Winter has been relatively quiet for openings after the hectic summer and autumn. Newly opened in London however is Barbour and Parlour, the latest opening for the prolific Soho House group. Situated in Redchurch Street (famous in Specialty Coffee History as the site of Penny University, it features grooming for men and women, coffee and a fifty seat cinema. Another recently opened cafe worth a visit is Love and Scandal in Lower Marsh with its great vibe, pop-up events and Alchemy coffee.
Another must-visit is Department of Coffee‘s new cafe in St Martins’s Courtyard, Covent Garden. Since working with Tate Roasters on roast profiles their coffees are well worth a visit with their unique names and flavours. The new cafe is done out in Modern Shaker style with elegant blue panelling, low hung lamps and a long bar.
Yes, the photograph at the top of this post was taken at the excellent Kaffeine Latte Art Throwdown, superbly hosted as always by Kaffeine‘s Peter Dore Smith. You couldn’t ask for a better host. The final took place at Square Mile‘s roastery and was one of the events of the year. Check Kate Beard’s photojournal-style reports for Barista Magazine.
It wasn’t the only major London coffee event this Winter. La Marzocco’s Out Of the Box was a daylong celebration of all things coffee. I particularly enjoyed the hands on aspect, finally, with tutoring making a decent espresso on about my sixth attempt!
December saw the culmination of Third Wave Wichteln. A brilliant concept from Markus Reuter, Andre Kruger and Thorsten Keller, this global coffee secret Santa exchange took the world by storm this year and 1582 participants around the world dispatched coffee to each other having been randomly assigned address by the super-efficient TWW team. Check the Facebook group page to see people posting photos of their bounty.
The London’s Best Coffee website, which I contribute to, has gone from strength to strength. It features regular news items as well as the cafe reviews. If you haven’t read my coffee bean reviews there are links here. Following a brilliant brew jam hosted by Lanark where Greg brewed up Chemexes of a range of coffees from Nude, Notes, Climpsons and elsewhere, November saw the inaugural London’s Best Coffee public cupping.
Hosted by the lovely Kin Cafe, the well attended event featured roasts from Workshop, Campbell & Syme and Roundhill. A great success, as I saw it, was that as well as coffee veterans, a number of people new to cupping attended the event and the atmosphere was such that everyone felt confident to give opinions and taste notes. Kin were perfect hosts and the event was a big success we hope to replicate soon.
Further on the cupping front, Angels’ Cup launched their web-based cupping app which is pretty good to use. I think once it is developed as an phone/ipad app it might be even more useful. But the functionality of the web based version is very good so I would recommend giving it a try.
Finally, a mention for Prufrock. The La Cabra Coffee (roasted in Aarhus) has been flying off the shelves there and when I tasted it at a public cupping I could see why! Other Prufrock News is that although they are officially closed from 24th December until 2nd January, baristas from Bucharest will be operating a pop-up at the coffee shop starting with Christmas Day 10am-3pm, then 26th- 31st December 10am-5pm, and on 1st January 10am-3pm. So Prufrock will be open (in one form or other every single day this Christmas and New Year.