Finding the best coffee in airports

Watching people, and seeing what they do can really show you some great insights. If you look at people as a group, seeing patterns in behaviours can be really telling about what’s going on around you. It’s a bit like looking at web analytics, what I spend a fair bit of my time doing at Seeing trends / patterns in real life people is a lot more interesting than web traffic, I’ve found.

Most of the time we don’t have the opportunity to sit back and observe, to take the time to see why people are doing what they are doing. But this morning I’ve had an extended stay at Cork Airport waiting on my flight. I was looking for the best place to have breakfast and what to have, and the best place in the airport to have coffee. I had time on my hands so I started to look at people.

Within 15 – 20 minutes of watching what people do and where they go I was able to see the the better breakfast place was different to the coffee place. Smokers tended to drink one type of coffee, and people on the go went somewhere else. I actively ignored flyers, concentrating on the staff members, as they have to get breakfast / lunch and coffee every day.

I’m sure you can apply similar analysis to other things around you, just stop and sit back and try to observe some trends.


  • the best coffee in Cork airport : ReFuel (downstairs), get an extra shot for 50 cents ,
  • best breakfast in Cork airport : Food Market (upstairs), granted there isn’t really much of an option. But I did see that the toast was very popular.

Using a Moka Express

Here is a quick guide as how you can make a great cup of coffee with an Italian Moka. Originally these wonders were first made in 1933 by Alfonso Bialetti, under the name “Moka Express“. Our one below isn’t from the famous manufacturer, but the design is similar. Sometimes Moka’s are incorrectly spelt as Mocha, but that more refers to a mixture of coffee with chocolate.  Here is our Moka Express.
For good coffee, you need good beans. We are using Lavazza beans, namely their espresso blend. This is a mixture of 30% of Robusta beans and 70% Arabica beans. Lavazza is apparently Italy’s favourite coffee blend.
The best grinders are canonical grinders, as they don’t heat up the ground coffee unnecessarily. Sadly our grinder isn’t, but it gets the job done.
The Moka Express has 3 parts, consisting of a boiler, which is a holder for the water, a metal filter for holding the ground coffee and an upper part used for holding the coffee once it is brewed.
When you are grinding your beans, make sure it is almost ground to a powdery consistency. This will allow you to pack more coffee into the metal filter. This coffee below needs to be more finely ground.

Coffee that is ready for the Moka.
Here is the metal filter filled up with coffee. It is important to fill it up to the top, and to also compress the coffee down. Compressing the coffee into the filter will ensure that the steam from the boiler will pass through the coffee at a high pressure.

Place your Moka on the stove on a full heat. This will cause the water in your boiler to boil as quick as possible.

IMG_9101Generally you should keep the lid down to avoid the coffee flying into your face and boiling you. But here is what it looks like.

IMG_9101The coffee will continue to bubble up and fill the upper part.


And all that is left to do is to enjoy your espresso, or add a bit of water for a weaker, but still tasty cup of coffee.

Alternatives to a Moka Express

And for those of you who are too lazy to use a Moka, and want to use something a little easier to use, but still want a good cup of coffee, I would suggest a nespresso machine. Nespresso coffee comes in little small pods (see below) which contain ground coffee sealed for freshness. Pop these little capsules in the machine, and out comes a rather nice, aromatic coffee.
The variety of blends also you to give your guests a nice cup of coffee depending on their tastes and preferences. Nespresso also offer decaffeinated capsules, these are the red ones normally. Nespresso rates their capsules on a scale from 1-10 for strength, these are listed on the side of the boxes, with 10 being the strongest.

So what’s your favourite way of making coffee ?

My 2nd Girlfriend

As you may or may not know, I am a bit of a coffee snob. I know what I like, and I am likely to turn up my nose when I don’t like something. Once you have tasted some real coffee, and not that instant muck  from Nescafé, you will realise that not all coffee was created equal. Above all coffee should be created fresh. This starts with the beans being ground fresh then making sure that the water from a fresh source. Also for my coffee mug, you should really heat it in advance. Then of course there is the choice of beans.  Here is a quick video of what I call my 2nd girlfriend. A DeLonghi Magnifica , which retails at about €400-€550 here in Germany. I picked mine up from a nice American for half price because she was heading back stateside.  The bean hopper can store about 300g of beans. It grinds the beans internally and stores the spent coffee in a little internal bucket afterwards. They look like little hocky pucks when they come ou !  The water source at the side can hold about 1.5L of water, which is good for about 10 coffees.

That reminds me I should really do something with my coffee website , but in the mean time you should check out The Other Black Stuff which is a great Irish blog on the topic of coffee.

Sunday Breakfasts

This morning I did a clean out of the freezer and found some rashers and sausages from my Christmas trip home. I’m off on holidays next week so I thought I would clean a few things out. Normally I managed to get in a cooked breakfast once over the weekend, but this one was rather special

before breakfast

It was a healthy breakfast:  English muffin, sausages, scrambled eggs, and a rasher. And about a whole 5 minutes later, this was the state of the pate


after breakfast


Late last month, I saw a great product on Gizmodo. Basically they are Cheeseburgers for campers, Cheeseburgers in a can or better called Canburgers. To cook these wonders you simply put the can in a pot of boiling water for 10 minutes and voilá, you have a nice warm burger. with all the trimmings. So I took myself off to Trekking Mahlzeiten (a great German company) and ordered 4. Over the weekend, I got the urge to try them out, after a few beers on the town with friends. Here are the results

Cooking Canburgers

So let’s see what’s in the can …

canburger instructions

So you get a pot and put it into the boiling water

Burgers in the pot

So after boiling it looked like this, funnily enough

undamaged can post boiling

It wasn’t that easy to get the burger out of the can. Here I am fighting with it, there were ring pulls at the top and at the bottom of the can.

Read more

White Truffles & Pasta

This is quite possibly the best dish ever. Linguini & White truffles. Here is a picture of what truffles look like when they are shaved.

pasta and truffles

Last weekend I found myself in Frankfurt and there is a great pasta place off the Zeil (main pedestrian shopping street). At this place they serve the best Pasta & Truffles. If you’ve never had fresh truffles, well then you need to find some place that has some. The place we went tosses the pasta in a parmesan bowl, i.e. a big block of parmesan hollowed out, then puts some truffle shavings on it and some truffle oil, and voila , the best thing sliced bread and the can opener !