[Homeroast] One Californian's espresso crawl through London

Hank Perkins hankperkins at gmail.com
Sun Sep 19 18:28:10 CDT 2010

How refreshing.

I think it would be wonderful if we started a thread where if you go
some where and find exceptional coffee we post it here.

I was in Birmingham AL at the Brookwood Hospital (My son is in school
in Birmingham and had a Dr. appointment)  The Starbucks there was
shockingly good.  I had a Cafe Americano.  This is what I always order
at Starbucks I find it he least offensive.  It was just great.

I am back on the road tomorrow but only to rural GA.  I am taking my
Aeropress, Whirly Bird Grinder and the last 1/2 pound of the Jamaican
Blue Mountain I found in the bottom of the green bean tub this
morning. Coffee must be 3 or 4 years old so who knows how it will
taste.  I roasted it to Full City.  On a funny note, the wife took my
plastic POS electric tea kettle to the rescue mission.  "It was dusty
and you never use it!"  So a trip to Bed Bath and Beyond or Walmart
will occur tomorrow.  I will hide it when I return.

On Sun, Sep 19, 2010 at 5:33 PM, Joseph Robertson <theotherjo at gmail.com> wrote:
> 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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