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.
Just as there's many ways to skin a cat, there's a number of ways to turn a ripe coffee cherry into the dried seed that we know as a raw coffee bean. At one end of the spectrum (and forgive us for painting in painfully broad strokes), the cherry skin and all sticky fruit flesh is removed from the seeds, which are then laid out to dry. This method is know as the 'washed' or wet process method.
At the other end of the spectrum (and yes, there are lots of variations in between) the whole cherry is picked from the tree, and dried in its entirety; skin, sticky fruit flesh and parchment layers all surrounding the seed. This is known as the 'natural' or dry process method. This method is known to produce intensely fruity, and sometimes quite dirty, fermenty or rotten flavours; not characteristics that fit in with our ethos of buying clean, sweet and fresh coffee.
Those that have been paying close attention over the last couple of years will no doubt be aware that we've never purchased a naturally-processed coffee for inclusion in our range.
Today, that changed.
For the last couple of years, we've come across a lot of naturally-processed coffee, and nearly all of it has fallen into the category of being dirty, musty, fermenty, and we've rejected them all. Indeed, on my most recent trip to Ethiopia I came in at the tail end of the harvest, and the drying tables and patios were full of coffee being naturally-processed; a mixture of ripenesses, flies swarming on the cherries, birds picking at them. Hardly an inspiring or appetising sight.
That being said, also over the last few years we've been aware of a particular range of naturally-processed coffees being produced at Fazenda Ambiental Fortaleza in Brazil that have been amazingly clean, balanced, and delicious on the cupping table. And not clean (for a natural), but just plain clean and wonderful. This year, we've decided to purchase coffee from a selection there, Sitio Canaa #351.
We're really looking forward to sharing this coffee with you in a week or two's time, and giving you a bit more information about why this particular natural coffee has made the grade, after three years of shunning the process entirely. It's a special coffee, indeed.
Tucked away behind the doors of Kinoko Cycles, Daily Goods have been turning out great Workshop Coffee since early 2013. Sitting at the corner of Golden Square in London’s Soho, Daily Goods is a simple but brilliant little location to pick up a coffee or a bag of Workshop Coffee filter or espresso.
The bar itself is no larger than a few square metres is fitted out with a simple Linea and Anfim set up. There is no pretence or novelties, just good quality coffee served with care, attention to detail and the ever pleasant company of Daily Goods’ sole barista and owner, Carter.
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10 Golden Square, London W1F 9JA
Mon to Fri – 8am to 6pm
Sat, Sunday and Bank Holidays – Closed
This airy and sleek cafe on Lower Clapton Road has quickly become a focal point for the local community. Situated between Hackney Downs to the North and Victoria Park to the South, 119 Lower Clapton is a great spot to come and enjoy relaxing on a bright sunny day.
The simple white and glass aesthetic and double height ceiling makes this the perfect location for admiring the seasonally changing wall art. Regularly hosting a range of different artists and even the works of fine crafts people, 119 Lower Clapton is a natural hub for anyone interested in design and the arts.
Serving Cult of Done Espresso from a two group Nuova Simonelli alongside a selection of freshly prepared sandwiches, home baked cake and coddled eggs. The coffee, food and space is well considered and thought out, making 119 Lower Clapton a great location for working at your laptop or having a break in a busy day.
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119 Lower Clapton
119 Lower Clapton Rd, London E5 0NP
020 8533 9763
Mon to Fri – 8am to 5pm
Sat – 9am to 5pm
Sunday – 10am to 4pm
Talkhouse Coffee has attracted a lot of attention as the first serious venture into speciality coffee West of Fitzrovia. The buzz, however, has rightly shifted from its location on Portobello Road, to the level of attention and skill in the preparation of their espresso and filter drinks.
The minimalist design and colour choice encourages customers to engage with each other and the food on offer, rather than their surroundings. For those just coming for a quick coffee a long sleek wooden bar allows for customers to sit and enjoy watching the preparation of their chosen drink. Similarly, looking through the open window kitchen you can see chefs preparing Talkhouse’s distinct selection of brunches and sweets. Quiet and calm, Talkhouse is a respite from the frantic and often frenetic energy of Portobello.
Talkhouse regularly showcases our Cult of Done Espresso and single origin filter coffees, like the superb Kabingara. In addition there are a range of retail coffees to take home, alongside grinders and brewing equipment.
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275 Portobello Road, London W11 1LR
020 7221 8992
Mon - Closed
Tues to Fri - 8am to 5pm
Sat – 9.30am to 7pm
Sunday – 9.30am to 5pm
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.
It's one thing to buy coffee, or a brewer, for that coffee lover in your life (two things we support, wholeheartedly). It's another thing entirely to sign them up for the first of our Coffee Masterclasses; Home Brewing, hosted by Sara Larsson.
Over the course of this two hour session, guests will be learn about some of the basic processes involved in taking a ripe coffee cherry growing in the Tropics, and turning it into the wonderful beverage so many of us enjoy each day. We'll also be sharing some insider tips on how to buy better coffee – from decoding coffee bag label information to understanding what just how important the quality of the beans you buy really is.
Identifying that it is not only the coffee itself that makes the perfect cup, the focus will switch to water quality, and then to the all important equipment: grinders, scales and brewers.
After the theory it’s time to get hands-on as we share with you just how easy it can be to make great tasting coffee, by focusing on excellent ingredients and a simple recipe. We'll be showcasing three different brewers, covering a wide range of brewing styles – the French Press, the V60 Pourover and the Aeropress.
With just five guests per session, and an in-class discount of 10% on any coffee or brewers purchased, this session is an eye-opening, educational and delicious way to spend a weekend morning.
Masterclasses are £35.00 per person (plus booking fee) for two hours, and include a bag of coffee to take home, and a 10% discount on any additional coffee or brewers purchased on the day.
Where does the time go? It seems like only yesterday we were unveiling our very first iteration of our Cult of Done Espresso, and yet here we are today, releasing version 15.
This time round, Cult of Done is a foray into everything that we want a really great espresso blend to be; complex, satisfying, sweet, clean, enduring and memorable. An espresso that would make it into the '10 or so great espressos of your life' category.
I visited Justin at Mahembe on a trip visiting producers in various parts of Rwanda earlier this year and was very impressed with the processing facilities, as well as his approach to standards, inspection and financial reward that he undertakes with the farmers that contribute cherries to his washing station. Understandably, I was delighted when the results in the cup matched the effort being put in, and we bought up what we could of particular lots for this blend.
Coupled with it is a terrifically sweet and silky coffee, forming the foundation of this espresso, and is the first time we've worked with the guys at Third Wave Coffee Source. Finca La Esperanza comes from Huehuetenango in Guatemala; a part of the world we're terribly excited to begin to explore, and we're looking forward to working with Nadine and her team on finding great producing partners on the ground there.
It's available now. Get involved.
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Cult of Done Espresso v.15 - £9.50/350g
In October, Folkestone was blessed with the addition of Manifest Coffee. This neat espresso and brew bar has seats for only 15, however, what it lacks in size it makes up for in modern design and amazing coffee. The simple clean wood bar was actually designed by Dean Edmonds, who is most famous his design work for Prufrock and Protein.
Sourcing espresso and filter coffee from Workshop Coffee Co. and a number of other top roasters, Thom - Manifest’s frontman and owner - will serve you coffee from their beautiful glass carafes and cafetieres. In recent weeks you'll have been able to sample our Hunkute, Kabingara and Yukro; and there will definitely be many more exciting coffees in try soon.
In addition to great coffee, Manifest has chosen to emphasise magazines and print media. With special coffee and magazine pairings - like Another Escape magazine with your flat white - Thom hopes to intensify the experience of both coffee and print media. An exciting new venue with a concentration on quality in everything they are doing.
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46, The Old High Street, Folkestone, Kent, CT20 1RN
Mon - Closed
Tues - 11am to 5pm
Wed to Sat - 8am to 5pm
Sunday – 11am - 4pm