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Monthly Archives: April 2014

Two days ago, Tuesday night  to be exact, the public coffee cupping in Bear Brothers and Cow took place once again.  I’m saying once again, because I think this was also their intention – to make the public cupping sessions a tradition. And it’s definitely a good one. There are not many places in Switzerland, that organize public cupping sessions, if not any at all. But that’s going to change.

Bear Brothers and Cow

The Bear Brothers – Benny and Kai Keong – had brought for us a lot of beans from their recent trip to London. And when I say a lot, I mean alotalot. After Kai Keong’s  selection, because it should have been pointless to cup them all at once, we cupped seven different coffees, from seven different English roasters. All of them were washed, except for one natural. So it was useful for me to see the difference in taste connected to how the coffee was processed. So, these were the chosen ones:

  • Guatemala, La patrona, washed Pacamara roasted by Caravan Coffee
  • Nicaragua, Finca El Limon, washed Javanica roasted by Climpson&Sons
  • Colombia, La Predera, Cup of Excellence Lot 18, washed Caturra roasted by UNION hand-roasted coffee
  • Colombia, Finca la Esmeralda, washed Caturra and Bourbon roasted by Workshop Coffee Company
  • Burundi, Buziraguhindwa, washed Bourbon roasted by Notes
  • Ethiopia, Sidamo, washed Heirloom roasted by Mission Coffee Works
  • Brazil, Fazenda Rainha, this was the natural roasted by St.Ali (if I’m not wrong)

It was very interesting indeed. The one that I  really liked was one of the Colombians – La Predera, roasted  by UNION. It was very tea-like and had this crisp acidity that I really enjoy. Actually all of these coffees were kind of crisp and very aromatic, because they were all lightly roasted. It’s amazing how many more aromas you can catch in such beans.

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Edit: Campesino Coffee Roasters changed their name to

Miró – Manufactura de Café

Last week I had the pleasure to visit one very young and promising company – Campesino Coffee Roasters. Which for the moment is Campesino Coffee RoasteR, since there’s only Daniel Sanchez who’s in charge, so to say. You might know him from the Swiss Barista Championships this year, where he took 5th place, which according to me is a big thing, despite of him saying he could have done better. Next year though he’s willing to compete in the Brewers Cup, which will be even more exciting because he’s going to roast his own coffee. Cannot wait!

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The roastery at the moment is located on Bederstrasse 85 in Zurich. The place is really tiny, actually it’s all that it’s seen in the pictures, right behind this self-service fuel dispensing station and it’s connected to a furniture shop. It has big  windows so you can easily take a look to see Dani doing his magic, in fact I was surprised to learn there are curious people brave enough to go and ask him what is he doing – lovely isn’t it?

At Campesino Coffee

5kg Probat

At Campesino Coffee

The sample roaster

As you probably have guessed yourself, we talked about coffee, about the industry, especially the local Swiss one, about quality. About the local coffee industry we were discussing that maybe for its development it’s good competitors to talk more between each other. And these are not only roasters, but baristi as well and even bloggers. Competition is competition, but for Switzerland to become a country with a flourishing coffee culture, Swiss coffee professionals should work in one direction. At the moment any direction is missing. But I prefer talking about this in another post.

Daniel Sanchez

Daniel Sanchez himself

 

As for coffee quality, here he said something that really stayed in my mind – like with most things in life it’s fairly easy to achieve eighty percent out of hundred, that means you get pretty decent results. The last twenty percent is usually very tough. The same is with roasting coffee – it’s not that difficult to achieve a decent quality, but to opt for perfection – now that’s hard. Dani clearly has got the guts to walk the way, that’s why I’m curious to try his coffee, especially when he gets to know his bigger 5kg Probat, which he said is probably going to happen next month, when some more coffee equipment is about to come.

I’ve got to say, it looks really romantic – a lone passionate coffee roaster, in a tiny workshop with vintage furniture (which is for sale, because of the shop), conveniently snuggled behind a gas station. The whole picture looks intriguing, like it’s taken from a movie. My expectations towards Campesino Coffee are high. I’m really looking forward to trying their coffee.

 

 

 

 

 

It might look romantic

Next stop from my express coffee tour around London was:

Association Coffee – located on Creechurch lane 10, again a place with high standards regarding the coffee served. Their coffee suppliers are Square Mile and Workshop. I had a wonderful Sitio Canaa aeropress at the brew bar. There is a big mirror behind the bar, actually the whole wall is a mirror, which reminded me of the interior of Screaming Beans in Amsterdam, because  they had a mirror, everything was a bit brownish and dim lighted there as well, but a bit too glossy. The Association lacks the elegance, it’s very straightforward. And the baristi’s aprons were interesting, with weird looking straps at the back. You can see photos of the place here.

At Association Coffee

 

The Attendant – at 27A Foley Street. I didn’t really have time to stay  here for a coffee, so I am not going to say anything about that, but I couldn’t skip it as well, because the concept is quite…unconventional. This place has been a public toilet before it has been renovated into a café. It’s definitely not for everybody, but I personally think it’s genius. That’s what it’s all about, isn’t it? Being different from the competition. The irony is, there’s no actual toilet there.

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Curators Coffee Studio – 9 Cullum Street. It really is like a studio, an artistic one, as the place is full of very cool illustrations. I had the opportunity to stay there a bit longer and drink coffee a bit…longer. I started of with a filter, they don’t brew on demand, so be sure it’s fresh when ordering. The suppliers usually are Square Mile, Union or Nude. It would have been nice to be able to see more of what’s happening behind their turquoise La Marzocco Strada, but that’s how it is. Later on I tried their house espresso which is a blend – 70% Brazil and 30% Tanzania – which is really smooth indeed and has apricot notes. Every month they feature and espresso based beverage, absolutely their creation. This time it was an espresso with apple and grapefruit juice and rosemary. I find it very interesting and creative.

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These are some of the coffee bars I visited while in London – city that has an ever-expanding coffee scene full of coffee shops and roasteries all of them different from each other –  from the coffee beans used to the way their interior is designed. There’s more to selling good coffee and no matter how we put it, interior design is a big contributor to number of sales you make, looks just matter. You have to be absolutely clear about your concept when designing a coffee shop, you want your message to get to the other side of the counter and this happens with a lot of planning and preparing.

So, here are the coffee shops with my impressions in no particular order:

Caravan King’s Cross – this actually is a restaurant then a café and a roastery. The place is huge, as it was used for a granary in the past. I had a Tanzania, Blackburn estate clever dripper for 3.50£, but it was a bit too extracted for my taste. What I loved though is that information about the beans they roast is very detailed and accessible. The roasting area though wasn’t accessible, but still you can take a sneak peak if you want.

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Workshop Coffee Co. –  I visited their café on Clerkenwell Road, which is also a very busy restaurant and a roastery, with the difference that I felt this place much closer to coffee than Caravan. It was Sunday morning and people were already queuing to have brunch. Yes, it was quite busy, but there was a seat at the bar, which I immediately occupied, but only after I looked around the venue.  The place looks really cool – brick walls, wooden floor, at the back, where the kitchen is, there’s the roaster, which can be approached, but still is somehow separated from the café. There at the back is a two story glass ceiling, the walls are white except for one of them which is transformed into a hanging garden.

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I had an aeropress of Finca La Esmeralda from Huila,Colombia for 4£ and I really enjoyed it. What I find interesting was that the coffee for the brew bar was already portioned in something like capsules of 17grams, which increases the efficiency of the employees quite a bit. Because it’s easier to just take a dose, weighing takes a lot of time, and believe me in a busy place like this, time is important.

Prufrock Coffee – I went on Leather Lane one evening for something like a launch party for Victoria Arduino’s Black Eagle at which James Hoffman came and…the fangirl in me took over.

Me and James Hoffmann

Sorry, I couldn’t keep myself from posting it. Anyway! My impressions from Prufrock are good. Interesting things about the design…well there were having quite a lot of framed cutlery on the walls, which I found interesting, too bad I don’t have any photos of them.

 

The Coffee Festival in London was totally worth the visit! There was a great diversity of businesses – companies encompassing every area of a coffee business imaginable – importing, exporting, supplying, building, making. There were also bakeries, chocolatiers, confectioneries, lots and lots of tea. Thursday and Friday were industry days, but that doesn’t mean it was empty. In fact it was quite full on these days. When the festival opened for public on Saturday it became so tight inside you could hardly breathe. Even the barista finals didn’t make me stay inside. Watching it on stream is always better anyway.

London Coffee Festival

I want to congratulate Maxwell Colonna Dashwood who’s Barista Champion for the second time and Sebastian Stephenson, Brewers Cup Champion, both happen to be from Colonna and Small’s Specialty Coffee in Bath. See you in Rimini!

I used these two days to explore the London coffee scene, which is not an easy task especially in such a short time, but I managed to visit 8 coffee bars all of them known for their coffee and with all different concepts (some of which quite weird). I will share some photos with you in the next post!

the-London-coffee-festival

Starting from today, there’s a wonderful week ahead. I took holidays so I can visit London for the Coffee Festival! I’m very, deeply, hugely excited about it! There will be all sorts of coffee people! And some of them I’m going to see for real (not on a screen, as it usually happens). It will also be interesting to see the finals of the UK Coffee Championships. Which will start on Friday with Brewers Cup. To be honest I’m also not quite sure what exactly and when is it going to happen, but it will be interesting.

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Also there will be a lot of posts and even more photos coming up. The blog will stay active!