Forty hours of long-haul and heartbreak - better with coffee
The Magic Roast's European Correspondent touches down in the UK
Matt was given The Magic Roast’s business credit card and told to explore the far reaches of the coffee world. No one tell him that VASA isn’t a real credit card company… This is his story.
I am currently going through some life changes, and I sincerely hope my journey’s metaphorical coffee cup will be filled with an abundance of exquisite single Os. These life changes begin with a journey from Wellington to London, three flights, 40 hours door to door, with little to no certainty as to the quality of coffee en route, nor what lies ahead. Consider this post a guide to help you identify how to better enjoy long-haul, and heartbreak.
+0 hours (3:30am)
My canon of alarms begins at 3:30am, what feels like mere moments after my eyelids slammed shut. The only way to start today is by reaching for a specialty instant, and the first one my hands grabbed was Flight’s Bomber Instant coffee. Having this level of coffee available to me in my own home with zero effort required is nothing short of a miracle.
+2 hours / Wellington Qantas lounge
I collapsed in the Qantas lounge at Wellington Airport, and had a machine regurgitate some sludge into a cup. The stale bitterness resonates throughout me. I made the wrong decision, in so many ways.
There is a Mojo in the International Departures area, and while Mojo is a chain that is probably not going to often change your life with mind-blowing experiences, they do hold a really respectable standard, and cater perfectly to all pre-flight necessities.
+5 hours / flight Wellington - Sydney
A sky-waiter graciously offers me a coffee. Given I am going between two cities renowned for their coffee I excitedly accept. I’m surprised at how mediocre it is, and this disappointment negatively reinforces all of my doubts; I start to question whether leaving my beautiful home and life is in fact a wise move.
+9 hours / pull my own shot in Sydney
Fortunately I have an opportunity to spend time relaxing with family in Bondi, and this includes making my own flat white on my bro’s shiny espresso maker. I made a very average coffee, but I am proud of it. It seems that some things are best left to the experts though.
It’s great to get family time, and they are able to reassure my fears, and ensure that I do get on the next plane.
+10 hours / Bondi cafes
There are an abundance of excellent cafes in Syndey which rock. The three cafes I visited will be revealed in a future post. Just rest assured, they were great.
+12 hours / affogato
Frangelico, coffee, and ice cream. Given my lingering fatigue this hit of sugar and alcohol is much appreciated. As always, break-ups and ice-creams go hand-in-hand, just like couples.
+13 hours / Sydney Qantas lounge
My flat white is barista made. Nothing to write home about. My disappointment furthers my melancholic mood, and I ponder whether my own bitterness is contributing to the flavour.
+15 hours / Flight Sydney > Singapore
I had a Qantas coffee on the plane. With all of my coffees I took notes. I think I may have mentally lost it as this tasting note reads:
“What’s the matter
You never seem to want to dance any more
It’s a long way down on this roller coaster.”
I was listening to Jagged Little Pill a lot on the flight, for good reason. What my notes are saying is that my coffee was disappointing.
+22 hours / Still flying
I make a cup of First Hand specialty Instant coffee. My tasting notes read:
“Your love is thick and it swallowed me whole. You are so much tastier than I give you credit for. You’ve already won me over, in spite of me. Don’t be alarmed if I drink cup after cup.”
I have definitely lost it, but you also can see how much I am enjoying this coffee in this moment.
+24 hours / Singapore Qantas lounge
This is the best coffee from any of the lounges thus far, even if the milk was too hot. I smash this back, praying the caffeine gods will fortify my soul for what lies ahead.
+29h, +31h, +34h / Flight Singapore > London
No more Qantas coffees, I just can’t handle the disappointment.
I enjoyed Flight’s Bomber with Reishi and Lionsmain instant coffee immensely. This is an utterly sensational instant coffee which has won my love. Sadly it appears that it is also no longer available for purchase! Had I been forewarned I would have bought the lot.
On the flight I cracked into my top-shelf instants; the Flight/Savage Catuai and Caturra specialty instant coffees. These are utterly sensational, and when you read some of the growing notes - “Rainforest, Shade-grown, 1800 MASL, Volcanic Soil” - you begin to appreciate just how special these speciality coffees are.
These beautiful coffees are inspiring. They’re pushing boundaries, and bringing so much joy in the process. My vibe is continually strengthened through each sip.
+40 hours / voila
One last coffee - a cafe in London, which will feature in another post.
And that is how I managed to get to London. The moral of the story is that in times of need instant is your best friend, as is Alanis Morissette, and when you are feeling lost and confused, much solace can be found in the bottom of a cup.
At 36,000 feet, having the specialty coffee experience without any hassle is just incredible. I am so thankful to the fourth wave of coffee washing over NZ’s shores; long may instant enhance our lives where traditional coffee’s tender touch cannot reach us.
What a report from Matt!
Check out Matt on Instagram, and keep checking in here at The Magic Roast for more crazy times.