The New Black in London was certainly one of my favorite coffee experiences I've had. I woke up later than expected, and my flight was to leave about 2:30pm. My new friend Patrik Rolf had recommended I stop here before I left London, and I'm glad I did.
I grabbed an Uber and 15 minutes later I was taking pictures. The New Black is a Siphon Brew Bar, but not in the full-manual sorts. I visited a manual-siphon bar in NYC, but this was significantly more interesting. If you're not familiar with siphon coffee, or "Vaccum-Pot" coffee as it might be called, it's a brew method invented in the mid 1800's that uses the displacement of heat / pressure to force coffee between two chambers. It's an immersion preparation method, but due to the flame added beneath, the water continually brews around that optimal 93-96 (200-205F) temp. I think this adds a certain spice that isn't brought out in other brew methods.
The difference with this establishment is much of the process being automated for perfection. The more variables removed from the process, the more consistent the coffee. Each coffee has different settings that are controlled from tablets. The programmable software allows for modification of each variable including agitation, bloom, water temp, etc.
Everything in the shop was constructed to look very modern and industrial. Stainless steel galore, and pops of color throughout. The massive illuminated wheel on the wall detailed many of the different tastes found in their coffees, which included roaster Tim Wendelboe, whose coffee I experienced for the first time the night prior via Prufrock Coffee.
I had a great conversation with one of the marketing gurus from The New Black who happened to be seated next to me. She educated me about how it began in Singapore and only recently moved to London.
I really wish I had more time to visit and take pictures, but I nearly missed my flight because of the time I did stay, but it was definitely worth it.