The Electric Coffee Bean Experience

The search for kickass coffee

Espresso Joe dives into the Ozone

Soft brew at Ozone

Environmental scientists will tell you that ozone is a diminishing resource. A trip to Shoreditch in the near future may not undo the work of all those greenhouse gases but it will certainly restore your equilibrium.

Dropping into Ozone, near Old Street tube station, is like reacquainting yourself with an old friend – or perhaps your local pub back in New Zealand. Think of a good Monteith’s bar and you’ll get the idea.

But while a pint is on the menu, as well as a good selection of New Zealand wines, Ozone really is about the coffee.

New Zealanders from the Taranaki may very well feel a sense of déjà vu hanging around Ozone. Home base is in New Plymouth – King St for those who know it. Look around the new London project and there are a few tell-tale signs for the discerning eye.

The biggest giveaway is the resident roasting guru, James Gurr. The Englishman learned his craft in Wellington before heading north to the ‘Naki. James is also the UK General Manager while Elizabeth Bain is the Operations Manager. Both are business partners in the café/roastery along with Karla Gichard and Craig McFalane back in NZ.

Enough for now about the business. We’re here for the coffee and the food.

Foodwise, I can only speak for the Orange & Cardamom French Toast. The honey, mascarpone and berries were perfect complements but alas, disappeared from the plate in very quick time.

The menu is fit for Hobbits, having breakfast, brunch and lunch options. Kiwi chef Jonathon Marinovich has created a menu to delight the grumbliest of tummies. I’d be inclined to come back for lunch to sample the Szechwan Pepper Squid or even kick things off with Eggs Benedict for brunch, make use of the free wi-fi for an hour or two (while keeping up the caffeine consumption) and then delve into the Harissa-rubbed chicken over a glass of… scratch that. Maybe I could start with the baked eggs with haloumi and… you’ll get the idea when you make the pilgrimage. The food is seriously good.

One of the biggest surprises about Ozone is the size of the place. Granted, they do roast coffee beans on site so the need for space is prime, yet there is still ample space for patrons on both the ground and basement floors. The kitchen and coffee bar are in full view of patrons, ensuring high standards of hygiene and quality are maintained at all times while the basement also has a large coffee education section, complete with a dedicated microroaster plus the primary roaster, where patrons can watch James work his magic. It’s an impressive coffee house and yet very welcoming. It feels like home.

Which just leaves the coffee to comment on. Espresso, flat whites and their ilk are very good but do branch out to the pour-overs and french press to fully appreciate the skill of roaster James Gurr and the Ozone baristas. Coffee is so much more than espresso.

And being a roastery, coffee beans can be purchased to take home.

Ozone is an excellent addition to London’s thriving independent coffee scene and its location in London’s Silicon Valley, a stone’s throw from Old St, makes it an easy location to get to. Late night Fridays plus good weekend hours make this café a smart choice for both the rushed weekday espresso drinker and the laid back weekend bruncher. See you there soon.

  • What: Ozone Coffee Roasters
  • Where: 11 Leonard St, London. EC2A 4AQ

This post first appeared in NZ News UK on 10 Apr, 2012.

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