Coffee in Graz

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The Beanery Coffee

It is an understatement to say that Grazers like their coffee. There are a buttload of cafes in this town, more than I could comfortably visit in a lifetime. Not that I haven’t tried already. I have drunk grosser brauners, verlängerter schwarz, and cappuccinos in cafes on Sporgasse, Jacominiplatz, the Mall, my neighborhood, the Opera, friends’ houses. And it has been very pleasant. Austrians love to sit around–sometimes for hours–drinking coffee, smoking and chatting. Very relaxing.

But what about the coffee itself?

Well, I have to confess to being a coffee snob. I have written about coffee for publication and have had a coffee business of my own. I have strong opinions. I like American or southern Italian-style coffee: darkly roasted, pulled short, with perfectly frothed milk.

Having written that, I must say that there is a lot of disappointing coffee in Graz. Most of it is over-extracted, highly acidic to the point of sourness, too lightly roasted and dumped in carelessly frothed milk. While the cafes and service is super, the product itself is not.

Except, I’ve found, at Tribeka and The Beanery.

Tribeka, bar none, has the best and most consistently-made espresso drinks I have ever encountered. I must have been in the Tribeka on Murkai next to the Kunsthaus at least 30 times in the last two months and the small cappuccino I order has been made exactly the same way every single time, no matter who is behind the machine. That is amazing. The owner is a genius at training his staff. And the staff are some kind of angels sent down from coffee heaven.

I have watched them drawing the espresso shots. They come out at almost exactly 24 seconds with a thick crema and a fully-rounded, deep coffee flavor that works great with milk. The espresso is nice, too. The beans are roasted enough to bring out all their flavor without tasting burnt. Very refined.

And the milk frothing is absolutely dead on. Creamy foam with microscopic bubbles, lush and velvety on your tongue. No meringue-like froth, no rubbery seafoam sitting on top of your coffee.

My only comment would be that the milk is never heated very hot. That might have something to do with getting the right texture to the milk.

Anyway, I love the place, despite the loud House music blaring all the time.

The Beanery on Zincendorfgasse makes a mean espresso drink too. Maybe as good as Tribeka’s; I just haven’t been there as often. It is a tiny, quaint shop. Their coffee is darkly roasted by Heissenberger. Good stuff. Nice foam, too.

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