Day two (for me anyway—I’m here in Moscow for the last half of team one’s adventure, and the beginning half of team two’s), anyway, so day two began with sunshine! These Latin baristas—Raul, Daniel,, Alejandro, I’m talking to you—as well as the Italian—were having some trouble with the cold yesterday. For Monika, who lives in Dublin, and me, from Portland, it was nothing. Still, all of us were happy to see a sunny day dawn on Moscow. We met early in the hotel lobby to head to Coffee Mania, which is one of two specialty coffee cafe chains dominating Moscow. There are plenty of cafes in Moscow serving mediocre coffee, but Coffee Mania (and the other chain, Koffein, where Russian Barista Champ Olga works) does it right.
We feasted on caviar blinis and lemon curd pancakes, and sipped simply amazing Kenyan, Salvadoran and Panamanian Chemexes and pour-overs until we were well sated. Coffee Mania’s awesome head staff, Gleb, Irina and Nadia, took amazing care of us.
While chatting with Gleb, I was curious about the cold coffee culture in Russia—it’s been such a hot Twitter topic between the Scandinavians, the Europeans and the Americans this past summer especially, that I wanted to know what Coffee Mania’s situation was.
Gleb said they don’t cold brew (Toddy or slow drip), but rather make regular espresso over ice. But what is really popular at Coffee Mania in the summer are the specialty cold beverages that Coffee Mania creates.
To make his point, Gleb asked the baristas to create some of the most popular drinks, and we tried them all. Holy moly, are they doing things right. So fresh and natural, these were some of the best cold coffee drinks, and also fruit drinks, I’ve had the pleasure of enjoying in a long time.
After a tremendously enjoyable morning at Coffee Mania, some of the group was a little sleepy and headed back to the hotel for a bit of rest. Monika, Asli, Daniel, Drago, and I headed to the Cathedral of Christ the Savior, a famous church in Moscow, to see the building and walk through the pleasant parks and across the bridge nearby.
The sun was out, our sweaters were off, sunglasses on, and we just had the best time walking and talking through the city.
We walked all the way back to the hotel, talking and laughing and even talking Russian politics.
Monika and I went in for a quick power nap, and before we knew it, it was time to head to Red Square for this evening’s installment of the Specialty Coffee Show Starring Barista Champions!
We heard the music before we even got close to the tent—Drago, Asli and Regina were dancing, the place was pumping, and we hadn’t even started yet!
And surprise, Giovanni and Svetlana from Nuova Simonelli joined us today! This is such a treat. I had a wonderful time catching up with Giovanni about Barista Magazine Publisher Ken’s recent trip to Italy to visit the Nuova Simonelli factory (look for his article about it in the October/November issue of Barista Magazine!).
It seems the numbers of wonderful coffee people here in Moscow just continues to increase! Tomorrow, Christos and Stefanos from Greece, Ricardo from Costa Rica, Coen from the Netherlands, and Javier from Spain arrive. We are so excited!
We are ALWAYS so excited in Moscow!