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. 

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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. 

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.