Dan and Justy Down Under


March 8, 2005


Every civilization has at least one thing that leads to its demise...for this one it is their inability to make a cup of iced coffee. And in a land of incessant heat, that does point to a national flaw.

Don't get me wrong, the aussies have a way with coffee. Its all espresso and frothed milk. A regular 'cuppa' is generally a 'tall white' or a latte. There is the tall black, similar to our Americano only in that the TB makes the AM look like a soft drink! Its strong and long. Great dosage too!

Not even the rampant use of instant coffee in every hotel/motel room dispel their superiority on the coffee level. Each room we've ever stayed in ahs a very easy to use coffee system, with a tea towel and all!

Its their incessant desire to add all manner of goop into a perfectly divine cup of joe when you just ask to ice it! The typical aussie iced joe, is actually on ice cream! Two heaping scoops, whip cream on top. Its a damn dessert, not coffee intake. Now, I am not really complaining (let the ice cream gods put that on the record) but sometimes too much is simply too much.

Americans like to choose. How much milk. How many sugars. How big are the sugars. What kind of milk. Skim, full, soy. Frothed or flat. We like the control. But for that to work, we must all start with a basic idea that coffee is the black stuff, and everything else is the dressing.

It's no fun when each place makes the same pre-determined cup of coffee.

My attempts at a simple iced one, are still in the red. I've asked for an explanations, list of ingredients, uttered instructions and pleaded...to no avail. They just don't seem to be able to do it right!

You might say I had this one coming to me, but my most recent attempt came very close. It was a McDonalds cafe, real fancy looking. I asked how she does the iced coffee, and she said they just put the coffee on ice cubes. I asked if they use ice cream, she said no. GREAT! Ill take it. As I watched her, she made a very quick motion with a bottle of dark syrup into a cup, about a fifth of the cup, and then started to top off the rest with milk. This being McD's, I assumed it was 'concentrated' coffee. Holding a can of whip, I screamed out "No whip! And regular milk, please." No whip? she said, giving me the look. But she put the can away. I thought I saved my coffee. Little did I know. It was close to perfect, had a great brown color. I was frothing at the mouth. She then closed the bubble top (it actually extends the fl.oz. capacity of the cup by a fifth) and before I could stop her filled the damn thing to the top with milk. She handed it to me with a spoon.

Spoon? Obviously she cant process the no whip thing at all.

I didn't care, it was close and I wanted it even if it had too much milk. I found a straw, a sugar packet and went to town. Dan watched as my face contorted on the first pull. The dark syrup I saw earlier wasn't coffee at all, it was sugar syrup, and my sugar packet just sent the whole cup into the WAY TOO SWEAT side of coffee. Not to mention all the milk. I was once again defeated.

Another time however the chances were better, as no food chain was invovled and still the results were dire. This great little coffee shop, where we used the internet often, shall remain nameless. The net was down, and we were just gonna eat something, have a cup and run. It was hot outside, and ice was the only way to get some joe. I asked for ice cubes instead of ice cream, got a tall black with milk on the side and a glass for mixing. Sounds great, right? I thought so too. Well, the glass was tiny with only 3 ice cubes which melted the second they saw the black coffee. After more ice, and a battle strategy which included 2 seperate cooling tanks (one in the coffee cup and one in the glass, all the milk used in one side, with none left for the other. I enjoyed my first half decent iced coffee in Australia. But I worked my ass off for it! After more milk, more ice, more sugar I finished off the other half.

Itinerary Highlights
January 20: Winery Tour
21-23: Moreton Bay Diving
25: Australia Zoo
26-30: Lady Elliot Island
February 13: Diving the Yongala
15-17: Cape Tribulation + Daintree Rain Forest
17-20: Atherton Tablelands
22-28: Coral Sea Diving Liveaboard
March 11-13: OzTek Dive Conference: Sydney
14: Fly to New Zealand
20: Poor Knights Islands Diving
31: Mt. Cook
April 2-4: Queenstown
TBD: To Be Dreamed

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