Best of Oslo: Coffee Part 1

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There’s a dedication to coffee in Oslo that you don’t often see in other cities, where the coffee itself is the thing that is respected and revered. At times it feels like you’re more likely to find a specialty coffee shop than you are a second wave coffee chain and while you might find coffeeshops selling cocktails, tea and even records, the main focus is always on the coffee. There’s no avocado instagram lifestyle with coffee as the afterthought here, just seasonally roasted coffee and casual but informed service. In a country where the Janteloven is still heavily woven into their culture these coffeeshops might downplay their successes and achievements, but with Norwegians drinking more coffee than everyone except the Finnish, it’s maybe not surprising to find that they place it on such a high pedestal.

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Taylor & Bennett 70% Dark Chocolate Coffee & Cacao Nibs 87.5/100

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A collaboration between Leeds chocolate makers Taylor and Bennett and North Star Coffee Roasters, this bar is a combination of 70% couverture and North Star’s Columbia Augustino forest coffee topped with cacao nibs. Made by Dan Bennett and James Taylor, this bar features packaging from GF Smith Papers made up of 50% cup fibres from reclaimed single-use coffee cups. Continue reading

Åkesson’s Brazil Fazenda Sempre Firme 75% Forastero Cocoa & Coffee Nibs 90.5/100

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In April 2009, Bertil Åkesson and his Brazillian partner Dr. Angelo Calmon de Sa, purchased the historic Fazenda Sempre Firme in Bahia, Brazil. This 120 ha cocoa plantation is right in the middle of the Mata Atlantica, a wild forest on the east coast of Brazil. Here they grow parasinho beans, a variety of forastero cocoa, notorious in Brazil for its fine flavour. Continue reading

Damson Café Brasil 70% Brazilian Chocolate with Notes Brazilian Coffee 90/100

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This bar marks a collaboration between Damson Chocolate and Notes Coffee Roastery using both cocoa beans and coffee beans grown and harvested in Brazil. The cocoa beans are grown by Arthur and Eduardo Carvalho at the Fazenda Camboa, the largest organic cocoa farm in the Brazilian state of Bahia, while the Cachoeirinha pulped natural red catuai coffee is grown further south in Caconde, by the Borges family. Together they’re combined to represent both the flavours of Brazilian cocoa and Brazilian coffee. Once harvested these beans are shipped to Damson’s chocolate workshop in Islington and Note’s coffee roastery in Blackwall respectively before being processed and combined to make this chocolate bar. Run by Don Ramsey of Chocablog fame, Damson chocolate represents the transition from chocolate blogger, to chocolate judge, to chocolate bar seller, to chocolate bar maker, the only thing left now will be for Damson to start growing their own cocoa beans. Continue reading

Best of Dublin: Coffee & Chocolate Part 3

Joe’s Coffee

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Tucked into the entrance way to Arnotts department store Joe’s Coffee looks modern and stylish from the outside with a penchant for the quadrilaterals and some long communal tables on the inside. We made our way to the counter to see what was on the brew menu. Continue reading

Best of Dublin: Coffee & Chocolate Part 2

Forest Avenue 

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We were lucky enough to have booked ourselves in for Saturday brunch at Forest Avenue, now Forest Avenue isn’t a coffee shop it’s a Michelin calibre restaurant (imho at the very least), but I feel it’s worth making note of places that should serve great coffee but aren’t necessarily expected to. Here the food was amazing to say the least and I’m not sure I could isolate an individual course that stood out as being better than the rest, such was the consistent quality of the food. Still coffee was an afterthought for us at least, we had plans to move on to 3fe afterwards and weren’t expecting anything extraordinary to go with our brunch. We probably should have noticed more quickly the extreme professionalism of the open kitchen and the relaxed but attentive service. The brunch opened up with coffee. Continue reading

Best of Dublin: Coffee & Chocolate Part 1

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Dublin is a friendly place with lots of friendly faces and more coffee shops than it’s possible to visit in a weekend. There’s also a passion for specialty coffee in some more unusual places, where they’re not obliged to serve you anything exceptional or exiting. The service here might not be as dedicated as it is in say Japan, but it’s continually done with a smile and the relaxed and casual atmosphere makes it both enjoyable and approachable. There’s also plenty of good chocolate, cakes and breakfasts to be had too. Continue reading