Six Senses Laamu will not only serve you a custom tea at their spa’s Alchemy Bar, they will also teach you how to make it for yourself. Give me some tea, I sip for a cup; teach me to make tea and I sip for a lifetime.
Best of the Maldives: Coffee Drinks – Kuramathi
International Coffee Day today. I remember when we first started going to the Maldives in the nineties, as much as we loved it one of the biggest (if not *the* biggest) negative and thing we missed from home was a good cup of coffee. Eventually, the espresso machines made it over and the resorts figured out how to brew some enjoyable cups. For the 5-star luxury resorts, the Gaggia machine is table stakes and most have pretty fine personal coffee makers in room.
Kuramathi continues the trend to ever finer roasted blend concoctions putting its entire F&B staff through coffee guru training…
- “The resort completed a comprehensive course in advanced barista techniques and coffee beverage. The training was conducted by skilled coffee artisan; Giorgos Atsopardis who is a Certified Specialty Barista & Certified Specialty Brewer. Originally from Greece, he contributed his 20 years of expertise and wisdom in the coffee industry to participants from our Food and Beverage team in a dedicated workshop. Giorgos’s expertise in coffee has also earned him finalist positions in the National Barista Championship of Greece in 2009, 2010 and 2011. Coffee produced by the iconic brewing method of utilizing a ‘Syphon Filter’ was also demonstrated during the training session, and it’s no surprise the specialty is available for guests to try.“
Amongst the few additions to the hot drinks menu are…
- Kuramathi on Ice – Espresso, Cold Chocolate, Scoop of Vanilla, Cinnamon powder, Caramel syrup
- Freddo Cappuccino – Espresso poured in iced and creamy milk
- Cold Mocachino – Espresso with cold chocolate
Best of the Maldives: Wake-Up Call – Taj Exotica
Our neighbour wakes up his wife each day by bringing her a cup of coffee in bed each day. We’ve always thought that this was a touching and romantic ritual. If that sound lime more your cuppa tea than an alarm clock blaring in your ear or even a room phone ringing off the hook, then Taj Exotica will be happy to oblige. For your wake-up call, they bring your tea or coffee (according to your request) to your villa and present it with a gentle knock on the door. As a bonus service, they will also block all calls to your room until your wake up call time.
Best of the Maldives: Turkish Refreshment – Ayada
Today is International Coffee Day. And for those who want to celebrate with a cup of extra high test, the quintessence of caffeinated elixir is considered by many aficionados to be the Turkish concoction where the consistency is more stew than broth.
The Turkish even have a traditional saying which underscores the sanctity of this buzzing beverage – “Bir kahvenin kirk yil hatiri vardir.” It means “A cup of coffee commits one to forty years of friendship.” It is used to remind us that friendships should not be taken lightly and we should invest in them for a long term commitment.
And an afternoon refreshment at Ayada’s lounge is just the place to leisurely enjoy that friendship. Packed with Ottoman ottomans and the Turkish delights of Turkish Delight, you can also partake of a wide range of teas and shisha as well.
Best of the Maldives: Coconut Cappuccino – Kurumba
International Coffee Day today. And in the United Nations of coffee styles, Kurumba presents the most Maldivian.
When we first started coming to the Maldives in the 90s, about the only thing we missed was a good cup of coffee (or latte or cappuccino) in the morning. Fast forward a decade, and the La Spaziales have arrived and you can get any pet percolation you desire including all forms of add-ins, milk froth and strengths. And in the Maldives, the most topical tropical variation is the perfectly paradise essence of coconut. So it didn’t come to much of a surprise to us that the epicentre of all things coconut in the Maldives, Kurumba, featured just such a coffee creation on its breakfast menu – the Coconut Cappuccino (see above).
A touch of cocoa and think breakfast mocha Bounty bar. Make mine a double-shot, skinny, extra Kurumba latte grande with cinnamon sprinkled on top!
Best of the Maldives: Coffee Art – LUX* Maldives
Possibly the easiest day to wake up to on the calendar…World Coffee Day. In n aromatic nod to the king of coffee innovation in the Maldives, another distinction brought to my attention by Rik Norton and his glowing review of LUX* Maldives. This example of LUX’s striking coffee art depicts a young lioness greeting us in the morning.
Best of the Maldives: Posh Coffee – Anantara Kihavah
You think a Starbucks is overpriced? Try “Black Ivory”. It sells for $1,100 per kilogram.
Why so much? Well, it is from coffee beans that have been ingested, digested and egested by elephants. Each bean hand picked from the elephant’s ‘output’ (for all of those teenage barristas moaning about their crappy jobs…you have no idea. Talk about having to wake up and smell the coffee).
It has just been introduced to Anantara Kihavah (as well as Anantara’s other top resorts around the world). The offering suits Anantara’s Thai roots as this prized bean comes from elephants reserves in Thailand. ABC News reports…
“According to the resort, Black Ivory coffee beans are “naturally refined” by Thai elephants. Research indicates that during digestion, the enzymes of the elephant break down coffee protein, according to the resort. Protein is one of the factors responsible for bitterness in coffee: less protein, less bitterness. The coffee is ground by hand and brewed table side in a four-minute process. The fragrance is said to be floral and chocolate and the taste ‘milk chocolate, nutty, earthy with hints of spice and red berries.’ Thai Arabica beans are picked from an altitude of 1500 meters (about 5000 feet) and fed to the elephants. ‘Once deposited by the elephants, the individual beans are handpicked by mahouts (elephant trainer and care giver) and their wives and sun dried.’”
Best of the Maldives: Coffee Roasting – LUX* Maldives
Happy International Coffee Day!
The one thing I typically miss when I visit the Maldives is my morning cup of Starbucks latte. I actually buy the whole beans myself from Starbucks, grind them and brew the drink in an Italian stove top espresso maker. Mind you, I am a very fussy latte drinker and struggle to find great lattes in top London restaurant (the most common sin is that they serve them not hot enough).
When we first started coming to the Maldives 15 years ago, resorts didn’t even know what a latte was. Eventually, they brought in espresso machines, but their barista talents were still quite green. Now, I find if I am at a 5-star resort I have a solid 50:50 shot at getting a great cup of coffee (about par with London). One resort which has gone the ultimate extreme to ensure that its coffees are the best is LUX* Maldives. The LUX* actually has links to a South African coffee company so they take this beverage very seriously. So much so that they have installed their very own coffee roaster on the island with its own Chief Roaster Hassan (see above)
“If you love coffee, you’ll be delighted by our Island Blend, an organic mix created for us by Carl and Judd, founders of Cape Town’s acclaimed artisan roaster Deluxe Coffeeworks…We actually roast organise green beans here on the island and we’re schooling our staff in the ways of the barista.”
I did enjoy all the coffee I could when I stayed at LUX, but it’s also a treat just to walk past the roaster in operation to get a whiff of those fragrant aromas.
Best of the Maldives: Hot Drinks Cafe – Kandooma
At first glance, one would expect that refreshing pina coladas and tropical coolers would be more the order of the day than a steaming mug of brew. Coffee and tea is more the craving for those colder, cloudier climes (like today which saw our first frost of the year at our home in England).
But for those visitors like myself who hail from those areas, our caffeine and other pet addictions don’t necessarily disappear despite the sunshine. I still love a satisfying latte in the morning or a cappuccino to top off a lovely meal. I find that one of the find things I have when I get back home is a fresh cup of home brewed coffee as one of the things that I miss during my trips to the Maldives. Relatively few resorts get this important beverage just right by the standards of the European and American cafe and Starbucks culture (though the rise and popularity of Nespresso machines have become de rigeur accessories for a 5-star room these days). Those that do don’t have anywhere near the decadent array of choice that we are also spoiled by. But Kandooma has introduced its Bokkuraa Coffee Club with a broad range of specialty coffees and teas served in an stylish outdoor cafe. It even has soy milk.