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Caffeine hit: Auckland coffee culture

The flat white, café du jour in London coffee shops, was invented in Auckland (at least that’s what they say in New Zealand). Here’s how to make one, and where find the best cup in the city

Stretch, whirlpool, surf. I repeat the mantra while preparing my first flat white, at a top-notch La Marzocco espresso machine that an hour ago was as alien to me as the cockpit of a Formula One racing car.

I am on the barista training course at Allpress Espresso, one of Auckland’s premier roasters, to learn how to make the antipodean take on white coffee, the flat white. Perfected in New Zealand – which bickers with Australia over who actually invented it back in the 80s – the flat white is a single shot of espresso blended with steamed velvety milk; strong, creamy, not too frothy.

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TwiTrip to Manchester – the verdict

Your Tweets led Benji Lanyado far beyond his old Manchester student stomping ground, from an indie tour of Salford to a dusty old library that witnessed a meeting of the masterminds of communism

Last Wednesday, I journeyed to Manchester with high hopes. I was determined to banish the dissatisfying memory of my misspent time at university in the city, when I loitered around the student district of Fallowfield for three years, save for the occasional drunken foray into town. This time I wanted to find truly Mancunian pursuits, aided by the good people of the Twittersphere. They did me – and their city – proud.

As per TwiTrip tradition, the day began with a request for train-time trivia. @Shabbychicb got the ball rolling, informing me that “Manchester City is the only football team to be founded by a woman: Anna Connell in 1880”. Then @danpyt sent me a map depicting a Soviet plan from the cold war era to storm Manchester with tanks. Excellent stuff.

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