Place: Cafe Ashton / Glasgow
Coffee: Talor & Jørgen / Ethiopia / Pixie Dust & Candy
Variety: Heirloom, Illubabor Forest / Natural
Roaster notes: Floral, lemongrass, ripe mango, hibiscus, guava, candied strawberries.
The coffee scene here in Glasgow is a fragile one isn’t it? There seems to only be a handful of baristas who have the knowledge, ability and interest to achieve truly high level modern coffee. Without them, coffee in Glasgow would just be really average.
So, Cafe Ashton then.
Rob Ashton is not a coffee professional. Well, not most of the time, anyway. His passion for coffee is palpable. “Welcome to Cafe Ashton” and then for the next hour and a half we would talk about nothing else but coffee.
It was a natural processed coffee from Gesha Village in Ethiopia. So good was this coffee, Rob explained, that the roastery arranged for an air shipment of the green coffee from origin.
I loved watching the Cafe Ashton process. This coffee was retrieved from a freezer compartment that contained nothing but vacuum packed bags of coffee gold. It was ground whilst frozen with an EK43, tamped with Puqpress and slotted into a Sage dual boiler machine before a shot was pulled using water that has been specifically mineralised. A couple of shots were dialled in with the aid of a VST refractometer before I was even allowed to smell it. When I was eventually allowed to have a cup of my own – I was blown away.
The flavours kept changing. Grapes turned into raisins and as it cooled, I got hit with kiwi. I was drinking a remarkably clean cup of warm, sweet juice. A lot of the time, we just laughed and said wow.
Here’s the thing with coffee like this. It’s rare and expensive. Only the most privileged of coffee nerds will ever get to taste it. But here’s why it’s so fun – this coffee was damn good and proves that it’s not all just hype. The number of variables that had to be optimised from farmer to roaster to barista is mind boggling.
The amount of knowledge, time and effort it took Rob to make me 40ml of coffee is insane, and as I said – that’s why it’s so fun. When I get to have a coffee like this, it reaffirms my love of this hobby.