Monday, September 26, 2022

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On Vacation: The Seek for Satisfying Competition Espresso

A plain paper coffee cup sits on a wood table under an outdoor festival tent. Two men are seated at another table in the background.

One music competition attendee’s try to search out good espresso close by leads to discovering a hidden gem in a small city.


Pictures by Tanya Nanetti

After I reached the ticket sales space at Punk Rock Vacation in Slovenia this 12 months, I used to be much more excited than I’ve been in years earlier. I had had tickets for the present for 3 years, and within the meantime, the world mainly went loopy: a pandemic, a giant battle, and plenty of different troubles. You’ll be able to perceive my pleasure once I lastly arrived! I missed reside music, I missed tenting by the river, and I even missed a budget competition meals. What I definitely didn’t miss was the espresso: In all of the years I’ve attended the competition, it has all the time been too darkish, too bitter, and simply dangerous.  

However, deep in my coronary heart I used to be positive that one in all these years the espresso supply on the Punk Rock Vacation would change, for good. In any case, it’s a reasonably large competition (by punk rock requirements). It’s based mostly in Slovenia and a giant chunk of the viewers is made up of Germans, Czech, and Dutch, all of whom are sometimes keen on a very good cup of specialty espresso. In current months, I’ve seen specialty espresso attain many music festivals all over the world, even in international locations the place the specialty-coffee scene is simply in the beginning, which occurred in July when Ditta Artigianale made its look at Firenze Rock in Italy. 

An Iced Espresso Shock

After I walked into the competition and took my first journey to the meals courtroom, I used to be fairly curious to see if something had modified within the espresso choices. I used to be stunned to see that not solely was the basic espresso nook providing espresso this 12 months, however so was the burger joint! That they had an fascinating “iced espresso” listed because the final merchandise on the menu. Too excited to attend till the following morning to attempt it, I ordered one, simply to interrupt the warmth of the day. 

A brochure describing the iced coffee drink at the burger joint inside the festival food court.
The Punk Rock Vacation burger joint’s brochure for iced espresso with milk and sugar.

I had no large expectations, however I definitely didn’t think about the iced espresso being saved within the fridge … in a carton. And it was very candy, milky, and satisfying.

The subsequent morning, whereas I used to be nonetheless shocked by the sweetness of the iced espresso, my pals and I approached the basic espresso nook—the one which was all the time there, so far as I keep in mind. They supplied the everyday espresso choices: Americano, espresso, and cappuccino. I puzzled if, by any probability, one thing might have modified in the previous couple of years. However nope, it was nonetheless the identical: a bitter and burned darkish roast. 

A Native Espresso Store Saves the Day with Satisfying Brews

Fairly depressed by the poor high quality, we left the competition for a morning stroll round city. We had been in determined want of extra espresso, so we stopped at a small espresso store: nothing pretentious, only a basic native place open till late within the night. Their menu had a little bit of every thing: low-cost spirits, ham and cheese toast, cappuccinos, and ice cream. 

A cappuccino in a white porcelain cup, on a saucer with a silver spoon, flanked by a clear glass of water.
An actual cappuccino from a neighborhood store is extremely refreshing after dangerous competition espresso.

Having reached the purpose of resignation, we ordered two cappuccinos, once more with none expectation. However this time they had been creamy, served on the proper temperature, and even got here with a contact of latte artwork: two hearts. 

It could have been nothing particular, however after all of the dangerous espresso I’ve had on the fest in years previous, it was good anyway. 


Tanya Nanetti (she/her) is a specialty-coffee barista, a traveler, and a dreamer. When she’s not behind the espresso machine (or visiting some hidden nook of the world), she’s busy writing for Espresso Riot, a web site about specialty espresso that she’s creating alongside together with her boyfriend.


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