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Photo: © 2006 dubh

Rex and I are off to the West Coast of the USA this weekend…

I’ll be attending  User Experience Week in San Francisco and Rex SIGGRAPH in Los Angeles.

It might come as a surprise to our American friends, but the biggest concern we have about visiting the US is not the startling fact that people carry guns… but the US interpretation of “espresso”.

In New Zealand cona-coffee (drip-fed) has effectively been banned from any urban centre with a population less than 10,000. Drinkers of instant coffee are frowned upon and coffee cartels such as Mojo and Havana roam the streets of Wellington “de-bucking” anyone carrying Starbucks.

The coffee subject is so hot in New Zealand that it has frequently spilled over into social commentary and local celebrity blogs.

Fortunately for me  it’s the internet to the rescue once again!

Coffee Ratings is simple yet effective website based on the book  ‘San Francisco Espresso: A Pocket Guide’. There’s a simple map then a click-through to ratings for each neighbourhood.

While this website could have been created using the latest and greatest Web 2.0 mash-up technology (with Google maps, social networking and animation) –  sometimes I think we can learn a lesson from old-school Web 1.0 websites such as this. What I like about this site is that  it delivers “just enough” content. It answered my question in about  five seconds flat.

So based on CoffeeRatings.com I’m hoping to find time to sample some fine coffee houses while visiting San Fran next week. Perhaps I might even debunk the urban legend that “coffee is crap” anywhere outside of New Zealand and Cuba?

Photo:   © 2006 dubh

Comments (2)

  1. By the looks of that site I think you’ll be safe for coffee in SF, Zef.

    BTW, that macchiato was made a couple years ago for me by Matt, who as you know now runs the Old Bank and Gilmer Terrace Mojos.

  2. I dunno Zef,

    I can understand where you are coming from because I have been there myself, but after 5 years in NYC I realised it was actaully me that needed to ‘get over it’. I was always glad to have visiting friends, but after a while the constrant stream of complaints (slightly snooty nosed too) about the coffee got a bit old.

    I wonder if Kiwi’s complaining about coffee overseas is a *little* bit like if we decided that Sauvignon Blanc was the one and only kind of wine and if you get some other wine, say a Pino Grigio and it doesn’t have that delicious fruity after taste then clearly they don’t know how to make it. I mean no.

    OK yes, I mean sure there is lots of really bad coffee in the states – much worse than here – and what they do with ‘instant coffee machines’ especially in office buildings is truly unspeakable. But on the other hand, sometimes a ‘cheap red’ has its own appeal. And to take it further whilst everybody acknowledges that Grappa is basically made from the dregs after you make the ‘real’ wine, that doesn’t make it any less good to drink at the right time and place – which is to say on a nice sun drench hillside Taverna in Italy, if possible.

    For my part I came to realise that you can’t seperate the coffee from the experience around it, and to be honest I also came to have a great liking to what I call a ‘good diner coffee’.. I’d even say I’d prefer wrapping my hands around a good, hot, fresh steaming cup of Joe in a nice relaxed diner than digging through the foam of my expensive flat white at a NZ cafe. Its just a more relaxed thing, and yeah its kinda nice that it doesn’t run out and ultimately – and this is the real point – I think I prefer the taste, really.. I mean is it possible that neither experience is truly ‘superior’ ?

    Also, when you come back to NZ you realise that NZ’ers actually can’t make filter coffee for crap so they shouldn’t bad mouth it so much, because sometimes it would be the go.

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