Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Oresund Copenhagen

My visit to Copenhagen continues and it's turning into an expensive whirlwind pseudo-holiday in northern Europe.

The first thing about Copenhagen is the cool to chilly weather and very long daylight. As I write this, it's nearly 1am and there's still the dark bluish hue across the sky, by 4am the sun will be rising on a new day. Long daylight like this, while a bit off-putting when trying to figure out what time it is, is really quite nice. Conversely, it means horrifically long winter nights and that must drive Danes to suicide and depression. Perhaps not the best prescription for happy living.

And certainly the odd weather patterns plays on the average Dane - at least the average Danes working as servers in restaurants that we've come into contact with. Invariably, they've been brusque and quite inconvenienced by our desire to spend money, eat their food and our need for them to actually take our orders. Luckily, the baristas who have been taking care of our coffee needs at Kontra, Estate and Coffee Collective have all been warm and inviting.

I'll have to write more but so far, the food has been quite good - at least at Europa. Perhaps the cappuccino wasn't quite a "cappuccino" and wouldn't pass the scrutiny of the judges I've been eating with, but their food has been absolutely stellar. The Organic Smoke Salmon Salad had to be one of the best salads I've ever eaten. More on that in another post later.

The biggest problem about Copenhagen is the cost. It's quite extreme. A visit to the local grocery store yesterday found a 1.5 liter bottle of Coca-Cola for ten dollars. Nestle ice cream bars at the hotel are three dollars. A coffee can easily cost five dollars - and last night's meal at Europa with Ana, Adriana and Sylvia cost 560 Danish Kroner -which converts to $118.40 according to the $4.73 exchange rate at the airport. It might not sound like a lot for a dinner for four but consider that it was only Adriana and I who ate (she with a salad, me with a lamb dish that really was quite exquisite), the girls had a beer each, I had lemonade and a cappuccino and it came out to $118.00.

Time to start making adobo sandwiches at the hotel room...

But for those of you looking for a bit of coffee news from the World Barista Championship front, the tribe has gathered once again and times are good here. There's quite a bit of talk regarding the turmoil between the SCAA and SCAE, as well as the turmoil within the SCAA, but I'll leave you to find out more about those predicaments from other channels - perhaps our little industry will finally get some media critical of its' actions. But maybe not.

Meanwhile, I'm enjoying myself and trying to save money by availing myself of the complimentary hotel breakfast and loading up on yogurt and granola.

BTW, Holger from Dalla Corte will be unveiling their new espresso machine tomorrow. We got a sneak peek tonight at midnight as they were uncrating it. It's quite sexy, hard-working and energy efficient and makes for a very compelling reason to consider Dalla Corte as a new player in the high-end specialty espresso scene. I'll be playing with it more over the next three days but it easily could be a contender for those considering La Marzocco and Synesso - and bear in mind that I'm a die-hard La Marzocco fan who's as fanatical about La Marzocco as many of these Europeans are about their futbol teams.

The new machine: fresh from the crate at midnight.