When I briefly talked about coffee in Dublin in a previous post, I don’t think I was quite fair. I do think that coffee has improved, and certainly we’ve come a long way in the last five years or so, but there is still quite a way to go. Before I wrote that post, I had one of the worst cappuccinos I have ever attempted to imbibe in a mall in South Dublin, and I paid 3.50 for the privilege. And I though we were expensive!
I suppose the entry into Ireland of Starbucks, whatever people might think of them, will nudge cafes to up their game. Already, milk thermometers are beginning to appear, and certainly not scalding the milk is one of the best ways to improve coffee drinks.
A big change that I noticed in some of the better coffee houses in Dublin is a huge improvement in the foam on cappuccinos. This is certainly welcome, though it does come with a downside, since it’s mostly due to the introduction of UHT Milk. Ultra heat treated milk is the rule on the continent and is what you would get when you order a cappuccino or latte in Italy, Germany, etc. A new product on the Irish market now is Cappuccino Milk, which is controlled for protein, which means consistent foam. I saw it in several coffee houses.
I have to say that although I’m a fan of progress and welcome new products to improve coffees, I’m a bigger fan of fresh milk, and we are certainly going to stick with it in our own shops. It might be harder to froth, especially when the cows are off grass in the winter, but it can be done with a little care, and even if it’s not quite as silky as the UHT milk, I think the end product is superior when it comes to taste.