A coffee blogger’s life is a strange one. Imagine the scene: it’s the day before Christmas Eve (Christmas Eve Eve?) and you’ve got no plans. Most coffee shops are either shut or thinking of shutting. Time to put your feet up and relax before the inevitable chaos of the Coffee Spot Awards. Then your phone goes beep. It’s Luke. Do I want to attend a coffee brewing masterclass? In London. Tomorrow. Christmas Eve. Oh, go on then, you silver-tongued devil, you’ve talked me into it.
The particular Luke in question, Luke Pochron, is launching his Brewing Masterclasses, with the first one this Thursday, 28th January. What I attended was a dry run, Luke wanting to put himself through his paces with a “friendly” audience. The location was Doppio Coffee’s Warehouse in Shoreditch, an interesting combination of espresso bar, showroom and workshop on Hanbury Street, a stone’s throw from the likes of Nude Espresso.
I must confess that I approached it with a healthy dose of scepticism, considering myself pretty decent when it came to making filter coffee. An hour or so later, I left with wealth of knowledge and have since taken my coffee making up a notch or two…
I first met Vadim Granovskiy in 2014 at a London Coffee Stops Awards event, where he gave a fascinating presentation on the ibrik, or cezve, as Vadim prefers to call it. A few days later, I had the pleasure of watching Vadim win the Ibrik Competition at the London Coffee Festival, which only confirmed my interest in this unique way of making coffee. So, when I caught up with Vadim at this year’s London Coffee Festival and he offered me a private cezve lesson, I jumped at the chance!
The cezve is an ancient method of making coffee, with more in common with the stove-top moka pot than espresso or modern pour-over methods. My lesson took place one evening in early May and although the focus was the cezve, it wasn’t all about making coffee. We explored the cezve itself and how to look after it, as well going on a journey of taste and perception which was every bit as fascinating as, for example, the Cimbali sensory sessions at this year’s Coffee Festival.
As well as the intensive lesson I had, Vadim also runs introductory workshops for 10-15 people. For more details, take a look at his website www.coffeeinaction.com.
A fortnight ago, I was fortunate enough to be invited to attend a two-hour barista course run by the Department of Coffee and Social Affairs in Broadgate. It was part of a week-long event called Savour Broadgate, designed to highlight the growing number of restaurants and cafés in the Broadgate area.
One thing I really appreciated about the course was just how much the two trainers, Chris and John, enjoyed themselves. These weren’t two guys going through the motions at the end of the long day. They were loving every minute of it, even my annoyingly technical questions. It was clear that they both revelled in sharing their knowledge and love of coffee and their enthusiasm was infectious.
In Part I of this Saturday Supplement, I talked about the theory aspect of the course, which was mixed with practical, hands-on examples. If you want a quick recap, we started by tasting (and understanding the taste of) espresso, before going on to learn about espresso extraction and the importance of tamping. Then, armed with all this knowledge, we were let loose on the espresso machines, first to pull some shots, then to make some flat whites.
A fortnight ago, I was fortunate enough to be invited to attend a two-hour barista course run by the Department of Coffee and Social Affairs in Broadgate, that slightly overlooked part of London just to the north of Liverpool Street Station. The course, one of the Department’s weekly evening barista courses, was part of a week-long event called Savour Broadgate, designed to highlight the growing number of restaurants and cafés in the area, timed to coincide with the opening of Broadgate Circle, home, amongst others, of the latest branch of Beany Green.
The location was the Department’s Liberty of Norton Folgate branch. If that sounds familiar, that’s because until very recently it was known as Liberty of Norton Folgate. The Department of Coffee has always been an interesting chain, each branches having its own name and distinct character. In fact, you’d often struggle to realise that some of the branches were part of the same chain. Until now, that is. The Department of Coffee has decided to brand all nine of its branches “Department of Coffee and Social Affairs”, the name coming from the Department’s very first store on Leather Lane.
Anyway, enough of the background. What about the course?