Wednesday, July 07, 2010

CC: Flat White

What's does "CC" mean?

Flat White
Location visited: London, UK
Free WiFi ? : yes
6+ [
see key]

How my mouth has watered to try out the coffee of London. To my blessed fortune, I found myself heading there for an extended layover just a few weeks ago and in the months preparing, I made sure to plot an appropriate course of coffee visits (as well as some normal UK tourism).

London has been transforming over the years as a city known for high tea to a city leaping to new heights in coffee quality. Superb operations haven been popping up, World Barista Champions haven taken up residence (and business ventures) within the city and other numerous events have made London a city up and up in coffee development. Much like the San Francisco Bay area and NYC, London is making strides in coffee wonders.

But one unique aspect to the London coffee story that I haven't seen in the States is the influx of Australian and Kiwi (New Zealand) coffee establishments. Operated by skilled baristas, their presence has brought the culture of the flat white to the UK. Appropriately, the Kiwi cafe called Flat White on Berwick St was one of my stops in my short time in London.

Meandering through London town on a Sunday morning, Flat White was one of the few places open. After an English breakfast at the Mediterranean Cafe next store (not a fan of the baked beans personally), I made my way over to Flat White. The cafe is a small venue, with two benches outside and tables bordering the white-and-red interior walls, all with a cozy and chic feel.

The coffee served is from Square Mile Coffee, one of London's premiere coffee roasters gaining recognition not only on their side of the pond, but also all over the US. Flat White sticks to an espresso-based menu, not serving any other method of coffee extraction (no filter, press or siphon).

Given the lack of non-espresso based coffee options, I stuck to simply ordering an espresso, as I usually don't evaluate milk-based drinks since the combo adds more complexity to the evaluation equation (though I'm confident in my ability to decipher quality with my capps). The short-pulled espresso teeming with mahogany-colored crema gave off sweet lemon, sugar, butter, a bit of cinnamon, a hint of caramel, pineapple and held a smooth body with little to no bite. To say the least I thought it was delicious. I believe their tea was assorted free leaf.

Given the difference in culture, I found the espresso still the same lovely beverage I love back home. If you happen to be in the area, definitely give Flat White your patronage.

1 comment:

Owen O'Neill said...

You absolutely MUST visit Penny University if you're still there in London. It's the tiny (six seats) "coffee only" establishment opened by Square Mile. It serves as an educational outlet to show people how they can brew great coffee at home. Three coffees are featured and each done by a different brew method. No cream, no sugar, no syrups, no espresso.... hard core and really worth a visit. Also be sure to visit Gwliym Davies at Prufrock Coffee for a fantastic espresso drink (same neighborhood as Penny University - his kiosk is just inside the entrance of a clothing store called Perfect). I also had great drinks at Kaffein on Great Titchfield Street, but was far less impressed with the offerings at Monmouth Coffee down by Borough Market.