From Coffee Cupping to global roasteries, The Carousel writer Sneha Khale takes us on an unforgettable coffee journey, starting at Mecca cafe in Sydney.
Who are the best female jazz singers in New York and where do they perform? How convenient is public transport in Taiwan, when you’re travelling with a surfboard?
How far in advance can you buy train tickets in Mongolia? Where exactly is the bus terminal in Santa Marta where we can find buses for Cartagena?
By attempting to answer the above questions, for years, the travel/food/drink/culture obsessed Lonely Planet guides and their online Thorn Tree forums have kept us well-informed on everything travel-related, whether it’s the best things to see and do in a city, the best places to stay at, or something as innocuous and seemingly inconsequential as the right way to eat poutine (with chopsticks for the convenience versus with a fork following convention).
So when they realised that travellers were far more inquisitive about the best coffee places around the world, than they were about beer or wine, the folks at Lonely Planet sat up and took notice!
And thus was born Lonely Planet’s Global Coffee Tour, the new book for coffee lovers and coffee tourers, by coffee-loving travel writers as well as well-travelled coffee journalists.
With a selection of amazing cafes, roasteries and plantations from 37 countries across Africa, the Americas, Asia, Europe, and Oceania, Global Coffee Tour is not just another coffee table book – it’s a look into the world’s best coffee shops and roasteries (organised by city) and plantations (organised by region), the coffee you should taste or buy when you’re there, and (in quintessential Lonely Planet style) the local sights and the things to do nearby.
It’s a look at lesser known and far-flung places that will lure you to them because of the great coffee, but it’s also a way to explore your own city through the inevitably wide-awake eyes of a coffee lover!
To celebrate the launch of the book, Lonely Planet did what any woke travel big shot would do: they organised a coffee cupping event at Mecca Coffee in Alexandria.
Although it looks like an Instagram-ready industrial-chic coffee shop, Mecca Coffee is actually much more – it’s a specialty-coffee importer, roaster, and wholesaler based in Sydney. Of course, Mecca is one of the seven Sydney-based entities featured in the book, which also helped ramp up the ‘Australia’s coffee capital: Sydney v/s Melbourne’ debate (for those interested, Melbourne has eight coffee shops/roasters featured in Global Coffee Tour).
Highlighting Australians’ love for specialty coffee as well as an inherently increasing desire of people to know where their food and drink come from and which designers they support, the coffee cupping event was the perfect environment for coffee connoisseurs to understand the roasting process and the entire coffee seed-to-cup process.
With 700 coffee roasteries across Australia (according to BeanScene magazine), Sydney is now leading the way with a number of roasters conducting classes, workshops and cupping sessions, in order to create and provide a better cup of coffee. Mecca had a great set-up for that!
As drool-worthy coffee aromas wafted through, a tasting table set with six different varieties of coffee (sourced from Colombia, Peru, and Burundi among other places) with hints of kaffir lime, bitter orange and tropical fruits, welcomed us. All that incredible coffee and a super-knowledgeable staff at Mecca made the cupping session an absolute delight.
The massive and not-so-massive roasters at Mecca were on in full gear, roasting the beans at precise temperatures (there’s a complicated science to it!).
At the very back, the storage room was filled with unroasted coffee beans that have a slightly greenish tint and a gripping backstory of where they were sourced from.
This was, overall, a super-insightful session by Mecca Coffee, and the presence of Lonely Planet’s Global Coffee Tour book made it even more relevant. Coffee drinkers nowadays are more invested in their coffee, its origins and its story. The story of the people who work at the plantations, who source the beans, those who diligently roast the beans, the people who study the science of what makes a great coffee, and those who bring that perfectly aromatic cup of specialty joe to you. Both, Lonely Planet’s book and Mecca’s perseverance in delivering patrons great coffee, are testaments to that!
Lonely Planet’s Global Coffee Tour | May 2018 | $29.99 AUD | 1st Edition
(the first 100 people to buy the book on lonelyplanet.com/shop from 7th June 2018 will receive a limited edition, stylish, reusable and eco-friendly coffee cup designed by JOCO).