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.
Since 2012 we've been purchasing all we can of the top quality lots produced at Finca Tamana; Elias Roa's farm in El Pital, Colombia. We sent Richard to visit him in November last year, just before the most recent harvest was brought in, processed and shipped to us in London.
For the most part we've roasted the coffee from Finca Tamana for filter brewing, and have packed the coffee into lovely 350g bags, distributed to retail and wholesale customers a-like, shipping Elias's coffee all over the world.
With the most recently arrived harvest, we've decided to do something a little different.
There will be, however, this fantastic coffee - roasted for espresso - in the main grinders of all our stores.
For the majority of the month of July (as long as our supplies last) we will be replacing our usual Cult of Done Espresso with Finca Tamana Espresso and using this wonderful Caturra selection for all of our espresso-based drinks.
Yes, the only way to try this coffee will be to visit one of our stores, and let our Baristas serve it for you. As an idea, it's a little different, and it's probably a bit challenging for the likes of Jay Rayner, but we're confident you're going to love it as much as we do.
A lovely little video of the Despacio Soundsystem event we helped with in December, featuring our very own Sara and Nico serving drinks (@ 0:33s).
For the longest time, we've had enquiries from around the world asking if and when we'd be able to ship our coffee outside the United Kingdom. And for an equally long time we've wanted to be able to accommodate.
We're very pleased to say that now, we can.
As of this morning, whether you're in Birmingham or Belarus, Uxbridge or Uganda, or any other place around the world, we can take your order, roast your coffee, and send it on.
What are you waiting for? Our Dispensary is open 24/7 at http://www.workshopcoffee.com.
Since April 2011, we at Workshop Coffee Co. have been dedicated to operating at the forefront of London’s coffee community; sourcing, roasting and serving the best coffee possible at our Clerkenwell and Marylebone locations. In March this year -- just six weeks from now -- we’ll be taking the next big step in our journey, opening our Holborn Coffeebar, located at the newly constructed Amazon Headquarters, situated at 60 Holborn Viaduct.
The 1,200 square foot, bisected store space will be dominated by a horseshoe-shaped bar clad in sixteen square metres of Calcutta marble and adorned with twin La Marzocco Linea PBs and an array of Mazzer grinders. A combination of Aeropress brewing, utilising Marco Uber boilers, as well as the addition of the best in Fetco batch brewing and a smattering of EK-43Ts will round out our coffee offering.
With the ability to draw a sliding, lattice-work wall closed through the centre of the bar, dividing the space into stand up coffeebar and a seated gathering area, companies will have the opportunity to hire a meeting or event room, complete with their own bar and Baristas.
A simple, clean and beautiful food offering, coupled with a wall of Workshop Coffee Co. retail coffee, brewers and merchandise will complete the product range. At the heart of the operation, as with everything we do, is our dedication to sourcing, roasting and serving the best coffee possible, to even more of our valued guests across the capital.
We're looking forward to seeing you,
James & Tim.
If you enjoyed any of our spectacular coffees from the Nyeri region of Kenya last year (and to be honest, even if you didn't) you should be bringing yourself up to speed with a frustrating and somewhat worrying set of developments in the region that are poised to have a dramatic effect on the traceability and quality of its coffee.
We'll be heading to Nairobi in a few weeks time to decide on the lots that will comprise our Kenyan selection for the coming season. We're hoping that for our sake, your sake and most importantly, the sake of the farmers, millers and workers of Nyeri who depend on coffee, that the situation is sorted by then.
And continuing in the spirit of the season, for a limited time we'll be stocking these utterly amazing (if somewhat non-traditional) puff pastry mince pies in our Marylebone Coffeebar.
They're made by our good friends at Yeast Bakery, from Lescure butter and Shipton Mill flour, and loaded with brandy, butter, apple, mixed peel, baking spices and so much more.
We're only bringing in a handful each day, so don't miss out -- £2.50ea for delicious Christmas cheer.
As that time of year rolls around again, we get ready to close our doors (ever so briefly) and take a breath. This year's Christmas opening hours:
December 24th: 7:30am - 5:00pm
December 25th & 26th: Closed
December 27th to 31st: 8:00am - 4:00pm
January 1st: Closed
January 2nd - 5th: 8:00am - 4:00pm
January 6th: Business as normal
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December 24th: 7:00am - 7:00pm
December 25th - 27th: Closed
December 28th - January 1st: 9:00am - 6:00pm
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Dispensary (Online Store)
December 26th: Closed
All orders will automatically roll over to January 2nd.
And now seems like as good a time as any to point out that not only do we have a great selection of gifts for coffee lovers available online, but this year we also have our Coffee Masterclasses and gift vouchers for them.