On Thursday evening, I was fortunate enough to be invited to Leyas to attend the launch of Coffee Break Delirium, a display of artwork by the wonderful Timothy Shaw which will be hanging in Leyas for the rest of the month. The event also doubled as a launch for Assembly, the new roasters/coffee collaboration, who over two new coffees for us to try. Leyas, as part of its regular roaster rotation, will be switching over to Assembly this month, so you can try the coffee first-hand if you want.
You may have come across the work of Tim when he graced the cover of Issue 4 of Caffeine Magazine (which some still consider to the best front cover). He also drew the amazing illustration on the counter at White Mulberries, while his work has graced several other coffee shops.
Assembly, which launched at this year’s London Coffee Festival, is a collaboration between the roaster Volcano Coffee Works and various leading figures in the coffee industry. Assembly was represented by Michael, who I knew from his time with Dunne Frankowski at Sharps, and Nick, who does all the quality testing. They had with them two new coffees from Kenya and Nicaragua.
You can read more of my thoughts after the gallery.
Typically it was the evening of the second-warmest day of the year when around 50 people descended on the basement of Leyas for the launch party, although given how hot it was, several people sensibly decamped upstairs (which, purely coincidentally, I’m sure, was where the beer was). The downstairs had been cleared of most of the usual tables to allow more space to view Tim’s work, which had been hung on the walls the previous day. For those that don’t know, Leyas’ basement now doubles as an art gallery, with a different artist on show each month.
The first artist, Charlotte Whitehead, was in residence during June, while Tim’s work will grace Leyas’ walls during July, going by the name “Coffee Break Delirium”. This is very apt, since Tim’s work has always had a certain delirium-inspiring (inducing?) surreal nature to it. I would try to describe Tim’s work, but I wouldn’t do a very good job. I’ve always thought that if you can describe a work of art in words, then the artist really didn’t need to go to the trouble of creating it in the first place… All I will say is that Tim’s work is coffee-inspired and is best seen rather than described, so take a look at the gallery, head over to Tim’s website, Imagine Illustration, or get down to Leyas to see it in person!
Tim was in attendance and, while we’d crossed paths many times on twitter, it was the first time we’d met face-to-face, so it was good to catch up. Tim also works as a barista at Curators Coffee (although in the original Studio rather than the Gallery which I normally frequent), so there were lots of staff from Curators there too. I also caught up with fellow coffee-blogger Phil Wain, who had his famous Coffee Slut t-shirt designed by Tim. Finally, I met Henry, the man behind the prolific Perfect Daily Grind blog, which publishes even more frequently than I do!
The other part of the evening saw us trying two new coffees from Assembly. Working with some major figures in the coffee industry, Assembly brings a new approach to the coffee world, which includes using images rather than words to describe its coffee on its packaging. For more information about Assembly’s innovative and collaborative approach, check out the Assembly website which explains it far better than I ever will!
The two coffees were a washed Kenyan Kamwangi AA and a natural Nicaraguan El Ortez. This wasn’t a coffee cupping, more of a chance for us to taste the coffees and get a feel for them. I tried them blind and found the first one really interesting, well-balanced and very drinkable. The second was much fruitier and brighter, and much less to my taste. I guessed that this was the Kenyan, since I’ve always struggled with Kenyans.
Naturally, I got it wrong! The Kenyan was actually the first one, which really surprised me, although after discussing it with Nick, I suspect that the processing was a factor. The Nicaraguan is naturally-processed, which highlights the fruity notes, while the Kenyan was a washed coffee, the washing process tending to produce a more subdued coffee.
If you want to try the coffees for yourself, pop into Leyas, where Assembly’s just gone into the hoppers.
|20 CAMDEN HIGH STREET • LONDON • NW1 0JH|
|Monday||07:30 – 18:00||Roaster||Guests (espresso + filter)|
|Tuesday||07:30 – 18:00||Seating||Tables, Sofas, Comfy Chairs|
|Wednesday||07:30 – 18:00||Food||Breakfast, Lunch, Brunch, Cake|
|Thursday||07:30 – 18:00||Service||Order at Counter|
|Friday||07:30 – 18:00||Cards||Mastercard, Visa, Amex|
|Saturday||09:00 – 18:00||Wifi||Free (with code)|
|Sunday||09:00 – 18:00||Power||Limited|
|Chain||Local||Visits||2nd July 2015|
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