Saturday, 3 November 2012

London Coffee

Coffee culture in London is interesting. The City has almost taken up the American addiction to coffee giants, each building has their own Starbucks or Costa nested in because the free flowing caffeine in coffee machines just doesn't complete the look. That's just the City. Then there's the more 'serious' coffee crowd, the ones with their grinders at home and chat about the difference between the 20% Ethiopian and 45% Venezuelan blends. You know, the cool coffee geeks.

I'm no coffee expert, but I like a good macchiato, if not a good double espresso would also start my day on the right foot. And I have learnt it the hard way to never, ever order an espresso from any chains. It looked like engine oil, and tasted like ink.

I have written about Prufrock @Present. Since then Gwilym has opened up his proper coffee display space in Leather Lane.  And it’s almost like a coffee forum, lots of coffee geeks getting their beans grinded and discussing extraction. To get some technical fundamentals right, I signed up to Prufrock’s private masterclass, got my head around some graphs and recipes, did a bit of latte art and tried various methods. Then I attended a cupping session at Protein, a hidden workshop in Shoreditch, where I got the aromas and flavours straight.

Prufrock Coffee on Urbanspoon

I think the Aussies kicked this off in London, sourcing from different brewers and working with smaller roastery. Then the Kiwis took it up a notch… I have been getting my fixes in the small cafes below, all serving Square Mile seasonal roasts as the main stream, but offer other blends upon request.

Giddy Up Coffee

This espresso machine on wheels made the best flat white I have ever had. Ever. It was back in early summer, the blend was light with minerals and carried the floral tone of filter coffees. I found the cart just off Great Eastern Street last time, but heard he has a more regular weekday spot in on Fortune Street.

Nude Espresso
One of the micro-roastery near Brick Lane. It was mid summer and I thought my espresso was too salty. For the same blend I think Prufrock does it lighter by 2 seconds and it made all the difference to me. Judging from the traffic, however, I could be in the minority.

Nude Espresso on Urbanspoon

Coffee Curator

I came across the Curator by chance. I’m based in the neighbourhood for the time being, and thought this reminded me of the Chin Chin Lab. My macchiato was quite heavy-handed, but given it’s deep fall it was fine. I’d pick this over Taylor Street Barista purely because it’s a much less hectic space.

Coffee Workshop Marylebone

Another one I stumbled on by chance, behind Selfridges.

Taylor Street Barista

And who doesn’t know TSB? I’m glad they came to Canary Wharf, albeit late. And I prefer the CW store, as I couldn’t help feeling like going through a conveyor belt at Liverpool St. I know I know, Italians do their one stop stand-up espresso shots, but I prefer to take mine on a chair with an ebook.

Taylor Street Baristas on Urbanspoon

Food resumes next Thurs:)

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