Big news here. I think I've found a new favorite espresso. I walked from Monmouth Coffee, stopped at Craft Beer Co. to kill the caffeine buzz, and strolled into Prufrock Coffee. I was only in London for a few days after a brief stop in Boston, MA. I was heading to NYC the next day, but I'm incredibly glad I stopped here. I found brew methods galore on the shelves, as well as coffee literature, and happy staff. With a uncontrollable stupid grin on my face, I approached the barista. It's always fun when I walk into a shop and feel as though I have "found coffee". It's in the sense that the atmosphere of the location gives me the feeling the coffee will be perfect. The stupid grin on my face was because I knew this place was something special. And it was, for the next 7 hours or so...
I ordered an Ethiopian coffee roasted by Tim Wendelboe, who is one of the most famous roasters in Europe. They speak of him like a god, and I could understand once I tasted his coffee. I later ordered an espresso, and as I said before, was the best I've ever had. The baristas knew a great deal about coffee, and helped me find a coffee based on the description I gave them.
The barista only poured about one fourth the coffee into my cup. I wish all coffee shops did this with their pourovers. I'm assuming the idea behind it being that a smaller portion cools quick enough to enjoy it, and the extra reservoir in the glass remains warm because it's paired with a larger quantity. Most baristas just pour the whole coffee into the mug initially, but I'd rather enjoy as much of my coffee warm as possible.
The most thrilling part of the visit came with who I happened to sit down beside. A man moved his things and I sat down next to him, since the shop was rather crowded at the time. After 30 minutes or so, another man sat down across from him and they began chatting deeply about specialty coffee. They covered thoughts about roasting, the industry, and different coffee companies. I had just witnessed a coffee blogger interviewing a prominent coffee roaster.
I awkwardly jutted in with how I thought their conversation intrigued me, and they seemed excited. Patrik, the roaster, invited me to a talk he coincidentally was giving that evening, AT the coffee shop. He spoke to a room of baristas and roasters from throughout London. I was the minority, being that I don't work in the coffee industry, I'm just a bit obsessed with it. His topic was, "The User-Friendly Roastery." He addressed his thoughts about where the coffee industry is going, and how speciality coffee is different from consumer-friendly companies like Starbucks.
"Starbucks is giving people what they WANT. We're trying to give people what WE want."
"The business has nothing to do with the coffee, but we're still making it all about the coffee."
His company, April Coffee, resides in Copenhagen where he roasts, but he travels quite often consulting for other roasteries.
Prufrock Coffee was a wonderful experience, and I'm very glad I was able to stop in. Until next time.