Coffee in Montbron

I probably should write this in my Saturday Walks blog, or maybe the main Eduvel blog – but it occurred to me on holiday so, here it is (for regular readers – again!) – a story of good coffee.

We drove into France on Thursday evening and ate our picnic tea (dinner?) in our hotel room. It was late enough then to get straight into bed and sleep. The following morning, despite wanting to set off early we had hoped to find time for one of the delightful coffees served just across the road from the Ibis in Boulogne. But it wasn’t to be – even the Boulangerie we’d hoped to buy our day’s bread from was closed for holiday. The cafe was just opening as we drove past on our way out of town at 8.00am. Hey ho.

We then had a day-long drive to our destination, Roussines, just north-east of Montbron and about 45 minutes east of Angouleme (apparently 45 minutes west of Limoges – who knows?). We’d been deprived of coffee all day. Well, that is apart from a machine dispensed coffee just north of Abbeyville (yet even this was better than most coffees I can get in the UK – you’ve heard me say similar before).

So today, Saturday 30th July, we drove into the nearest biggish town – Montbron. We stopped at the first cafe we found (having already secured our bread for the day) and had a delightful coffee. Now saying it was delightful doesn’t do the occasion any justice at all – the coffee was very strong and yet not bitter; full of rounded flavour and again, no bitterness or smokiness – just good strong coffee with a little hot milk. And without fuss too.

I’ve been going for coffee at the Northern Ballet whenever I’ve been working in Leeds (the college coffee shop is closed for summer) and until last week it was fine. The lady who serves me each day recognised my need for a coffee similar in taste to that described above and prepared a very passable coffee. Until that is, they opened a Starbucks franchise. The first day was fine because she made it for me. Each day since then however, there has been a different server. And none of them get it! Because my requirements differ from the ‘norm’, it seems to be too difficult to do. Over here in France, there’s no need to ask for “two shots please, with just about half the hot water you would normally add” – they just do it right! 

Starbucks! Why does your coffee not have the same rounded ‘coffee’ flavour in the UK that it has in the States? Just askin’.


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