I hadn’t met the Roasting Shed before, they’re from East London – which somehow seems appropriate – and they roast coffee, but without a shop space of their own to sell it through, a bit like how coffee roasters used to be. It’s not often you meet ‘local’ roasters at somewhere like London Coffee Festival, so it seemed appropriate to work my way through the three immediate filters they had available to try. Passed three cups, a washed San Roque, from Huila in Colombia, another washed Wegida Blue from Yigacheffe in Ethiopia and finally a third washed, the Ragati from Kibirigwi in Kenya, it was time to sample three seasonal, but somewhat archetypal coffees – they’re the kind of origins you become accustomed with early on in coffee. The Colombian had a fairly typical coffee flavour, easy going, the kind that works well when introducing newcomers to the world of specialty coffee and following on the Ethiopian was in direct contrast, a brighter more acidic coffee with distinct floral notes and a much lighter body, tasting very purple in flavour. Finally I was left with the Kenyan, a more complex darkly sweet coffee, with those winey like qualities you get from so many Kenyans, probably the best of the three, but at the same time the least accessible. No doubt a set of coffees that will be cropping up around cafes in the East London area now. Continue reading
Bologna and Venice are both old towns with a wealth of historic culture, but they’re both distinctly different. One a university town full of youth, progressive ideals and a love of food and the other a maritime powerhouse full of beauty, canals and tourists. They wouldn’t be Italian though, without a love of espresso and chocolate and both help to cater to their devotees in different ways. Bologna providing traditional Italian coffeebar culture to its discerning patrons and Venice providing the locals with a very Italian respite from the heavy impressions of non native feet. If you look closely, it’s not too hard to find these hidden gems as you explore the cities history and culture.
Starting in Bologna and getting in late, we arose in the morning to head out for our first introduction to northern Italian coffee. Continue reading
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.
Wandering around the central canal network of Amsterdam we found the perfect spot for a short respite on the unpronounceable Oudezijds Achterburgwal. Koko blurs the lines between that of a coffee shop, a workspace and a high end retail destination all with aplomb. Entering into the corridor shaped space we made our way down to the counter, trying not to get distracted by the fine looking clothes and artsy ceramics. Continue reading
On the way back into the city from White Label is Lot Sixty One another of Amsterdams coffeeshop roasterys, swinging past we popped in to see what they had to offer. Set out on two floors the retail counter is up on the top ground floor level, with the roaster and additional seating down a set of stairs to the left. Approaching the counter there was brewed coffee available to order, but their batch filter was an Ethiopia Tchembe, which had come via ninetyplus and so I leapt at the chance to try some. Continue reading
Amsterdam has got more coffeeshops than you can shake a stick at, but most of them aren’t selling coffee, or if they are it’s not the good stuff, or should I say the specialty stuff. That is unless you know where to look, coffee houses have been popular in Amsterdam for a long time and there’s plenty of them if you’re willing to sift through tonnes of misdirected recommendations for hazy hash driven ‘coffee’ joints. Take a walk down some of the westerly canals or in some of the more leafy suburbs and you’ll find plenty of passion for roasting and brewing more than just an accompaniment, here you’ll find micro roasters and independents that are all riding the third wave. Continue reading