Beer, Chocolate...but no decent coffee to be found!

Tuesday, 18 June, 2013

By Iain.

I've been in Brussels 3 days. I'm still struggling to get to grips with what makes this city such an integral part of Europe that the EU would choose to host it's headquarters here? I think my pessimism is rooted in the distinct lack of quality coffee.

Sure, they have over 3000 beers, blissful waffles and an incredible dedication to chocolate, but coffee? Hard to come by.

This is more surprising, considering there are literally thousands of restaurants and bars dotted across the city, occupying the best real-estate of the chic little street corners.
Yet the definition of coffee is limited to push-button machines or waitrons making thin, frothy-mountain (with sprinkles!) cappuccinos and espressos that taste like dirty-dishwater. Maybe I'm being harsh - but I feel like in South Africa - Durban, Cape Town or Joburg - Heck, PE for that matter would blow these coffee offerings away.

My first attempt - I was lured in by this sign on the window -  and my resulting beverage on the right:

I mean it says Barista right?

Lucky I had my aeropress, hand grinder and some fresh beans at the apartment, that I had brought over for such emergencies!

My next attempt, after asking a Frenchman, A Flemish woman and finally a German shopkeeper - was a chain store called EXKI - kind of like Belgiums versions of Woolies - ready made, fresh meals, all organic, certified, free-range blah blah blah… And I got this:


And then, what happens in life and love and everything else - as soon as you stop trying so damn hard - the very thing you've been searching for the whole time, finds you.

After a long day of sightseeing - The Bascilica, the Atomium, various other "must-do" sights in Belgium (not to mention getting dragged around the shops by my better-half) we literally stumbled upon OR Coffee:
They say a picture is worth a thousand words…

And just like that…the rain cleared up, the sun came out and the angels sang sweet hymns from above. (Actually it came from that beautiful new La Marzocca there.)

I had a Burundian Mpaza Chemex which was delicious, and my lady had a standard house-blend cappuccino which was very smooth, good microtextured milk and even some half decent latte art!

The search continues…and out of desperation I googled the Belgian Barista champ - he comes from a place called "Roselaar" which is about a 2 hour mission from Brussels. I plan to visit and will update you folks in the next few days

If you have any suggestions, please email me, facebook me or tweet me (@iainevans)

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