Trip to London

Yesterday I spent the day in London. Nothing really exciting there I hear you say. I go to the capital probably five or six times a year. But I always go on business, and I always have a very tight schedule and never get to sit and relax in coffee shops watching the world go by.

So on this day I planned to drink coffee and have a relaxing day. I arrived fairly early which gave me some time to go to the apple store in Regent street, to look at shiny things, of which there were many. I like the apple store for sure. First stop from here was a decent tube ride to –

Climpson and son (Hackney)

I didn’t really know a lot about this place. I do read the blog of one of the Baristas, and seemed like a cool place to start with and work my way back into town. After trying hard to find it, I ordered a double espresso and 12oz cappuccino (a little large for me but hey). I was disappointed to be given paper cups after a good ten min wait (I dont mind waiting its a sign that its good but paper cups for staying in was not so hot). I can understand why they do the paper cup thing, they were rammed but…….

The espresso was very well extracted and although a little darker than I’m used to it was sweet and nice body. The cap got dust even though I said no sprinkles but once I stirred it in it was smooth and tasty but a little cold (even for me).

The place was really rammed and queue stayed out the door for the whole time I was there.

I was hungry so ordered some food, and that was amazing. I had oak smoked mackerel with horseradish and toast which was awesome. Here I was joined by Dom my friend, and we moved on to

Sacred Coffee Barnaby Street
This was suggested by a good friend who joined us James. The atmosphere was good here and like everything in London was jammed. I had an espresso and a cap here, and they were both good well presented. This was a nice surprise I was not expecting it to be so good. Good Coffee nice place but we were on a mission and moved on to

Fernandez & Wells
Nice place, good people, but the espresso and a cap didn’t live up to the people and great atmosphere. The barista did a good job with what he was working with. the ice water was much appreciated here as I was starting to feel the fun of the previous night. But the coffee I couldn’t really work out, it was way to dark and little complexity to excite.
Here I met up with some more friends and it was getting a big party but Mark and René were welcome friends.

Flat White

I’ve never been to Flat White, everyone tells me I should so I did. The place was much smaller than I expected. But very cosy and very nicely set out. With Jim with us were were getting specialist service I think as he’s a bit of a celebrity around these shops. I had an espresso and a long black. The long black was good, but I don’t get on with the acidity of monmouth espresso so not sure why I had a shot. It’s good quality coffee but I’ve never had a shot I’ve enjoyed, this time was no different, even with the up dosing shortness of the pull the acidity was still too much for me. But saying that the best atmosphere of the day and real care in drink preparation.

Monmouth Coffee Monmouth Street

The days getting late now and when we arrive no seats meant we didn’t stop for coffee take out at 6pm didn’t sound like fun which was a shame as a lot of there coffee offerings looked very familiar to me and looked very tempting, as I’d love to taste there take on the coffee we stock.

So that was my day in london. I still felt like I had rushed and wish I’d started earlier. I missed going to Monmouth’s borough Market store which every one tells me I should see. I think another day some time soon is on the list.

I was very impressed not so much with the coffee but the care in these really busy places with there drink preparation. I’m so pleased to see people trying harder.

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  1. I could still slap myself for not going to climpson and son as we stayed in hackney while in london earlier this year. But the Monmouth borough market really is worth it. I love their style and their multi-filter-brewing-setup, they make strong coffee and they make great coffee 🙂

  2. I actually preferred Fernandez to either Flat White or Sacred. The second shot I had there was a ristretto, I hadn’t asked for a ristretto, but I think the barista had realised that we were up to it 😉 I found it sweeter and more balanced than the Monmouth blend, which I find too acidic. All in all, definitely somewhere I will be returning to. Flat white is one of the few places I visit when in town and their milk drinks are excellent (though a bit heavy on the milk). However, I would much rather have a shot in a cup than a glass, for all kinds of reasons. Sacred, I just didn’t get on with, I loved the look and buzz of the place, but the espresso just wasn’t to my taste. I’m not saying there was anything wrong with it, just that I was getting too much of a roast note.

    The one place that you have forgotten to mention, and left a firm impression with all of us, is Algerian. How you could forget that smell is beyond me! Almost as good as the expression on Jim’s face 😉

  3. Lovely read, thanks Steve 🙂 Sounds like such a fun day 🙂 So… what was it like walking around with 3 giants? The smiling monster, René was still on cloud 9 on Sunday and now can’t wait to go visit your HQ 🙂 I don’t think he’d mind if I tell you he just absolutely loves you (more so after he reads this blog and sees the ‘accent’ on the ‘e’) :p Oh and he loves “Don” too *lol*. So was the ‘smell’ a good aroma or… ? Are you sure it was wafting from the shop or was post-sandwich Mark nearby?

  4. You would have liked the roasting set up at Monmouth Steve. I got the chance to see it last year. Using an upside down milk churn as a hopper is pretty darn cool. Glad you had a good time. All you need to do now is do the rounds in Auckland/Wellington or Hamilton 😀

  5. Monmouth at Borough is a freakin legend! was there a couple of weekends ago and try and get down a few down times a year. Interesting that folks find the espresso to acidic…I know what you mean about the straight shot, but when used for a flat white or a latte…a damn beautiful combination. I looove the texture they get on the milk and it matches the espresso beautifully, and the clincher is they bang out hundreds and hundreds a day. I walked away with 3 beautiful coffees, including a Costa Rica CofE which had my non geek friends purring…the way it should be!!!

  6. Steve, Monmouth @ Borough is the place…I’m lucky that I work nearby, and have my daily coffee(s) there every day! A must try next time you’re in London, their Espresso is to die for…

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