2 min read

2023's Best Cup of Coffee

Kicking off the year end rundown

I like to end the year with both a reflection on my annual themes1 and a consideration of what I think I’ll remember from the year. The categories tend to change year to year, but one that has remained consistent is best cup of coffee. This year, unsurprisingly was no exception, so that’s where we’ll kick it off.

A repeating wallpaper pattern with a purple background of mugs of steaming coffee, Stable Diffusion

Every year, the threshold for “best cup of coffee” gets ever higher2. I drank a lot of excellent coffee this year. I broke - repeatedly - my commitment to myself that 2023 was going to be a year of no new coffee gear. Whatever rhetoric about “going to cafes less” that one uses to justify coffee gear purchases are all false: the more gear one buys, the more one goes to cafes for the sake of both education and comparison.

And yet…I have a clear best cup of coffee of the year: in April, I met up with a group of my best friends for the first time since before COVID. We rented a house together for a long weekend to just hang out. Between the 6 of us, we rolled up with 3 manual espresso machines - 2 Uniterra Nomads and a Picopresso - and, knowing this, I decided to bring along a smattering of my favorite roasters in Europe.

The humble Nomad chilling in the coffee corner of the new Routine Chaos studio.

These are not easy decisions, but there was one sitting squarely at the top of the list: Manhattan Coffee Roasters in Rotterdam. Because Manhattan has never let me down, I decided to splurge and go for a competition quality coffee, the Wilder Lazo. From the moment we opened the bag, the sweet fragrance of fruit punched us right in the face. Our first shot out of the Nomad lived up to that promise, and I don’t think we pulled a bad shot out of the entire 500g bag. In fact, 6 weeks later I found the bag sitting in the back of my coffee cupboard with just enough left in it for one more shot…and it was still every bit as good.

When you can combine mind-blowing coffee and a sense of occasion, that’s hard to top.

  1. here’s 2022 and 2021

  2. Again, here’s 2021 and 2022 - both of which I still remember fondly