Archive

Posts Tagged ‘café culture’

Mother’s Milk, MacIntyre Coffee, New Row Coffee, God Word that Keeps Us from Falling

May 27, 2014 Leave a comment

Some weeks, the weight and yet otherness of people’s existence presses insistently upon one’s own consciousness – exciting it, almost overwhelming it. A disjointed account follows:

Mother's Milk Coffee, Little Portland Street, London Mother's Milk Coffee, Little Portland Street, London
Mother's Milk Coffee, Little Portland Street, London Mother's Milk Coffee, Little Portland Street, London

Met a bunch of coffee folk from Malaysia at Mother’s Milk Coffee (12 Little Portland Street, London, W1W 8BJ). We chatted about the scene in Kuala Lumpur and in Singapore – current state and future plans. I tried to explain what I was doing in London and why I was reading a book on sex. A strange otherness. Meanwhile, the boys attempted some form of continuous pour latte art. That’s the sort of place Mother’s Milk is – small, cosy, informal, with self-deprecation by the milk jug-ful, serving Kaffee Kommune‘s Odyssee Espresso (70% Ethiopian Yirgacheffe Worka, 30% Ethiopian Yirgacheffe Adado) like a blueberry burst.

MacIntyre Coffee, Hoxton Street, London MacIntyre Coffee, Hoxton Street, London
MacIntyre Coffee, Hoxton Street, London MacIntyre Coffee, Hoxton Street, London

The interior of MacIntyre Coffee (facebook, 13-21 Hoxton Street, London, N1 6NL) was an exercise in practical plywood simplicity. Ceremony Coffee, I think, but was too busy reading to remember. :-(. Grabbed a few whisky bottles of Sandow’s Cold Brew Coffee Guatemalan savoury goodness (very Brand’s chicken essence-y!) for friends at the upcoming sunny weekend away. Regulars came and gave updates on how their days were going. The otherness of lives shared, yet not quite.

New Row Coffee, London New Row Coffee, London
New Row Coffee, London

Made surprisingly fast friends with some of the other attendees at the Oakhill Theological College Open House – long chats about life with God as we walked the grounds and had lunch in the canteen before they gave me a lift to town. Read in New Row Coffee (24 New Row, London, WC2N 4LA) before going to dinner with some folk from Word Alive 2014 who were down from the north for a conference. We talked about the situation in Beijing and Shanghai, how the statistics of Christian growth in China did not and could not show the numbers who though claiming faith, had no concept of the gospel, nor others who, for lack of good teaching, had started to put their trust in everything other than Jesus.

One person at the hotpot dinner was going out to a Chinese city, fairly sure that she would not see her loved ones in this life again, but trusting that her priority must be God’s priority – the glorification of his Son Jesus and the growth of Jesus’ kingdom. For her, there was neither the cowardice of hiding behind familial excuses, nor the blind fanaticism of youth, but a cool weighing of costs, and a considering that there is nothing more important in this world than to do God’s will by teaching his Word to people to convict them of the truth and keep them safe.

What strange dissonance too in having a brother round for a meal before he left for a country in Africa, both of us aware that he might soon be an article in the Barnabas Fund newsletter. How strange to lope across London Bridge with Curate, chattering on about mundane things, yet realising the ultimate futility of placing any value on the things of the world as the setting sun brought us a day closer to the inevitable persecution that must accompany the proclamation of gospel (see the Book of Acts, amongst others) and also the day of Christ’s return (see 2 Peter, also amongst many other books in the Bible!).

Fabrique Bakery, Geffrye Street, Hoxton, London Fabrique Bakery, Geffrye Street, Hoxton, London
Fabrique Bakery, Geffrye Street, Hoxton, London
Fabrique Bakery, Geffrye Street, Hoxton, London Fabrique Bakery, Geffrye Street, Hoxton, London

In the meantime, there is the weight of the fallenness of this world: being told how a brother in Singapore was caught scheming to commit adultery; one day, being at Fabrique Bakery (Arch 385, Geffrye Street, Hoxton) with a friend, feeling the weight of my mate’s depression brought on by burden of responsibility trying to help victims of atrocities that might not even have made the news anywhere – the helplessness of a human trying to play God. The weirdness of sharing the last bits of a very excellent cinnamon bun while talking about this. And just a fortnight ago, consoling someone whose best friend and beloved grandfather were both diagnosed with cancer just before her exams, and urging her not, in her distress, to distrust that God is both in control, and good and loving.

Peloton & Co Cycle Cafe, Spitalfields, London Peloton & Co Cycle Cafe, Spitalfields, London
Peloton & Co Cycle Cafe, Spitalfields, London Peloton & Co Cycle Cafe, Spitalfields, London

Read Romans with two different people on successive Sundays, as we sat in the sunshine at Peloton & Co Cycle Cafe, persuading them from Scripture of God’s sovereignty, and exhorting them to honour God by letting God be God; not presuming that we knew better than he, praying that they would not fall. Then today, one of them met with a bad accident at work. Oh Father, will she remember your promises and not stumble.

After dinner last night, two housemates and I were discussing the so-called evangelical emphasis on Scripture. The people who scoff at this as academic and only for the intellectuals should be locked up as traitors. What unspeakable sabotage is performed when sheep are dissuaded or prevented from hearing the voice of their Shepherd and so wander off cliffs or fall prey to wolves. How deceitful to encourage these vulnerable ones to stumble about in darkness by withholding God’s word that God meant as a lamp to their feet and a light to their paths.

East London, Pies and Mash, Jellied Eels, Victoria Park and Its Village

May 20, 2013 1 comment

There was some debate with the Supervisor about what would be considered “work”. The fairly strict policy of resting one day a week is mostly, i think, in keeping with the idea that the Sabbath requirement is in-built in creation (“Sabbath” meaning one day of rest from work a week – not a specific day of the week), rather than an arbitrary commandment. And because the nature of full-time ministry is that it is relationally intense, rest from that would necessarily mean having little or no social activity with the people one would usually serve…

G Kelly Pies and Jellied Eels, Roman Road
G Kelly Pies and Jellied Eels, Roman Road G Kelly Pies and Jellied Eels, Roman Road

But a few people from one of my bible study groups really wanted to check out East London, so we headed to G. Kelly Pie and Mash (“Noted Eel and Pie Shop”, 526 Roman Road, Bow, E3 5ES).

G Kelly Pies and Jellied Eels, Roman Road G Kelly Pies and Jellied Eels, Roman Road

Beef and chicken pies with real mash (we watched the giant potato masher in operation in the kitchen) and liquor (parsley sauce) were ordered from the lovely ladies at the counter who called everyone “my luv”. To my surprise, rather liked the cold jellied eel. The fruit crumbles were excellent in a tummy-warming way (because we’re still weathering winter temperatures here, some days) both with ice-cream and custard.

Victoria Park Victoria Park

Thus fortified, a pleasant little walk through Victoria Park beckoned, where there was a dramatic practice landing by the air ambulance, and less dramatically, a model on a fashion shoot pretending to eat a cone from an ice-cream van.

Grabbed some longhorn rump steak for dinner* from The Ginger Pig in Victoria Park Village.

The Deli Downstairs, Victoria Park Road The Deli Downstairs, Victoria Park Road

Then a spot of grocery shopping at The Deli Downstairs (211 Victoria Park Road, Victoria Park Village)(upstairs, a man was hanging his smalls for all the world to view), before lounging in the semi-sunshine at The Refreshment Room next door.

The Refreshment Room at The Deli Downstairs, Lauriston Road The Refreshment Room at The Deli Downstairs, Lauriston Road

Espresso beans were Climpson & Sons‘ Climpson Estate blend. We talked about how one of the main messages of the Bible is that God is in control – but this isn’t boring or trite because every book and every event in each book shows us just how sovereign God is in all sorts of events and circumstances. Plus it is a truth that we somehow struggle to remember.

Chase & Sorensen, Lauriston Road
Chase & Sorensen, Lauriston Road Chase & Sorensen, Lauriston Road

Just over the low whitewashed brick wall was Chase & Sorensen and the lovely sight of clean lines in Scandinavian design.

Victoria Park Victoria Park

We wandered back through Victoria Park, past The Pavilion with its cafe, and the boating lake, for a walk along Regent’s Canal and then to our separate homes.

*

Longhorn Rump Steak from The Ginger Pig
Finally – a steak that actually tasted like real beef! Flavoursome and juicy stuff from cows reared by Tim Wilson, apparently.

London Coffee Festival 2013, and Suffering and Evil in Job

April 30, 2013 Leave a comment

London Coffee Festival 2013, Old Truman BreweryRushed through Spitalfields just in time to meet friends waiting in the line for the London Coffee Festival 2013 (facebook), which snaked round a corner of the Old Truman Brewery and continued for a least 1km down Brick Lane. News that the organisers were still clearing the people from the previous time-slot prompted several Americans to demand a refund while the British continued to wait stoically in the drizzle.

Half an hour after the start of the ticketed time, we were in. Because this was London, individual stalls in the main hall were set up around a green open space, and there was a programme of live music acts for those resting from all the caffeine.
London Coffee Festival 2013, Old Truman Brewery

At the Brew Bar near the entrance, there was 360°‘s Bolivia Caravani (Mana-mana?) on Hario V60s. We tracked the beans down at the Make Decent Coffee room where you could taste test the same bean brewed using different methods – on the cafetiere, it was cloudy and slightly muddy; on the aeropress, its brightness was overwhelming; on the chemex, muted; and on the V60, relatively flavourful and full-bodied. An educational experience especially for my partner-in-crime (since i’d conducted similar experiments at home with the same equipment).

London Coffee Festival 2013, Old Truman Brewery London Coffee Festival 2013, Old Truman Brewery

The coffee i enjoyed most, in milk, was Union Hand-roasted‘s Blend No. 1 (50% Guatemala Finca el Cascajal, 40% Nicaragua Finca la Argentina, 10% Kenya Kagumioni AB) – all caramel goodness versus the dark chocolate and berries of the alternative blend, Louie Mio (vague – 10% Vietnam, 50% Ethiopian Sidamo, 30% Brazil, 10% Honduras).

London Coffee Festival 2013, Old Truman Brewery

Of all the gear on display, was most interested in the Ikawa Roaster and Roast App for homeroasters, a lovely bench of Hario equipment (most of which i owned but left in Singapore), the tamper handles made of different woods, and the beautiful ROK Espresso maker.

London Coffee Festival 2013, Old Truman Brewery London Coffee Festival 2013, Old Truman Brewery
London Coffee Festival 2013, Old Truman Brewery London Coffee Festival 2013, Old Truman Brewery

The next day, in possibly the only sermon to mention the London Coffee Festival (but i could be wrong!), Andrew Sach of St. Helen’s Bishopsgate ended a very useful series on the Book of Job, having himself been greatly helped by Christopher Ash’s Out of the Storm.

“I won’t believe in God unless he can explain why there is evil in the world.” and “How can a good God allow suffering? A good God can’t, so the presence of pain proves that there isn’t a good God.” we say, and think ourselves very reasonable and intelligent. But the Book of Job scoffs that by this, we actually show that we know nothing at all, and in our arrogant foolishness even fail to realise that God is so much greater than us that we cannot expect to start to understand all that he does in his sovereignty.

Job 40-42:6

New International Version (NIV)

40 The Lord said to Job:

“Will the one who contends with the Almighty correct him?
Let him who accuses God answer him!”

Then Job answered the Lord:

“I am unworthy—how can I reply to you?
I put my hand over my mouth.
I spoke once, but I have no answer—
twice, but I will say no more.”

Then the Lord spoke to Job out of the storm:

“Brace yourself like a man;
I will question you,
and you shall answer me.

“Would you discredit my justice?
Would you condemn me to justify yourself?
Do you have an arm like God’s,
and can your voice thunder like his?
10 Then adorn yourself with glory and splendor,
and clothe yourself in honor and majesty.
11 Unleash the fury of your wrath,
look at all who are proud and bring them low,
12 look at all who are proud and humble them,
crush the wicked where they stand.
13 Bury them all in the dust together;
shroud their faces in the grave.
14 Then I myself will admit to you
that your own right hand can save you.

15 “Look at Behemoth,
which I made along with you
and which feeds on grass like an ox.
16 What strength it has in its loins,
what power in the muscles of its belly!
17 Its tail sways like a cedar;
the sinews of its thighs are close-knit.
18 Its bones are tubes of bronze,
its limbs like rods of iron.
19 It ranks first among the works of God,
yet its Maker can approach it with his sword.
20 The hills bring it their produce,
and all the wild animals play nearby.
21 Under the lotus plants it lies,
hidden among the reeds in the marsh.
22 The lotuses conceal it in their shadow;
the poplars by the stream surround it.
23 A raging river does not alarm it;
it is secure, though the Jordan should surge against its mouth.
24 Can anyone capture it by the eyes,
or trap it and pierce its nose?

41 “Can you pull in Leviathan with a fishhook
or tie down its tongue with a rope?
Can you put a cord through its nose
or pierce its jaw with a hook?
Will it keep begging you for mercy?
Will it speak to you with gentle words?
Will it make an agreement with you
for you to take it as your slave for life?
Can you make a pet of it like a bird
or put it on a leash for the young women in your house?
Will traders barter for it?
Will they divide it up among the merchants?
Can you fill its hide with harpoons
or its head with fishing spears?
If you lay a hand on it,
you will remember the struggle and never do it again!
Any hope of subduing it is false;
the mere sight of it is overpowering.
10 No one is fierce enough to rouse it.
Who then is able to stand against me?
11 Who has a claim against me that I must pay?
Everything under heaven belongs to me.

12 “I will not fail to speak of Leviathan’s limbs,
its strength and its graceful form.
13 Who can strip off its outer coat?
Who can penetrate its double coat of armor?
14 Who dares open the doors of its mouth,
ringed about with fearsome teeth?
15 Its back has rows of shields
tightly sealed together;
16 each is so close to the next
that no air can pass between.
17 They are joined fast to one another;
they cling together and cannot be parted.
18 Its snorting throws out flashes of light;
its eyes are like the rays of dawn.
19 Flames stream from its mouth;
sparks of fire shoot out.
20 Smoke pours from its nostrils
as from a boiling pot over burning reeds.
21 Its breath sets coals ablaze,
and flames dart from its mouth.
22 Strength resides in its neck;
dismay goes before it.
23 The folds of its flesh are tightly joined;
they are firm and immovable.
24 Its chest is hard as rock,
hard as a lower millstone.
25 When it rises up, the mighty are terrified;
they retreat before its thrashing.
26 The sword that reaches it has no effect,
nor does the spear or the dart or the javelin.
27 Iron it treats like straw
and bronze like rotten wood.
28 Arrows do not make it flee;
slingstones are like chaff to it.
29 A club seems to it but a piece of straw;
it laughs at the rattling of the lance.
30 Its undersides are jagged potsherds,
leaving a trail in the mud like a threshing sledge.
31 It makes the depths churn like a boiling caldron
and stirs up the sea like a pot of ointment.
32 It leaves a glistening wake behind it;
one would think the deep had white hair.
33 Nothing on earth is its equal—
a creature without fear.
34 It looks down on all that are haughty;
it is king over all that are proud.”

42 Then Job replied to the Lord:

“I know that you can do all things;
no purpose of yours can be thwarted.
You asked, ‘Who is this that obscures my plans without knowledge?’
Surely I spoke of things I did not understand,
things too wonderful for me to know.

“You said, ‘Listen now, and I will speak;
I will question you,
and you shall answer me.’
My ears had heard of you
but now my eyes have seen you.
Therefore I despise myself
and repent in dust and ashes.”

Some Flat Whites of Cambridge

March 27, 2013 1 comment

Snowy fields outside Cambridge

Snowy fields outside Cambridge

As the Great Anglia train rattled through snowy fields up to Cambridge, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect.

The intention was to talk to various people about Singapore student work – to see how we could help each other (if at all) help Christian students to grow in love for God and people here and when they returned to Singapore; but I had no concrete plans how we might do this. Was certainly not keen on any sort of society or other formal organisation – we have far too many of those things and their hierarchies and inherent power structures and insistence on justifying their own existence long after the need for them has ceased to, I think, tend to (as one might expect of sinful humans, though thankfully, this might not always be) detract from God and gospel. There was no elitism in choosing to head to Cambridge after Oxford – it was just known to have a good concentration of Singapore students and a thriving biblical Christian community. Looked forward to hearing what the more experienced might have thought through already.

Corpus Christi Chapel, Cambridge
random photo of Corpus Christi College Chapel

Enjoyed a very good discussion over a home-cooked lunch before making it right on the hour for evening service at St. Andrew the Great (aka. STAG). Was pleased to have someone else, independently, question if there was really a need to emphasise home-going. The rationale for having separate international group bible studies has usually been (i) to address language difficulties; (ii) to address discomfort with the host culture; and (iii) to get internationals to think about applying Christian truths to their life when they got back home. My queries on reason (ii) have had to do with the unity of the church and loving all members of the body regardless of race or class or culture; and on reason (iii) – whether the emphasis should really be on faithful living in all situations whether single or married, student or working, in London or back in one’s own country, rather than attempting to apply every passage to future life the home country – because that would be too narrow a view of Christian living and might run the risk also of legalism.

Discussed this further with some international workers today. Still much to think about.

Was pleased too to find Cambridge to be in a better state, coffee-wise, to Durham:

Hot Numbers
Hot Numbers Hot Numbers
Hot Numbers
Hot Numbers Hot Numbers

At Hot Numbers Coffee (Unit 6, Dales Brewery, Gwydir Street, Cambridge. facebook), I had their house-roasted El Salvadorian Finca La Fani in a flat white. It was fairly well-made, though the milk was a bit stiff, with bright citrus acidity that punched you in the saliva glands. Wonder if it would have worked better straight up.

Fitzbillies Fitzbillies
Fitzbillies Fitzbillies
Fitzbillies Flat White, Fitzbillies

Didn’t expect much from the Brazilian-Ethiopian Climpson & Sons (possibly their 50% Ethiopian Sidamo and 50% Brasil Fazenda Paraiso Sidamo Espresso Blend?) flat white at Fitzbillies (51-52 Trumpington Street, Cambridge) – it looked like a pretty enough Cambridge institution to get by on the seat of its chelsea buns without serving up decent brew. But this was yummy hot cocoa in a cup. The milk was a bit weak but didn’t detract too much from its deliciousness.

Massaro Massaro's, Regent Street, Cambridge
Flat White, Massaro's, Regent Street, Cambridge

The espresso beans at Massaro’s (85 Regent Street, Cambridge) were a house-blend delicately roasted by Has Bean Coffee. Very nice indeed.

Mission Week and the Coffee Shops of Durham

February 14, 2013 1 comment

Homemade Burger Dinner

A yummy smoky homemade burger dinner at the neighbours’, with roast chillis stuffed with feta, washed down by vintage cider, the night before.

Chinese New Year in London Chinese New Year in London

And after a full Sunday that included popping into the Chinese ministry’s Chinese New Year celebrations to hang out with some Singapore visitors (despite understanding very little of what was going on),

Victoria Coach Station in the sleet

fought driving winds and sleet to get to Victoria Coach Station in good time for the overnight National Express bus to Durham.

Durham Castle at night Silver Street at 6am, Durham
A river in Durham Rowing on a river in Durham

Wandered around the town at 6am-ish, enjoying the quiet cobblestoned streets and the cold,

Esquires Coffee, Silver Street, Durham

then, when it opened, a hot pot of tea at Esquires Coffee (22 Silver Street, Durham) and a reviving square of the brownie some very kind person had baked for my journey, followed by a whirlwind of getting to know almost a hundred new faces and incessant chatting over ubiquitous milky tea and cold hot cross buns.

Seating for Uncovered Lunch Bar Uncovered Lunch Bar, Durham

And then, to use the specialist terminology of mission weeks, mornings were for First Contact, lunch for Lunch Bars, and evenings for Evening Meetings. Michael Ots was particularly helpful, i thought, on the question “Why Should God Limit My Sexuality?” (mp3 here on the See For Yourself website). Long talks with some students who were curious about the evidence for the Christian faith.

Spent downtime with John Stott and other CUGs at various coffee shops around Durham. The company was stimulating, and the delightful character of the cafes a better reason to visit than the coffee:

Al fresco seating, Flat White, Durham Al fresco seating, Flat White, Durham
Flat White, Durham
Flat White, Durham Flat White, Durham

Flat White (21A Elvet Bridge, Durham) – probably your best bet for a somewhat decent cuppa. The smoked salmon and cream cheese bagel was appropriately chewy and therefore, excellent. Typical indie decor consisting of ephemera and quaintness.

Treats Coffee Shop, Durham Treats Coffee Shop, Durham
Artwork, Treats Coffee Shop, Durham Treats Coffee Shop, Durham
Broccoli quiche, Treats Coffee Shop, Durham Loo, Treats Coffee Shop, Durham

Treats Coffee Shop (27-28 Silver Street, Durham) – relatively generous portions and so, popular with students. One group got two unequal slices of a tea cake, the larger of which being a quarter of a loaf. Loads of power sockets, a good clean loo. Despite the presence of an espresso machine, the “flat white” they served up was coffee from the heating pad with frothed milk.

Leonard's Coffee House, Durham Leonard's Coffee House, Durham

Leonard’s Coffee House (1 Back Silver Street, Durham) – The Pidgin’ Loft upstairs was a nice place to sit and chat, while looking out windows.

Vennels Café, Durham Vennels Café, Durham
Old Singer Sewing Machine Table, Vennels Café, Durham Vennels Café, Durham
Sugar bowls, Vennels Café, Durham Stove in fireplace, Vennels Café, Durham
Earl grey tea in vintage china, Vennels Café, Durham Coconut apricot cake, Vennels Café, Durham

Vennel Café (71 Saddler Street, Durham) – two floors of old Singer sewing machine tables, creaking wooden floor boards, dried flowers hanging from rafters, real fires in fireplaces, loose teas in vintage china, and scones in the morning.

How You Can Tell This Is A Christian British Kitchen
how to tell a British Christian household – tea for all tastes, numerous cups and teapots in expectation of guests

Kind strangers took me into their homes and lives. Comfy beds and hot showers, great conversations to midnight in freezing living rooms (there being no money to fix broken radiators) about the challenges of being a Christian teacher, and of being Geography or English majors (professors with entrenched postmodern mindsets penalising those with Christian worldviews and those who read the text with the goal of determining authorial intent).

Jesus said, “Truly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands, for my sake and for the gospel, 30 who will not receive a hundredfold now in this time, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions, and in the age to come eternal life. 31 But many who are first will be last, and the last first.” (Mark 10:29-31)

My Life Would Be Complete If...

The Flat Whites of Shoreditch, Bethnal Green, Brick Lane, Leather Lane, The Square Mile etc

December 7, 2012 Leave a comment

Or: Where There Are Hipsters, There Will Be Third Wave Independent Specialty Coffee.

A few weeks ago, I was attempting to explain to someone why freshly ground specialty coffee was not just a hipster/posh thing but about being able, with some knowledge, to get more enjoyment from that raw product. She said she’d never heard of such a thing in her life. Another person said the same thing to me last week, but this was in relation to the sermon we had just heard on 1 Peter 5 at St. Helen’s Church, Bishopsgate:


She said she’d never in her church-going life heard that God had said that Christians were to suffer. Well, I said after we’d discussed this for a little while, this adds weight to the Bible not being something made up by man, because if you wanted to start a religion for personal profit and gain, you’d never say anything like this. The rest of the series on 1 Peter (“Don’t Be Surprised At The Fiery Trial“) is well worth a listen.

Coffee jaunts in London so far have been made to coincide with meet-ups with people or limited to times when the Associates’ study church (yes, they have the immense privilege of a whole church building set aside for their use) has been far too cold or dark to do any work in.

Many of the joints visited were within walking distance (up to an hour’s Londoner-pace walk, that is) of the Placement Church – in Shoreditch and Bethnal Green, Brick Lane, Leather Lane, within The Square Mile, and elsewhere.

Shoreditch/Bethnal Green

Leila’s Shop (facebook. 15-17 Calvert Avenue, Shoreditch, E2 7JP) couldn’t fit many people. So not a place to expect to sit and read undisturbed. Those who managed to score a seat chatted over cooked breakfasts/brunches and polish platters of cured meats, pickles, rye. The coffee was decent.

Leila's Shop, Calvert Avenue  Bethnal Green, Shoreditch Kitchen, Leila's Shop, Calvert Avenue  Bethnal Green, Shoreditch
Leila's Shop, Calvert Avenue  Bethnal Green, Shoreditch Leila's Shop, Calvert Avenue  Bethnal Green, Shoreditch
Leila's Shop, Calvert Avenue  Bethnal Green, Shoreditch Leila's Shop, Calvert Avenue  Bethnal Green, Shoreditch

Flat White, Leila's Shop, Calvert Avenue  Bethnal Green, Shoreditch Coffee, Leila's Shop, Calvert Avenue  Bethnal Green, Shoreditch
Leila's Shop, Calvert Avenue  Bethnal Green, Shoreditch Brownie, Leila's Shop, Calvert Avenue  Bethnal Green, Shoreditch

Fix 126 Coffee (126 Curtain Road, EC2A 3PJ). Climpson and Sons Fix 126 Blend (50% Malawi Msese District, 33% Guatemala Co-op, 17% Brazil Fazenda Paraiso Pulped Natural) on a La Marzocco. Fairly decent but with a very slight bitter (burnt?) aftertaste. Very chilled out cafe with strategically placed lights and power sockets:

Fix 126 Coffee Blackboard menu Fix 126 Coffee
Benches and seating. Fix 126 Coffee Fix 126 Coffee
Beans. Fix 126 Coffee Flat White, Fix 126 Coffee

Shoreditch Grind (facebook. 213 Old Street, Old Street Roundabout, Islington, EC1V 9NR). Communal tables with barstools along the circular edge. I remember this being a good flat white (probably, amongst other things, the espresso to milk volume thing?) but was otherwise occupied so could not chat more with the baristas about provenance etc.

Untitled Shoreditch Grind, Old Street Roundabout, Islington
Alfresco seating, Shoreditch Grind, Old Street Roundabout, Islington Flat White, Shoreditch Grind, Old Street Roundabout, Islington

Brick Lane

Brick Lane Coffee (157 Brick Lane, E1 6SB):

Brick Lane Coffee. Brick Lane Sunday Market

Kahaila Cafe (135 Brick Lane). The cakes were lovely and the coffee sacks and wooden crates seating arrangements nicely quaint. But the flat white was rather weak and watery. To be fair, they seem to be aiming to be more of a third place (“a church” they say), rather than a coffee joint per se.

Kahaila, Brick Lane Flat White, Kahaila, Brick Lane
Kahaila, Brick Lane Cake display, Kahaila, Brick Lane
Seating, Kahaila, Brick Lane Seating, Kahaila, Brick Lane

full stop cafe (facebook. 202 Brick Lane). Eclectic choice of furniture to chill out on. Square Mile beans were well-taken care of, producing a delicious cup. La Marzocco:

full stop cafe. Brick Lane full stop cafe. Brick Lane
full stop cafe. Brick Lane full stop cafe. Brick Lane
full stop cafe. Brick Lane full stop cafe. Brick Lane

Leather Lane
Department of Coffee and Social Affairs (facebook. 4-16 Leather Lane, EC1N 7SU). Art exhibitions, meeting rooms, “social hub”. A rotating roster of roasters but it was Climpson & Sons on the hopper when i visited. I wonder if Climpson roasts slightly darker than Square Mile, but still a very decent cup:

Department of Coffee and Social Affairs, Leather Lane Food, Department of Coffee and Social Affairs, Leather Lane
Wall mural, Department of Coffee and Social Affairs, Leather Lane Seating, Department of Coffee and Social Affairs, Leather Lane
Seating, Department of Coffee and Social Affairs, Leather Lane Water point, Department of Coffee and Social Affairs, Leather Lane
Buttered banana bread, Department of Coffee and Social Affairs, Leather Lane Flat White, Department of Coffee and Social Affairs, Leather Lane

Just across the way, Prufrock Coffee (facebook. 23 – 25 Leather Lane, EC1N 7TE). Standout coffee. Square Mile Coffee Roaster beans, Kees Van Der Westen. Appreciated the opportunity to geek chat about brewing parameters – had been trying to troubleshoot for some time. Also bit the bullet and indulged in a Hario kettle:

Prufrock Coffee, Leather Lane Prufrock Coffee, Leather Lane
Hopper and machine, Prufrock Coffee, Leather Lane Takeaway Cups, Prufrock Coffee, Leather Lane
Prufrock Coffee, Leather Lane Flat White, Prufrock Coffee

The Square Mile

Came upon Curators’ Coffee Studio on Cullum Street in The Square Mile, on the way back from the bank. The presence of a turquoise powder-coated three-group La Marzocco Strada and three hoppers of beans aroused enough interest for me to part with some change for a most interesting flat white from Square Mile Coffee Roaster’s Jirmiwachu Natural – like a strawberry coffeeshake.

Untitled Untitled
Untitled Untitled
Untitled Untitled
Untitled
Untitled Untitled

The Liberty of Norton Folgate (facebook. Norton Folgate, Bishopsgate) – 50% Brazil Pulped Natural Finca Paraiso, 50% Ethiopia Sidamo Oromia Co-op:

The Liberty of Norton Folgate The Liberty of Norton Folgate
The Liberty of Norton Folgate

Beany Green Gourmet Coffee (cart at the base of The Gherkin):

Gourmet Coffee at the base of The Gherkin Gourmet Coffee at the base of The Gherkin

Elsewhere
The Black Lab (18 Clapham Common Southside, Clapham). Climpson & Sons beans – when I visited, they were still serving the Summer Espresso 2012 (20% Ethiopian Yirgacheffe Oromia Co-operative, 20% Sumatra Wahana Estate Natural, 20% Columbia Racafe Medellin Region, 20% Columbia Somondoco Boyaca Deparment, 20% Dominican Republic Cibao Altura Crilo Estate). Served at 62 degrees celcius:

The Black Lab Coffee, Clapham Common South Side The Black Lab Coffee, Clapham Common South Side
Flat White, The Black Lab Coffee, Clapham Common South Side Lamington, The Black Lab Coffee, Clapham Common South Side

Everbean (facebook. 30 Avery Row, Mayfair) – Climpson & Sons, La Marzocco:

Everbean, Avery Row Everbean, Avery Row
Everbean, Avery Row Everbean, Avery Row
Everbean, Avery Row Everbean, Avery Row
Everbean, Avery Row Everbean, Avery Row

Flat Cap (by Notes Coffee. Borough Market) – Square Mile’s Red Brick Espresso (in this expression, 30% El Cascajal (Guatemala), 30% El Majahual (El Salvador), 30% Sertao (Brazil), 10% Kagumoini  (Kenya)). Delicious with well-frothed milk:

Flat Cap, Borough Market Flat Cap, Borough Market

Notes, Music and Coffee (31 Saint Martin’s Lane, WC2N 4ER) – nipped in here during the intermission at the London Coliseum next door. Requested Square Mile’s Sweetshop Espresso in my flat white. The barista was kind enough to calibrate this for a fantastic cup just bursting with fruit (in this incarnation, 50% Kiawamururu (Kenya), 50% Suke Quto (Ethiopia). Really made me smile:

Notes, Music and Coffee, St. Martin's Lane Notes, Music and Coffee, St. Martin's Lane
Notes, Music and Coffee, St. Martin's Lane Notes, Music and Coffee, St. Martin's Lane
Notes, Music and Coffee, St. Martin's Lane

Grind Coffee Bar (5C The Great Eastern Market, Westfield Shopping Centre, Stratford City, E20 1EH) – London Coffee Roasters (the baristas couldn’t remember what was in the blend). La Marzocco Strada MP with 3M Reverse Osmosis Water Filtration. Good coffee in a megamall:

Grind Coffee Bar. Westfield Shopping Centre Grind Coffee Bar. Westfield Shopping Centre
Grind Coffee Bar. Westfield Shopping Centre Grind Coffee Bar. Westfield Shopping Centre
Grind Coffee Bar. Westfield Shopping Centre
Grind Coffee Bar. Westfield Shopping Centre Grind Coffee Bar. Westfield Shopping Centre

Coffee And Cake Saturday

August 12, 2012 1 comment

After…yes, another farewell lunch, we headed to Tiong Bahru Bakery‘s second outlet – in Basement 1 of Raffles City, where we managed to have rather good chats about life and ministry amid the occasional seat-vibrating rumbles.

Tiong Bahru Bakery, Raffles City Tiong Bahru Bakery, Raffles City
Tiong Bahru Bakery, Raffles City Tiong Bahru Bakery, Raffles City
Tiong Bahru Bakery, Raffles City Tiong Bahru Bakery, Raffles City
Tiong Bahru Bakery, Raffles City Tiong Bahru Bakery, Raffles City
Tiong Bahru Bakery, Raffles City Flat White, Hot Chocolate, Chocolate Almond Croissant, Blood Orange Tart. Tiong Bahru Bakery, Raffles City

TBB Raffles City is located just opposite Ding Tai Fung, in a place once verdant with Aerin’s plastic greenery. The chocolate croissant, blood orange tart, mixed berry panna cotta were rather good. We were amused that even the hot chocolate came with “latte art”, but having just experienced the prompt, polite service at DTF, were slightly perturbed at the waitstaff at TBB moving aimlessly about, getting in the way of people struggling with laden trays.

Chye Seng Huat Hardware Coffee BarThen, read the last chapter of Matthias Media’s Back To Basics with someone to ensure she really understood what the Christian life was like before making a public declaration of her faith through baptism. After, because it would be otherwise impossible to meet up with friends on account of the lean staffing at their new venture, headed to Papa Palheta‘s fresh flagship store, Chye Seng Huat Hardware (facebook, 150 Tyrwhitt Road). Consolidated within the compound was The CSHH Coffee Bar, the Annex for experimental coffee stuff, the temperature-controlled bean storage, the roastery and packing facilities, and the machine repair workshop. The Bar was quite the looker.

Chye Seng Huat Hardware Coffee Bar Chye Seng Huat Hardware Coffee Bar
Chye Seng Huat Hardware Coffee Bar Chye Seng Huat Hardware Coffee Bar
Chye Seng Huat Hardware Coffee Bar Chye Seng Huat Hardware Coffee Bar
Chye Seng Huat Hardware Coffee Bar Chye Seng Huat Hardware Coffee Bar
Chye Seng Huat Hardware Coffee Bar Chye Seng Huat Hardware Coffee Bar

In order to reference the original use of the space (and the continued use of the name of the previous occupant of the space), the interior design featured metal beam light fittings, metal rod shelves, nuts as napkin weights. The coffee island bar top was constructed from painted metal as well.

Chye Seng Huat Hardware Coffee Bar
Chye Seng Huat Hardware Coffee Bar Chye Seng Huat Hardware Coffee Bar
Chye Seng Huat Hardware Coffee Bar Chye Seng Huat Hardware Coffee Bar

The Nuts and Bolts blend (Brazilian, Columbian, Tanzanian, Guatemalan) was indeed brighter, more acidic and juicy than the usual Terra Firma. Nicely done. Their in-house baker (the pastry kitchen is on the second level) is apparently the same person who did the desserts at the much-missed Peaberry & Pretzel, formerly at Sunset Way. The brownie, that barometer of a good pastry chef, was simply but well made – crackle crust with rich smooth moist interior.

Chye Seng Huat Hardware Coffee Bar Chye Seng Huat Hardware Coffee Bar
Chye Seng Huat Hardware Coffee Bar Chye Seng Huat Hardware Coffee Bar
Chye Seng Huat Hardware Coffee Bar Chye Seng Huat Hardware Coffee Bar

They did a little tour of the place starting with The Annex (somewhat like The Steeping Room) for experiments, tastings, food pairings.

Chye Seng Huat Hardware Coffee Bar Chye Seng Huat Hardware Coffee Bar

The coffee bean storage area, the roastery, and the packing area.

Chye Seng Huat Hardware Coffee Bar Chye Seng Huat Hardware Coffee Bar
Chye Seng Huat Hardware Coffee Bar Chye Seng Huat Hardware Coffee Bar
Chye Seng Huat Hardware Coffee Bar Chye Seng Huat Hardware Coffee Bar
Chye Seng Huat Hardware Coffee Bar

Behind a rather heavy metal sliding door, up the stairs to the second level, C-Platform – the coffee school with equipment and charts.

Chye Seng Huat Hardware Coffee Bar

The top level will hold Papa Palheta’s offices. For now, simple desks and chairs sit in the emptiness, lit by dusty streams of sunlight.

Chye Seng Huat Hardware Coffee BarThe soundscape featured light jazz from an old turntable and the clanging of the automated prayer bell in the temple diagonally across the road.

Chye Seng Huat Hardware Coffee Bar Chye Seng Huat Hardware Coffee Bar

The fading evening light brought out nice colours in the interior but i had to leggit to say more goodbyes over cream of spinach, a large leg of ham, yuzu goma-tossed salad. A good conversation about church – belonging, serving, growing; validity of spending time in two congregations.

%d bloggers like this: