El Carmen

Place: Back To Black @ Bakery47 / Victoria Road, Glasgow
Coffee: Colonna / Panama / El Carmen
Varietal: Geisha / Washed
Drink: Clever Dripper brewed
Roaster notes: Floral, ripe juicy acidity, honey-like.

Back To Black, a.k.a. the Church of James Wallace, is now holding service at Bakery47.*

Coffee here is effortless. Flavours and aromas are made so deliberate and so obvious that there is no way you are not tasting the notes of raspberry or mango or dark chocolate or whatever single origin is on for that particular week. As usual, it was impossible to resist trying all three coffees on the menu – a solid washed El Salvador as espresso, a ludicrously good washed Ethiopian on batch brew**, and the first mind-blower of 2017 so far – a manually brewed Geisha from Colonna.

Continue reading

Sidamo G1

Place: Hay Fever / Mong Kok, Hong Kong
Coffee: Hay Fever / Ethiopia / Sidamo G1
Varietal: Heirloom / Natural
Drink: Siphon brewed
Roaster notes: Raspberry, floral, chocolate.

“It’s clean. I’m getting red apple and redcurrant,” I said. “What notes do you get?”

“Drinking coffee is about relaxing,” the barista replied. “Stop worrying about what the tasting notes are supposed to be and just enjoy it.” And at that moment I knew that this guy was legit.

Continue reading

Dimtu

Place: Hazel & Hershey / Central, Hong Kong
Coffee: Hazel & Hershey / Ethiopia / Sidamo / Dimtu
Varietal: Heirloom / Natural
Drink: Espresso
Roaster notes: Apricot, wild berries, green grape, black tea.

o

Hazel & Hershey is exactly the kind of place I love to drink coffee in. It has all of the enthusiasm for coffee and none of the pretence. The entirety of one of its walls is lined with stuff for sale: coffee books, coffee equipment, coffee magazines, signed coffee mugs and… coffee. It was like a coffee nerd honeypot. The space itself is colourful, homely, and bright without being boringly clinical. It was surprisingly roomy inside but since I was drinking alone, there was only going to be one place for me to sit – the brew bar.

Continue reading

Timana

Place: The Cupping Room / Sheung Wan, Hong Kong
Coffee: Sweet Bloom / Colombia / Huila / Timana
Varietal: Castillo, Caturra, Colombia / Washed
Drink: Melitta brewed
Roaster notes: Cola, raisin, orange, sugar cane.

After an hour and a half trek from the New Territories, requiring a light bus and no less than four colours’ worth of MTR, I had finally arrived at The Cupping Room. It has consistently been the most likely name to appear during my research of coffee places to go to in Hong Kong. What better place to start?

Continue reading

Gakayuini Peaberry

Place: Dear Green Cafe Project / The Briggait, Glasgow
Coffee: Dear Green / Kenya / Gakayuini Peaberry
Varietal: SL28, SL34 / Washed and sun-dried
Drink: V60 brewed
Roaster notes: Grape, elderflower, caramel.

img_3489

It would have been so easy not to have bothered. I had spent an entire day at the Edinburgh Coffee Festival the day before and it was currently the day of the Great Scottish Run. Getting into and out of the city centre was going to take a lot of effort. But it was the last day of the year for the Dear Green Cafe Project*, and it would have been a huge regret to have missed it as a coffee nerd living in Glasgow.

Continue reading

Rocko Mountain Reserve

Place: Avenue / Great Western Road, Glasgow
Coffee: Avenue / Ethiopia / Yirgacheffe / Rocko Mountain Reserve
Varietal: Heirloom / Natural
Drink: Cafetiere brewed
Roaster notes: Ripe strawberry, milk chocolate, orange, floral.

img_3420

I was curious to taste this coffee brewed at the very place that it had been roasted. I had already enjoyed the incredible strawberry sweetness of this Ethiopian Yirgacheffe as made by my own amateur setup at home. It had already been one of my favourite beans of the year but now it was time for the pros to show me how it was done.

Continue reading

La Bandera

Place: Box Kite / Upper West Side, Manhattan, New York
Coffee: The Barn / Costa Rica / La Bandera
Varietal: Red catuai / White honey
Drink: Espresso
Roaster notes: Macademia, blood orange, alfalfa honey.

boxkite-two-2

Our South African barista was struggling. He hadn’t “worked at this location before” and was frantically searching for something. “If you’re looking for your Kalita Wave, it’s sitting up there”, I pointed out to him. Annoyingly for him, we had asked for two of the most labour-intensive drinks to make on the menu: a pour-over and a 1&1 (espresso, macchiato, seltzer). With customers waiting and no help behind the bar, I could understand.

Continue reading

Prologue

I want to tell you about some of the best cups of coffee I have.

1/5: Disgusting.
2/5: A negative experience.
3/5: A positive experience but nothing special.
4/5: A very good cup of coffee.
5/5: A very good cup of coffee worth writing about.