Third-wave coffee oasis in Milan
Onest Milano, a cafe-osasis in Italy, oscillates between serving specialty coffee during the day and wine in the evenings, both accompanied by delicate good food. They pride themselves in putting sustainability and traceability at the top of their offering.
Finally back in Milan for Salone. The city was hot and humid as expected (it was June after all and not April, Salone’s usual month). Long work days criss-crossing from North to South and East to West to meet people, check out exhibitions, trade shows and attend talks.
I didn’t have time for much else, not to hang out with friends nor walk around some of my favourite spots from when I lived there between 2002 and 2008. On Sunday morning though, I made an exception before heading to the airport. Last year my friends Francesca and Marco had introduced me to a new cafe-oasis in town: Onest Milano.
Onest oscillates between serving specialty coffee during the day and wine in the evenings, both accompanied by delicate good food. They pride themselves in putting sustainability and traceability at the top of their offering.
Italy in general, and Milan in particular, has a strong coffee culture, However, despite having given coffee products some of their most recognisable names and formats (espresso, cappuccino, latte, americano, the stovetop moka, etc) at some point it lost its way and the coffee at any average bar became not only no-frills but also not particularly well made. I remember drinking burnt cappuccinos with watered down milk at train stations, bleak cups of espresso at highway stops and at many bars and restaurants. Yes, great coffee could still be found, but mediocrity had triumphed (something similar happened with pizza).
Probably around the time of the Expo in 2015 the tide started to turn on mediocre coffee. Today even at Milan’s Central Station you can have good coffee while waiting for your train to be announced. What the city never fully embraced were certain experiences often associated with the Third Wave of coffee championed by the culture of the likes of Australia, New Zealand and Japan. One example is single origin pour over (which goes by different names, often associated with the equipment you use, like Hario’s V60, Kalita or Chemex).
What Onest does complements Italy’s classic coffee culture with wonderful additions from the specialty coffee movement, all housed in a relaxed and colourful space with a small garden that is perfect for catching up with friends or – like I did – just taking a break from the “tran tran quotidiano”, writing letters to people in faraway lands.
Thank you Lorenzo and Alessio for the good vibes.