What other people think

by Reiss Gunson on Wednesday, 28 April 2010 10:57

With the permission of the author we publish verbatim today's feedback:

    From:     R.J. Vriesendorp <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>

    Subject:     Costa Rica from Londinium Espresso

    Date:     27 April 2010 11:40:44 GMT+01:00

    To:     lespresso <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>

Dear Reiss,

Thank you very much for sending the samples of your coffees.

When we opened the box, two samples stood out as more than a little

interesting. the Monsooned Malabar, and the one we're currently cupping,

the Costa Rica SHB. I was a bit anxious to try the latter as espresso,

expecting it to be something like biting a lemon.

To be honest, I'm pleasantly surprised. Obviously, it's roasted a bit

into 2nd click, but it's far from starbucked; only a few visible patches

of oil. Still, it actually has a decent body, it's not the thin brew I

expected. It has a good flavour too; caramel, toasted bread, floral

notes, and something like sultanas (maybe tamarind) underneath. Brewed

at 94.0 C, it's all very nicely balanced, and a good single bean

espresso with a long aftertaste. At lower temps, the acidity is more

pronounced, and the roast notes come out a bit more than I care for.

What puzzles us, however, are the beans themselves. Most Costa Rican

coffees are well screened, and uniform in size. This coffee is very

uneven in size, and it contains a relatively high percentage peaberries,

about 15% by weight, post-roast. Peaberries are rare in the usual Costa

Rican varieties (Typica, Caturra, and Catuai). The flavour profile

doesn't really match those varieties either. So, we're very curious.

What's the story here? From which area is this coffee, and how is it

processed? Is it a blend of coffees from various estates in a that area?

Or is it a single estate coffee, maybe a Bourbon "Miel"?

It wouldn't change our final verdict on the coffee though. We feel it's

a well chosen, and expertly roasted coffee. It has a lot of terroir in

the cup, while still making a great single origin espresso. It's not a

coffee for the large milky brews, but it makes an excellent espresso.

For a Costa Rican, that is impressive.

We're looking forward to tasting the other samples.

Kind regards,

Robert J. Vriesendorp

Editor - Food & beverages, CaffeZine

Mariaplaats 32-B

3511 LL Utrecht

The Netherlands

This is why Olympia espresso machines are the perfect choice for London living

by Reiss Gunson on Tuesday, 27 April 2010 12:00

 These images will provide you with all the ammunition you need to convince your non coffee drinking partner that an Olympia setup will easily fit into your London kitchen, no matter how tight space is.  We think it looks terrific in white too.  Most of the machines we sell are in anthracite (the colour of the base of the machine and grinder shown on the right).  We are ashamed to admit our Olympia workhorses seldom look anything like the showroom condition of this pampered pair.

Shipping rates added for Cyprus

by Reiss Gunson on Monday, 26 April 2010 11:08

Over the weekend a customer asked us for specific shipping rates for Cyprus so we've added them

Wherever you are you can enjoy Londinium coffee

If we don't have a specific shipping rate for your country please ask and we will obtain and add to our website

Kopi Luwak - our thoughts

by Reiss Gunson on Monday, 19 April 2010 08:24

At almost GBP55 a bag is Londiniumâ s Kopi Luwak coffee 11 times better than one of our other roasts? No, we couldn't truthfully say that it is 11 times better.  The point is if you are going to drink Kopi Luwak we would strongly suggest you try Londinium's expression of this most exclusive coffee.

With significant time, effort and money expended on test roasting, and indeed buying Kopi Luwak at some of London's most prestigious retailers, we have no hesitation in asserting that ours is considerably superior.  This is achieved with craftsmanship and freshness (not roasting your Kopi Luwak coffee until we receive your order).

As an espresso, or indeed with a moderate amount of milk, Londinium Kopi Luwak presents itself as a rich caramel, yet with an underlying complexity that has proved to be highly additive as we found ourselves preparing cup after cup.  It needs a good 10 days after roasting (bag unopened) to open out fully as there is an awful lot going on in this coffee, and we have no hesitation in putting our reputation on the line and describing Londinium Kopi Luwak as exceptional.

Londinium also offer three distinct editions (espresso, filter/vacuum, and latte/cappuccino) to take your enjoyment of this coffee to the absolute pinnacle. This is bespoke coffee roasting. Take care to choose the correct edition for your method of preparation as a mismatch will significantly detract from your enjoyment of this coffee.

At Londinium we ensure you receive value for your money, even when you pay almost GBP55 a bag. Thatâ s why Londinium customers return & represent our most significant sales channel by way of referral.

If you are ordering your coffee from an establishment where it is lying around in display cabinets there is a good chance it isnâ t fresh, although we do acknowledge that it looks appealing with its olde world charm.

Start treating your coffee in the manner that you treat your fruit and vegetables; become obsessed with freshness. When you are paying this much for your coffee habit you might like the reassurance that you have acquired the finest example available.

New coffee bar in London: Tapped & Packed

by Reiss Gunson on Sunday, 18 April 2010 06:20

Just back from whiling away a perfectly good sunny saturday afternoon inside the welcoming new coffee bar, Tapped & Packed at 26 Rathbone Place, which runs off the north side of Oxford Street, at the Tottenham Court Road end. Does that name have homo-erotic undertones to anyone else, or are we simply revealing just how puerile we are?

Notwithstanding, we enjoyed our time there with a diverse range of coffee offerings from Union, Square Mile, Climpson (NB: a very good house espresso blend IOHO, with an exceptional lingering aftertaste).

I would highly recommend the espresso, and also the vacuum coffee which is a very rare offering in a commercial environment as they are so labour intensive to prepare & clean up afterwards. I chose the Rwandan coffee from a list of 4 as a vacuum coffee, and while it was carefully prepared I chose poorly & I would suggest you opt for a coffee from the list with a little more brightness in the cup to get the most from the vacuum process. It really is a wonderful way to enjoy coffee.

Tapped & Packed also offer a small, but adequate selection of high quality cakes & croissant to pair with your coffee if you wish. I enjoyed my cheese & ham croissant and a cupcake with coconut icing.

If you are in the area it is certainly worth stopping by if you either appreciate fine coffee, or conversely you require a benchmark to understand what ‘good coffee’ really means. If you think the pinnacle of coffee is Illy your senses are going to be overwhelmed by an orgy of olfactory delight at Tapped & Packed. You have been warned.

Footnote: It is a credit to Tapped & Packed that they are competent in their discipline whilst remaining friendly; none of the slightly distasteful barista arrogance that is creeping into some high end establishments. If you have no prior experience of gourmet coffee, simply walk in the door & ask; they will ably introduce you without intimidation

If you must corrupt our coffee with milk...

by Reiss Gunson on Saturday, 17 April 2010 14:08

… do the honourable thing and use gold top milk. Yes, we know it has a little more fat, but we firmly subscribe to quality over quantity

If you must have cappuccino-flatwhite-latte, then limit it to one a day and do it in style with some gold top milk

The higher fat content will help you steam the milk to produce a textured foam so dense you could walk on it

Skimmed milks have a light papery taste that will only ever produce a mean, synthetic, thin-tasting beverage

Full fat milk from Guernsey & Jersey is also used by establishments like Monmouth Coffee Company for the simple reason that a lot of punters who say they ‘love the coffee’ actually love the full fat creamy taste of the milk. Other places don’t use it because it costs more and suffer as a result.

Londinium are globally competitive in gourmet coffee: price check us now.

by Reiss Gunson on Tuesday, 13 April 2010 09:22

Londinium Espresso supply cafes as far away as New Zealand from London at prices that compete with the gourmet coffee sold locally in New Zealand. Wherever you live price up some Londinium coffee now. If we don’t have an accurate shipping rate for the weight of your goods & your location drop us an email & we will try to build a better rate for your needs.

International shipping rates & destinations

by Reiss Gunson on Sunday, 11 April 2010 04:02

If you are trying to purchase from outside the UK and our website is not providing you with a shipping rate, or the rate quoted is unusually high, or there is not a shipping rate close to the value or weight of the product you are trying to purchase PLEASE bring this to our attention.

We ship worldwide for any combination of products, and as a result we have a large amount of pricing data to maintain.

Our website isn’t as sophisticated as we would like in this regard, so it is a rather labourious process ensuring the shipping price data is complete and accurate for all possible purchases for all possible destinations at all times

Kind regards


Kopi Luwak pricing

by Reiss Gunson on Thursday, 08 April 2010 07:55

When considering from whom you might wish to purchase your Kopi Luwak we would suggest you look for a reputable roaster. It has been suggested that more than 40% of coffee sold as Kopi Luwak is not true to label. Annual production of around 700Kg per annum is quoted, giving an indication of just how rare the genuine Kopi Luwak coffee is.

While we don’t have a laboratory to analyse the composition of our beans, to guarantee that they have in fact been through the body of a civet, we have tried to protect ourselves by using an established international green coffee merchant, placing reliance on their track and trace systems protecting their supply chain, and also the fact that they have a valuable reputation to protect. We are not naive enough to think this provides a cast iron guarantee, but we feel it represents a ‘best efforts endeavour’ to ensure that we are not supplied with counterfeit product. It certainly isn’t coffee from a friend of a friend who knows someone who knows a farmer in Sumatra.

We would also suggest that you adjust the quoted prices to a standard price/100g as many vendors are selling this product in laughably small quantities, 30g in one case. Londinium Kopi Luwak is sold in a 250g (net) weight bag, the same as all our other coffee. Furthermore, don’t even consider buying this coffee pre-ground. It is a fairly delicate coffee to start with; buy it pre ground and it will have all the taste of old saw dust. Expensive, old saw dust.

Kopi Luwak vacuumed

by Reiss Gunson on Thursday, 08 April 2010 06:55

We are very pleased with the results when prepared through the Cona vacuum coffee maker. If you have not yet acquired one of these I would seriously recommend that you do at some point.

Still sold by Cona of Wimbledon, London with the design unchanged since inception circa 1920. You might want to opt for the stove top model as the meths burner edition that we have is certainly not the weapon of choice for that ‘quick coffee before you rush to work’. However as an after supper spectacle where time is less pressing the meths burner is ideal.

In the past we have used a fairly coarse grind and an awful lot of coffee. Realising the economics wouldn’t really work where Kopi Luwak was being deployed we opted to try a fine (espresso) grind & use considerably less coffee. It has the added benefit of not having to alter the espresso setting of the grinder which is always a bonus in our book.

The Cona instruction manual says to follow the 7g a cup standard, although I suspect the envisaged traditional ‘English’ coffee cups of perhaps 100ml, i’m not exactly sure as I dont have one to hand at the moment to measure the internal volume. We tried 8g/cup for 2 × 200ml cups (i.e. 16g in 400mls of water) and found the result was rather weak.

On our second attempt we opted for 50% more, using 24g in 400mls, and it was probably a little on the strong side. 20-22g in 400ml is probably about right for most people’s taste, and if nothing else represents a good starting point so you don’t find yourself wasting copious amounts of Kopi Luwak before you come up with an agreeable cup of coffee.

Unsurprisingly it tastes like a Sumatran coffee, although very smooth & delicate, as it is through the Swissgold process, but the Cona method just elevates the smoothness and sweetness to a completely different level. We also use Volvic water in the Cona to standardise our results as much as possible.