Two of team 6/8 formed a pincer attack on London this past week, one flanking in around the coffee shops of central London while the other went straight shot for Caffe Culture and then partied into the night with some of the best coffee people in the world.
We’ll start off with the journey of Craig, headstrong and valiant Barista. After passing customs out of the midlands he headed to Kaffeine, a beautiful coffee shop in north Soho. There he chatted with Peter, proprietor of the shop and they discussed the importance of customer service in coffee. After that Craig had the chance to be behind the bar, talking with manager Katherine and fellow Barista Justin about the importance of keeping standards in a busy shop environment.
The next stop was St Ali, a new location on Old Street for the now legendary Australian coffee shop. Craig was fortunate enough to spend time with Director of Coffee Tim Williams and Head Barista, Baptiste Kreyder. After being shown around the beautifully designed shop and restaurant, Craig was then allowed to check out the shop floor roastery and very kindly given a bag of their newest espresso blend to play around with back at 6/8 (look for a write up of that fun times very soon). This shop is something else, with great food and design that matches their high standards of coffee. Put this place on your ‘London to do’ list.
Highly caffeinated already, our handsome protagonist still found room in him to push onto Prufrock at Leather Lane and fit in an expertly crafted Flat White. Pruffrock is a place to experience coffee, with a mix of lever espresso machines, uber-boilers, syphons and other toys (although it was late in the day so the brew bar was closed on this visit.) The gods did shine on that day as Prufrock owner and 2009 World Barista Champion Gwilym Davies was in the house and kind enough to have a chinwag. A great day for a Barista who was positively floating on the train home.
Meanwhile, on the other side of town…
Owner of 6/8 was up to his own tricks. After spending the day cruising and schmoozing around Caffe Culture, Dev made his way an invite only Barista Jam to raise money for the Charity “Coffee Kids" in a gathering of London’s finest coffee shop owners; all sponsored by Matthew Algie.
James & Estelle from Dose Espresso
Dale from Has Bean doing blindfolded pouring
Along with having a few beers with Elliot and Christian from Monkshood coffee; Dev was able to watch as James Phillips from Dose, Rummy from Notes, Music & Coffee, Dale from Hasbean, Baptiste from St. Ali, John Gordon from Square Mile and Lynsey Harley from United Coffee all threw down their best pouring skills. Some of the feats of baristairy included pouring two drinks at the same time and even latte art blindfolded! In the end the competition was won by living coffee legend James Phillips from Dose.
John Gordon from Square Mile and James Philips of Dose Espresso prepare
James wins first prize!
The next day, with a mind ready for coffee (but a body suffering from a hangover) Dev went to visit Notes, Music and Coffee. This was his kind of coffee shop. Good vibe, great music, great coffee, great decor. After purchasing some CDs from the in house music department of the shop (some Latin jazz which you may have already heard in 6/8!) Dev chatted with Notes[…] barista Alex and relaxed with his favourite drink - a cappuccino.
A superb couple of days, made great by the best coffee and, of course, the friendliest people in the world who all seem to work in coffee.
Thanks to you all.
You want to experience coffee, you go to Prufrock. The minimalist decor and simple furniture demonstrate that this is clearly not a place to give you that cosy coffee shop feeling. This is a place to taste and savour what is in your mug.
The Prufrock stations (one in the clothes shop Present on Shoreditch High Street) are headed up by 2009 World Barista Champion Gwilym Davies and then staffed by a multitude of top notch baristas. Along with Present, Leather Lane boasts a Nuova Simonelli for their espresso drinks, but milk drinks are named by size rather than the usual titles of ‘Flat White’ or ‘Latte’; here you will simply get a 4oz, 6oz or 8oz. Along with their espresso range (currently using Square Mile’s Winter Blend) is the impressive slow bar.
The slow bar is where you will find the stash of coffee geek toys. Uber boilers, siphons with halogen burners along with your regular brewing techniques. I served a siphon coffee prepared by Robson Barista, which I highly recommend if you want to get the best out of your coffee.
David and his toys
Outside. Nothing flash here.
My siphon coffee is a-brewing.
The entrance to Prufrock