Some know St. Ali as the Saint of Coffee, others will recognise it as a coffee shop renowned for being one of the best shop/roasteries in the world. Located in South Melbourne, Australia; they have become known for their superb quality of service and ever changing house espressos.
Well lucky for us Brits then St. Ali has brought the party over here. They have recently opened a location in After a visit to the new and superb St. Ali coffee shop in London on Clerkenwell Road. The shop is beautifully designed with a huge central bar, equipped with a Slayer espresso machine, Uber boiler and all the brewing treats you could possibly imagine. Attach onto that an open roastery on the shop floor and top quality food to match the excellent coffee.
I was lucky enough to have a chat and tour of the shop with Head of Coffee, Tim Williams. After showing me the upstairs espresso bar, which boasted an all to familiar (for you 6/8 fans) Synesso Cyncra three group, he took me around the roasting area and I managed to accquire a kilo of their latest espresso blend forthe shop.
I smuggled it out of London, got it safely back in to the shop in Birmingham and got the ‘Tank’ grinder to unleash it on curious patrons of 6/8.
As you can read above, this is a mix of Brazilian and Guatemalan. The espresso came out extremely bright, not too sweet, but certainly a slap in the face as soon as it touched the tounge. This then gave away to a rich body; certainly a fun and tasty espresso - kind of wish I tried with a longer pre-infusion to see what affect it had, especially on the brightness.
A beautiful St. Ali espresso.
From bag, to grinder, to tamper, to machine, to shot.
The final latte of the day.
After burning through many shots (and varying degrees of annoyance with a temperamental grinder) both Greg and I were well and truly caffeinated to the brim. We had tried the espresso in the differen’t milks drinks and it certainly shone through in our 5oz Flat Whites and 7oz double shot Lattes. It was smooth and chocolately (well noticed by Greg that it tasted like Cadbury’s dairy milk) but then with an earthy finish. An interesting change in notes from the straight espresso.
All in all, well worth trying and I would love to hear the thoughts of anyone else who has managed to dial it in on their own machines.
Once again, thanks to Tim and the whole of the St. Ali team for their hospitality and giving us the chance to have a go with it in the shop.
Keep an eye out in the shop as you may see more random espressos, including other St. Ali blends, creeping into the store for some coffee fun afternoons.
All the best!
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.