Poor Cappuccino Froth and Coffee Not Quite Hot

One thing that Thomo has continually searched the world for is the perfect cappuccino. I’ve travelled to around 50 countries and have tried a cappuccino in most of them – even in Cambodia. For the record, the best one so far, allowing for the temperature of the coffee and the thickness of the froth, was the Italian Restaurant on the Aker Brygge in Oslo, Norway. That coffee was absolutely magnificent. The fact that it was summer and there were loads of gorgeous Norwegian girls walking past as we drank it only served to heighten the experience. I digress however.

Ulaanbaatar has a number of foreign restaurants – French, Italian, Korean and so on. It also has a number of coffee shops (German, French, Italian and Korean) selling coffee and pastries. I have tried a “cap” in most of them and so far they have all come up short. The coffee component is lukewarm or the froth is thin. It just was never quite right.

I did start to wonder if the problem was the milk here. Some of the milk is local and the rest of it appears to be imported from Korea. Then it occurred to me. Baagi (Baggy), my translator and ever faithful aide confidente and I were talkiing whilst driving home. We were talking about the boiling point of water and how it gets lower the higher you get (go on, cast your mind back to high school physics).

Then it occurred to me – perhaps temperature is the problem. Ulaanbaatar is 1316 metres above sea level. That means that water boils here at 95 degrees celsius, not 100 as it does in say Sydney. Cappuccine requires steam passing through milk and steam occurs when water boils. In Ulaanbaatar, the steam is cooler than in low laying cities. Could this be the reason I could not find a good cappuccino in Ulaanbaatar? Perhaps.

In any case, I am glad to report that I have found the best cappuccino in Ulaanbaatar. It is at the newly opened Irish pub, the Grandkhaan. They have a coffee corner and the cappuccino there is really very good.

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