Trille Senior Member Joined: 12 Aug 2005 Posts: 27 Location: Lviv, Ukraine Expertise: I live coffee
Espresso: Elektra Micro Casa Lever Grinder: La Cimbali Junior... Vac Pot: no - french press (Nick... Drip: no - french press (Nick... Roaster: Hottop KN8828D
Posted Fri Aug 12, 2005, 4:56pm Subject: Re: Setting the Scene for Coffee in Asia by Paul Pratt
To quote 'shantnu' in his earlier posting on Aussie and Indian coffee culture:
I will agree that the coffee scene in Australia is definitely in the loop most places (in particular: Melbourne and Sydney) but what goes for India is pretty much the same story as for their tea culture...
In India some of the most spectacular teas are grown, harvested and fermented ...however from the moment they are packed in bags only a tiny fraction is utilized in the domestic market - the vast majority simply ships of for exports to Europe, Australia and the US. The Indian way of making tea would give any distinguished Englishman nervous ticks, and involves simmering low quality tea leaves in a cocktail of water, milk and suger for at least 10 mins - the Indian 'Chai'. The large quantity of milk is actually the only real similarity the original Indian chai has with the ever evolving buzz-drink 'Chai Tea' that is making waves in most fancy coffee shops around the western hemisphere.
In regards to the coffee culture here, most coffees consumed is made from instant coffee blends like Nescafe and its brothers and sisters, all mixed up with generous ammounts of milk and sugar leaving your mouth semi sticky for an hour. Very few servings are made with ground coffee, and an even tinier fraction of those sold from Starbucks rip-offs like the domestic Barista and Cafe Coffee Day ...I don't even want to get into the even smaller ammount of decent espressos handed over the counter...
So why is this? Did the coffee pushers supply so low grade coffee, that man had to disguise the actual taste with copious ammounts of milk and sugar? ...or did the pushers simply respond to their clients demands for a sweet and heavy drink for a very reasonable ammount of money, hence shifting focus from procuring high quality beans and blends as these are not really making a difference in the end product?
Anyway ...I moved to India about a year and a half ago and I have quite a lot of Indian friends - some of them are getting hooked onto the taste of a passionately pulled espresso with a full-brown, rich and creamy creama and a smooth full body (heck I am even turning myself on, and I was planning on going horisontal after putting the last dot in this posting...) - and still quite a few are more happy and content about their nescafe-milk-sugar shots (or heavy-loaded sugar explosions)
So what will happen to India ...they have pretty conservative taste-buds (also the reason why SubWay, Mac Donald's and the other webs have a menu you will find nowhere else on the planet!) ...I'll try to put in an article on Indian coffee culture and the influences from the west another day after pulling a shot or five...
By the way ...the difference between Swedish and Danish (and Norweigan for that matter) is rather subtle in writing - most foreigners don't know the difference untill spoken (and then after a few drinks, even the spoken languages sound alike...
But yes ...Indian coffees like Monsooned Malabar, Mysore Nuggets, and their spectacular robusta Kaapi Royal are superiour beans ...but we never see the dark side of them in India itself (apart from when they come out of my roaster at home, that is...)
Posted Thu Sep 6, 2007, 12:51am Subject: Re: Setting the Scene for Coffee in Asia by Paul Pratt
I disagree with your statement that Australia is 4-5 years behind the US in the coffee scene. Have you visited Melbourne which is the coffee/cafe and dining capital of Australia? It would leave any US city (incl Seattle) in it's wake regarding the high level of quality espresso based coffee that it has to offer. Apart from Startbucks, there is only an emerging coffee culture in the US that I would rate as 5 years behind Australia's. There is an abandance of filter coffee and not much else apart from Startbucks in the US. Please take a closer look next time you visit. Your generalisations about coffee cultures outside the US show that you have not explored the issue correctly when your own backyard is based on commercialised latte or mass market cheap filter coffee.
HumanTarget Senior Member Joined: 2 Sep 2008 Posts: 1 Location: USA/Japan Expertise: Pro Barista
Posted Wed Sep 3, 2008, 12:40am Subject: coffee, Asia, and you
I don't doubt that major cities in Australia have a booming coffee culture, but so do major cities anywhere. One of my best friends is from Tasmania, and he says the very first Starbucks just opened there. While I agree that Starbucks is obviously not the end all, be all of coffee, it is certainly a sign that the coffee culture in an area is advancing.
I'm a little surprised at the viciousness of the Australian response to this article. Certainly Sydney and Melbourne are going to have a vibrant coffee scene, just like New York, Seattle and San Francisco. For my money, these American cities are the best places in the world for coffee simply because of the diversity of people bringing their own peculiar coffee knowledge to the table. This is something Australia (no offense) just can't get a bead on.
However, you do generalize about the "state of coffee in Asia" a little too much. You do mention Japan as being "eccentric" and buying coffee stock, but you forget to mention that Japan has a several-hundred year old coffee culture.
I have lived extensively in Japan and fell in love with coffee there. Traditional Japanese coffee houses are much akin to traditional Japanese tea houses: steeped in tradition, each particular place serving their own specific brew with exotic sugars and a small, chilled cup of cream to go along with. Coffee Geeks owe it to themselves to tour the coffee culture of Japan.
For my money, these American cities are the best places in the world for coffee simply because of the diversity of people bringing their own peculiar coffee knowledge to the table. This is something Australia (no offense) just can't get a bead on.
...and again? Have you actualy ever been to Australia, and saw a 'diversity of people there' ...and tried the coffe there?
Paul, that was a very old post, to which you for one reason or another decided not to post a follow-up on nor engage in further discussion. I only hope your view about the coffe culture in Australasia as a whole changed for better in the last 4-5 years. I wouldn't mind seeing the updated write-up from you as I'm sure will shed a different light from your personal perspective.
thejaguar Senior Member Joined: 5 Oct 2009 Posts: 1 Location: Shanghai Expertise: Professional
Espresso: La Pavoni Stradivari
Posted Sun Jan 3, 2010, 8:10pm Subject: Re: Setting the Scene for Coffee in Asia by Paul Pratt
Very old article but still very interesting. Having traded coffee in Shanghai for more then 4 years, I am , yes amazed by the amount of coffee- coffee shops- coffee bars opened here but i am afraid the reality is very far from what it seems. Coffee consumption in China is still very very low. The most a sucessful bar can consume in Shanghai is about 60 kilos per month, therefore it is basically impossible , unless you are illy ( they seem to enjoy giving away gaggia machines in order to get into a location and losing the money), to provide a coffee machine and be confident to get your money back. Average life of a restaurant / bar in Shanghai is 6 months, then the owner disappear, and it is quite difficoult to get back your equipments.
PurelyCoffeeBeans Senior Member Joined: 30 Jan 2011 Posts: 4 Location: World of Coffee Beans Expertise: I live coffee
Espresso: Moka Pot (Standard) Grinder: Hand Grinder, Electric Blade... Vac Pot: ? Drip: Several Roaster: Not yet
Posted Tue Jun 7, 2011, 10:01am Subject: Re: Setting the Scene for Coffee in Asia by Paul Pratt
One of the odd things I'm seeing in Taiwan is the growing preponderance of 'cheap' coffee shops. It seems that, in the usual way here, everyone's assumed that Starbucks is the gold standard, and then tried simply to buy market share by undercutting first Starbucks, then each other.
It seems to be a race to the bottom in terms of quality & price, at least where I'm located. We went from having no coffee shops here 10 years ago, to 7. Most of which opened in the past two years. And the quality has suffered, too.
I'm not optimistic in the short-term about where coffee is going in this part of Asia, but I hope that in the bigger cities, there is a real surge of interest in the REAL thing.
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