London. The city of Harry and Megan, Bangers and Mash, and hundreds of independent and speciality coffee cafes. Brits love their coffee as much as they love their beer. London was one of the early adoptors of speciality coffee and a has been leading the specialty coffee scene for at least the last 6 years. The expansion and inclusion of training centres and courses, nano roasteries, coffee equipment and merchandise, and of course coffee events. The London Coffee Festival has drawn thousands of visitors every year and is know as the biggest coffee event in Europe.
London not only offers a great a varied coffee experience, it is also sharing coffee stories and information with the world. Caffeine Magazine and Perfect Daily Grind are both born and managed out of London. So too is Brian’s Coffee Spot. Brian Williams starting writing about coffee in 2012. What started as a side project has now taken over his life. Brian has shared his insights here on coffeeme.cafe, including contributing some of his current favourite cafes including Coffee Affair. Here’s are some coffee insights straight from Brian.
When did you first start to get involved with coffee and why?
I started the Coffee Spot in the summer of 2012. I needed a new project and the idea had been rattling around in my head for maybe 15 years. It suddenly all came together that summer, but it was only meant to be a side-line rather than taking over my life in the way that it has!
What is the London coffee culture like today?
London coffee is booming, with lots of new places coming into the market, although there are also quite a few closures. You have to know what you are doing to be successful. A lot of the growth is in places opening second shops or turning themselves into mini-chains. There’s also a lot of “coffee and…” pairings: coffee and food, coffee and cocktails, etc. I find that a lot of the innovation has moved out of London as speciality becomes more mainstream and people focus on volume. There are fewer places offering guest roasters, coffee flights and a variety of pour-over options than there used to be.
What has been your best coffee experience so far in 2018?
I went to Flagstaff in Arizona not expecting to find anything in the way of good coffee. Instead, I walked into 111 Roasting Works, a wonderful coffee roaster and coffee shop, with a Modbar and filter station where you can try flights of their coffee while chatting with the barista (who on some days is the roaster) about all things coffee.
What do you prefer to drink – espresso, filter, flatwhite?
It depends on the time of day and my mood. I like all sorts of coffee and love trying new coffee. I guess if I had to pick one it would be a really good natural coffee as a filter.
What are you currently drinking?
Grumpy Mule’s widescreen espresso blend as espresso and through my cafetiere in the mornings, Right Roast’s Berlin sampler pack of Rwandan coffee as a pour-over in the afternoons and Union’s latest decaf blend through my Aeropress in the evenings.