Fresher than Fortnums!

by Reiss Gunson on Wednesday, 13 May 2009 01:23

Go on, take the Londinium challenge! Buy some Jamaican Blue Mountain (JBM) at Fortnum & Mason and compare it with ours. If ours doesn’t come out on top we will refund you in full. Notice the foaming when the hot water hits the grounds? That is a key indicator of freshness. In our view JBM isn’t really at its best when prepared by the espresso process, but we have clients who beg to differ so we have optimised the roast so it performs as well as can be expected in the espresso process. If you want to experience JBM at its best prepare it with one of our Swissgold filters & sit back to enjoy what is the most perfectly balanced coffee in the world.

I was somewhat disappointed with JBM when I first tried it as I expected it to taste completely different to any other coffee. Then I realised that isn’t what JBM is all about. Sure there are coffees that are more acidic, sweeter, fuller bodied, and so on. What makes JBM famous is the encapsulation of a perfect balance of all those elements and more, in a single origin. If you consider it in this light I think you will be very impressed.

Swissgold KF4 Filter

by Reiss Gunson on Wednesday, 13 May 2009 01:21

The KF4 Swissgold filter, which is designed to replace the paper filter in automatic drip coffee machines, is now in stock. Transform the quality of the coffee that you serve to your clients by acquiring one of these affordable permanent filters (no more frantic trips to the shop just before that important meeting to get some more paper filters! – we’ve all been there). Remember though that even a Swissgold filter will not cause delicious coffee to flow from a dirty machine!

Easter with Londinium Espresso

by Reiss Gunson on Wednesday, 13 May 2009 01:20

It is not too late to order some Londinium coffee to enjoy with your Easter eggs & hot cross buns over the weekend.

Tired of 'consumer grade' junk? Invest in some heavy machinery!

by Reiss Gunson on Wednesday, 13 May 2009 01:20

We have had our Olympia Cremina 2002 espresso machine since January 2005 & have nothing but praise to heap upon it. Yes, it takes a while to master the manual lever machine, but the rewards when they come, will compensate you ten-fold. The funny thing is these machines are priced at about the same level as other ‘top-end’ domestic machines. The difference is the Olympia machines have been built since 1928 and they haven’t succumb to the desires of the cost accountants to strip every ounce of quality out so they just last till the end of the warranty period. On no, not these babies. They represent one of the few remaining products on the planet that are still made the way they were 80 years ago when they started. Don’t just take our word for it; if you scan the web you will find people who have Olympia espresso machines that are still in active service after 30 years or more of regular use, save for replacing the seals every 3 years or so, which all machines demand. And with a manual lever machine there is no electric pump to replace, and no unpleasant noise that all vibrating electric pumps create. Furthermore the machine is very compact, which is critical in most London kitchens where space is at a premium. Use a bottled water with a low dry residue value, and you can look forward to never having to descale your machines – we have never had to in 3 years & there is no trace of limescale on the machine. Finally you will find that the Olympia machines extract subtle nuances from the coffee that few other machines will ever achieve. Yes, the price is high, but we still consider these machines represent value for money. Buy once, buy right. Made in Switzerland near the Italian border & built from heavy chromed bronze & stainless steel & machine screws. If you are considering purchasing one of these machines and have questions, feel free to give us a call.

New at Londinium Espresso this week!

by Reiss Gunson on Wednesday, 13 May 2009 01:19

This week we launch Londinium ‘five stars’, the 5 bag selection of 5 different coffees at a 20% discount. We have also repositioned our starter pack at £50, rather than £100, by swapping out the Isomac grinder for a Krups grinder making the world of fine coffee more accessible than ever before. If you have any coffee questions, please ask.

Single Estate - Rainha Farm Brazilian Yellow Bourbon in stock now!

by Reiss Gunson on Wednesday, 13 May 2009 01:18

Londinium Espresso is pleased to announce the arrival of another exclusive single estate coffee into stock this morning, Brazilian Yellow Bourbon from Rainha Farm estate. It is no secret that we have been disappointed by many Brazilian coffees in the past, so we have gone for the best. The good news is this coffee produces a rich chocolate toned Swissgold filter cup which we were impressed with. But the biggest surprise was yet to come. We made an espresso and we found it stunning. We are currently of the view that it might usurp the No.15 roast as our premier espresso roast – what next! The No.15 still holds its crown as the smoothest & creamiest espresso, but this yellow bourbon will appeal to those who like their espresso to have more weight in the cup, a fuller flavour, whilst not displaying low levels of acidity. We expect this coffee to be a Londinium favourite for a long time.

Java Blawan Estate in stock now!

by Reiss Gunson on Wednesday, 13 May 2009 01:18

Londinium Espresso are pleased to announce that they have received their awaited shipment of single estate coffee (Blawan), from the island of Java. We took a guess as to how dark we should roast this legendary coffee & I’m ashamed to say we blew it. Burnt notes were detectable. Arrgh! We have roasted a fresh batch today which we will rest overnight & try tomorrow, or perhaps Sunday. We have high expectations for this famous, classic coffee.

Jamaican Blue Mountain No.1 Flamstead Estate in stock now!

by Reiss Gunson on Wednesday, 13 May 2009 01:17

Jamaican Blue Mountain No.1 (the highest grade), from the Flamstead Estate has just been booked into stock. Order yours while stocks last.

Entry level grinder: Krups GVGX2-12 Burr Grinder

by Reiss Gunson on Wednesday, 13 May 2009 01:16

If you are contemplating the move to buying whole beans, but do not wish to spend too much on a grinder then the Krups GVX2 might be exactly what you are looking for. No, it is not suitable for espresso as it will not grind the coffee to a uniform size, which will become more noticeable as the burrs wear and become blunt. The container that holds the ground coffee is also susceptible to static charge which will cause the coffee grinds to stick to it. From time to time the beans will also fail to drop down into the grinder, causing it to spin freely at very high speed. But if you do not need to make espresso, and say team it with the Swissgold filter you will still be able to enjoy exquisite Londinium coffee for a very modest outlay. This grinder is sold at John Lewis for £40 last time we checked, and is also available online at Amazon & elsewhere at even lower prices.

Cupping - The correct adjectives to describe what you taste and smell in the cup

by Reiss Gunson on Wednesday, 13 May 2009 00:30

This list needs to be refined, but it provides us with a starting point. What is important in cupping coffee is that the accepted adjectives are used. I am not sure I agree with all of the comments that follow each adjective, but we can edit those in due course. For example, there are various characteristics listed below that are said not to be ‘undesirable’, yet I personally detest them in my coffee. As long as you use the accepted adjectives, I think whether or not a certain characteristic is ‘desirable’ is highly subjective, and largely a matter to be determined by you, the cupper.


  • Animal-like – This odour descriptor is somewhat reminiscent of the smell of animals. It is not a fragrant aroma like musk but has the characteristic odour of wet fur, sweat, leather, hides, or urine. It is not necessarily considered as a negative attribute but is generally used to describe strong notes.
  • Ashy – This odour descriptor is similar to that of an ashtray, the odour of smokers’ fingers or the smell one gets when cleaning out a fireplace. It is not used as a negative attribute. Generally speaking this descriptor is used by the tasters to indicate the degree of roast.
  • Burnt/Smoky – This odour and flavour descriptor is similar to that found in burnt food. The odour is associated with smoke produced when burning wood. This descriptor is frequently used to indicate the degree of roast commonly found by tasters in dark-roasted or oven-roasted coffees.
  • Chemical/Medicinal – This odour descriptor is reminiscent of chemicals, medicines and the smell of hospitals. This term is used to describe coffees having aromas such as rio flavour, chemical residues or highly aromatic coffees which produce large amounts of volatiles.
  • Chocolate-like – This aroma descriptor is reminiscent of the aroma and flavour of cocoa powder and chocolate (including dark chocolate and milk chocolate). It is an aroma that is sometimes referred to as sweet.
  • Caramel – This aroma descriptor is reminiscent of the odour and flavour produced when caramelizing sugar without burning it. Tasters should be cautioned not to use this attribute to describe a burning note.
  • Cereal/Malty/Toastlike – This descriptor includes aromas characteristic of cereal, malt, and toast. It includes scents such as the aroma and flavour of uncooked or roasted grain (including roasted corn, barley or wheat), malt extract and the aroma and flavour of freshly baked bread and freshly made toast. This descriptor has a common denominator, a grain-type aroma. The aromas in this descriptor were grouped together since tasters used these terms interchangeably when evaluating standards of each one.
  • Earthy – The characteristic odour of fresh, wet soil or humus. Sometimes associated with moulds and reminiscent of raw potato flavour, a common flavournote in coffees from Asia.
  • Floral – This aroma descriptor is similar to the fragrance of flowers. It is associated with the slight scent of different types of flowers including honeysuckle, jasmine, dandelion and nettles. It is mainly found when an intense fruity or green aroma is perceived but rarely found having a high intensity by itself.
  • Fruity/Citrus – This aroma is reminiscent of the odour and taste of fruit. The natural aroma of berries is highly associated with this attribute. The perception of high acidity in some coffees is correlated with the citrus characteristic. Tasters should be cautioned not to use this attribute to describe the aroma of unripe or overripe fruit.
  • Grassy/Green/Herbal – This aroma descriptor includes three terms which are associated with odours reminiscent of a freshly mowed lawn, fresh green grass or herbs, green foliage, green beans or unripe fruit.
  • Nutty – This aroma is reminiscent of the odour and flavour of fresh nuts (distinct from rancid nuts) and not of bitter almonds.
  • Rancid/Rotten – This aroma descriptor includes two terms which are associated with odours reminiscent of rancidification and oxidation of several products. Rancid as the main indicator of fat oxidation mainly refers to rancid nuts and rotten is used as an indicator of deteriorated vegetables or non-oily products. Tasters should be cautioned not to apply these descriptors to coffees that have strong notes but no signs of deterioration.
  • Rubber-like – This odour descriptor is characteristic of the smell of hot tyres, rubber bands and rubber stoppers. It is not considered a negative attribute but has a characteristic strong note highly recognisable in some coffees.
  • Spicy – This aroma descriptor is typical of the odour of sweet spices such as cloves, cinnamon and allspice. Tasters are cautioned not to use this term to describe the aroma of savoury spices such as pepper, oregano and Indian spices.
  • Tobacco – This aroma descriptor is reminiscent of the odour and taste of tobacco but should not be used for burnt tobacco.
  • Winey – This terms is used to describe the combined sensation of smell, taste and mouthfeel experiences when drinking wine. It is generally perceived when a strong acidic or fruity note is found. Tasters should be cautioned not to apply this term to a sour or fermented flavour.
  • Woody – This aroma descriptor is reminiscent of the smell of dry wood, an oak barrel, dead wood or cardboard paper.


  • Acidity – A basic taste characterised by the solution of an organic acid. A desirable sharp and pleasing taste particularly strong with certain origins as opposed to an over-fermented sour taste.
  • Bitterness – A primary taste characterised by the solution of caffeine, quinine and certain other alkaloids. This taste is considered desirable up to a certain level and is affected by the degree of roast brewing procedures.
  • Sweetness – This is a basic taste descriptor characterised by solutions of sucrose or fructose which are commonly associated with sweet aroma descriptors such as fruity, chocolate and caramel. It is generally used for describing coffees which are free from off-flavours.
  • Saltiness – A primary taste characterised by a solution of sodium chloride or other salts.
  • Sourness – This basic taste descriptor refers to an excessively sharp, biting and unpleasant flavour (such as vinegar or acetic acid). It is sometimes associated with the aroma of fermented coffee. Tasters should be cautious not to confuse this term with acidity which is generally considered a pleasant and desirable taste in coffee.


  • Body – This attribute descriptor is used to describe the physical properties of the beverage. A strong but pleasant full mouthfeel characteristic as opposed to being thin.
  • To an amateur coffee taster, body can be compared to drinking milk. A heavy body is comparable to whole milk while a light body can be comparable to skim milk.
  • Astringency – The astringent attribute is characteristic of an after-taste sensation consistent with a dry feeling in the mouth, undesirable in coffee.