Redemption Roasters has been on my radar since I met the founders at London Coffee Festival way back (or so it now feels) in 2017. Roasting from a facility inside Aylesbury Young Offenders institute, Redemption Roasters offers training in both coffee roasting and barista skills, as well as helping finding ex-offenders find work in the coffee industry. Not long after that meeting, in July 2017, the first (of currently three London-based) Redemption Roasters coffee shop opened on Lamb’s Conduit Street in Bloomsbury, just around the corner from Great Ormond Street Hospital and on the opposite side of the road from old hands, Knockbox Coffee.
The space itself is simple enough, a large, bright, open rectangle with the counter on the right and the bulk of the seating on the left, with some more at the front and outside on the pavement. However, the real draw is the coffee, with the Aylesbury Blend on espresso, pulled through a Slayer Steam espresso machine (one of only a handful in the UK) and four single-origins on pour-over through the V60, one of which is available as batch brew. Naturally all the beans are available for sale in retail bags. There’s also a limited breakfast and lunch offering, with plenty of cakes to tempt you if you’re hungry.
You can read more of my thoughts after the gallery.
I’m rather embarrassed at how long it took me to visit Redemption Roasters, which I’m largely blaming on my ridiculous travel schedule. That I made it at all was largely down to the excellent Doctor Kaffeine who was in town for the weekend and suggested meeting up. I can, at least, take credit for seizing the opportunity when it was presented and suggesting Redemption Roasters.
Redemption Roasters occupies a bright spot on the eastern side of the quiet Lamb’s Conduit Street (caveat, it was Sunday), on the corner with Long Yard. Maybe three times as deep as it is wide, there are three-quarter height windows at the front, with another down the side, resulting in plenty of natural light. Outside, two picnic-style tables with benches flank the central door, while inside there’s a two-person sofa, back to the window, on the right, and a narrow, low window-bar on the left.
The counter is set back on the right, a neat, wooden affair. The right-hand wall between sofa and counter has a set of retail shelves, filled with coffee-making kit and, unsurprisingly, Redemption Roasters’ range of beans. The counter faces the left-hand wall, the cakes on the short side, facing the front. The till comes first along the long side, followed by the two-group Slayer and its grinders, with the batch brewer and pour-over station on a separate area against the wall behind the counter.
The majority of the seating is on the left, three low, two-person tables with chairs occupying the window, followed by two high, two-person tables with stools opposite the counter, before a final, low two-person table with chairs at the back. An open doorway in the back wall gives access to the toilet and kitchens, while against the back wall, under more retail shelves, there’s one more high, two-person table with stools.
Turning to coffee, the Aylesbury Blend is ever-present on espresso, with four seasonal single-origins, which, during my visit, were a Colombian Huila, Ethiopian Yirgacheffe, Kimanthi Kenyan and a Rosa Abad from Ecuador. There’s a simple breakfast menu based around toast (with avocado and/or bacon) with muesli and granola options, plus an equally-simple lunch menu, based around grilled cheese toasties.
I started by sampling the Aylesbury Blend in a really rich, creamy flat white. This has classic nuts and cocoa tasting notes which really showed, the coffee coming strongly through the Estate Dairy milk. I paired this with a late breakfast of avocado on sourdough toast, two slices of toast with a generous topping of smashed avocado, which was really tangy (in a good way), one of the better examples that I’ve had in a while.
When Doctor Kaffeine arrived, we spent a couple of hours chatting over coffee and cake. I managed to sample an espresso and the batch brew, while Dr K had a flat white and batch brew, which she was particularly impressed with, describing it as very clean and floral. We paired all this with a nata each. These were excellent, lovely, flaky pastry going well with the rich, creamy, custard filling.
I also enjoyed the batch brew, the Yirgacheffe, while finding the espresso much as I expected it from the flat white: strong, with a pleasant touch of bitterness, the perfect way to end an afternoon of excellent coffee and good company.
|84B LAMB’S CONDUIT STREET • LONDON • WC1N 3LR|
|www.redemptionroasters.com||+44 (0) 20 7404 1927|
|Monday||07:30 – 17:30||Roaster||Redemption Roasters (espresso + filter)|
|Tuesday||07:30 – 17:30||Seating||Tables, Sofa, Window-Bar; Tables (outside)|
|Wednesday||07:30 – 17:30||Food||Breakfast, Lunch, Cake|
|Thursday||07:30 – 17:30||Service||Order at Counter|
|Friday||07:30 – 17:30||Cards||Amex, Mastercard, Visa|
|Saturday||09:30 – 17:00||Wifi||Free (with code)|
|Sunday||10:00 – 16:00||Power||Limited|
|Chain||Local||Visits||30th September 2018|
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