Samstag, 16. August 2008

Square Mile Coffee

So I had the pleasure (and a pleasure it was!) to visit Anette, Stephen and James at Squaremilecoffee two times during my stay in England. They are located a little outside of central London towards Hackney, in a small road alongside car repair shops, car painting shops and a glazier's workshop if I remember correctly. It's basically in a garage. That's what surprised me the most: they are a small small shop, having one room at the moment plus upstairs, and all their stuff packed in that tiny (or so it seems, it's packed full of coffee stuff: roasters, bags of greens, tins (with valve) of roasted, a myriad of coffee brewing devices including their Synesso) garage! I'd have taken photos, but that would have kind of ruined the atmosphere for me if you know what I mean. Most of the time I sat there staring around, being impressed and unable to speak much. I wasn't able to attend the cupping on the first day since I had to catch my coach towards Bristol, but I left them the small bag of the Esmeralda for Anette to roast so that we could cup it the week after. About being challenged in established views: James made a little french press of their Muchoki Peaberry: grind really coarse (with their Ditting grinder), poured, steep time 4 minutes, afterwards spooning away of the top 1-2cm of foam/grounds/coffee (I first thought 'wtf?!', but proof was in the cup!), press, wait, pour into cups. Contrary, what I'm used to: grind way finer, but still coarser than for filtere (with my Major), wet the grounds and stir to get them all wet, wait a few seconds, pour the rest, steep time 3 minutes, press, pour into cups. Result: a completely different flavour profile in the cup. That french press he made was about the cleanest and cup I've had from a french press, nearly no sludge, no perceived body because of the fines, very nice mouthfeel, very aromatic (well thanks to the Muchoki). The roast was quite light, but in that french press it worked damn well. While trying to replicate this profile at home, I found that my Major just isn't up to the task of grinding coarse, consistently. I can get about half as coarse as James with the Ditting (quality of grinds are so hard to compare verbally!), and with his method it leads to a very nice cup, but it's still far away from the clean, overly aromatic cup I've had at their place. One day I'll get one of those Ditting or Mahlkönig bag grinders just for my morning french press pleasure!

Okay, I somehow hesitate to write about the Esmeralda. Why? It's a really, and I mean it, special coffee for me. I fear that trying too much to describe the taste and aroma might do no good to my memories of it. I'll let a few more days pass and decide later wether I'll describe it or not. A small regret that I left the rest of the roasted Esmeralda with Anette and took the rest of the greens with me - it should've been the other way round. No chance I can roast the rest anywhere near as good as Anette did with the first half, and I suppose the greens would have been more useful for her as they're to me right now. I realized that on the plane next morning. Gah.

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