Writer Jason Huffnagle will be traveling all across Europe, drinking coffee and sharing with us the cultures, recipes, and traditions of coffee all across the continent.
BY JASON HUFFNAGLE
SPECIAL TO BARISTA MAGAZINE
In less than a week, I will embark on a four-month tour of the European continent, enjoying the sights, sounds, and, yes, coffee of the Old World.
Let’s be real—80 cups on my 105-day journey will be but a drop in the java bucket. Yet, this will be no espresso-bar crawl; rather, this series will focus on quality of craft and the good people who keep Europe caffeinated.
Here is the itinerary: Edinburgh, London, Rome, Florence, Venice, Salzburg, Vienna, Budapest, Krakow, Warsaw, Prague, Berlin, Copenhagen, Malmö, Brussels, Bruges, Bayeux, Paris, and St. Remy.
Now, if you’re anything like me while traveling, a decent cup ’o joe can hit the spot between tours and museum visits. However, sometimes finding a solid shop in an unfamiliar city can be frustratingly difficult. So as I travel to each of these cities, I plan to locate and pay a call to some local shops along the way—relating my impressions of each establishment, noting nearby attractions, and regaling readers with the comedic tales, linguistic snafus, and dramatic woes that typically accompany overly ambitious travel schedules. These entries will highlight relevant historical and cultural tidbits and, yes, there will be pictures.
Last week, I got a jumpstart on the trip by visiting a couple of coffee shops near where I live in Southern California.
Caffe Luxxe –Malibu, Calif.
Located off the scenic yet perpetually traffic-congested Pacific Coast Highway, Caffe Luxxe did not disappoint. This direct-trade coffee roaster has two other shops in Santa Monica and a lab where, as I understand it, they do all of their roasting operations, coffee experimentation, and trainings. The Malibu location is not far from Zuma Beach, the Malibu Pier, and the Adamson House, all worthy destinations in their own right.
At Caffe Luxxe, I was served a solid single-origin coffee from Ethiopia. As Jess, the delightful barista I met there, described it, it was one of the most fruit-forward coffees—think toasty blueberries—I have tried in a long time. The cappuccino I tried later during my visit did not disappoint either.
The back patio had plenty of space to spread out and enjoy the coffee and the SoCal weather.
Ragamuffin Coffee Roasters – Newbury Park, Calif.
This gem of a shop is located off Highway 101 in the Conejo Valley, an area known more for its suburban conveniences than its coffee. While they are an award-winning, direct-trade coffee roaster, Ragamuffin also makes their own kombucha and bakes their pastries onsite—apparently they have some solid cinnamon buns. The owners, Shawn and Sarah Pritchett, regularly work the bar with their staff and are truly passionate about coffee and community.
It is rumored they will be opening a more conveniently placed shop at The Collection in Oxnard, Calif., before the year’s end. That being said, don’t let convenience be the sole barrier for skipping this must-stop shop.
Confession: Ragamuffin has been a regular haunt for me this summer. With its homey feel, this shop is a great place to grab a cup and some conversation. Ragamuffin Coffee Roasters brings it all together: community, coffee, and good vibes.
Be on the look out for my next entry, which I will be writing from the historic yet rainy environs of Edinburgh, Scotland. With the city’s world-famous Fringe Festival in full swing and a solid coffee shop lineup in mind, it will be an entertaining read.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jason Huffnagle is a freelance writer for Barista Magazine who has worked in coffee as a barista for six years. Having recently left his “adult job” in the U.S. Senate, the Alaska native is spending the next four months traveling throughout Europe. You can keep up with his coffee-fueled travels and other exploits by following him at @jasonhuffnagle on Twitter.