i need to score a tab of espresso


So, to know me is to know my great fondness for the bean – roasted, finely ground, espressed, milked up. Live it, love it, if it wasn’t illegal, I’d marry it.

And no doubt if you’ve met me, you would have encountered an occasion where you have been fortunate to be in my presence at a time when I am yet again railing against the nation of tea drinkers (where I currently live) who have yet to master the art of a fine espresso. Indeed, in context it’s like ordering a glass of clean-up water from a 2nd grade finger painting glass.

And these chain store proprietors of swill who like to inflate their employee’s ego with the presumptive title of ‘Barista’ do such harm to the title by perpetuating the myth that a baboon with the dexterity of a blind, ham-fisted three toed sloth can pull a decent coffee out of any espresso machine. Actually Sirs, you’d be wrong about that.

A Barista is an artisan. They know that every machine has it’s on perks and quirks, and they play her like a fine cello. They understand the freshness of the roast, the course/fine balance of the grind. They lose all sensation in the palms of their hands from gauging the perfect temperature of the milk without having to stick a thermometre in it.

And you know what! I’ve decided to say no to ranting and raving. (Well, in reality … probably not.) Yes, ladies and gentlemen, instead of telling you what is not possible, I am going to expose you to the glory of all that is here in dirty old London town.

So from this point on, I shall be updating as I find them, those talented artisans who can provide you with the arabica coffee perfection every time. They may be few and far between, but they are there to be found. And glorified.

Let the recommendations commence.

The Espresso Room
Situated in sanitised Russell Square WC1N, I literally was completely lost wandering the streets of London when I almost fell into this boutique coffee house. What a blessing that was. My faith restored in caffeine I try to be a repeat offender whenever I find myself in the area. They even serve tea, for what purpose, I have no idea.

Having a shopping-wander down the Kings Road in Chelsea near Markham Square SW3? Stunning espresso made by even more stunning Italians. Have a doppio (double) espresso and you get all the smooth hit of coffee without any excess bitterness. This is what every budding barista should aspire to be.

Monmouth Coffee
Monmouth Coffee is a staple for the aficionado. These chaps are not frightened to use a unique tasting coffee that really hits the spot. AND they have ‘chained-up’ with three locations around London, in Convent Garden WC2H, and Borough and Bermondsey in SE1. But a word of warning. The Hipster/Wanker crowd can be heard quaffing (loudly) in the background. Be undeterred! The caffeine hit is well worth it.

Box Brownie, Stratford Upon Avon
If, like me, you think that coffee outside of London is worse that the swill that gets serve from the Thames, then you’d be just as wrong. A recent trip to the land of ye olde Shakespeare in Stratford Upon Avon CV37, I found that amongst the Tudor decor can be found the amazing Box Brownie. Great coffee every time from this little boutique cafe. And some great photography on the walls by the barista behind the bar as well!

Ground Support, NYC
Oh, and if you happen to find yourself in New York desperate for a coffee hit that no chain store has the ability to supply, then get yourself downtown to Soho for a little Ground Support. These chaps (both male and female) know their stuff. It’s a little piece of heaven in the concrete jungle. I swear, come the day I move to NYC, it won’t be outside of a three block radius of this place!

More recommendations to come soon!


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