A cup of travel dreams and memories

Published March 3, 2021, 10:30 PM

by AA Patawaran

Nespresso launches newest Lungo line with World Explorations

If it were up to life, I would have long been weaned off coffee, but then my life is up to me, so I could say I’ve been weaned off bad coffee, or cheap coffee, especially those three-in-ones. I have a bad case of hyperacidity, not as bad as some other cases I know, but it really gets bad, triggered by drinking coffee on an empty stomach, such as in the morning, which is the best time to have coffee, or if the coffee is of questionable origins.

Although it is a natural course in life to have a parting of ways with anyone or anything at some point, I’ve yet to say my last goodbye to coffee. Right now, coffee to me is an ultimate experience. It’s a devil-may-care moment, when I throw all caution to the wind, deciding I am prepared for the consequences of my indulgence. Each cup is a perfect punctuation to a perfect occasion, whether it is a long black during occasional in-room breakfast at a staycation, a double ristretto at midday, a cappuccino to cap off an enjoyable dinner, or a latté on a particularly lazy summer afternoon.

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The recent launch of Nespresso’s newest Lungo line under a World Explorations theme is one such occasion for me, especially now, under all these restrictions of life during a pandemic, that travel is again taking the epic proportions of Marco Polo’s 24-year voyages through Central Asia and China or David Livingston navigating the Zambesi River in search of the source of the Nile or David Lindbergh’s first solo transatlantic flight.

I like Nespresso because its coffees are very low in calories, no more than two calories per cup. Even better for me, with an average pH level of 5.0, they are relatively low in physical acidity. Yet, the aromas in the flavors in the entire range are extracted from natural sources, kept fresh in hermetically sealed aluminum capsules. No genetically modified organisms, no preservatives, no food allergens, including dairy, gluten, nuts, soy, and eggs. Although there are references to malt, milk, or cocoa notes, there is no presence of them in the coffee—they are simply natural elements of the aromatic profile. World Explorations highlights six vibrant cities and their coffee cultures.

Under all these restrictions of life during a pandemic, travel is again taking the epic proportions of Marco Polo’s 24-year voyages through Central Asia and China or David Livingston navigating the Zambesi River in search of the source of the Nile or David Lindbergh’s first solo transatlantic flight.

A moment’s indulgence with coffee from this wide range of sensory profiles and intensities is a cupful of travel memories or daydreams of future travel. Let’s check out these six travel routes and dream away.

BUENOS AIRES

World Explorations Buenos Aires Lungo, according to the flavor profile, “blends a gently roasted Colombian Arabica with Ugandan Robusta to deliver distinct cereal and sweet popcorn notes.” In ode to the city’s sweet tooth, beloved by bons vivants, who make it the city of alfajores or Havanette or chocotorta or sweet facturas like dulce de leche and crema pastelera, this Lungo is best served with a generous drop of milk and sugar.

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CAPE TOWN

In the old days, African merchants bearing all sorts of goods crossed the trades routes to dreams in places like Europe, the Middle East, and India. South Africa was the ancient stopping point of this exchange. It’s interesting, however, that in Cape Town, the coffee culture has been shaped by Asian-African encounters. Which is why in this city, the coffee of choice is a blend of Indian Arabica and Robusta, resulting in Nespresso’s most intense Envivo Lungo—full-bodied and with a punchy bitter note and woodsy aroma. Add a splash of milk to your long cup and let the smooth and roasty notes unfold to enjoy it like a local.

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SHANGHAI

Ah, Shanghai, whose culture, along with that of the rest of China, is so tied up in tea, its mystic rituals and grand ceremonies, as well as its historic teahouses and picturesque tea plantations, such as on the slopes of the Jingmai in Yunnan or on the southeast coast of Fujian. What not everybody knows is that China has grown coffee for centuries. Now, the coffee scene is abuzz in modern Shanghai. In recognition of this bustling development, the Lungo line developed to represent the city is crafted from Kenyan, Chinese, and Indonesian Arabicas, whose distinctive light-roast blend pleases the palate with its berry notes and fine acidity. In Shanghai, a splash of cream is de rigueur in coffee-drinking.

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STOCKHOLM

Stockholm is cold, yet its energy, especially after dark when the clubs open, is hot like mulled wine or glögg on a wintry night. The Swedes are the third on a list of people around the world who drink the most coffee. They like their coffee black, intensely black, and malty and savory. If with milk, just a touch. World Explorations Stockholm Fortissio Lungo recreates the aromatic profile of Swedish coffee by coupling Monsooned Malabar with Colombian Arabica for an intense, sweet cup with a hint of bitterness. Have a fika, the Swedish word for coffee break, which is more than a brief break from daily routine. It’s also an excuse for a gettogether with friends. To drink your coffee like a Swede, take your Lungo with something sweet, like a freshly baked cinnamon roll or a slice of kladdkaka, Swedish sticky chocolate cake—or, as Swedish author Stieg Larsson wrote in his Millennium trilogy enough times to gain notice, with an open-faced sandwich.

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TOKYO

The Japanese capital is as dynamic as it is Zen. The Japanese like their coffee rich and balanced with elegant aromas. With refined Ethiopian and Mexican Arabicas, World Explorations Tokyo Vivalto Lungo has all these complexities in a pod, making coffee that’s replete with floral notes and a hint of acidity that, like Tokyo in every corner, pagodas and Shinto shrines next to skyscrapers, is a sensorial experience on the palate, both energizing and relaxing. Extract the drink up to 150ml and sit back, suspend all superfluous thoughts, as in a meditation, and savor the moment.

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VIENNA

Vienna I love, though I’ve only been there twice, staying at hotels worthy of Marie Antoinette sipping café allongé in the morning with a soft bread. During one of my trips, I cajoled the duty manager to take me on a tour of the Prince Edward Suite at the Hotel Bristol, where officially began the controversial affair between the non-English, non-Anglican, non-royal, and twice-divorced Wallis Simpson and Prince Edward VIII, who abdicated the British throne to be with her in 1936. The coffeehouse tradition of Vienna is as interesting as the people we associate the city with and its coffee, like Viennese waltz, is as silky and smooth and sophisticated. World Explorations Vienna Linizio Lungo pairs sweet Brazilian with Colombian Arabicas, lightly roasted by experts to enhance the malty and aromatic notes. Enjoy it with sachertorte, or a dream slice of it and its darkly rich chocolate, its dollop of apricot jam, and its shimmering mirror glaze, as I did by the large fireplace at the Bristol Lounge.

 
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