I sincerely do not mean to be prejudiced against any brand of coffee; yet, all my past experiences with Illy have been very disappointing. Therefore, when I read in Harvey Nic’s menu that they’re using Illy beans for their coffees I sighed; but I was sitting on the top floor of a posh retailer’s with an overview of Edinburgh’s town centre and the Forth Bridge, so I had -high hopes.
The higher you fly the harder you fall, the saying goes, and this one was a huge fall – and a bitter disappointment. Literally. The mocha looked lovely, and promised to taste like a piece of coffee art; well, maybe apart from the shortcrust
biscuit on the side that looked too cheap in this three-person-reception, glass walled, terraced, bright and shiny venue, that even includes a chocolate lounge area (still, a nice touch). Taking my surroundings into consideration, I quite confidently tucked into the beverage… just to feel my face twisting after that one big sip. After the initial sweetness from the chocolate shavings on top came flooding a bitterness of a badly handled espresso. I have to say, I struggled with this one, as I couldn’t make myself to drink it up quickly, pay, and leave (and I wasn’t going to just leave the coffee and my space on the Forth Floor either!). Every so often I stirred the drink, as there were bits of non-dissolved chocolate visible, but my efforts did not make the mocha any more drinkable.
After I finally finished it, I stayed around sipping a cocktail to clean my pallet (and, boy-oh-boy, they are charging you for the views!). The service was a bit slow and unresponsive, although the place didn’t seem too busy – it was a Tuesday afternoon after all. It seemed like there were more receptionists than there were waiters, which I find an interesting managing strategy – but what do I know about venue management? <sic>
Maybe I’m just unlucky, or my taste-buds react negatively to any signs of Illy recognition my brain sends out? Maybe their “Luxury Mocha” with cream and marshmallows receives more barista attention to make it the best mocha in town? I’m afraid I will never find out. To conclude I suppose I’d say: not all is gold that glitters. Which means, if it’s Harvey Nichols, it doesn’t mean it’s great.
Standard Mocha: £3.00
Verdict justification: The place makes you feel kinda special – even if your coffee isn’t