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Make the Right Cafe Selection, Enjoy!

If you're used to great coffee, it's natural that you don't want to compromise anymore. When making coffee at home, everything is in your hands, but in the cafe you have no choice but to trust the art of others.

You may have found a business in your area where they will prepare coffee for you as you wish. But how do you orientate yourself in a foreign city you've been to for the first time? Don't waste your time and money, before sitting at the table, we will advise you on what to consider to see if things go well this time and you will really drink the most delicious coffee.

The three most important prerequisites for good coffee are:

1) Cleaning the coffee machine and its accessories

A shiny or dirty coffee maker tells you how important coffee is to coffee makers. First impressions reveal a lot, but a coffee machine's excellent surface treatment may not be a guarantee that the inside of the coffee machine is also clean. The handle and head of the coffee machine are not visible at first glance, but they are in direct contact with the coffee and are therefore important to maintain. If the purity of these parts is neglected, an oily film can gradually form on them, which subsequently contaminates the coffee and adversely changes its taste.

While we can't immediately reveal the uncleaned coffee machine from the inside, we can see other details that we can guess:

dirty coffee maker

dried milk in the milk frother nozzle

dirty barista apron

Cups turned upside down in the coffee machine, even worse the cloth dries on them (both overheat the cups)

greasy and dirty coffee funnel in grinder

poor technical condition of the coffee machine

The barista does not clean the strainer on the handle of used coffee and sprinkles the freshly ground coffee on the adhered residues after tapping.

If you notice any of these points, you should opt for reverse gear.

2) Coffee and ground freshness

If we want to enjoy espresso, we have to make sure that the coffee is fresh. Freshness means not only roasting date, but also grinding and storage.

If you ask when the coffee is roasted in the cafe, ideally the staff will give you the definitive answer. If not, then it has little interest in coffee, or it's just a coffee from wholesalers that specify an expiry date of no more than 2 years from the date of roasting.

Grinding the coffee just before brewing is of course done in any decent cafe. Fresh grinders are often used, which grind the grains directly into the coffee machine arm before preparing them. This guarantees the fresh grind needed to make good coffee. You should avoid other variants.

Also pay attention to the grinder chambers. Are you in a small cafe where only a few coffees are made a day and the hopper is full to the brim? How long will the grains stay in the hopper? Its contact with light and air does not show the coffee beans, it ages according to the chronological order. Therefore, there should always be as much coffee in the chamber as they can consume in one day at the cafe.

Have bags of cereals that are too hot in the cafe next to the coffee machine or maybe in the fridge? In open boxes on the wall, in scented tea cabinets, or next to cleaning supplies?

3) Correct Preparation

Correct extraction by itself is not a guarantee of quality espresso, but it is an essential prerequisite for great taste.

Ideally, choose a location where you will see directly over the coffee machine and coffee during extraction. If you at least know how the correct extraction should be (more in detail in our article here), you will immediately know whether you will like the coffee or not. If you get an espresso with or without sticky cream, extraction didn't work properly and the taste of this type of coffee probably won't please you too much.

What else can you focus on?


In most coffee shops, someone other than the one who brings the coffee prepares it. At best the #barista prepares the coffee and the staff takes it to the table right away. If the prepared coffee is left on the table for more than two minutes, you will definitely not be able to enjoy it. The cream on the #espresso melts, in the case of #cappuccino, the micro-foam structure collapses, the milk separates from the foam, the coffee is embarrassed and its taste changes.

If you see the barista starting filming and going to the warehouse to buy something, if the barista is smoothing her hair in the mirror behind the coffee machine while whipping milk, or you see her making coffee with a phone between her head and shoulder, you'd better look for another cafe.

Every espresso preparation is an art and at the same time a little alchemy that requires attention from start to finish.

Do staff teach you how to drink coffee or what coffee is best for you? Staff unsure whether you want the espresso small or large? These are other signals that can prevent disappointment.

drink menu

Names such as espresso, picolo, espresso ristretto on the coffee list do not bode well. He probably does not understand coffee in such a cafe and it will be up to you to take the risk.

Acidity versus pain

Even if ideal conditions are provided and the coffee is well prepared, you may not like it. Why? Buying You chose a cafe where they make coffee with a different taste profile than the one you've been to. Simply put, lightly roasted grains have a fruity taste, while dark-roasted grains are dominated by bitterness.

In traditionally decorated cafes, you will often find dark roasted Italian concoctions where you can find the classic, bitter taste of coffee. Small modern cafes and espresso bars are opting for the trend of single-choice coffees from small roasters, which are mostly lightly roasted and therefore higher acidity.

Do not hesitate to ask the barista what type of coffee is in the grinder and what flavor you expect. At some good cafes, you can choose between two types of grains (there are, of course, two separate grinders) with a very fruity or a more normal taste.

As a result

Drinking coffee in an unknown cafe is always a bit of an adventure. While life is short for us to drink bad coffee, don't let it accidentally spoil your mood. If you learn to detect and recognize good and bad signals, your chances of success will increase exponentially.

We wish you a happy choice and best prepared coffees.


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