When looking for new travel experiences not yet in anyone else’s guide book you just have to walk and when the time comes, stop. For me that happens when I am hungry, when something really stands out or this time around and often when Michelle needs to pee. Todays piss-stop was the “Caffè dell ‘ Arte” in Cagliari, capital of Sardinia the Italian island state. The interior was cavern like with a brick arched roof and old coffee machines on every table. The walls adorned with records painted by well known local artists from an a collection titled LP or “long painting”. However in the nation that is the spiritual home of coffee it was the coffee making itself that make this cafe worth writing about.
While Michelle spent some small decimal of a euro I met barista Andrea and eyed the long list of coffee options on the chalkboard. With filter, cold brew, v60, four or five single origin blends, this was no ordinary espresso bar. At that point I figured Andrea knew way more about coffee than I do so I asked him for whatever he liked best. Andrea’s eyes lit up and he asked what I wanted. “Something bold, something sweet or maybe acidic with fruity overtones?” I opted for fruity and he recommended a Blue Mountain single origin, filtered using the v60 method.
He placed a spiralling filter over the cup and carefully ground the beans while explaining with passion every step. The variety “Blue Mountain comes from the highest altitude of a Jamaican mountain, down the hill is high mountain then lower comes Jamaican mountain and anything under that (pause) well that is just crap.” As he placed a cup on a scale covered by the spiralling filter he explained the method “First I weigh a small amount of water to remove toxins from the roasting process into the air then I fill with water with the lowest number of dissolved solids possible and in another 45 seconds it is ready.”
The coffee of course was delicious, light and fruity and smooth in flavour. As I drank, a stream of regulars came in and ordered there espresso. I could see that me being open to new methods was a treat for a coffee nerd like Andrea in a country of coffee purists, drinking only dark roasted espresso. “Caffè dell ‘ Arte” is one of only 23 cafes in all of Italy that even serve cold brew coffee. Surprisingly Andrea had a strong understanding of Australian coffee culture and our willingness to try new flavours and new techniques. This confirmed for me that Aussies are now world leaders in the art of coffee.
Our lack of culinary tradition in Australia was once a weakness but is now our greatest strength. It allows us to be open to a whole world of ideas and flavours. By inviting the world into our multicultural nation we have become a leader in coffee and food innovation. As a result we get to enjoy coffee that is renowned even by this true coffee lover in coffee’s homeland Italy.
Caffè dell ‘ Arte
Via Caprera 3 , 09123, Cagliari, Sardinia, Italy.