Established by the London-based International Coffee Organization, Sunday 1 October is the third International Coffee Day with plenty of caffeine-fuelled events taking place in coffee-obsessed cities across the world.
For Virgin Atlantic’s global destinations, we’re lucky enough to have our own cabin crew coffee connoisseur to guide us. Over the past year and a half, Andrea Burton has been sleuthing out some serious coffee haunts on her downtime between flights, and steering us towards the best espresso on our route map. Here’s a round-up of where she’s been and what she’s found over the last 18 months…
On a layover in Havana, Andrea’s coffee shop discoveries included a simple cortado at the art-filled, new sip on the block El Dandy, and a signature Bombóm borracho – espresso and aged Cuban rum with condensed milk – at prime people-watching spot Café el Escorial overlooking the Plaza Vieja.
In New York, it was all about cooling down with the best cold brew coffee, including the espresso soda – espresso topped with San Pellegrino – at Gimme Coffee on Mott Street, and the bottled La Colombe Pure Black at cycle club/coffee house Rapha in Soho.
Across continents, our connoisseur was on a hunt for the best speciality coffee shops in Hong Kong, where she enjoyed a smooth bulletproof coffee at Elephant Grounds near Admiralty Station, and a ‘classic shakerati’ at trendy 18 Grams in Wan Chai – double espresso shaken with ice plus hazelnut or caramel, made with the house roasted beans.
Back in the States, Andrea landed just in time for the holiday season in Boston. Her search for a seasonal sip led her to Render Coffee on Columbus Avenue for a punchy maple ginger latte, followed by a Guatemalan late harvest espresso at Nine Bar Espresso in Somerville; known for its festive notes of candied almonds, cherries and chocolate brownies.
What better way to follow the icy chill of Boston than with a trip to Barbados, where our coffee spy undertook a Bond-like mission to search out the best coffee beans on the island. As Andrea explains, she likes to start her Barbados layovers with Italia Coffee House‘s frescante espresso, made with optional thick Italian cream blended with ice and a double shot of espresso with chocolate – whew – but new discoveries also included the smooth flat white from Tiki Pies bakery, made with ‘Dawn Patrol’ beans from homegrown brand Wyndhams Bajan Crafted Roasters.
From soft sand and sunshine to bright lights and bling, the final stop on this coffee whirlwind tour is Las Vegas, where our aficionado found everything from bottomless cups in vintage diners to gleaming coffee counters in the brave new world of the Fremont East District. Here you’ll find hip third wave coffee shops like PublicUs; where the speciality is a One on One; a mini coffee flight of the house-roasted single origin coffee from Mexico consisting of a double espresso and a cappuccino.
Andrea will be back very soon with some more caffeine-laced adventures, so keep an eye on the blog for the next installment of our global coffee tour.