The InterContinental Sydney's new 'high coffee' features a mind-boggling array of caffeinated beverages.
The emergence of "high coffee" is causing quite the storm in the Royal Doulton cup in Australia's afternoon-tea circles.
Once the domain of England's society ladies, high tea - complete with dainty sandwiches, scones and bottomless teapots - has been all the rage Downunder over the last decade.
But move over leaf drinkers - bean lovers are finally being invited to the party.
This culinary extravagance begins with an espresso martini (chilled espresso, vanilla-infused vodka, coffee liqueur and spice syrup).
Chef and coffee connoisseur Stefano Manfredi has recently teamed up with the InterContinental Sydney to create an afternoon tea with a difference - one that will entice coffee drinkers to experience a sinful level of indulgence.
The five-star hotel says its three-tiered plate replete with dainty savoury and sweet treats, which are paired with a mind-boggling array of caffeinated beverages, is unique in Australia.
"As far as we know, our high coffee is the first of its kind in Australia," InterContinental Sydney's executive chef Tamas Pamer says.
The hotel, built around the restored Treasury Building, dating from 1851, has long been famous for its elegant afternoon teas, but Pamer says visitors to the hotel are looking for new ways to indulge and high coffee is hitting the spot.
"We have been catering to Australia's tea drinkers with our popular traditional high tea for years. The time has come for coffee drinkers to be spoilt too."
This culinary extravagance begins with an espresso martini (chilled espresso, vanilla-infused vodka, coffee liqueur and spice syrup) matched to a selection of gourmet sandwiches (smoked salmon, Wagyu beef and roasted chicken).
Next up is a cafe freddo (espresso shaken with ice and sugar and served in a glass) paired a variety of warm savoury delights - mini beef and burgundy pies, prosciutto and asparagus quiches and feta and olive mini muffins.
Mouth-watering desserts, such as Belgian waffles, salted caramel eclairs, scones with jam and cream (with and without sultanas) and cakes of all descriptions, are then matched to a coffee of the guest's choice. Experienced baristas are on-hand to provide recommendations on the best matches.
My barista suggests an espresso or doppio espresso (a double espresso served in one glass) to match the opera slice, a macchiato (an espresso stained with milk) to go with the macarons, a ristretto (condensed version of an espresso) to complement the salted caramel eclairs and an Australian favourite - a flat white to marriage the mini meringues.
To finish off with a kick, the barista suggests that before I depart I try the hotel's signature cafe corretto - a shot of espresso "corrected" with a shot of grappa liquor.
It's enough to have me dancing out of the hotel into the street on a caffeine- and alcohol-inspired high.
Details: High coffee is $55 per person and includes the traditional three-tiered stand of treats and a martini, cafe freddo and your choice of coffee or signature cafe corretto. It's available daily from 11am-4.30pm (02 9240 1396; www.interconsydney.com.au).
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