Tag Archives: weekday

Sydney Airport Long Blacks

Coffee and Powerpoints
Coffee and Powerpoints

Recently there was a brief period where I was traveling relatively frequently for work. I managed to hone my skills at packing everything into a single bag, appreciated that I could use my iPad non-stop from when I sat down on boarding, and figured out the best place to wait for a flight from the Sydney Airport. It’s new the Virgin Australia gates, between a Hudson’s cafe and the Coopers bar.

Easy access to power is the source of all joy when you travel with a hungry family of devices to feed. While a lot of the gates do have power points, there is certainly something to be said for combined with chairs, coffee and a bottle of water. All of these are in easy reach at a long, wooden bench next to that Hudson’s cafe.

Thought when talking about just the coffee, and ignoring those other benefits, unfortunately you have to admit that it was fairly average. While it did compare well to whatever that brown molten liquid the cruise ship was serving, never the less, it is not entirely heading the pack compared to it’s land locked competitors.

There was also football on the TV
There was also football on the TV

The coffee was very standard mass cafe fare with a flavour that can best be described as ‘coffee’. The temperature was good, though they may need to look at the machine and the grinder, because some grounds did make it into the cup. Service was good and fast, and while there were nicer seats than the metal stool i was parked on, those are not next to power points, so some compromises must be made. The cafe was also close to my gate, and there was some EPL on the tv right next to where I was sitting.

TL;DR
Hudsons Coffee

  • Powerpoints
  • Coffee was ok too

Cruise Boat Coffee

Boat Coffee
Boat Coffee

Recently I found myself on the Carnival cruise ship, Legends, for a night recently. It was the first ship I had ever actually been on, so I was not entirely sure what to expect. As far as I can tell, the cruise ship experience more or less looks a lot like being on a large, long hotel that happens to float. That and people really don’t like it when you call it a boat.

I was only on board for a single night as it sailed out of Sydney did a quick loop, and came back. There were a lot of things to check out on the ship, including the buffet and the pizza place that didn’t appear to close. Unfortunately I also tried the coffee. Before getting off the boat, I paid for a long black from the small cafe in the buffet. I was a truely remarkable, egregious coffee. Possibly one of the truely exceptionally bad coffees I had ever tried. It was burnt. It was very burnt. It was burnt like coffee was a cancer and must be purged. I could barely hold the cup.

Unfortunately I was fairly tired and so I tried one of the free coffee machines. I could not tell the difference between either the free coffee or the one I paid for. Both of the coffees were pretty much exactly like the commodity coffee examples from campo’s cupping. The coffee lacked flavour or any other redeaming feature. It was coffee purely in the sense that it was brown and hot.

Virgin Coffee

Coffee on a Plane
Coffee on a Plane

The coffees in my life fall into a number of fairly broad groups. There is cafe coffee; stuff that you get from places that more or less claim some expertise in making coffee, generally involving an espresso machine with some exceptions. Then hotel and conference coffee; some form of liquid of uncertain character from some kind of urn or coffee machine. And then there is whatever coffee you might make yourself, using any number of means.

Aeroplane coffee is probably best compared with conference or hotel coffee. While it has nothing on a decent espresso from a good coffee, it can still be compared to other similar beverages. It is kind of unfair to expect Virgin Australia to load a commercial espresso machine onto one of their planes flying between Brisbane and Sydney. After a few too many morning flights I can say that the coffee does seem to vary. The temperature it is served at seems to vary depending on where you sit on the plane (or possibly due to other factors) and the coffee seems to be brewed with milk coffee drinkers in mind. As a kind of conference or hotel coffee, it is not too bad. Its flavour is mostly unoffensive, and once you wait for it to cool when it is served too hot, it is drinkable.

Ultimately it is coffee served while sitting in a flying metal tube travelling at hundreds of kilometres an hour in a manner that has become so mundane that most people around you barely glance out of the window to take in a perspective of the landscape experienced by so few humans during the lifetime of our species. So I guess you can make a few concessions on quality.

TL;DR

  • Quality seems variable
  • It is coffee served while sitting in a fast moving metal tube flying in the air. It is hard to be too critical.

Virgin Australia
http://www.virginaustralia.com/

Rhino Espresso at Wooloowin

Wooloowin Rhino Espresso
Wooloowin Rhino Espresso

Rhino Espresso is now open next to the Wooloowin train station too. There is another Rhino Espresso open in Northgate, and by the looks of it, the one in Wooloowin is very much the same. Rhino Espesso is very much a commuter cafe. Located right next to a train station and across the road from the car park, the cafe gets it’s share of early morning customers. It is even on the right side of the road for inbound traffic to stop and pick up a coffee.

Rhino Espresso on Dickson Street
Rhino Espresso on Dickson Street

The cafe itself is open to the street and is loosely defined by a bar just in front of the counter. If it was not for the tables just in front of this, it would more or less be an espresso bar. They use Piazzo Doro beans, and beyond that there isn’t a lot to say about the coffee. The large long black with an extra shot I grabbed that morning was not overpowering or watery. Rhino Espresso also offers a range of food. As I didn’t try anything from their menu, so I can’t really comment on it.

Rhino Espresso is almost the ideal commuter cafe. It is in a great location, while not brilliant, the coffee is good. The prices are unremarkable and in line with most other cafes and there is no reason not to grab your coffee there if you do plan to catch a train from Wooloowin. I just don’t think I would go out of my way if it was the weekend.

TL;DR

  • Most certainly a commuter cafe
  • Does both food and coffee

Rhino Espresso
https://www.facebook.com/RhinoEspresso
7 Dickson st
Wooloowin, 4030
Queensland

Espresso from a Bellini Coffee Machine

Bellini Coffee Machine
An Office Coffee Machine

BYOD should mean more than just using your own phone or tablet for work related tasks. This should really be extended to the swarms of coffee machines appearing in offices everywhere. For a while Nespresso machines owned the “I want to save money on cafes” office worker market, but over time more and more easy to use and maintain pod machines have appeared on the market.

ALDI has released their own, using their own pods, as has Nescafe with their Dolce Gusto machine. Another brand, Bellini, has also entered this market. Unline the ALDI and Nescafe machines, the Bellini (sold by Target) is compatible with Nespresso pods, and therefore also with Nespresso-compatible pods, like those produced by Piazza D’Oro.

Until recently I used the floor’s Nespresso machine, with Piazza D’Oro pods. It was alright, though I suspect it was in dire need of descaling. However thanks to a recent reshuffle, I am now two levels away from the coffee machine. Obviously I needed to get my own.

This is where the Bellini machine comes in. Nespresso machines start in the three figure price range. The Bellini was about $80. It also took Nespresso and Piazza D’Oro pods. It was not a hard decision in the end. The weekend after I saw it listed online I had one to bring into the office.

It does make coffee. It does little else. There are three buttons to interact with. Power, long shot and short shot. There is also a lever for loading pods. The shot length is preprogrammed and you can not change it (though you can manually stop it) and unsurprisingly if you want to froth milk, you may need to get a different machine.

Its greatest issue is its boiler. The longer you run a shot, the hotter the water gets. Unless you are a masochist, this pretty much rules out long shots. Unless you like the taste of throughly killed coffee you are better off using the short shot button. Fortunately it seems to be able to do these with a reasonable level of consistency.

While the Bellini is most certainly not a Nespresso machine, let alone a decent manual coffee machine, it does make for a good cubicle buddy. For the price and the fact that there is more than one store where you can get compatible coffee pods, there is little reason to recommend other machines over it at this price range.

TL;DR

  • It makes coffee
  • It is cheap