Saturday 6th April 2019 saw the return of The 5th Floor Track Day for the fourth consecutive year.
Kicking off race season for many of London's track cycling teams, the event was hosted once again at Herne Hill Velodrome -- one of the oldest cycling tracks in the world. Built in 1891, the track is no stranger to organised races and large crowds, having played host to thousands of cycling events over the years, including the track cycling event in the 1948 Olympics.
On this particularly grey Spring afternoon, though, the atmosphere was as much convivial as competitive. Music, catch-ups, beer and, of course, coffee provided the backdrop to an afternoon of fast, furious, but ultimately fun, bike racing. It also saw the official launch of The 5th Floor's 2019 kit.
A snapshot of the day can be viewed below, courtesy of our very own Mikey Gatineau.
The weekend brings with it the opportunity to take a little more time and be a touch more considered in the things we choose to do. That in turn allows us to appreciate the process a little more and discover more as a result.
With that in mind, we've partnered with tokyobike and Kinto Japan to brew and serve coffee from our seasonal range on the first Saturday of each month. You'll find us in their Shoreditch store from 11:00 until 12:00 brewing up something new on Kinto's 2-Cup Brewer Stand.
Stop by at your convenience for a conversation, to learn more or simply to enjoy a delicious cup of freshly brewed filter coffee on on us.
London Coffee Festival is always a mad time of year. In the Old Truman
A pre-requisite of curating a range of tasty coffees is the desire to shift and rotate your roasted offering to reflect what is tasting best at different points in the year. We aim to always offer two single origin espressos (alongside a single origin decaffeinated espresso) as well as between three and five single origin filter options. It's challenging, but we love the variety and fluidity that this offers, rather than artificially creating a diverse offer list through altering our roast style or blending coffees together.
As well as our current coffees we put some other samples on the cupping table to bookmark the range we have available, with some 'no longer fresh' and some 'not quite ready' coffees providing some context for when we use the terms “fresh” and “seasonal”.
The London Coffee Festival is almost upon us once again.
As cafe owners, coffee lovers and roasters from across the country descend on East London, we'll be keeping the shutters at our Roastery in Bethnal Green up a little longer than usual on Friday 13th April from 5:00 p.m..
Providing a welcome break from the franticness of the festival, we'll be putting coffees from our current range down on the cupping table. You'll be able to taste these alongside some past favourites and a preview of some new arrivals as we seek to highlight our commitment to continually move with coffee’s seasonality.
All that, plus a few drinks and a whole host of conversations.
Find us at 29-43 Vyner Street, London, E2 9DQ.
We're looking forward to welcoming you.
We've been supporting London-based cycling team The 5th Floor for five years now and have enjoyed brewing up our coffee at their annual track event for the past three.
This year was no exception. We headed down to the illustrious Herne Hill Velodrome on an uncharacteristically sunny Saturday afternoon to serve up our Gitesi Espresso for riders and supporters.
Below are a few photos we captured on the day.
We are really excited to announce that we will be bringing a little slice of Workshop Coffee to Northern Ireland next week. Working in conjunction with our friends at Established Coffee in Belfast and Lost & Found in Coleraine, we will be hosting two evenings of tastings. This is a great chance to try some Workshop Coffee and hear a little bit more about us and what we do first hand.
The focus of the evenings will be on our Kenyan selection. We can’t tell you all the details right now, but we will have three different Kenyan coffees, including the outstanding Githiga AA from Murang’a.
Hope to see you there!
MAD is an amazing concept.
Each year the organisation aims to elevate food and drink, with respect to production, preparation and consumption, to a level beyond mere sustenance or hedonic pleasure. These guys want to change the way that restaurants operate and are experienced by the diner. The responsibility of a chef widens to encompass nourishing the patron with better quality produce, a more considered sourcing of sustainable ingredients, creating the right atmosphere for a receptive and discerning crowd, and constructing a balanced meal, both on the ledger and according to the appetites and desires of the customer. Flavour remains a primary consideration, but culture, tradition, history, art, craftsmanship, responsibility, relationships, trust and transparency become equally important.
Now apply this mentality to the consumption of coffee. It is a far cry from viewing a cup of coffee as fuel, medicine, a daily ritual or an addiction. Rather the aim is to sustainably source, thoughtfully roast and respectfully brew coffee so as to share the value of the producer’s work with our customers, who we come to know as friends and whose trust we gain as purveyors of something special (and delicious!). We also want to do so in a non-intimidating, humble and enjoyable atmosphere.
What it means to even be asked to submit coffee for MAD is hard to put into words, but to be chosen to attend for a second year running is something Workshop are immensely proud of. Being able to showcase our coffee at such an event is hugely important, allowing us to discuss the variety and complexity of coffee with advocates of flavour, quality and freshness, however we don’t just want to be selling more coffee to chefs and we were never there to market ourselves in that way. The hope behind the MAD Coffee service is to distance coffee from being merely the finish point of a meal in a restaurant, an end to proceedings standard that leaves an unpleasant taste; rather to promote it as a course in it’s own right, made with an ingredient held alongside those that precede it. Having a champion such as René Redzepi helps but it really is what Workshop and the other roasters attending believe in.
Curating a coffee service at MAD could simply have been providing fuel for the attendees and those working, but that just isn’t the journey these guys are on. They want coffee along for the ride, and we do too. Coffee programme organisers, Tim and Jens, curated and ensured the smooth running of a coffee service to be proud of, for some of the most forward-thinking members of the food and drink community, and boy were we well received.
Thanks for having us, gents.
For a year now, we've been a partner of The 5th Floor; an amateur cycling team with branches in both London and New York - in fact, you may well have seen them congregating of a morning outside our Marylebone or Fitzrovia stores.
The team is comprised of multi disciplined riders, bound together through common interests and sense of brotherhood who race and achieve results in road, track and cyclocross; all the while documenting their experiences. Alongside working full time jobs they go on some amazing rides, so we've invited their London kingpin, Rudy, to blog about one of them here. - Tim.
This Sunday, four members of The 5th Floor team (Rudy, Matt, Russ and Leo) will be doing the Rapha 'Manchester to London' challenge.
It's 220 long and arduous miles, straight down the back bone of England, starting at the Manchester velodrome and finishing at the Olympic Park in East London. It will be a very hard ride, but I know it will be an unique and exciting experience. While the distance will constitute both a physical and mental challenge it'll surely be worth the effort; the purpose of the event is to help raise funds for Ambitious About Autism.
Ambitious About Autism is a charity that provides enormous support to kids affected by autism, and to their families, working to improve services, awareness and understanding of the condition.
We are very much looking forward to this event, and contributing what we can. While it's not a race we will be timed to see how we got on. Over 12 hours in the saddle with mates and team mates alongside should prove to be a great day out.
We'll be honest -- we haven't planned how we are riding. There is no strategy. The only tactic is to take it easy and slow(ish) to save our legs and energy, so we can actually enjoy the ride and experience. Riding together will make things easier for all of us and we can help and motivate each other until the end.
We will be updating our site with a report after the event so stay tuned for that.
But before then, please head over to our pages on JustGiving and make a contribution to Ambitious about Autism: we're aiming to hit £750, but we need your help.
We would love to thank everyone who have supported us so far.
On the evening of September 4th we’re opening up our Holborn Coffeebar for a showcase of Kenyan coffee, and you’re invited.
For many of us in the industry, Kenya constitutes the most exciting seasonal fresh crop coffee arrival each year, and on this evening Tim Williams (our Director of Operations and green coffee buyer) is going to be providing an insight into how we go about finding the small handful of Kenyan coffees that make up our range each season.
We are continually aiming to improve every aspect of the coffee we serve - constantly in pursuit of the best coffee possible - and a fundamental part of that is the way we source coffees. We dedicate a great amount of time and effort to visiting producing countries, not only to secure the best coffee possible, but also so we know more about the farms and producers we work with, to understand their challenges, and to better tell the stories behind each and every coffee.
Alongside an introduction to coffee production in Kenya, and the intricacies (and rigours) of narrowing thousands upon thousands of samples down to just the very few best lots, we’ll be tasting fresh crop Kenyan coffee - Githiga AA and Gikirima AA from our own range, as well as Mutheka AA from Tim Wendelboe and Gathaithi AA from The Tate.
Even the faintest interest in specialty coffee, or simply a curiosity about how quality coffee is grown, harvested and exported to arrive in European cups, is all the qualification you need to attend. We look forward to telling some of these stories in person, tasting some of the best coffee available anywhere in the world, and hope you will join us for this exciting insight into Kenyan coffee.
All ticket proceeds will be donated to the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust in Kenya, who work tirelessly to rescue and rehabilitate orphaned infant elephants and rhinos.
It was about this time last year that four of us here were getting excited; one of us was having a baby, and the other three were off to the MAD Food Symposium in Denmark. Fast forward twelve months and the excitement swells a-new; one of us baby-proofing their apartment against London’s most curious crawler, and the other three are packing their bags again.
This year, James, Richard and Sara (replacing Nico, who has moved on to pastures new) will be taking themselves and our coffee to Copenhagen, to represent Workshop Coffee Co. by serving around the 600 attendees of what is without doubt the greatest symposium, anywhere.
Last year’s event saw Dario Cecchini take to the stage, butchering a whole pig that hung from an overhead beam while AC/DC’s ‘Hells Bells’ resonated through the marquis. After passionately explaining the importance of a cultural and respectful approach to the meat we eat (all of it, not just the ‘nice’ bits) and the dying craft of the butcher Dario closed with a spine-chilling recital from Dante’s ‘Inferno', and accepted an uproarious, room-shaking applause.
This was only the opening act.
For this year’s event the curators of the coffee service, Tim Wendelboe and Jens Nørgaard, requested coffee sample submissions from across the world, in an effort to identify the very best coffees from the very best roasters that they could. Amongst a great many others, and some incredibly tough competition, we submitted two espresso and two filter coffees for judging in Oslo and waited for what is always very honest feedback.
A few weeks later I was in a dilapidated Land Cruiser, bouncing around on horrible dirt roads of the Kibuye region of Rwanda when the email came through to say that our coffees had scored very well in the blind tastings; well enough, in fact, to be offered one of just four Gold Sponsor positions at MAD 2014. To say I was pleased doesn't really get to the heart of the matter; for me, it's the kind of evaluation-by-one's-peers that is a real test of the efforts that we put in to our coffee, day in and day out. And I was elated by the result.
And so, as the end of August draws near, and my colleagues are busily and excitedly preparing for what will undoubtedly be one of the best weekends of their year, I’m busily measuring for and installing baby gates on the stairs at home, all the while incredibly proud of the people that I get to work alongside.
We usually put a good deal of the attention onto the producers, the exporters and the importers we work with, who all handle our coffee from tree to port, but this time I'm more specifically interested in throwing the praise behind the roasters, the cuppers, the packers and the baristas we have on our team, who have all focused their attention on the best coffee possible, and are being recognised and rewarded for that care.
They deserve it.
We’ll be serving Githiga AA, Kenya and Finca Tamana Espresso, Colombia at the MAD Food Symposium in Copenhagen, Denmark August 24th and 25th, alongside fellow Gold Sponsors Tim Wendelboe, Drop Coffee Roasters and Koppi, and Silver Sponsors Mecca, Phil & Sebastian, Square Mile Coffee, The Coffee Collective, 5 Elephants and Da Matteo.