[Homeroast] One Californian's espresso crawl through London

Joseph Robertson theotherjo at gmail.com
Sun Sep 19 17:33:19 CDT 2010


Oh, please do. What a nice spro tour. Thank you Greg.
Joe

On Sun, Sep 19, 2010 at 12:54 PM, Greg Hollrigel <ghollrigel at gmail.com>wrote:

> Not to derail the Homeland Security Thread ... I thought I would provide
> some comments on some coffee shops I sampled recently in London, England,
> just in case any of you London travellers are looking for recommendations.
>
> I spent last week there and got to sample some very fine coffees, in my
> opinion.
>
> I went to 4 shops:  The Espresso Room, Nude Espresso, Dose, and Monmouth
> Covent Gardens.  I tried to make it to Prufrock Coffee, but alas, my
> schedule didn't allow me to get there, and my legs were tired.
>
> The Espresso Room and Monmouth Covent Gardens are near Covent Gardens and
> Russel Square (in what I consider the western side of Central London).
>  Dose
> and Nude Espresso are in or near the City of London (towards the Eastern
> side).
>
> Personally, I can recommend each of these shops.  The coffee was great and
> the baristas and staff were super friendly.  The baked goods at some were
> fantastic.  I would say that Dose and The Espresso Room are similar in that
> they are very small shops that seem best suited for take-away.  They also
> only take cash.  Monmouth and Nude were similar in providing much more
> seating and what looked like "home-baked" bakery.
>
> At Dose, I had a double espresso and a flat white.  I can't always taste
> subtle nuances, but both were very good.  The funny thing was is that they
> also serve regular coffee made by Aeropress.  That is the first, and only,
> time that I've seen Aeropress served in a commercial setting.  I sat
> outside
> with my colleague who enjoyed a chai tea.  I think Aeropress service may be
> more of a European occurrence, in addition to my hotel rooms ;-).
>
> At The Espresso Room, I had a single espresso and a capuccino, the first
> day, and a flat white the second.  The espresso was interesting in that
> instead of being served in a ceramic/porcelain demitasse, it was served in
> a
> small glass "honey jar".  It also appeared to me to only be about a 15 ml
> shot.  The espresso was their summer blend V2, which I believe is roasted
> by
> Has Bean Coffee.  I didn't ask about their shot volumes due to me already
> running out of energy from the flight, but it was interesting.  My first
> impression was that the shot did not seem to have a lot of body/mouthfeel
> for the first half (7.5 mL !  LoL), but the last bit was incredibly fruity,
> which caused me to change my entire impression of the shot, and give it a
> Hollrigel thumbs up.  :-)  I picked up a bag of  El Salvadore Finca La
> Fany,
> and will be playing with that at home over the next several days.
>
> I made 2 visits to Monmouth since it was closer to some of my meetings.
>  The
> first day was an espresso and a flat white for take away since the shop was
> packed.  The espresso was great for my tastes, lots of chocolate and body,
> and super smooth.  Picked up a bag of their espresso blend.  The second
> day,
> I had a pour over Guatemala and a pour over Sumatra, and another flat
> white.  Just overall great coffee.  Every single drink was full of flavor,
> smooth, and nothing to complain about.  Also, the brioche was out of this
> world.
>
> Although Monmouth is very high on my list, I think I'm going to have to
> give
> a slight nudge to Nude Espresso.  I ended up walking 2.5 miles to the shop
> and then 2.5 miles back, all before my first meeting in the morning.  I got
> lost in the City of London a bit trying to follow streets, and went through
> some interesting neighborhoods, and was just about ready to give up when I
> found Hanbury St, where it is located.  It's fun people watching all the
> different folks going to work in a big city (somewhat similar to San
> Francisco, but I like the international/European feel of London),
> especially
> for someone who lives in a relatively small beach town in suburbia.  The
> shop had plenty of seating and seemed similar in size as Monmouth.  I got a
> double espresso, a flat white, and an americano.  The espresso, much like
> Monmouth, was right up my alley - chocolaty, with lots of body and creamy
> smooth.  The barista made a perfect flat white with very creamy silky
> smooth
> microfoam.  The Americano was good, but I think they're not really my
> drink.  I just loved the whole atmosphere of this shop, and talking to the
> 2  baristas was great.  They even gave me directions to their roastery if I
> had time to talk shop with the roasters.  I was going to go the next day,
> but my schedule got messed up, and I didn't make it.  Next time for sure.
>  I
> bought a bag of their East espresso blend, and have pulled shots at home
> this morning and yesterday.  Just very very good.  I love this coffee.  To
> make this home-roasting related, this is the goal that I strive for with my
> home-roasting ... my quest continues.  Oh, I also got a fresh berry scone
> for my journey back to the other side of London, and that scone was to die
> for.  Wow!
>
> So any travellers going to London, put these shops on your list of places
> to
> go.  They are all great, but my favorites so far are Nude and Monmouth.
>
> For those of you familiar with Gwilym Davies' "dis-loyalty card", you might
> recognize these shops as being part of that.  Well they are (except for
> Monmouth), and that is how I found out about them.  So next on my list is
> Prufrock, Pitch 42, Climpson & Sons, Taylor St. Baristas, Taste of Bitter
> Lover, and Tina, we salute you.  :-)
>
> The next week or so is going to be heavily caffeinated as I play with the
> new flavors and these beans.
>
> Cheers to good coffee, friendly baristas, and home-roasting as Autumn comes
> around the corner.
>
> Greg
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Ambassador for Specialty Coffee and palate reform.


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