On the edge of Whitechapel, a stone’s throw from Aldgate and Aldgate East tube stations, stands Treves & Hyde, simultaneously a coffee shop, restaurant and bar, all tucked underneath the Leman Locke apartment hotel. I always thought that the coffee shop part of Treves & Hyde was in a basement, so I rather surprised to find it on the ground floor, with the restaurant on the first floor. I couldn’t tell whether I was disappointed, because I really like basements, or pleasantly surprised, since it’s such a lovely space. Probably both, in equal measure.
However, the real draw (for me, at least) is that Treves & Hyde has the UK’s first Mavam espresso machine (there’s now a second at Tab x Tab in Westbourne Grove). One of the new breed of modular espresso systems, the Mavam’s bulk is hidden, tucked away below the counter, leaving only the group heads and steam wands to rise gracefully from the counter top. This leaves an open, uncluttered counter, in keeping with the coffee shop’s dual purpose of serving beer, wine and cocktails alongside the coffee. For those less geeked-out than me, Treves & Hyde serves Volcano Coffee Works’ Full Steam espresso, along with a decaf from Old Spike Roastery, plus a single-origin on bulk-brew.
Allpress Espresso isn’t just a major roaster in the speciality coffee scene, with roasteries in New Zealand (where it all started in 1986) Australia, Japan and the UK. It also runs its own roastery/cafés, starting (in the UK) with the original roastery/coffee shop on Redchurch Street which opened in September 2010. Redchurch Street’s still going, but only as an espresso bar, the roastery moving out to its new site in Dalston in May 2015. Naturally, there had to be a café attached, which is the subject of today’s Coffee Spot, while the roastery was subject of its own Meet the Roaster feature back in January.
The new roastery/café is huge, with plenty of room for expansion. The main café, which includes a full kitchen, is downstairs on the left, with an even larger upstairs area at the front that opens at the weekend for brunch. There’s also some lovely outside seating options in a large garden in front of the roastery, which is set back from the road. If you’ve come for coffee, there are different options on espresso, pour-over and bulk-brew, while for food, there are full breakfast and lunch menus, as well as mixed plates, sandwiches and cakes.
The subject of today’s Meet the Roaster, Allpress Espresso, is at the opposite end of the scale from Weanie Beans, the roaster we met last week. Allpress can be said to be truly international, with roasteries in New Zealand (where it all started in 1986) Australia, Japan and the UK. It’s also pushing the (self-imposed) boundaries of what I started the Coffee Spot to write about. For me, speciality coffee is all about small-scale, independent operations. On the other hand, Allpress, despite its size, still very much has those qualities at its heart.
Allpress has been in the UK since September 2010, when the original roastery/coffee shop opened on Redchurch Street. Redchurch is still going, but only as an espresso bar, the roastery moving out to its new site in Dalston in May 2015 after four years of continued growth. The new roastery has plenty of room for expansion and includes a full café on site, with an upstairs that opens at the weekend for brunch. During the week, you’ll just have to “squeeze in” downstairs.
The café is the subject of a Coffee Spot in its own right: today we are just looking at the roasting side of the operation.
Nkora is a relatively recent addition to London’s speciality coffee scene, joining the ever-growing crowd in and around the coffee hub of Shoreditch. A cosy spot, it’s bigger than it looks. Although the upstairs is small, with just a window-bar and a few tables, there is also a small back yard and, even better, a basement! This opened a couple of months ago and has two pairs of armchairs, plus a large, communal table.
With a small breakfast/lunch menu and an interesting selection of cake, Nkora’s focus is firmly on the coffee. The main roaster is Union Hand-roasted, which supplies the house-espresso, a single-origin Xejuyu from Guatemala. This is joined on filter by two or three single-origins, usually from Union and a guest roaster. These are available through either the V60 or Aeropress.
That I visited Nkora is largely down to Alexandra (aka AKBoogie on social media) who suggested it and joined me for coffee. Alexandra is perhaps best known (by me, at least!) for her ambitious 365 London Cafés project. You can follow her adventures on twitter and Instagram as she visits a (London) café every day over the period of a year. I told you it was ambitious!
Brooklyn Coffee, on the busy Commercial Street in the heart of Shoreditch, has been around for just over three years. During that time, plenty of people have sung its praises and, while I’ve called in a few times, I’ve never been in a position to write it up for the Coffee Spot. Until a fortnight ago, that is.
Brooklyn Coffee is, as the one-word A-board outside clearly states, all about the coffee. Admittedly, there’s a limited breakfast menu, a reasonable selection of cakes, cookies and pastries, plus beer straight from the fridge, but it’s the coffee, from local roasters, Caravan, that takes centre stage. Not that Brooklyn Coffee aims to dazzle you with variety: there’s one option (blend or single-origin) on espresso, with decaf on the second grinder, while filter drinkers have a single-origin available on bulk-brew. Finally, Caravan’s Special Bru blend makes an appearance for the iced coffee.
Today’s Saturday Short (published, shockingly, on a Wednesday) is something of a rarity (although it would be rarer still if it was actually on a Saturday!). While speciality coffee shops have made great bounds in recent years, speciality coffee in restaurants lags well behind. Lyle’s, on Shoreditch High Street, bucks this trend, plus it’s gone one better with a dedicated coffee bar inside the restaurant, so you can drink great coffee without having to eat as well. Just walk in, grab a stool at the counter to your right, and off you go!
Lyle’s is a multi-roaster, ordering in coffee from around the UK and beyond. The espresso changes every few days, while the filter, which is through the Clever Dripper, changes every week or so, with two different beans available. There’s also decaf. If you want to eat, Lyle’s serves lunch from 12:00 – 14:30 and dinner between 18:00 – 22:00.
I first discovered Modern Society in March when I was invited by roasters, Assembly, to a talk by Maxwell Colonna-Dashwood on speciality coffee in capsules. Modern Society, on Redchurch Street in the heart of Shoreditch, is a life-style store with an excellent coffee bar at the front, one of a growing band of speciality coffee shops sharing space with other businesses. Sometimes the coffee side can be a separate business, although in this case, it’s fully integrated with Modern Society.
The result is a delightful, open, relaxed space, although if you think the coffee bar might be a bolt on or after-thought, think again. Modern Society has gone with cutting-edge roasters, Assembly, and has, to my knowledge, the first complete Modbar installation in the UK, with espresso, steam and pour-over modules. There’s also batch-brew through a Moccamaster.
To go with the excellent coffee, served from a very minimalist/concise menu which eschews names and simply lists sizes (espresso, black, 4oz, 6oz, 8oz), Modern Society also offers loose-leaf tea (prepared using the Modbar’s pour-over module) and a similarly-concise food menu, with breakfast and lunch options, all prepared on the counter, where you can sit and watch what’s going on if you like.
I came across Lanark Coffee when it took over Drink, Shop & Dash (next to King’s Cross Station) in September 2015. Originally, this was only for a trial period, until the end of the year, but the good news is that this was extended for the whole of 2016. To celebrate, I thought I’d call in on the original Lanark on Hackney Road, sticking my head around the door on the last Saturday before Christmas.
Drink, Shop & Dash is pretty small, but Hackney Road is not much bigger. In fact, in terms of floor space, it might even be smaller, but it packs more in, food joining the stripped-back coffee menu of espresso, espresso with milk and individual pour-over through the Chemex. Lanark buys its coffee in small batches of 3-4 kg at a time from (largely) London-based roasters, before moving onto the next one.
Lanark opened in the summer of 2014, the brainchild of Greg and Dom, who split their time between the two sites. However, whenever I’ve been in, I’ve only ever met Greg. Of course, I’m not suggesting that Greg has an imaginary friend, but it does make you wonder…
It’s been well over a year since I ventured into northeast London in search of Terrone & Co and the Irrepressible Edy Piro. Back then, I paid a visit to the Terrone & Co stall at the Village Green Market in Hackney Downs. A few weeks later, Edy, the man behind Terrone & Co, decided to rationalise the number of pop-ups and stalls he was running and the Village Green stall was no more. Hopefully the visit I paid to Terrone & Co’s original venue at Netil Market on the last Saturday before Christmas won’t provide a similar kiss of death…
Occupying a convenient pitch right at the entrance to Netil Market, which is on the south side of Westgate Street, between the railway lines and London Fields, Terrone operates out of an old container (similar to the one that Beany Green uses on the South Bank). Although the operation is strictly takeaway (so bring your own cup), there are a couple of tables should you want to take the weight off your feet and, as well as coffee, Terrone also serves a wide range of spirits from its well-stocked shelves. Beware though: Terrone & Co only opens on Saturdays.
Silhouette joined a growing number of speciality coffee shops and roasters in the Hackney area, opening in February last year. Located just off Mare Street (close to the now-closed and sadly missed Look Mum No Hands!) it’s close to the likes of Climpson and Sons and others at London Fields (with the roastery just around the corner) and Terrone at Netil Market.
Silhouette itself is a delightful little spot, south-facing and on a corner, so it catches the sun, both from the generous windows at the front, as well as from the equally-generous windows along the west-facing side. Inside, the focus is on the coffee, where Silhouette offers both espresso and pour-over (using the Kalita Wave), filling its hoppers with whatever takes the fancy of owners Lee and Syirin (Syirin had just returned from a trip to Berlin, so the shelves held a smattering of bags from the likes of Five Elephant and Concierge (a new one on me).
Silhouette also does loose leaf tea, hot chocolate, cold-pressed juices and smoothies. There’s a menu heavy on toast/bagels, things on toast/bagels and salads. With a nod to Syirin’s Malaysian heritage, Silhouette also runs monthly Malaysian Supper Clubs on a Saturday evening.
October 2016: Some good news and some bad: Lee and Syirin ran a successful Kickstarter to fund a second coffee shop, but in an unexpected twist, the original Silhouette has had to close with immediate effect. It will be sadly missed.