Penny University a London shrine to filter coffee

UPDATE: Penny University to pop down 30 July.

If you want to see a Londoner famous for his temperature control get a little hot and bothered, just tell James Hoffmann in the most noncommittal tone you can muster you thought one of his featured brews from Square Mile Coffee Roasters was “fine” or “okay”. Better still, tell the 2007 World Barista Champion that, upon reflection, you suppose his coffee shop in London’s Shoreditch, Penny University, “fills a hole”.

“Ambivalence,” says Hoffmann, “is a terrible thing”.

Conversely, saying you positively hate his prized Blackburn Estate coffee from Tanzania is likelier than not to make him smile and get his attention. A puritanical shrine to brewed coffee that deprives its would-be disciples of espresso, milk and sugar, Penny University is meant to provoke. And so Hoffmann will take a “definitely hate” over a “sort of like” any day, even if devotion and love are the rightful responses to this groundbreaking, unplugged, pop-up coffee shop. [Read more…]

Blue Bottle’s SG-120 coffee is in a glass of its own

It was past the morning rush and my pre-caffeinated eyes coasted halfway through the coffee menu at Blue Bottle Coffee ‘s new Brooklyn roastery before getting stuck onto a road barrier listed only as SG-120. I shifted my gaze into reverse, spotted the familiar signposts espresso and macchiato and tried to make use of all available evidence: If, as I suspected, SG-120 referred in some way to a Japanese video game console, what made it worth an additional 25 or 50 cents? [Read more…]

A siphon coffee at LAMILL COFFEE in 4 minutes & 15 images


Vac pots – the old-tech alternative to the $11,000 Clover coffee brewer

Starbucks was not seeking to buy indie cred, nor was it trying to undermine the bragging rights of small artisan coffee roasters when it acquired the manufacturer of their $11,000 dream machine. I suspect CEO Howard Schultz viewed the Clover single-cup brewer, which he’s already installed in a limited number of Starbucks stores, as one way to restore the passion and theatre of the Starbucks coffee experience (see his memo.) If so, he might have been better served by turning to Japan and the low-tech, high-drama brewer that helped inspire the Clover. It’s called a vacuum pot and home versions retail for under $50 in the US and under £50 in the UK. [Read more…]