Issue 29 of Caffeine Magazine hit the streets last weekend. If you’re new to the Coffee Spot or you haven’t heard of Caffeine Magazine, then you’re missing out, since it’s long been one of the UK’s foremost coffee publications.
As regular readers will know, I have a vested interest since I’m Caffeine Magazine’s UK café correspondent. I made my debut in Issue 4 and for the next 23 issues, I wrote the Neighbourhood Watch feature, in which I explored the coffee scene in towns and cities around the country. And then, after four years and 24 issues, I got an issue off, when Caffeine Magazine went over to the dark side with an issue dedicated to tea… The good news is that the normal order of things has been restored and I’m back in the saddle for Issue 29…
Caffeine publishes bi-monthly and is available for free in most good independent coffee shops around the country, with a particular emphasis on London. However, if you’re struggling to find a copy, it’s also available on-line for both Apple and other platforms (including Apple, Android, Kindle and Windows 8). Even better, there’s a postal subscription available; a year’s worth of Caffeine Magazine for just £20 (postage included, UK only; higher prices for Europe and worldwide). Given what some people are charging for other magazines about coffee, it’s a bargain! You can also order back issues, although quite a few have now sold out.
This Saturday Supplement celebrates Caffeine Magazine in all its wonder. Since it’s now into its fifth year, this post is organised by year. After the gallery, you’ll find a short summary of Issue 26 (the most recent issue), followed by summaries of issues 19-24 (marking Caffeine Magazine’s fourth full year of publication), issues 13-18 (the third year), issues 7-12 (the second year), with the first six issues (Caffeine Magazine’s first year) after that. This way, you don’t have to scroll down so far if you’re just interested in the most recent issue. However, if this is your first time reading this Saturday Supplement, you might want to start at the last gallery and work your way up!
Alternatively, head straight to the issue you’re interested in:
- Year One: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6
- Year Two: 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12
- Year Three: 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18
- Year Four: 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24
- Year Five: 25, 26, 27, 28, 29
After Issue 28’s foray into the world of tea, service is returned to normal at Caffeine Magazine with, I have to say, a particularly strong issue. There’s all sorts of excellent articles, including a look at the impact of Brexit on the coffee industry as well as tackling the issue of optimal extraction. Elsewhere, the Origin Report looks at Rwanda which is increasigly turning out some excellent coffee.
There’s a feature on dating in coffee shops (the theme of the front cover) as well as another on coffee apps, including those that help you find the perfect coffee shop and those that guide you on your way to making the perfect cup yourself.
Caffeine Magazine continues its globe-trotting with a visit by Alex Kitain to Taipei, the home town of the current World Barista Champion, to explore the coffee scene there. Meanwhile, after my issue off, I hit the road (well, rails) for somewhere closer to home, as I head down to Exeter, checking out the likes of the Exploding Bakery, Exe Coffee Roasters, March Coffee and Camper Coffee Co. Even better, I re-united with Amelia, whose excellent photos once again grace the article.
After appearing in 24 consecutive issues of Caffeine Magazine my run came to an end in Issue 28. Why? Because Caffeine Magazine finally went over to the dark side with an issue dedicated to tea! Well, I suppose tea has caffeine in it and it is called Caffeine Magazine after all…
Joking aside, Issue 28 explored the rise of speciality tea, starting with Hannah Ruth taking a look at White Tea, and then, as a sort of companion piece to the previous issue’s coffee tasting feature, Mike Riley looked at how to taste tea. There was also a feature on tea trends by Phil Wain, of Best Coffee, while Sophie Hudson looked at tea cocktails.
Finally, instead of zooming off around the country to explore some coffee scene somewhere, I had the issue off and got to put my feet up. Instead my friend Sally Gurteen made her debut, teaming up with my-longtime sidekick Amelia to explore the tea shops of London. And a very fine job she did of it too!
The summer issue of Caffeine Magazine continued with the new look, feel and layout. The Filter made its second appearance, taking a look at the central African country of Burundi and explaining natural processing, one of three common method of separating coffee beans from coffee cherries.
Tim Ridley busted some of the myths around tasting coffee, explaining how anyone, with a bit of practice, can taste like a pro. Elsewhere, Lani Kingston took a look at the centuries-old tradition of the Ethiopean coffee ceremony where the beans are roasted in front of you.
Finally, I was back on the train, zooming off on the Javelin to Canterbury to explore it’s growing speciality scene, where pioneers such as Water Lane Coffee (now sadly closed) have been joined in recent years by Lost Sheep Coffee, the Micro Roastery and Garage Coffee.
Issue 26 saw a major face-lift for Caffeine Magazine with a new logo, front-cover design and layout. Inside the content’s still as interesting and diverse as ever. There’s a new feature, The Filter, which looks at some of the terms that those of us in the industry throw around with abandon, completely forgetting to explain them to everyone else. First up, in Issue 26, was Geisha, which, it turned out, is a variety of coffee plant and nothing to do with Japan.
Talking of those in the coffee industry, Issue 26 has the results of a survey of various coffee professionals and others (such as yours truly) where we answered such varied questions as Does Speciality Coffee Deserve The Tag “Hipster”? and Would You Recommend Coffee As A Career? I found it fascinating to compare my answers with those of my contemporaries.
There was also a look at the thorny question of how green coffee capsules are, particularly with the launch of several capsules claiming to be fully biodegradable. Elsewhere, Caffeine Magazine continues its exploration overseas. While the editor, Chloe, was sent to Japan, to check out some awesome cafes, including the likes of Nem Espresso & Coffee, Weekenders and Vermillion, I too went overseas (well, over one sea, the Irish Sea) to visit Belfast and its thriving speciality coffee scene, where newcomers such as Root & Branch joining old hands like Established.
Caffeine Magazine reached the grand old age of four with Issue 25 and an interesting collection of diverse articles. Perhaps the most curious of them all was another in Caffeine’s series of the coffee pairing articles. In this one, coffee was pared with (wait for it) cured meats! This was only of academic interest to me since I don’t eat meat, but I found it fascinating nonetheless. I was also pleased to see roasters from Bristol and Bath featuring strongly in the article.
Perhaps the most interesting article was where Scott, Caffeine Magazine’s founder, put his money where his mouth is and worked as a barista. On a coffee cart (Flat Cap Borough). No warm, cosy surroundings for Scott! If you’ve ever wondered what it’s like making coffee in all weathers, then this is for you. At the other end of the scale, there was also a brief look at the new Cafe X automated coffee kiosk.
Finally, Maria Teresa Mancuso of Coffee Me Cafe made her debut with a coffee tour of her home town of Zurich. Elsewhere, I was reunited with Amelia Hallsworth and, after my adventures Hong Kong in the previous issue, it was back down to (God’s own) earth with a bump when I visited the delightful Harrogate, the third part of the Yorkshire Coffee Triangle, visiting the likes of Bean & Bud, Baltzersens, Hotxon North & Westmoreland Coffee.
Caffeine Magazine celebrated its third birthday with a feature on roasting coffee at home, looking at three methods spanning the price range from popcorn maker all the way through to the fully-programmable Ikawa machine (although missing out on my favourite, the wok). Meanwhile Chloe, now Caffeine Magazine’s editor, took a look at the growing phenomenon of the coffice (for those not familiar with the term, it’s using a coffee shop as an office or remote working space). Tim Shaw also made a welcome return with a two-page spread of his quirky illustrations, this time classifying types of baristas in his own, inimitable style.
Caffeine Magazine entered it’s fourth year by continuing its European wanderings with a début piece by Sebastian Salvador, who looked at the growing coffee scene in Barcelona. Meanwhile, Amelia Hallsworth and I, Caffeine’s longest-running partnership, don’t need the lure of a warm, sunny, Mediterranean climate. Oh no, we were off to Liverpool, taking in the delights of Merseyside’s growing speciality coffee scene, led by the venerable Bold Street Coffee, and including the likes of Panna, Coffee & Fandisha and cafe/roasters, 92 Degrees, as well as calling in on Neighbourhood Coffee, the city’s first speciality coffee roasters.
Timed to coincide with the London Coffee Festival, Issue 20 of Caffeine Magazine was a bumper one, packed full of really interesting features. With all the recent interest in speciality coffee in capsules, Caffeine Magazine stepped in with a taste-test of the leading contenders. It also took a look at a subject close to my heart: ceramic coffee cups, with Derek Lamberton of London’s Best Coffee fame making his Caffeine Magazine debut. Issue 20 also tackled a subject that has been exercising me recently: the role speciality coffee can play in improving the quality of milk for coffee.
For Issue 20, Caffeine Magazine abandoned its European wanderings and spread its wings to check out the speciality coffee scene in Mexico City. Meanwhile, Amelia and I made the short trip to Reading to find that the town’s coffee scene is alive and well. Led by the pioneering cafe/roastery Workhouse Coffee, it’s now been joined by the likes of Tamp Culture, C.U.P. and Artigiano.
Issue 21 of Caffeine Magazine celebrated the (supposed) arrival of summer with not one, not two, but three summer-themed articles! First, there was a feature on the latest coffee-related drink to hit the market, the cascara soda. I had tried a couple of these at this year’s London Coffee Festival and was very impressed. Talking of festivals, the second feature was about how speciality coffee seems to have made an impact on the festival scene. About time too! And last, but not least, my friend Jess Ansell of EastingEast fame, made her Caffeine Magazine debut with a piece on making coffee in the great outdoors. I tagged along, mostly to hold things…
Elsewhere, the dream team (aka Amelia Hallsworth and I) got the issue off. Sort of. Rather than send us to Dublin for the Neighbourhood Watch feature, Amelia got to put her feet up and I was told to write an article about a subject very close to my heart: decaf coffee. Anyone would think Scott and Chloe were telling me to calm down…
Issue 22 of Caffeine Magazine continued its celebration of summer (perhaps more in hope than expectation that summer itself would continue) with a look at coffee-based milkshakes. Elsewhere, there was the first of a new debate series in which Mat North (of Full Court Press) went head-to-head with Jeremy Chandler (Prufrock) on the topic of whether the internet has changed coffee education for the better.
Zoe Chromier made her Caffeine Magazine debut with a fascinating article on the what she describes as the most widely-consumed mood-changing drug in the world: caffeine. Meanwhile another newcomer, Sean St John, spread Caffeine Magazine’s wings all the way to Beijing, where speciality coffee is slowly finding its niche alongside the more traditional drink, tea. Closer to home, Amelia Hallsworth and I were reunited with a trip to somewhere slightly closer to home: Cambridge, where old stalwart, Hot Numbers, has been joined by a plethora of newcomers, such as The Espresso Library, Stir and Novi.
Issue 23 of Caffeine Magazine marked the move into autumn with a feature on coffee and whisky pairings. Elsewhere, there was a look at the latest trends in coffee packaging and an in-depth consideration of the alternatives to milk in coffee. Meanwhile, Amelia and I were back on the road (well, rails) as we headed in the deepest, darkest East Midlands to pay a visit to Nottingham. where there’s been a recent explosion in its speciality coffee scene, the likes of Wired Café Bar, Greenhood, and roaster, Outpost Coffee Roasters, have been joined by newcomers The Speciality Coffee Shop and Cartwheel.
The final Caffeine Magazine of 2016, Issue 24, was jam-packed with features. For starters, there was a piece on the rise of automated filter/pour-over machines, something which I’ve talked about extensively on the Coffee Spot. There was also a look at something that I really don’t talk about very much: coffee beers (for the uninitiated, that’s beer made with coffee). Perhaps the most fascinating article, though, was the piece on synthetic coffee, which, for the moment, is only a distant prospect.
In other news, you know how I go on about other people getting sent off all over the world, while I get to go to places like Liverpool, Birmingham and Glasgow…? Well, guess where I went for this issue? Hong Kong! Can you believe it? Even better, I found an amazing, vibrant coffee scene, featuring the likes of Barista Jam, The Cupping Room, The Coffee Academics, 18 Grams and the Cafe Corridor.
Caffeine Magazine entered its third year a feature by Alex Stewart on the fascinating subject of independent coffee (mini-) chains, posing the question, what does it mean to be independent when you have three or more stores? It’s a subject that has troubled me on and off throughout the life of the Coffee Spot and a question to which I have never found an entirely satisfactory answer.
There were also articles on recycling coffee grounds and on the tricky art of tasting (and describing the taste of) coffee, something regular readers of the Coffee Spot will know I struggle with. There was a short piece on why there are so few Starbucks in Australia and a preview of the inaugural Coffee Masters event.
Elsewhere, after sending Amelia Hallsworth and I the length and breadth of Britain in search of great coffee, we hit the jackpot this issue and got sent to… wait for it… Ealing! An oft overlooked and, by me at least, sped-through-without-stopping-on-a-train part of outer London, Ealing has a vibrant coffee scene, which, led by the likes of the Electric Coffee Company, has been at the forefront of the London coffee scene for over a decade as we found out.
Issue 14 was a bumper one, just in time for the London Coffee Festival. Highlights included veteran coffee blogger, Phil Wain, checking out various coffee training courses, a quick Q&A with the wonderful Lee Gaze of Silhouette, and advice from barista and coffee shop owner Ant West on how to open a coffee shop on a limited budget.
After an absence of over a year, Caffeine Magazine’s brew guide made a welcome return with a feature on the syphon, which, as a coffee-making technique, has been around for a lot longer than you might think. Closer to home, Tanya Royer, a new voice from Issue 13, returned with a look at the second coffee shop of London legends Kaffeine.
Elsewhere, after a couple of issues off, Caffeine resumed its European wanderings with a visit to Prague, where there is small but vibrant coffee scene. Talking of which, Amelia and I once again teamed up as we were sent north only to find ourselves down south. Well, down South Yorkshire to be precise, in the lovely city of Sheffield, home of some cracking coffee.
The summer edition of Caffeine Magazine arrived just as I was about to leave for my trip to America. It contained some great features, including one on Community Cafés which are trying to have a social impact as well as make great coffee. I was lucky to visit one such example of a community café in Seattle, the wonderful Street Bean Coffee.
Another feature was on the Swedish tradition of “fika”, which, as we discovered, is so much more than just having coffee and cake. Elsewhere the new Q&A feature continued with Estelle Bright, while Tanya headed down to the Greenwich Peninsular to visit CRAFT London Coffee.
Having resumed its European wanderings in Issue 14, Caffeine went one better this time, sending Chloe off to Brazil to observe a Cup of Excellence competition. It was Caffeine first trip to “origin” (that is, where coffee is grown), but hopefully not the last. As well as witnessing the competition first-hand, the article also explored the impact winning it has on the coffee farmers.
Meanwhile, in preparation for summer, I was packed off to Dorset for Caffeine’s first ever road trip. I drove the width of the county from Bournemouth to Lyme Regis in search of great coffee for holiday makers and locals alike. Along the way I got to visit such gems as Café Boscanova, South Coast Roast and Number 35 Coffee House & Kitchen.
Caffeine Magazine made a splash has it headed into autumn with its first abstract cover since Issue 4. This one was by the talented David Salinas and also marked the first time that a Chemex had made the cover since Issue 5.
There was a definite cocktail/signature drink theme to Issue 16. First of all, Chloe (aka The Faerietale Foodie) visited Relax, It’s Only Coffee, the new venture from Alex MacIntyre (of MacIntyre Coffee fame, the much-missed minimalist coffee shop in Shoreditch which has now found a permanent home in Islington). Relax is making its name as a coffee-by-day, cocktails-by-night venue, with a focus on its coffee cocktails and signature drinks. Elsewhere, Alex Beeching looked into this very thing, the art of the signature drink. This isn’t just mixing alcohol with coffee; it can be anything, including ingredients as bizarre as ginger beer! I had my own experience of this when I took my cevze lessons with Vadim Granovskiy.
Alex Stewart made a welcome return in Issue 16, looking at the phenomenon of Slot Roasting, a route for cafes to get into roasting without the capital outlay of a roaster. Instead they use a “slot” at a roaster who has spare capacity. There was also a review of the best scales on the market, ranging in price from a humble £10 to a whopping £200. The range includes the Brewista Smart Scale I featured in my round-up of the kit at this year’s London Coffee Festival.
Finally, after my little road-trip in Issue 15, I was back on the trains, heading out of Liverpool Street for deepest, darkest Norfolk and the wonderful, medieval city of Norwich, which possesses a far from medieval coffee scene. I was also reunited, after an issue off, with the wonderful Amelia, who once more graces my article with her excellent photography. Unfortunately the magazine went to press before we learnt the sad news of the closure of The Window. I wish Hayley all the best in her future endeavours.
Caffeine Magazine’s 17th issue continued to present an interesting mix of old faces and newcomers. In the old faces category, Kate Beard (aka A Southern Belle in London) returned for the first time in a year with a fascinating article on developing film (remember that, digital generation?) using coffee. It’s graced with some lovely portraits, shot, of course, on film, and developed using various single-origin coffees.
The centre spread saw Hugo Harrison look at the age-old pairing of coffee and pastries, tracing its roots back to Vienna and explaining why they go so well together. There was also an article on celebrity-endorsed coffee, with some delightfully pithy tasting notes. One was described as having aromas ranging from “bonfires to cigarette ash”, while possibly the nicest description was “would probably work well in a 16oz latte”.
Issue 17 saw the first-ever Caffeine Magazine crossword. I managed to do almost all of it, except for 17 Down, where I was literally clueless.This issue also saw Caffeine Magazine return to its European wanderings for the first time since Issue 14, with Douglas North heading for the Baltic delights of Tallinn.
Talking of travelling, and finishing things off with a pair of old faces, Amelia and I were on the rails again, this time heading up to York to explore the infamous Yorkshire coffee triangle, taking in the likes of The Perky Peacock, Harlequin and The Attic, Spring Espresso and Brew & Brownie.
This issue brought Caffeine Magazine’s third year to a close and was an interesting one, writing as much about the issues surrounding coffee as it is about coffee itself. Sticking with familiar themes, Caffeine Magazine continued its European wanderings with a début piece by duo The Curious Pear, who explored the Swedish tradition of Fika in the coffee shops of the capital, Stockholm. Meanwhile, the old, established duo of Amelia and yours truly were dispatched across the border to Wales, where we visited another capital, Cardiff, enjoying the delights of The Plan, Waterloo Tea and Torre Coffee, along with newcomers, Artigiano Espresso, Little Man Coffee and Uncommon Ground. Just in time for Christmas, there was also a handy coffee-themed gift guide (ooh! I did one of those as well).
The rest of the issue was dedicated to writing about the issues surrounding coffee, kicking off with an excellent article on a subject of recent interest to me, barista competitions. Elsewhere, Chloe (now promoted to Editor; congratulations, by the way!) took a look at Instagram and discussed its impact on the speciality coffee industry, while another new voice, Martin Kingdom, investigated crowd funding and how this is changing the way that coffee businesses get off the ground.
Caffeine Magazine entered its second year of publication going strong. By this point, I was a regular contributor, making my way around the country in search of the UK’s best coffee scenes and wasn’t at all jealous of my fellow-correspondents who seemed to be sent all over the world for articles…
Issue 7 had a host of great articles including one on the lever espresso machine, by Hoi Chi Ng. These wonderful machines are starting to become really common:they’re still uncommon enough to turn heads, but fortunately they’re not as rare as they once were. Fellow coffee blogger, Alex (aka liquidjolt), was back with a review of various coffee subscription services, Kate (aka A Southern Belle in London) reviewed The Proud Archivist, while Chloe (aka The Faerietale Foodie) got to examine the often-overlooked ibrik (also know as a cezve, this is a typical Eastern European, Middle-eastern and North African method of brewing coffee). Continuing the international theme, Callum Hale Thomson was sent to Berlin to check out the coffee scene there, while I went to… Oxford!
Issue 8 came out just in time for the London Coffee Festival and featured me on the front cover for once! Well, okay, not me: my article on the coffee scene in Birmingham had front-page billing. Yes, that’s right, in the same issue that Caffeine Magazine decided to feature Amsterdam (another city famous for its canals) I got to do Birmingham! (All joking aside, I really do like Birmingham; it’s a much under-rated city. And besides, wait until you see where I’m going for Issue 9!).
Fellow coffee-bloggers Chloe (words) and Kate (pictures) reviewed Workshop’s new cafe in Holborn, while there were fascinating articles on the joys of barista training and how to pair coffee with cheese. Continuing the coffee and chocolate theme from Issue 6, Paul Eagles from Kokoa Collection took a look at the (sometimes) unloved mocha.
Issue 9 celebrated two great sporting events, the World Cup (with a feature on football and coffee by fellow coffee- and football-blogger, Alex) and the Commonwealth Games (held in Glasgow). I’ll give you a clue as to where I was sent for Issue 9’s feature: it was either Brazil or Glasgow… That’s right, I got to go to Glasgow. Not Brazil.
In other news, Issue 9 saw Caffeine Magazine’s continuing commitment to covering the coffee scenes in European capitals with a piece by fellow coffee-blogger Kate on Copenhagen. That’s right, Kate: Copenhagen, me: Glasgow. On the plus side, Glasgow, like Issue 8’s destination, Birmingham, is an under-rated British jewel and, at least for now, I don’t need my passport…
To celebrate the arrival of summer, Issue 9’s brewing feature focused on cold brew, which is experiencing something of a resurgence. Meanwhile, fellow coffee-blogger Chloe asked the all-important question: why do so few restaurants do decent coffee? She then went on to show that it doesn’t have to be this way with a look at Shoreditch’s Lyles Restaurant. There was also an excellent article tackling the tricky subject of Fair Trade: just how fair is it?
Finally, the sharp-eyed among you will notice that the photos for my feature on the Glasgow coffee scene looked even more stunning than usual; that’s because they weren’t by me, but by the fabulous Amelia Hallsworth, who was also responsible for the stunning photo of Glasgow’s Laboratorio Espresso on the inside cover.
Issue 10 saw Caffeine Magazine reach double figures! It’s an achievement that everyone involved with the magazine can be rightly proud of. Now there’s a scary thought; come 2015, Caffeine Magazine will be a teenager! There had also been some changes behind the scenes as sharp-eyed readers might have noticed from the masthead (or you could just have read the editorial!). Fellow coffee-blogger Chloe (The Faerietale Foodie), as part of her plan to take over the world, one job at a time, joined as Caffeine Magazine’s new Associate Editor! Congratulations, Chloe.
The issue saw an important feature on a much over-looked aspect of the coffee industry (although maybe not, since you’re probably sick of hearing me banging on about it), the disposable paper cup. David Burrows gave us the low-down on the environmental impact of those seemingly harmless receptacles. Elsewhere, fellow-coffee bloggers Kate (photos) and Alex (words) teamed up to bring you Curators Coffee Gallery, another new opening in London’s Fitzrovia. And talking of teaming up, the dream-team of yours truly and awesome photographer Amelia got sent to Leeds, home of one of the Britain’s most vibrant coffee scenes.
Continuing its random walk around Europe, Victor Frankowski went on a whistle-stop tour of Poland, the land of his birth (Poland? I love Poland! Why wasn’t I sent to Poland? I’m not bitter, honest!). To celebrate summer , Chloe was sent in search of the best coffee-inspired ice lolly, while another coffee-blogging legend, Phil Wain (aka Phil Wain: c’mon, Phil, you’re letting the side down here!) presented a well-enumerated rant against (bad) lists.
Finally, there was a brief plug for Cup North, a two-day coffee festival coming to Manchester on 1st/2nd November.
Issue 11 saw lots of new voices. There was a very interesting article on the impact of processing (the stage of extracting the coffee bean from the cherry) on the flavour of coffee by Jamie Treby, while Sam MacCuaig wrote in praise of experimentation in coffee. There was also an interview with Brandon Loper, the director of “A Film About Coffee” which was screened in the UK in November/early December. Having sent Victor Frankowski off to Poland in Issue 10, this time it was the turn of Jamie Waters. He went in the opposite direction to Reykjavik to check out the coffee scene there.
However, it wasn’t all new voices. Old hands Alex and Chloe were back, Alex with an article on the intersection of art and caffeine, while Chloe tackled the latest health fad, that of adding butter and oil to your coffee. Meanwhile, yours truly and the ever-wonderful Amelia got sent to Manchester, a city where the sun always shines, to check out its growing coffee scene. Finally there was a review of hand-grinders ranging in size/price from the humble Rhino (£35), through the offerings from Made by Knock (£130), a limited-edition from Flying Lumberyard (£250) and the mammoth HG-One, which is the size of a serious electric grinder and weighs in at about £600! To find out whether any of these are worth the money, you’ll have to read the article!
Issue 12 contained a major feature on organic coffee by Maja Jaworska, who made her Caffeine Magazine debut. She explored the issues around certification and the challenge of sustaining quality while growing coffee organically. In turn she set a challenge to the speciality coffee industry itself.
Since it was the Christmas issue, there was a very timely feature on Christmas gifts for the coffee-lover in your life (or your favourite coffee blogger, perhaps? It doubles quite nicely as a birthday gift list too). With suggestions on cups, grinders, Christmas blends and books, it featured the likes of Keep Cup, the Feldgrind hand grinder, the Press Coffeehouse subscription service and the latest book from Chris Ward.
Elsewhere Chloe explored cooking with coffee, the dream-team of Alex (words) and Kate (pictures) discovered Fields, the latest addition to Clapham Common, while the other dream team (me and the amazing Amelia) seem to have seen off the competition: while we went to the delightful city of Bath, there were no globe-trotter coffee reporters in sight anywhere in the issue!
You can check out my initial reaction to Caffeine Magazine and its first six issues after the next gallery or go back to the current issues.
I must confess that when I first heard about Caffeine Magazine, I was somewhat sceptical. I really enjoy drinking coffee, I love making coffee and I adore going to coffee shops. But reading about coffee? Not so much. So, when I got my hands on the first issue, I was fully prepared to be underwhelmed and that was with my already low expectations (and, since Caffeine Magazine came out, there have been other such publications which have indeed lived down to my expectations!).
However, Caffeine Magazine was at the other end of the scale. I was blown away. First of all, the quality of production is excellent. It’s the sort of production quality I’d expect (but don’t always get) from a paid publication. The print quality, layout, photography, writing: all top-notch. And that’s before I started writing for it!
The trick with Caffeine Magazine is that it does genuinely seem to have something for everyone with a mix of news and features. There are articles about the technicalities of coffee, brew-method guides, café reviews, travel and background pieces, equipment reviews and neat photo features.
Here’s a quick run-down of the first six issues of Caffeine Magazine, marking its first full year of publication:
The first ever Caffeine Magazine includes features on the Kiwi influence on the London coffee scene, a comparison of various top-end grinders and a review of London coffee shop, the Rapha Cycle Club. However, my favourite was an excellent article on making coffee at home on an equipment budget of £50.
Issue 2 saw the debut of fellow coffee bloggers and (now regular) contributors, Chloe Callow (The Faerietale Foodie) and Alex Stewart (liquidjolt). Despite their excellent contributions (Chloe on the importance of water in brewing coffee and Alex on the impact of coffee shops on their neighbourhoods), I felt a little let down by the second issue. Like the infamous second album, so much energy went into the first issue that it can be a struggle to keep up the momentum into the second. However, it was still an excellent read, with a nice feature on the Aeropress.
Issue 3 banished any doubts that Caffeine Magazine was a flash-in-the-pan and confirmed that Issue 2 was a temporary blimp. Coincidentally (and I do mean that) it also saw my debut… as a photographer! As someone who thinks of himself as a writer who takes the occasional photograph (and is still surprised when people praise my pictures!) I found this deeply ironic… My pictures were used to illustrate a piece on one of my favourite coffee cities, Bristol. It also marked the debut of fellow-blogger and genuine photographer, Kate Beard (A Southern Belle in London). The highlight for me was the cover piece on the much maligned moka pot.
Widely acclaimed (ie not just by me) as the best issue to that point, Issue 4 featured the best cover yet, by Tim Shaw. It marked my debut as a writer with my tour of Edinburgh, as well as the debut of another fellow-blogger and photographer, Giulia Mule (mondomulia). It was also the first time all five of us (me, Chloe, Alex, Kate and Giulia) have appeared in the same issue. Anyway, enough of the self-promotion: Issue 4 had a great brewing-guide for the equally maligned cafetiere, a review of London’s Attendant, the café in an old (disused!) men’s toilet, and a fantastic feature on cupping various espresso blends from micro-roasters.
Issue 5 contained my second full-length feature, a tour of the Brighton coffee scene. It also marked Kate’s debut as a writer (rather than a photographer) with an article on Norwegian coffee legend, Tim Wendelboe. Alex was also back with a review of Dunne Frankowski’s new venture, set in Sharps barber shop in London. There was a piece on a coffee-infused oatmeal stout, a brew guide to the Chemex and a piece on Joyride Coffee in New York.
Issue 6 saw me continuing my visits to the capitals of the British coffee scene, this time with a trip up the East Coast Main Line to Newcastle. Meanwhile, fellow coffee blogger Chloe Callow returned after an issue off with a trip to Paris. Hang on, I get sent to Newcastle, while Chloe goes to Paris… Good job I like Newcastle so much! Kate continued to impress with an excellent article on Bulldog Edition, the collaboration between Ace Hotels and Square Mile in Shoreditch. There was also an article on the tricky art of making (good) espresso at home.
Go back to issues 7-12
So, what are you waiting for? Get out there and grab a copy of Caffeine Magazine, download one or subscribe to the new postal service!
I should point out that this post is entirely my own work and is not in any way endorsed by Caffeine Magazine.
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