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Archive for the tag “london coffee”

Coffee time – all weekend

Some of us would argue that it’s always coffee time.

But if there was ever time to focus on it, it’s this weekend in London.

The 2012 London Coffee Festival starts today with a Trade Show and Saturday and Sunday are open to the public – provided you’ve bought a ticket.

What’s on the boil? Think coffee and more coffee, with tea, chocolate, alcohol and food. Plus more coffee.

Each day there will be tastings, opportunities to try your hand as a barista or to test home coffee equipment. There will be educational presentations plus the big one – the final of the UK Barista Champs. The winner will soon head to the World Champs in Vienna.

This is a great festival. I attended last year and found that visitors weren’t swamped by crowds of people because safety regulations allow only a set number of people into the venue at any one time.

To accommodate large numbers, the weekend is divided into sessions and one ticket covers one session.

Held in the Old Truman Brewery in Shoreditch, the London Coffee Festival is a deeply pleasurable experience regarding that Black Gold – coffee.

Food

Entertainment

Education

Map

See you there!

Details

Espresso Joe joins the Federation

This article first appeared in NZNewsUK.co.uk on 16 Nov 2011.

Get off the Tube at Brixton, rock down Electric Avenue and enter Brixton Village.

The Village is home to some of the best independent cafes, restaurants, ethnic cuisine and fresh produce in London. It’s a treasure trove of culinary delights begging to be explored. It’s also the home of kiwi-owned Federation Coffee.

Federation may lack the polished shine of a chainstore café, looking somewhat 50’s caff-like but its white-washed charm, courteous staff who greet you when you enter and oh-so-good coffee will beat the pants off Costbucks every time.

Warning: if you enjoy a quiet weekend coffee then Federation is not the place for you. It was packed on the Saturday I turned up (and there is no Sunday trading during winter), much like every other establishment in the Brixton markets. But don’t let that stop you making a trip there. The coffee is worth it, even if you have to get a take-out and wander the rest of the market.

A weekday visit is not so hectic.

So how was the coffee?

Federation currently use nude espresso beans (available in take-home bags, too) but manage to extract a different espresso to nude’s. There’s a whiff of chopped almonds to the nose plus a battle between sweet and bitter on the palate. First sips may feel a little brutal on the tongue but as the espresso cools, the sweetness begins to develop and leaves a pleasant mouth-feel by the end of the cup. (Some readers may be thinking I should take my hand off it but this is really what I got from my first cup).

It’s a strong brew, ideally suited to some milk, so it was put to the flat white test. As a flat white, the milk thwarted some of the bitterness (bitterness is not necessarily a bad thing) and altered the almonds mentioned above to walnuts. It still tasted very much like a coffee-based drink, rather than a milk-based one, leading to the conclusion that Federation make a very good cup of coffee and deserve to be placed on your list of must-do coffee visits.

The food (untested) looks like the usual scrumptious fare found in decent independent coffee houses although if nothing seems to be grabbing attention, there is a plethora of interesting food places nearby. Judging by the queues, the temptation here must be Honest Burgers, twenty metres away.

Brixton is going to put some people off as a destination. Don’t let it be you. The markets are very close to the Underground station and the local shops all rely on the creation of a safe, friendly environment for customers to explore their wares. The area is vibrant with street banter, sound systems, great food aromas and shopping bargains. Federation coffee is simply one jewel amongst many in area – but one worth making your way to as soon as possible.

What: Federation Coffee

Where: Brixton Village. The website indicates number 46 but that appears to be the kitchen. Look over your shoulder from 46 and you should see it.

When: 8am – 5pm Mon to Fri 10am – 5pm Sat (and 9:30-4pm Sun during the summer)

Happy espresso

Love it. Brixton!

Espresso Joe and the Long White Cloud

This article first appeared in NZNewsUK.co.uk on 6 Sep 2011.

Jump out at Hoxton Overland, head south on Jeffrye St, left onto Cremer St and left again onto Hackney Rd. You’re in Aotearoa.

Long White Cloud is the latest in a stream of excellent kiwi run cafes in East London. Manager Nikki Stewart hails from Wellington. Now a Hoxton resident, Nikki had been searching for a great café location for several months when she noticed a For Rent sign being placed in a shop window practically opposite her home.

Three months ago, she opened the doors of Long White Cloud and hasn’t looked back.

Long White Cloud is big on organic food and juices, serves the always excellent Monmouth coffee beans and has been known to supply the occasional lamington or two – alas, there were none there during my visit. There are also huge slabs of bacon and egg pie to be devoured if you can’t find anything on the breakfast or lunch menus. Homesick kiwis will also find a supply of L&P, Peanut Slabs and other traditional New Zealand staples.

A double espresso will set you back £1.50 while a decent flat white is £2.20. The apple juice is freshly made, seconds before you sip it, while the hot chocolate comes from the brilliant Kokoa Collection. If you attended this year’s London Coffee Festival then you may have spotted Kokoa Collection there – fantastic chocolate from around the globe.

Long White Cloud is a great place for relaxing. It’s not a Sunday Best kind of place but it’s spacious, full of light and Nikki and staff are very friendly. It might be a reasonable distance for the Shepherd’s Bush kiwis to travel but LWC deserves the effort. And let’s face it, it’s not that difficult to travel around London.

The café is also a gallery and, once a month, a cabaret venue featuring Rosie Friday. And if you’re looking for reasons to explore the area, check out the Geffrye Museum opposite the station.

My advice? Make sure you try Long White Cloud while it’s still a secret. Good coffee here!

What: Long White Cloud Café and Gallery

Where: 151 Hackney Rd. E2 8JL, London.

When: Mo-Fr 07:00-19:00. Sa-Su 08:00-17:00

Happy espresso

A decent coffee!

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