!

This fine Sunday morning, my flatmates and I made Pumpkin Buttermilk Pancakes. This deviates from my typical health-conscious food selection, but it was absolutely indulgently delicious. My inhibitions melted away as I watched the fluffy dough soak up the butter and maple syrup toppings. And the one thing that made it better was the french-pressed black coffee on the side and the breakfast chit-chat between flatmates. There was something so idyllic about watching the steam from my coffee mug, noticing the light gently come through our window, and listening to the calm of Shoreditch on a Sunday.

I may have said this before, but I’ll say it again… I absolutely love breakfast. It can be quite divided between people who adamantly believe in it and those that don’t bother eating in the morning. But for me, the act of waking up is so much more enjoyable when I look forward to not only food, but also the act of eating. Too many people consume, without actually eating. Especially at breakfast (when you’re on the go and already late for work), but you must not let the rush of life take away from the simple joy of food in the morning. 

While it’s true that a typical morning during the work week is quite different from a typical weekend morning, both can be relaxing and invigorating. During the week, I enjoy waking up before anyone else so as to soak up the empty spaces of the flat. And during the weekend, I enjoy waiting around the kitchen to have countertop conversations about the silliest and randomest of things. Either way, breakfast sets the tone for the rest of the day and thus, it should not be treated lightly. My advice to you: invest time and effort into breakfast… it could change your life. 

My flatmate found the instructions and ingredients on this BLOG…read the recipe here. You too can make some!

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“All happiness depends on a leisurely breakfast.” – John Gunther

“Breakfast is a peaceful moment for me, so I never have the radio on, no music, no noise around. The only noise that is permitted is people’s voices. It’s a way for me to wake up without too much of a high speed feeling. – Christian Louboutin

“I like to use ‘I Can’t Believe it’s Not Butter’ on my toast in the morning, because sometimes when I eat breakfast, I like to be incredulous. How was breakfast? Unbelievable.” – Demetri Martin

“Brunch, for me, is an extended breakfast that should be enjoyed whenever you have time properly to engage in cooking and eating.” – Yotam Ottelenghi

Latest Shoreditch Discovery – SLATE coffee shop

This afternoon I re-visited Slate – probably one of the smallest coffee shops in East London.

The address: 96 Curtain Road, London EC2 
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The menu includes everything for a green power smoothies to salmon/avocado muffins… easy to see why I love this place! I had a flat white (which they call a flattie), but with coconut soy milk since today is one of my vegan-inspired days.
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My rating of Slate (1-5 scale):
Prices – 3 (a bit pricy – 2.80 for a latte – but absolutely delicious and the food is well priced)
Customer Service – 5 (the baristas behind the counter are absolutely lovely)
Wifi – YES
Ability to Work: 1 (there are only 8-10 small seats inside)
Charm: 4 (the decorations and graffiti on the wall provides a lovely shoreditch atmosphere)
Overall: 4 
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And my favourite thing about Slate is it’s genius business strategy with card payments. YES, there is a 5 pound card minimum. BUT, you can buy a coffee for yourself in advance to make the card minimum. So last weekend, I paid for 2 coffees… and got to drink one of them today! I think it’s a brilliant coffee shop model and the names on the wall also add to it’s cozy atmosphere.
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Some Allpress coffee and chilled time to brainstorm on Sunday? YES PLEASE.