Tuesday, July 10, 2012

The Worst Coffee Ever: Quest Two Epcot


This is Part Two of Foxxfur's posts from March 2008 about the terrible state of coffee at Walt Disney World. You can find Part One here


She wrote this series of posts at a now defunct site and I wanted to preserve her writing. Enjoy!

 Quest Two: EPCOT

Okay, so Magic Kingdom is just a total wash. Really, it's depressing, but what can one do? Bring her own coffee? That's what I do. Or of course you could beg some nice cast member to run you a fresh cup using the Coffeepot in their breakroom, but perhaps that would just be silly. Thankfully we have EPCOT, that culture center of Disney, to the rescue, where one can find a remarkably robust selection of coffee... that's not NesCafe! How is this possible?? After all, Disney has a sponsorship deal with Nestle, which means that the coffee they've agreed to produce on property is the Nestle brand NesCafe, right? Right?

Well folks for the first time Mickey's laziness works in your favor because although Disney may be contractually obligated to give you hazelnut sludge synthetic bean juice, that still won't stop them from cutting corners by... outsourcing. Yes, that's right, the same practice which brought you generic valet service at the Pop Century (M)Hotel now brings you... acceptable coffee! Some of this is purely financially motivated on Disney's part. Some of it is related to the fact that they're offering things like espresso which Nescafe can't actually yield. And in a few places it actually seems to be a strange little pocket of the world weathering the Nescafe regime underground, actually brewing actual coffee grounds in actual coffee machines.

Study the following closely. It may one day save your life.

This is a Joffrey's Coffee stand. There are four of them. They are in front of the Universe of Energy, to the left of the American Adventure, between Canada and the United Kingdom pavilions, and near the FriendShip boat launch to Germany from Mexico. And yes, they always say "Espresso, Coffee & Pastries". Joffrey's is purveyor of fine coffees based in Florida. They receive, care for, grind, and brew good beans from good places. All through December they featured a fine Columbian roast, and have recently switched to one of my personal favorite beans - Yirgachaffe, from Ethiopia. Things being as they are the beans are run through a drip-percolator system rather than being seeped and pressed, as really exemplary coffee should be prepared, but their methods always yield a rich and pleasant cup and they grind their beans all day long; I've seen that burr grinder spinning many times, so no, it's not just a prop.

Thankfully Joffrey's is not the only wholly safe choice in EPCOT, as the World Showcase Gods have seen us fit to be blessed with three other places you can get real coffee. Ready for a humdinger? Here's one of them.


Yes that's right, the Norwegian bakery which NesCafe herself sponsors, serves superior coffee! Don't worry, nothing's rotten in the state of Oslo, as this little bakery serves excellent deserts, sandwiches,and even alcoholic specialty coffees. And one day I walked in to buy Rice Cream (the second best confection at Walt Disney World) and found myself looking at a real coffee maker behind the counter. Perhaps because this bakery also offers espresso from the same machine does the coffee not taste like water, but whatever the reasons, It is welcome. In a similar vein is the bakery in France. Much more popular and just as good as Norway's little shop, this little spot features two massive high-end coffee machines which dispense every coffee beverage commonly available. The machines must be in perfect working order because although the staff confirmed that they brew NesCafe and it's fairly evident drinking it, the resulting beverage has the smooth and mellow tones of real coffee. Chalk this one up to high-end equipment, happily.

The last place to get good coffee for those in an adventurous mood is Morocco, tucked away at the rear of the Tangierine Cafe. This, too, offers specialty (read: alcoholic) coffees in cute little plastic cups made to look like North African glasses. NesCafe is also available here in glass pots on warming plates just like at 7-Eleven, but skip that and ask the staff to prepare you Moorish Coffee with Rose Petal Water. It's a Disney variant on North African coffees made with instant coffee (yes, usually NesCafe), cinnamon, cumin, and cloves or black pepper. Disney makes theirs with the more American-friendly nutmeg and espresso, but it's an experience you're unlikely to find commercially available elsewhere.

My Advice:
Sadly there is no good coffee option in World Showcase between China and Italy or in Future World West, but all other locations are within walking distance of each other, so unless you're in China, Germany, Italy or The Land I suggest seeking out a Joffrey's for a basic coffee experience, reasonably priced. If you're eating at one of the two bakeries you'll find their coffee to be quite good, but the long lines these places can attract especially in the evening make going in just for coffee a pointless proposition. Morocco is an exotic alternative which may not be to all tastes. But between these seven options you're likely going to be passing good coffee at some point in your travels, so enjoy this oasis of quality hot beverage at Walt Disney World.
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