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European cafes versus American

This is a discussion on European cafes versus American within the Coffee Shops, Espresso Bars & Cafes forums, part of the Coffee Addicts category; Originally Posted by ElPugDiablo Originally Posted by Var Yeah, quality of clientele is a separate discussion really. Now this is the heart of the European ...

  1. #21
    Var
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    Quote Originally Posted by ElPugDiablo
    Quote Originally Posted by Var
    Yeah, quality of clientele is a separate discussion really.
    Now this is the heart of the European vs America cafe culture. In Austria where cafe culture really started, people go to cafe for the community spirit, to meet friends and at the very least read old fashion newspaper. In the US, people go there to use free internet, they glue their face to the screen for hours and hours. You can have a packed cafe and all you hear is clicking keyboard, they don't go to cafe for a good time, they go to cafe to be anti social.
    In Vienna, another important aspect of the cafe culture is students sitting there studying for hours. drinking coffee and (unfortunately) smoking. As for laptops, I haven't been there in 10+ years but nowadays I would guess they are using laptops at cafes.

    Similarly in France cafes are renowned for supporting intellectual types who would write important works at cafes.

    In the USA, I seek out cafes where I can use my laptop, but not for Internet since I have that at home. In fact I go to cafes to get away from the Internet.

    The problem with most cafes in my part of the US is that people who go there act like Ugly Americans, i.e. loud, obnoxious, unapologetic, inconsiderate.[/list]

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    Are we not comparing apples to oranges when we compare American Cafe''s to European Cafe''s. Even though they are the same consept they are quite different. the European Cafe''s have been around for hundreds if not thousands of years and American''s are new to the espresso drink idea. We grew up on pretty much instant or perked coffee. I think what works in the European Cafe will not always work here in America and the reverse probably holds true. I still find people here that think a good cup of coffee consist of 2 tablespoons of grounds to a pot of water or one tea bag makes 4 cups of tea. LOL we are getting better but we are not there yet. Just my 2 cents.

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    [quote:6c95b500fc=\"ElPugDiablo\"][quote:6c95b500fc=\"Alun_evans\"]I think this is an interesting debate. I would say the differences in cafe and coffee culture (the US vs. Europe) is a cultural and historical one- and it is also an ever changing evolution that has continued from obvious beginings in Europe. Generally I enjoy the cafes of Italy- the types of pastries and food they offer as well as the quality of the coffee and service. The buzz and atmosphere of these places in the morning is amazing- but of course you have to rememember the Italians drink 43 BILLION cups of coffee a year- 30% of these in the morning orrientated cafes. The passion for coffee and the undeniably central part it plays in Italians'' lives plays a huge part in the coffee industry in Italy. I agree the cafe designs are beautiful, and I actually love a lot of the design ideas that I see on my trips there.

    Are the cafe designs and menu standards directly transferable to cafes operations in the USA and other countries? Not always. For instance, coffee culture has developed on very different lines in America from Italy. It was, I dare say, the norm until at least the early 1990''s for coffee in dinners and restaurants around the States to be served by the cup from carafes that had been sitting on bunn warmer plates for hours. I remember a road trip I did through (the now quite coffee sophisticated) West and Mountain States of America in 1990. The coffee was, almost universally, ahhem..apallingly bad. However (before someone berates me) I would like to add coffee evolution has happened at a speed that would make Charles Darwin turn somersaults in his grave. Coffee blends, especially those used in Espresso based drinks, are now very good- albeit it different from those European counterparts.[/quote:6c95b500fc]The irony here is that Starbucks is suppose to introduce the Italian coffee bar concept to the US. I guess they balled that up pretty much.

    [quote:6c95b500fc=\"Alun_evans\"]Anyway a waffle...a verbal one rather than you can eat! But I do think the differences in coffee culture make things interesting. I do know the SCAA and SCAE standards are not at all that far apart.[/quote:6c95b500fc]It is interesting that the World Barista Championship winners are mostly from Northern European countries, add a couple from Australia and England - now that is one place known for it''s coffee. But does the Italian compete in WBC?[/quote:6c95b500fc]

    Hi everyone, new to this forum.
    I''m from Holland, and i am a coffee affectionate, and i design bars, restaurants and clubs.

    If you ask me, the whole \"Barista\" concept, is a marketing trick to promote the new wave of coffeedrinking. Barista conveniently is an italian word, meaning bartender. But bartender in a general sense. In Italy \"barista\" doesn''t have a coffee connotation. In the 3 years i lived in Italy, and all the times i''ve been there since i have never had a cappuccino there with the image of a flower drawn in it. But i''d still take one of those anyday above the soupdish cappuccino''s they''ll serve you at costa''s or nero''s in london, or the ecclectic beverages they sell sell for coffee at starbucks. An italian could care less about latte art or fancy coffee drinks.

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    To right Sparky. Actually it is pretty rare that they use cocoa powder on the surface of the espresso before adding steamed milk as well. The 43 billion cups pretty much is a solid number indicating that coffee is as much of a part in Italian life as brushing ones teeth in the morning! I would argue though that while barista may be somewhat glorified in other countries, barista in Italy play a very important role in not only drink preperation- as well as often being the cashier and the hub of gossip in many of the Italian Cafes I visited during my time there. Bartender indeed- but perhaps more like the British classical image of a bartender I would say
    Merdeka Coffee (Indonesian Coffee Roasters and relationship coffee specialists) - Antipodean (Coffee - Cafe - Culture)

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    BTW, heading down to Australia tomorrow for a week, so will give a report on the Independent Sydney Coffee Scene while there. Not as outwardly well known or glorified as Melbourne, but plenty of pretty well known Cafes there... many started by immigrants, sons of immigrants from Europe.
    Merdeka Coffee (Indonesian Coffee Roasters and relationship coffee specialists) - Antipodean (Coffee - Cafe - Culture)

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    Its really a superb posting..thank you very much to post this..

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    All very good ideas especially the biscotto with your coffee or tea. A few cafes in Brighton, England still offer this.

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    To be honest, I don't know that there area lot of differences between a good coffee shop in the USA and one in Europe. I really think that most of the differences don't have to do with the shop itself, but rather societal and cultural differences between Europe and the USA. I'll post more tomorrow if anyone is curious. I've already typed a lot tonight.

    Danny
    Last edited by nobody; 03-05-2013 at 07:54 PM.

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    Danny,

    I agree with you.
    Different region definitely have different way of living.
    Even the coffee, there are many different ways to brew and enjoy by different parts of the world.

    Please do share your thoughts....

    Thanks

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    I read back a little on the post after my initial posting, and it seems that maybe some other people agree that there are some societal differences at work between the USA and Europe, and my experience shows me that it doesn't get limited to just coffee shops/tea houses.

    In Europe, in almost any city or even village center (and I speak more from experience in Austria, Germany, Switzerland, and for a little of the North of Italy), people when not working, are out and about town visiting shops, walking for pleasure, relaxing, engaging in good conversation and company with friends, coworkers, etc. and are not rushing around. They are living for the moment and are enjoying what they are doing. This does not mean that this does not happen in the USA at all. I do not live in a place like NY City or Boston, where this might be more prevalent. There is a place near me, or two, where people do this, but it is, in my opinion probably a minority of places in the USA as compared to in Europe. People in the USA may be in coffee shops, but they are rushing, on the move most of the time, hardly enjoying the time that they have there and are rushing off. This is also very true in US restaurants vs. restaurants in the above countries, where people generally stay and spend time with good friends, not leaving as quickly as we do. Waiters and waitresses are not doing the quick turnover like you see in a typical restaurant here in the states. When I was in Munich, in July or so, my wife and I went to visit our friend, going out to eat in her suburb. We got to the restaurant at something like 6:00 or 7:00, and then remained there talking, till the place closed at about 11:00 pm or so. You even see that in the dead of winter, around Christmas time, that Germans and Austrians will be out in the town, socializing on the streets while the year's Christmas Markets are in full force. You will always see that when the weather is even remotely good, that people will use outdoor cafes whenever possible, in preference to sitting inside if they have both facilities. It is my experienced opinion that this street life fuels the patronage of the typical cafes and tea houses, making things seem "better". There's always something to see when in Europe, and you might even run into one of your friends or coworkers doing much the same. If one, is, for example, in Innsbruck, Austria, having coffee in town, you might get the treat of being able to watch some of the street performers working, namely the girl with her silver dress and dog (who wears a hat) that lies down in the basket she has for him, acting like statures, or maybe the guy in silver, acting like a fountain statue, pouring water from his boot.

    Danny

 

 
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