Brighton Coffee

20170727_212841-e1501188168978.jpg

Wednesday saw me being driven 52 miles as the crow flies to our beloved English coast and the city of Brighton. We had a couple of days to kill, Brighton is my girlfriend’s favourite city, and I’d heard of the buzzing coffee scene so we figured why not?

We all know by now that I love a bit of coffee tourism so, after a quick Google, I took note of a couple of cafes and made an effort to visit a nice handful between doing some sight seeing and being dragged around shops.

Cafe Coho

20170720_113028-e1500649087377.jpg

Cafe Coho was first up, mainly because it was the closest to our hotel and 11am is a horrible check out time for people that both love their beds and were up late drinking cocktails. Coho has 3 locations, two of which are actual cafes, but the one we visited was more of a kiosk with a handful of seats. Cafe Coho are running Union’s ‘Revelation’ as their espresso, a four bean blend from Costa Rica, Sumatra, Guatemala, and Rwanda roasted dark to focus on that caramel finish.

Not my favourite coffee but definitely good enough to get me started on the rest of the day.

Marwood Bar & Coffeehouse

Marwood is the definition of quirky. With eccentricities lining all walls including tap water coming out of a mannequin’s junk, and a secret garden to the rear, it makes perfect sense that this cafe won the ‘Most Brighton Venue’ award. Luckily for me, it was also top 3 in ‘Best Coffee’ and top 10 in ‘Dog-Friendly Venue’.

Downstairs is the place to be if you’re with friends and don’t mind a bit of hustle and bustle. Upstairs, however, is a designated quiet space with plenty of power sockets for laptop owners, predominantly students, who want to get a bit of work done.

Marwood are running The Party by The Roasting Party as their espresso known for dark cocoa and dark berry notes which resulted in a delicious piccolo.

My girlfriend opted for a beverage which wasn’t comprised of coffee, a concoction I had never heard of before and so one I must assume was invented by Marwood which they had named ‘Marzipan’. It was made of almond milk, chai, and rooibos tea. Surprisingly tasty.

Bond St Coffee

IMG_20170720_144814_498

Up Bond Street, you’ll find an aptly named specialty coffee shop, and my personal favourite from the trip, Bond St Coffee.

Bond St Coffee serve two espressos and two filter coffees which all change periodically and all coffee is provided by Horsham Coffee Roaster, information on which can be found on the menu. The cafe has a great interior which looks tiny as you step through the door but stretches down a long way but we opted to sit on the benches out front which made for a great people watching spot and our filters, both delicious Kenyan peaberries, were brought out to us served in milk steaming jugs.

Kenyan Peaberry (community lot)
Tasting notes: – Filter: Grapefruit, rhubarb, blackcurrant. Espresso: Treacle, intense blackcurrant
Varietal – SL28, SL34 and small amounts of Ruiru and Batian
Processed – Washed
Location – Nyeri District
Altitude – Small hold farms ranging from 1600-1900m
Now, that’s a lot of information to take in and all of it I was able to find out just by sitting down and drinking. Tasting notes were on the menu, everything else was on the retail bags of coffee surrounding me. You can see that these guys are on a whole other level, to the extent that they only provide sugar if you ask for it, will never steam milk ‘extra hot’ if asked, and won’t grind your beans for you if you buy it online or in store (they do sell grinders if you want to fork out £150 for a baratza encore).
Yes, this was my favourite cafe. I’m a barista, I understand the information and I loved their coffee. But, to the average customer, this is all a bit much. The average consumer doesn’t know what an SL28 is, they don’t know what a washed coffee is, and they definitely won’t know why their drink can’t be made extra hot.
If we want to achieve one thing as baristas/cafe owners/roasters, it’s simply to share. Share experiences, share knowledge, share great tasting coffee. We want to make specialty coffee the most accessible thing in the world so why on Earth would you not grind somebody’s beans for them if they want to take home a piece of greatness? I mean, I know why – it’s so you keep that flavour locked in, but let’s take it one step at a time and assume not all our customers just getting into specialty have a grinder.
The added level of pretentiousness left a bad taste in my mouth.

Small Batch

We couldn’t leave without a trip to Brighton’s Titans, Small Batch Coffee. Small Batch started as micro roasters (hence the name) for the local area and eventually set up their own cafe. They now have 9 locations around the Brighton area including the two main train stations but we ended up at their flagship store on the ground floor of the MyHotel on Jubilee Street.

I have to say, the store was beautiful. Very spacious, loads of seating, and a bar all along the windows, perfect for people watching.

20170720_165909

I was excited as soon as I walked through the door as being greeted by a packed brew bar is a well-known fetish of mine.

So, imagine my surprise, when I ordered a filter coffee and was given batch brew!

Heathens.

Here are some thoughts and questions. You have a brew bar. 4 syphons and a couple of V60s. So why are you wasting your time with batch brew? Why would you assume I’d want batch brew if you have a packed brew bar? Why wouldn’t you want to show off how beautifully your equipment makes coffee?

Don’t tell me it’s for efficiency. How efficient can it be to make batch brew and throw away the coffee you don’t end up using? Compared to weighing out exactly how much coffee you need for a V60, not very.

20170720_170710

Anyway, I was served an Ethiopian which was pretty nice, there were notes of caramel and citrus, but could’ve been better if it was brewed manually.

My girlfriend had a latte which was tasty and she was proud of being able to pick out those citrus flavours.

I was very happy to see my friends from Karma Cola being served. I say friends, I admire them from a distance. You may have seen them at the London Coffee Festival. They make very tasty drinks like cola, lemonade, and ginger beer, all with organic ingredients under the ‘Drink no evil’ motto.

A motto I can certainly get behind.

All in all, I wasn’t disappointed with my coffee selection in Brighton. I know there are definitely some other great places that I didn’t get to see so perhaps a second trip is on the cards soon enough.

I’d definitely recommending Bond St Coffee, the choice they had would have changed by the time you’re reading this. Have a look in Marwood as well if you want something quirky, and Small Batch if you’re in the area. Maybe I ordered wrong and you won’t get batch brew.

 

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s