Wednesday, July 15, 2009

London - Square Mile Coffee Roasters

Nearing the end of our trip we managed to squeeze in a visit to Square Mile Coffee Roasters and spent a few hours with James Hoffmann, tasting and talking coffee.

If it hasn't become clear by now, most of the better cafes in London use Square Mile coffee, a new cafe about to open that i'm expecting to be one of the best will also use Square Mile.
Said cafe is The Espresso Room (Great Ormond St) and will open any day now by Ben Townsend, trainer at the London School of Coffee.
And to continue the apparent antipodeon pre-requisite of London cafes, he worked/trained with Andrew Lew here in Melbourne at his previous cafe, Maltitude and now owns The Maling Room.

That's my sis Annie, who's responsible for all the photos on the blog - except this one

Back to Square Mile, it's a compact space, one that James admits they have outgrown.
It's not what you'd call flashy, it's a roastery under a train line and it's all about the coffee - sourcing the best beans and precise roasting.
There are plenty of toys - the Über Boiler, Gwilym's WBC prize lever machine, an ebay sourced Linea that James was testing for a friend and assorted coffee equipment sharing shelf space with many trophies.

Square Mile take fresh coffee seriously, air-freighting some of their greens and offering seasonal espresso, as mentioned earlier, we were there during the change-over period and got to try the last of the Spring Espresso and the first of the Summer Espresso that some of you in Melbourne got to try.
They also offer several excellent single estate coffees, all available in the online shop.

From afar it may seem that Square Mile has a massive following, atleast it feels that way online. but in London most cafes would never have heard of them or care about barista competitions, that's if they even knew comps existed.

Both James and Stephen Morrissey admitted that winning the WBC didn't help grow the business locally, as Stephen put it
"We can't walk into a cafe and say; We're the best 2 baristas in the world, that's why you should use our coffee" .

James said had they said that cafe owners would most likely have replied with
"So, you won a competition making coffee in another country....why again should I use your coffee?"

James was having an even busier week than usual, moving house, his bike had suffered a puncture and he'd just started his video blog so we're grateful he made the time to meet with us, 3 people he'd never met that contacted him via email, he made us feel very welcome, made us coffee, gave us coffee to take home and wasn't rushing us so he could continue with his day - James, thanks for everything!

1 comment:

  1. I actually enjoyed reading through this posting.Many thanks.

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