Tuesday, August 24, 2010

There is No Espresso in New Brunswick

Espresso cafes can be widely found throughout the Great Lakes. We found them in Toronto, Cobourg, Youngstown, Hamilton, on the Detroit and St. Clair rivers, several shops in Tobermory, Killarney, Little Current, and throughout the North Channel. We found them on the St. Lawrence river too: Kingston has several including a Starbucks only 5 minutes walk from the Confederation Basin;  in Cornwall and Prescott, nearly anywhere in Quebec City (though the Starbucks is a walk up the hill to the Chateau Fontenac). We found espresso in Cap a l'Aigle, Taddousac, Rimouski. St. Anne des Mont may have had - certainly they had a Tim Horton's which doesn't count - but we did not explore the town enough to know. Riviere au Runard has no food at all except an ice cream truck seemingly open all night, but there are numerous espresso shops in Gaspe. 

Then we arrived in Shediac.

There is no espresso in New Brunswick. Shop after shop and restaurant after restaurant - no espresso. In Bouctouche - no; in Shediac - no…. well, at the Giant Lobster tourist attraction there is a lady with an Illy pod machine. This is kind of like methadone for the addict, not quite the same thing but you take it anyway. One had to drive to Moncton to find a Starbucks, and then it is in the Chapters book store, not even a real stand alone store. Over to Prince Edward Island and Summerside - no espresso at either the Tim Horton's, Burger King, or anywhere else within walking distance. Then to Charlottetown. You can find it here, there is a recently opened Starbucks 7 minutes walk from the marina (eyes watering slightly, and the skin itching a bit as the DTs begin) also a Timothy's, a Mr. Beenz, and a couple of others. Still not common in restaurants though, even the more expensive ones.

The Bellman left, the Atomic right. 

On 'Anomaly' we carry 2 espresso machines - down from 3 after Ann drew a Line in the Sand. Both are stove top machines made by Bellman in Taiwan. The one known as the Bellman is really a single pass moka pot type machine, but sealed with a steaming wand for steaming milk. This works well for steaming, but the coffee produced is much weaker than real espresso. It also results in the whole inside being dirty with coffee and grounds, and is hard to both load and clean. The second is a reproduction of the Atomic Stovetop Cappuccino Coffee Machine produced in Austria and the UK in the 50's, itself an interpretation of the Robiatti Italian machine from the 40's, now being manufactured by Bellman and sold by La Sorrentina of Australia. It has a real portafilter and a steaming wand in a very compact design. Coffee only contaminates the portofilter basket, making cleaning easier. Experts will argue that it cannot develop the 12 Bars pressure necessary for a true espresso extraction, which is true. It also requires fairly high heat from the burner (higher than the Force 10 galley stove can produce) to do a really good job of foaming milk. One further drawback is that the whole machine is scalding hot for at least an hour after use. Despite these challenges we manage to survive somehow. 

The Atomic Coffee Machine - Google it!
'Anomaly' is currently lying in Souris, Prince Edward Island, Canada

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