Thursday, January 14, 2010

Pay peanuts, get macchi's

My friend Sandon believes that, in general, the more a cup of espresso costs, the worse it will taste. I say 'in general', although he's not really the sort of person to qualify wide sweeping statements like this – the qualifier he would have used is probably 'without exception, ever'. Anyway, he formed this opinion in Wellington where, I guess, a low priced coffee indicates that the person who runs the cafe has integrity, which will translate into the way they use their espresso machine. A long black at Deluxe on Kent Terrace will still, I believe, cost you $2.50 and might be the best in the country.
The same order at the Duxton will probably cost you about $6, and the guy serving it to you won't know the first thing about making it, and will fill your cup right to the top so you actually have about three long blacks in one, the second two monstrously over-extracted, and it'll taste burnt and bitter and terrible and you'll drink it all because you'll perversely think that doing so will make the whole experience less of a waste of money and when you walk out your skin will be tingling and your luggage shaking in your hands.

I like the theory, and I would previously have said that the same isn't quite true in Auckland where the prices on cafe menus seem oftentimes to have been pulled out of a hat. But then this week while working part time at TV3 I bought two cups of coffee from two different places, and the cheaper one was much better.

The most surprising thing though was that the more expensive coffee came from a dedicated cafe, and the cheap one came from a little bakery type place on the corner of New North Road and Exmouth Street, which Hurley calls the 'Truck Stop' and pretty much has that vibe throughout – crumbed fish fillets and almost-KFC sitting under heat lamps, that sort of thing. None of the various blue collar types who frequent the place look like they drink macchiatos, so they're probably not getting much use out of the coffee machine, which makes it even more pleasing that coffee prices haven't been inflated to help pay for it.

Espressos are $2.50 and long blacks are $3, and I thought the only difference was that the latter had some hot water in it, so maybe that extra 50 cents gets you an extra shot. My girlfriend says all coffees should have two shots in them, but she formed this view in Wellington too, and this is going to be a Food Blog about Auckland, where people have better things to lie awake worrying about than the default number of shots in their coffee and whether to take the cable car or the pogo stick to work tomorrow.

Eden Terrace Patisserie and Bakery it's called, according to Google Maps. Well, Patisserie might be pushing it, but the best of luck to them.