How much do you care about the quality of your coffee? Are you one of those who thinks all coffee tastes the same, or do you take pleasure in drinking coffee of high quality and great taste? Personally, I (Sara) wold say that I have only become one of the latter in the last year or so. Before that I was happy with pretty much any coffee, yet I could of course still suss out the particularly bad coffee. For instance, the boys drank at my brother’s student flat, but when getting a kilo of coffee for less than a pound (in Norway may I add) I guess you can’t expect a better taste than what I assume loo water tastes like… Ah isn’t the student life just magical!? No offense to the boys of course, they were super kind to let me come and stay every now and then, and in return I always bought them some semi decent coffee as a treat ;)
HIGH QUALITY COFFEE
Anyhow, this post is actually about great coffee, not the student budget kind. I just got a bit carried away there. Now back to the main topic of today: high quality coffee.
Several of my friends are coffee snobs and therefor only serves me these specialized coffee types. This has opened a whole new world to me when it comes to my very favourite hot beverage and now once I’ve been introduced to this new world of coffee there is no way back...
A couple of months ago a good friend of mine introduced me to Christian Nesset who has a lot of knowledge about coffee and was even a finalist at the Norwegian championship for baristas last year. Christian explained to me the concept of light roasted coffee beans. It basically just means a different roast profile with a lower end temperature. The degree to which the coffee beans are roasted is, along with the work done at farm level, probably the most important factor to how the coffee will taste. A lighter roast will keep a lot more of its natural berry flavour, whilst a darker roast will naturally have a stronger roasting taste. European style coffee is originally known to be very dark. Spanish-, Italian-, and Greek coffees are all known for their dark colour and bitter taste. The new Scandinavian trend however is to lightly roast the coffee beans, and some of today’s leading coffee roasteries are located in Denmark, Norway and Sweden. Last weekend I visited some friends in Copenhagen and ended up drinking a lot of great coffee. I quickly realized that there is a very large coffee culture in the Danish capital and every single café I visited all put a lot of importance into the quality of their coffee. So once I got back to London, I decided to explore some of what London has to offer and if it can compare with what I tried in Copenhagen.
It has only been a week since I got back so I haven’t had a chance to try that many places yet, but what I have noticed so far is that the coffee culture here in London is not as big as in Scandinavia. Yes, I’m sure there are many people who put a lot of importance into quality here too, but I get the feeling that the average Londoner is more than happy with a Starbucks coffee. And let’s be honest, Starbucks is not exactly known for high quality. I guess it mainly comes down to convenience though as you will find a Starbucks on pretty much every corner of London.
Christian Nesset runs the blog: bryggehygge.no, where he shares a lot of great tips about coffee. If you understand Norwegian, then make sure to take a look at his blog :) He has shared a post about what he thinks is some of the very best coffee places in London, something that I found very useful for my little London-coffee experiment. So today I visited one of the places on Christians list: Workshop, located in Barret Street just of Oxford Street. Workshop has three coffee bars, all in London and they roast their own coffee as well as offering their costumers a wide selection of speciality coffee. I went there with my brother and his girlfriend the other day and we ended up ordering one latte, one filter coffee and one mocha. I tried all of them and though they all tasted fantastic. The filter coffee was very light and full of flavour, something that I liked a lot but my brother was a bit unsure about this…maybe it is something you need to get used to? Although I guess everyone has their own preferences when it comes to how they prefer their coffee to have been roasted.
To me the atmosphere and interior of a café is almost just as important as the taste of the coffee and this is where I was a bit disappointed. The seating arrangement there was very unsocial for groups as you had to sit in a straight line rather than around a table, and the seats weren't particularly comfortable. They were definitely going for a minimalistic style, but rather than it being modern and stylish, it mainly felt unwelcoming and uncomfortable. They also did not have a customer toilet, which I think is a bit of a necessity when serving food and drinks. Despite my moaning though, the coffee was truly great. I saw that lots of people came by and got takeaway coffee. So, my recommendation is definitely to visit Workshop if you need some coffee on the go, but I would not suggest you go for a cosy catch up with your friends there.
You can find Workshop in 80 Mortimer Street (just of Regent Street), 1 Barrett Street (just of Oxford Street, and at 60A Holborn Viaduct. So all of them are located in central London.