News that the new Ace Hotel in London’s Shoreditch would be setting up its resident coffee shop in collaboration with Square Mile Coffee Roasters brought expectations of groundbreaking brewing techniques, cutting-edge gadgetry and barista performance art.
One shortcut to following the global coffee scene is to track the movements of Tim Styles, such is the Australian barista’s knack for turning up at seminal shops at the right time. He’s worked stints at Ray Cafe in Melbourne, Joe the Art of Coffee in New York, Flat White in London, Intelligentsia in Venice (California) and Penny University, the pop-up brew bar in London’s Shoreditch which popped down on the 30th of July. [Read more…]
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…]
Since Londoner Gwilym Davies was crowned 2009 World Barista Champion my inbox has been clogged with the same two questions: Where can I find him pulling shots and why wasn’t he included in my roundup of the top 10 coffee shops in London? [Read more…]
Antipodean know-how and joviality invigorate the landscape for the top 10 coffee shops in London. Baristas from New Zealand and Australia transform waves of rich espresso and smoothly textured steamed milk into lattes so velvety you can barely see a bubble. Two Kiwi imports, Ozone Coffee and Allpress Espresso, have recently opened roasteries and coffee shops in London.
Yet it’s home-grown talent that represents the cream of the crema: Two of the last four World Barista Champions are British and work in London: 2007 winner James Hoffmann is co-owner of Square Mile Coffee Roasters, an artisan roaster supplying beans to half of the top 10 London coffee shops. 2009 champion Gwilym Davies co-operates the Prufrock Coffee Shop on Leather Lane, now the best coffee shop in London, as well as the “Prufrock” coffee trolley he and partner Jeremy Challender rolled into the menswear boutique Present. And Monmouth Coffee maintains world-class standards for sourcing, roasting and brewing beans while supporting small-batch indie roasters just getting into the act. [Read more…]