Breaking the Fourth Wall

In the beginning of the 19th century, coffee became a major commodity. A convenient, packaged and ready to go product meant that it gradually came into the public's perception. Later, soldiers battling in WW2 used it for the marketed caffeine ‘pick-me-up’. Taste and quality are sacrificed for convenience. This was the First Wave of coffee.

In came homogeneity. There was an improved focus on consistency and quality. The ‘experience’ of coffee is crafted, especially by big chain stores selling you their cup of comfort with caramel and whipped cream on top. Factions are created where ideas on consistency and quality differ, perhaps ingraining the first seeds of coffee snobbery. The Second Wave of coffee began in the 1960s.

The 1990s brought an artisanal movement. Trish Rothgeb, the first person to separate these coffee movements into waves said “The third wave is, in many ways, a reaction. It is just as much a reply to bad coffee as it is a movement toward good coffee.” We became connoisseurs of coffee. Speciality coffee was a phrase gaining even more momentum. Knowledge and understanding of how to manipulate and isolate specific variables in coffee meant we knew what product we were creating. We knew why it tasted so good. Or perhaps, we began to want to know why.


I use the word ‘we’ perhaps in an incorrect way. ‘We’ is the coffee community, a specialist group of baristas, roasters, green bean buyers and trainers. There are associations called the Specialty Coffee Association of Europe (SCAE) and Speciality Coffee Association of America (SCAA) which are the main bodies which hold all this coffee wisdom. The people who get the finished product, the customer, I would argue are not privy to most of this knowledge. I think rightly so, it wouldn't be specialist if everyone was exposed to this. But I think we need to be more willing to part with this information to the regular coffee consumer.

I believe, right now in the coffee community, we have never been more informed about coffee.

As a Barista I actively study and train to gain certificates from the SCAE focusing on specific disciplines as a Barista, working towards a diploma. It helps me enrich my passion in coffee but also quantify and qualify everything I do within it. I believe within the coffee world, we bear witness to a fascinating dance between rigid science and limitless art. We have gone from creating experiences in the shop to creating experiences in the cup .... but do the people we make it for know that?

I think there are three main barriers to why we don't share our specialist knowledge with customers.

1) Pretension: There is a strong fear of becoming condescending towards a customer. No employee wants to feel they are inadvertently admonishing a customer's understanding of coffee. Certain specialist trades can have a tendency to feel superior (honestly, i’m trying my best to be accessible in my writing!) A truism lies within this worry. Recently I took part in a latte art competition where one contender plugged his earphones into some heavy dance music and self indulgently bobbed his head whilst showcasing his flourishes with his jug pouring. After finishing his design, he lurched over his competitor trying to unhinge him. The struggle is real.

No self aware barista wants to alienate our customer, so sometimes, we don't say anything.

2) Environment: There needs to be an open format created where barista and customer can interact. This of course means knowing when to interact too. As a Barista, you are not going to explain the solid to liquid yield ratio to a customer in the middle of a morning rush. Unless you want to be punched in the face.

3) Opportunity: You have to WANT to share your knowledge. The best customers for this are the regulars where certain formalities have been eroded and you can engage in a personal way.

This will inevitably put us all on our toes, creating a better informed coffee demographic which can ultimately challenge all coffee culture from the big names to the independents.

Many more people have a personal passion for coffee, with home espresso machines, pour overs and grinders. The thirst for coffee is parallel for the thirst for information. But I don't think you have to be a coffee creature to be interested.

My parents are definitely from generation Nescafe. That is their point of call for a coffee experience. If the boat is really pushed out, my Dad will create a traditional stove top espresso.

But these strong, dark flavours were their only reference. In came their youngest son with an unconventional passion. Each day they ask me a plethora of questions and respond in increased amazement at the answers:

“ A coffee that tastes like blueberries?!”

“ I would have never thought coffee would grow in the Congo!”

“The milk tastes sweet?!”

A few years ago I wouldn't even have considered where coffee grew at all. I had no interest in it.

My point is you do not know the wonderful things that can happen if you expose people to this knowledge. I fear we have jumped a long way in the last century and some people have fallen into the void.

If you are a cafe that prides itself in specialty coffee then I think that should overarch into specialty service too. It shouldn't just stop when the coffee is delivered but extend beyond that.

It can be as simple as offering tasters of different products or an alternative to a customer's order. If someone has a latte, offer them to taste the espresso that is the base of their drink. You could create time slots in your cafe where you showcase the basics of making an espresso or crafting a pour over. There can be sessions focusing on milk texturing and the magic of latte art which is fun and engaging for all ages. But also, we have the responsibility to encourage an open mind within education of technique and practise we do it like this here but other places may do it differently (with reasons explained if possible).

Perhaps this is a big ask. Speciality coffee is somewhat a new science but how we relate this to our customers is in its infancy stages. But we need to break that fourth wall between customers and employees. If there is a Fourth and Final wave, let it be that.

In the new year CWTCH are planning to have ‘coffee lover’ sessions themed on specific subjects to inform and open up the baristas world to those passionate about coffee.

Coffee Countdown - the full list ...

As you may know, we have been recently running a social media campaign where we prepare a coffee a certain traditional way for different countries.

So you can see what we have in store we have shared the ingredients /process with you below and we would love it if you could join in on the fun!

If you are adventurous enough to create one of these drinks at home, please take a picture tag @cwtchoyr and #cwtchcountrycoffee ,with your name, what day/drink it is and you will win a free coffee the next time you come into the kiosk!

After the 24th of December the competition shall close.

The recipes should be followed step by step in numerical order - good luck!!

Joe 

Day One: America Cafe Breve

1) 1 Double Espresso

2) 200ml semi skimmed milk mixed with double cream, steamed

0.5 Parts Milk Froth

Day Two: America Cafe Tobio

1) 1 Part Espresso

2) 1 Part Filter coffee

(equal parts)

Day Three: Italy Espresso Romano

1) 1 Double Espresso

2) 1 Slice of Lemon! ( maybe add a bit of zest too)

Day Four: Spain Cafe Con Miel

1) 1 Tbsp of honey

2) 1 Double Espresso

3) 200ml Steamed Milk

Cinnamon on top

Day Five: Portugal Mazagran

1) 1 Double Espresso

2) 200ml Cold Water

3) 2 Ice Cubes

4) Lemon Juice

Day Six: Germany Eiskaffee

1) 1.5 Tbsp Instant Coffee mixed with hot water

2) 2 Scoops of Ice Cream

3) Whipped Cream and Chocolate Chips

Day Seven: Germany Pharisaer

1) 1 Long Black (200ml)

2) 2 Shots of Rum

3) 1 Tsp of brown sugar

4) Whipped Cream

Day Eight: Austria Wiener Melange

1) 1 Double Espresso

2) 1 Egg Yolk (!)

3) 2 Tsp of brown sugar

4) Whipped Cream

Day Nine: Austria Vienna Coffee

1) 1 Double Espresso

2) Whipped Cream

Day Ten: Vietnam Ca Phe Sua Da

1) 15g ground coffee

2) 2 Tbsp of condensed milk

3) 160ml boiling water

4) Ice Cubes

Day Eleven: Hong Kong Yuanyang

1) 100ml Black Coffee

2) 100ml Black Tea

3) 2 Tbsp Condensed Milk

Day Twelve: Mexico Cafe de Olla

1) 1 Tbsp ground coffee

2) 1.5 Tbsp brown sugar

3) 200ml hot water

4) 1 Cinnamon Stick

Day Thirteen: Senegal Cafe Touba

1) 12g Ground Coffee with hot water

2) 1 Teaspoon of Sugar

3) Black Pepper

Day Fourteen: India Indian Filter Coffee

1) 2 Tsp of ground coffee

2) 175ml Hot Water

3) 100ml Steamed milk

4) 1 Tsp Sugar

Day Fourteen: Turkey Turkish Coffee

1) 12g Ground Coffee

2) 200ml Water

3) 1 Cardamom Pod

Day Fifteen: Malaysia Kopi Susu Panas

1) 2 Tbsp Condensed Milk

2) 12g of ground coffee(with hot water)

Day Sixteen: Ireland Irish Coffee

1) 1 Long Black (200ml)

2) 2 Shots of Irish Whiskey

3) 1 Tbsp of brown sugar

4) Whipped Cream

Day Seventeen: Germany Latte Macchiato

1) 200ml Frothed milk

2) 1 Double Espresso (pour the espresso on top of the milk)

Day Eighteen: Finland Kaffeost

1) Cut Cheese into small parts and place in the bottom of the cup

2) 250ml Americano poured on top

Each the cheese after with a spoon...

Day Nineteen: Spain Cafe Bombon

1) 1 Tbsp Condensed milk

2) 1 Double Espresso poured on top

Day Twenty: MoroccoCafe De epices

1) 13 g of ground coffee

2) Mix with ground seaseme seeds, black pepper and nutmeg.

3) Add 200ml hot water to brew

Day Twenty-one: Brazil Cafezinho

1) 200ml hot water with Sugar Syrup

2) Add 12g of Ground Coffee

3) Pour mixture through v60 filter

Day Twenty-two: France Cafe Au Lait

1) 1 Double Espresso (60ml)

2) 1 Part Steamed milk

(Should be equal parts)

Day Twenty-three: Argentina Cafe Lagrima

1) 200ml of steamed milk

2) A ‘Teardrop’ of coffee added.

Day Twenty-four: Vietnam Egg Coffee

1) Beat two egg yolks with half a teaspoon of condenced milk, honey and vanilla syrup

2) Pour into cup

3) Add Americano on top...

The Coffee Country (Xmas) Countdown

If you read our blogs you will know Joe really loves exploring the world of coffee. In this case "world" being the important word.

He has put a weird and wonderful list of coffee creations from all over the planet - they are all real drinks and all include coffee (just not as we know it). 

There is the Wiener Melange from Austria which includes egg yolk to the Kaffeost from Finland with cheese - yes CHEESE!! 

Each day up until we close up for Christmas we will be making up the drinks and getting the brave souls passing by to try it. You will get a free coffee for you toils!!

Keep an eye on our Instagram account for more details and the daily brew:

 

Oh - and I am sure I saw a recipe with 2 shots of Rum too ...

Line up if you dare.

Pete

CWTCH

 

 

Joe's Coffee Crusade PT II

---------------->>>>> CONTINUED

I had read in many magazines the high standards of coffee in Copenhagen and how they are at the forefront of speciality coffee. With some basic research I had discovered the top ten best coffee shops to visit in there, with a little help from my friend Peter, we picked the three best ones we wanted to visit in the list in case we couldn't visit all ten! The initial shop was called Kent Kaffee Laboratorium.


Upon entering your eyes are drawn to the menagerie of brewing equipment, the beautiful simplicity of these coffee chemistry sets meant we were in heaven. We had a mission though, I was to try the cold brew coffee as it something i've been making myself and I like to compare and contrast. Peter tried the Syphon coffee, a Scandinavian speciality which is basically a vacuum coffee maker that brews coffee using two different
chambers. Both were, needless to say, tasty and well designed. The cold brew had no bitterness whatsoever and had a chocolatey finish. The Syphon coffee was so clean tasting but had a lot of fruitiness and flavour packed in. This was a regular trend we found in any type of pour over or filter coffee made in these coffee shops, as they were brewed correctly, the clarity and purity of the coffee was spectacular. We had to inquire about how long the owner had been in the coffee business, to our surprise he had only said 4 1/2 years. One comment he said was that he had been very much into wines before and many of the skills
were transferable to coffee yet coffee had a extra characteristic which made him enjoy it more, the ability to play around with the finished product and experiment with how it is made. That explained all his equipment.


Next stop was the Risteriet Coffee Shop which had a rustic, cosy feel about it. There were secondhand pictures on the wall, paint was cracking in the corners of the room and the espresso bar was a quaint little
area designed for 2 Baristas at a push. Half of the shop was dedicated to retail, there were top quality grinders, french presses and even a mini roaster for £2000! Beans were on sale in different sized packages
with hand written labels on them. All those things that make a Barista warm inside. The coffee menu had a few items between us we hadn't heard of, Peter ordered a Black Eye or sometimes called a bullseye, which
is filter coffee with a double espresso shot added. There’s pickmeups
and then there PICKMEUPS!

 

In need of a Black Eye ........

In need of a Black Eye ........

 

 


I had a modest double espresso. I think this may have been the best double espresso I have ever had. It was incredibly well balanced with fruity, chocolaty and caramel flavours and such an intense creme on top. I think it was more of a ristretto than an espresso but I wasn't complaining, it was outstanding. I realised i've never had a good espresso whenever I have ordered them at a restaurant or cafe. This is why I usually go for an Americano for safety. Copenahgen showed me that good espressos do exist. Thank you Copenhagen.. By the way, the black eye was excellent too, one would think it would taste incredibly dark and bitter, but the filter was fresh and light and added with the espresso it was interesting concoction to try. I think out of all the
coffee shops this one made me feel the most comfortable, that I could sit in their for hours and feel like it was another home. There wasn't any pretense or snobbery, just good coffee.


The last stop was the Copenhagen Coffee Lab, with 15 mins to try their coffee before they closed, it was a slight rush but still a strong experience. We ordered a v60 pourover coffee and I had an Americano. I knew the v60 would take a while to make but the Barista seemed to be very content to make it. He actually served our coffees at our table on a wooden slab and explained where the beans of the v60 were from (kenya) and my Americano (Rwanda) which I was uplifted by as I really do enjoy Rwandan coffee. This coffee shop had a familiar look to many in london, the chipboard shelves and wooden decor dominating the shop, yet again it had the calm, relaxed feel. It felt it was designed for people who wanted an experience rather than commodity coffee.


I like to think I have some experience in tasting good and bad coffee and I am not easily convinced. Every coffee we had in Copenhagen was very well crafted, time and effort had gone into every process. The owners had control where their beans came from or even roasted themselves.In comparison with London, I still dont think we are riding that third wave yet, it made me feel that we are still slighlty behind. Even coffee
shops that are advertising themselves as places that sell great tasting coffee have an element about them that caves into customers that want a caffeine injection,which I think makes the place feels hollow when that
clientele isn't there. I am not naive ever to the fact that coffee is a huge million pound market and that coffee shops are still a business, but I like to think that people open these places with ideas other than making
money. I think London cafes and coffee shops are disproportionate in quality and standards. I know that the standards in Copenhagen and Scandinavia are very high, they have always been a big coffee drinking area so it wasn't hard for them to adapt and develop quickly or start to become leaders in the world. There are such a large proportion of Scandinavian World Barista Champions as evidence. As standards are so high in Copenhagen it means you already have to offer the same as everyone else at that high standard just to be relevant. I think those standards and that pressure has created a wonderful culture that is offering great coffee experiences for people. The Barista in the Copehagen Coffee Lab told me of a coffee shop, a fairly
standard chain, that uses the pulp and cherries that are taken off in the processing of the beans and makes them into a carbonated soda. I was told this was fairly standard here.


So how do we achieve this in London? Education, we need to educate our customers and engage with them about the coffee and create an experience from them. It should be the same reason you go to different
restaurants and try different food from around the world. It shouldn't just be to fill a hole, surely?

I feel we are at the cusp of that change. At CWTCH people come because they want good tasting coffee, they don't want to settle for an inferior experience. People can taste the passion and incremental focus that Baristas put into how they craft a coffee for them and they are thirsty to know more. The third wave needs the support of its customers and we need to connect with them so that the coffee world isn't just an exclusive club of Baristas and roasters, twiddling their digital scales and perfecting their tamping technique.

The crusade is never over...

Thank you,
Joe

Joe's Coffee Crusade

At the beginning of this year, I planned a trip to visit the World of Coffee Festival in Gothenburg along with researching the reputable coffee shops in Copenhagen. A mission to find out what the best of the best was doing and how coffee culture is different from what I have experienced in London. Additionally, it was just another excuse to drink lots of coffee and be a bit geeky, try and spot some World Barista Champions and maybe even speak to one…

Up at 6am, the train ride to Gothenburg was three hours long, a pleasant journey enough witnessing the fertile lands of Sweden, but if a three hour train journey doesn't put you in the mood for coffee I don't know what will. A quick jump on the tram to our destination promised the festival would be right outside. But as we jumped out we found ourselves in a complex intersection of trams and traffic, lost and perplexed. Then suddenly the clouds parted (a tram moved out of the way) and revealed the obelisk that was the Swedish Exhibition & Congress Centre, the hub of jittery dreams.
I was expecting queues of eager hipsters and coffee aficionados, yet I saw a gathering of rather somber business men. Thankfully, the festival wasn't packed to the rafters of people which i've experienced in the London Coffee Festival, therefore I knew I could take my time and actually see everything I wanted to see and not have to jostle for space.

A quick coffee just to get ready for ... more coffee!

A quick coffee just to get ready for ... more coffee!

My first aim was the BWT+More water kiosk. Considering how water is a huge factor in coffee I wanted to see the latest experiments, inventions and ideas surrounding this concept as I have only recently started researching it myself. Prolific World Barista Champion Sasa Sestic, and esteemed Baristas Eva gefvert Nordell and Per Nordell were present displaying how vital water is in the extraction and flavours of coffee. This was the main reason I had homed in on the kiosk to experience this knowledge myself and partake in the activities. I was immediately rebuffed by a slick businessman who did inform me greatly on all the filtration devices that they sell and what they do. The phrase blinded by science came to mind slightly and my eyes were always drifting to the World famous Baristas wanting to absorb their knowledge. I would return.


Walking around the festival, it was easy to just act on impulse and wander to a stall or kiosk that looked interesting. Of course, I had some key places I wanted to go to but I didn't want to have too much tunnel vision. I thought it was refreshing how welcoming people were, they genuinely wanted to connect to other people and not just flog a product. The festival was a true kernel of creativity, a place where anyone could have a dialogue and share their knowledge. What brought everyone together was the true passion for excellence and that human trait of curiosity, wanting to probe deeper and find other avenues to explore. Some of the best conversations I had wasn't even to do with coffee but with the perceptions of Sweden in London or subjects such as becoming a trainer and how to impart knowledge. This wasn't a commercial pit.

3, 2, 1 and its Take Off

3, 2, 1 and its Take Off

Perhaps you are thinking, thats all very nice Joe but was the coffee good?! Yes, it was. Very. I have been to a few coffee festivals and one thing that surprised me was the lack of quality coffee or the absence of it altogether. At the WOC festival I tried a plethora of blends and coffee brewed in different ways. I tried filter coffee from Taiwan and Korea, Cold Drip coffee from Idonesia and coffee by Nordic Roaster Tim Wendelboe. I tried all this coffee in a very short space of time, which lead me to feel as if I was moving at 100mph and everything had slowed down. I found myself moving from stall to stall like the road-runner, only stopping for more top ups of quality brewed coffee.

Then I returned to the BWT+More water Kiosk to take part in the cupping experiment. There were 4 cups of coffee made the exactly the same way apart from the type of water used. Two were from different parts of  Malmö, and the others were from Copenhagen and Gothenburg. Each produced different results. The harder the water meant it extracted more bitter properties from the coffee, even though it was a fairly light roast it made it taste darker. The softer water meant there were higher notes of fruitiness and citrus in the coffee. The self regulating part of me wanted to immediately discuss my results with one of the top Baristas Eva Gefvert Nordell so that I could confirm to myself that I had at least trained my palate somewhat accurately. I am happy to say that both our results corresponded with each other. At the kiosk I also tried the water from different filtration devices, some were standard carbon filters and others were magnesium enriched. Each had its own different mouth feel and specific taste. My favourite was the carbonated magnesium enriched water, which I filled up a whole bottle with so that I could use it to cleanse my palate between coffee tastings. Also, it meant that any time an exhibitor was in the paramount stages of explaining what his/her product was I would often spray them with water as I opened up my bottle!

My coffee pilgrimage did not stop what I left the festival, as it was just the beginning of my coffee crusade.

The crusade goes on and on ....

The crusade goes on and on ....


TO BE CONTINUED >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

A little list of things and a half-baked promise ...

So ... blog writing has not had a very good run here over the last few weeks - I should be honest and say months really.

However, I find myself with a spare 45mins (so forgive spelling/grammar) and have set myself the task of putting together a little list of things, which have kept us from getting these things, down on virtual paper. Each of these things probably need their own blog at some point but here are the headlines:

We have launched a lunch menu at the kiosk. Same principle of free range / well sourced ingredients made to order but a bit less bacon and egg. We are taking things slowly to get it all right but will be growing this over the next few months so Wandsworth can get its hands on a decent meal when a hangover is just not an excuse to visit.

David and Joe entered their first latte art "smack down". Basically, lots of baristas in a room competing to draw the best pattern in espresso with micro foam (not easy when under the spot light). It is taken very seriously by some and pitted against the eventual winner in one heat, no trophy was brought back to HQ. However, they return as CWTCH heroes and live to fight another day - watch this space for more competitions in the future!!

We launched our new CWTCH app for testing. It helps you collect loyalty stamps, pay for coffee without a wallet and pre-order your coffee without needing to queue (or even be at the kiosk in fact). If you would like to help us test it out, have an iPhone 5 or higher and would like a free coffee let me know (comments or twitter etc) and I will get you a link sent over. Hopefully we will be ready to put it in the app store soon.

I DID not choose the cover photo!!

I DID not choose the cover photo!!

We also launched our new "Mr Whippy" style ice cream made with our own all natural recipe. It is a noisy process but the fresh churning makes it very very tasty (you can watch a short video on FB). Our own caramel and raspberry sauce tops it off. Now all we need is a bloody Summer!!

Food photographers probably not quaking it their boots ........

Food photographers probably not quaking it their boots ........

 

Joe and the team have spent the last couple of months developing a Cold Brew coffee - made by brewing our filter coffee in cold water over 15 hours. It's delicious and might not be what you expect after such a long brew time. They also managed to knock up a first class iced loose leaf tea too. All serving at a kiosk near you (thats is if you live/work in SW18, of course).

Oh, and some summer espresso drinks, new menu boards, visit to a couple of coffee festivals (Joe is away in Gothenburg as I write - expect a blog soon) and we wheeled out our 'good old' lever machine at the Furzedown Festival.

See what I mean by busy??

Oh yes, the half-baked promise ... I will make the second part of 2015 a far more bloggy affair!!

Have a great weekend!!

Pete

Some like it hot .....

..... some like is warm. Some even like it from a goat or a coconut. But most of you like it the traditional way, from a cow, added to an espresso.
Milk is such a vital part in the creation in all our wonderful coffee drinks but maybe not everyone knows why. Like anything in the coffee world, there is a certain level of alchemy involved which mixes science with creativity. And no ... I’m not just speaking about latte art.

Joe's Indian looks very happy to be sitting in the coffee .....

Joe's Indian looks very happy to be sitting in the coffee .....

Milk is formed of many fats and proteins but there is one key ingredient in milk that unlocks a beautiful combination with coffee: Lactose. Lactose is the type of sugar that is present in milk which to be fair isn’t that sweet. On a relative scale, if sucrose is about 100 in sweetness then lactose would only fall at a paling 16. Yet when we Baristas steam the milk, we increase the amount of lactose that is dissolved into the milk, increasing its perceived sweetness. The magic is complete.

There is one snag here, the temperature to achieve this transformation is usually between 63-70℃. This probably isn't the temperature many people are used to getting at the high street coffee chains. The reason we steam it to order at this temperature is because we want you to truly have the best coffee experience you have had. We believe that each component to your coffee should have the same level of enthusiasm, care and attention to detail. Its almost like a cocktail, we add all these different elements together to create an exceptional finished product. It isn’t just a case of pressing a button and steaming some milk.
 

Of course, I am always happy to make the coffee again from scratch and a little (or much) hotter if required. I would never heat it up in the microwave or put my steamer in your cappuccino and make it hotter, which has been suggested. This is because you have paid for a product and it should be your version of that product. I always try to steam it on the upper end of the Lactose scale anyway, (at 70℃) because somedays it is very cold, sometimes people want their coffee to last longer and sometimes people will want to pop to the shop quickly before they pick up their coffee and I believe you should always try to preempt these things. I am no coffee puritan or snob so its important to accommodate the person you are serving because at the end of the day, thats what we are there for.

..... although the bird not so much.

..... although the bird not so much.

However, I often wonder if people had their coffee between this recommended temperature would they add so much sugar to it? Microfoamed, sweet milk is such a delight to drink. Everything compliments each other so well, because I can assure you, a great coffee shop will choose a blend of coffee beans to accompany the taste when milk is introduced. If the milk is hotter than usual the sweetness will be lost meaning you will need to add sugar to reach that same taste. The same goes for skimmed milk. Many components of the milk are removed therefore it won't taste the same as steamed whole milk. It will not have that same level of sugar content/fat (which of course is usually the reason many people drink skimmed milk). But once in a while the whole milk treat can’t hurt, right?


If you want something that can be very hot and still naturally sweet then maybe lactose-free milk is the one for you. An enzyme called Lactase is added to the milk which breaks down the lactose into two simple sugars which taste actually sweeter on your tongue! But as this is a highly processed milk, its removes a lot of the subtle flavours you can get in regular milk. Problem not completely solved.


Thankfully at CWTCH, we have customers who are curious about their coffee and we have an open discussion with them. I would say its always good to cultivate an open, gentle atmosphere where you can share thoughts with your customers and not hold onto information (there is no Baristas magic circle). That way, maybe, people will start to experience even greater quality and strive for it. So the day of KFC buckets of milk and coffee may start to see their last light.

*I believe milk is a very important part of coffee and needs to be addressed, so this is why I wrote this article because I do not see much of this information being available in a comprehensive, clear way. Its also a high-5 to any Barista who was told their milk wasn't hot enough and a peice of them died inside.

Joe Dennis*

Filter Coffee - the bitter truth part I

 

We launched filter coffee a few months after our CWTCH kiosk at Wandsworth Town. This was something we could never do under our tent and we were excited about it. As usual we use some great coffee from MOZZO: for a while this was a single estate coffee from Colombia but currently there is a little (20%) of coffee from Rwanda mixed in to give it a little more acidity. 

Our magic beans from Mozzo ....

Our magic beans from Mozzo ....

I have to be honest - we do not sell very much filter coffee and I have spent much time trying to work out why (other than marketing - which is  a 'business hat' that often gets left getting dusty in the corner, while we are brewing coffee or cooking bacon). I thought I might share my views and possibly sign up a few espresso defectors along the way?

The way we drink our coffee is different in each country. In America filter coffee is very popular, in Italy it is all about espresso and in the UK we drink instant coffee. I know, I know - us Brits have had a huge uptake in cafe culture over the last few years and we are getting to know lots more about coffee - but instant counted for 77% of the coffee we drank at home last year* (vs 7% in the US and 1% in Italy). I am not an instant coffee hater and it has its time and place but it simply is a completely different product to a quality filtered coffee - just as much as they both are to an espresso coffee. Espresso makes the difference very clear with its steam and its noise and its pretty patterns in the milk and I wonder if the subtle gurgling and pouring of our bulk brewed filter means it is just, well, a little 'out muscled' by its Italian cousin.

However, lets not write off filter quite yet. Quiet - yes - but as is often the case with the unassuming it can also be complex and interesting when you get to know it. Espresso is super concentrate coffee and often goes with a mixer (water or milk) - a little like a cocktail. Filter coffee is blended with the water over time. Drunk black you get a clear taste of the region and processing method of the coffee - a little more like a wine. Sometimes you want the showmanship of a cocktail and sometimes you want the story telling of a wine - where you can connect to the place and people that it originated from. I think as we continue down our coffee adventure in this country, filter coffee will have a huge part to play in teaching us more about the provence and journey of the product (which is the really fun part of coffee). Also, as it is really easy to make at home - it may tip the balance away from the convenient but monotonous instant coffee we drink so much of.

As I mentioned, we 'bulk brew' our filter coffee at CWTCH using an American made BUNN brewer (they are the experts). It is a very clever machine indeed, and pours and pulses over the coffee in exactly the way we ask it to and puts it all in to an efficient urn that keeps it at the perfect temperature for up to two hours (although we make it fresh every 50 mins or so). We understand it does not look as sexy as pouring from a kettle over a filter paper or pushed through an aeropress - but the coffee that comes out is super consistent and super tasty (and around 5-6 mins quicker when you order it!!). Most importantly we grind the coffee fresh for each batch - just as we do with espresso. This makes sure we don't release the flavour in the beans till the last second - meaning we get as much of it in the cup as possible.

Lastly I have wondered about peoples perception of the "coffee kick" we are all looking for from our cup in the morning. When we started with filter we asked all our Americano and Long Black drinkers if they wanted to try the filter.  A few people mentioned the strength - this new filter drink was not going to give the caffeine hit they required in the morning from their espresso. However, as it is brewed for longer and so has more time to extract caffeine - a cup of filter has more caffeine than espresso, so it packs the required wake up punch in the morning and some.

I am not sure what the conclusion is after all this - is filter not strong enough, not sexy enough or just not enough of a showman? Or is it just taking its time to come out of its shell and show us what a great way of enjoying coffee it can be? In any case - I am a big filter fan and I promise here and now to do this product some justice over the next few weeks (even dusting off the marketing hat if I can find the thing). 

 

Have a great weekend

 

Pete from CWTCH 

 

*http://www.mintel.com

Freddies Soup Kitchen!

Hello,

Some of you may have noticed that we have recently added a soup of the day option to the menu at CWTCH. Perfect for these frosty winters mornings and lunchtimes! It is also a healthy alternative to our very tasty but a little bit naughty breakfast baps, if you are trying to cut down on your fat intake this year. 

My girlfriend Jordan is trying to reduce her carb intake, so to keep her motivated and just because I like a bit of a challenge I decided to attempt to make some low-carb dishes that would keep both of us happy!

I had never made a soup before and I think this one turned out pretty well!

HOW TO MAKE IT ...

To start I heat some olive oil in a pan and add chopped onions, garlic and celery. Leave them to cook and soften for about 8 mins then add a good amount of turmeric and cumin. Cook for another 2 mins until it starts to smell amazing!

While this is going on you can be peeling a sweet potato and chopping into roughly 1cm thick slices. Also quarter 5 or 6 large tomatoes. Make about 1L of veg or chicken stock, then throw it all in with the sweet potato, tomatoes and 320 g of red lentils. Give it a good stir so that the potatoes are covered, bring to the boil then turn the heat down and leave it to simmer for about 25 mins.
At this point I realised I had a lonely courgette lying around, so I quickly sliced that up and threw it in! 


I like to throw a good tablespoon of chilli flakes in towards to end to add a bit of heat, but make it as spicy as you like! Add a large handful of spinach and mix in so that it wilts. Then, blend up in a food processor, I like mine to have a combination of different textures, so whizz up a third very smooth, then the next third not so smooth then leave the last part quite chunky!

Top with some fresh coriander and serve, et voila! Be sure to check back for more of my adventures in the kitchen!

Freddie x 

NOTES ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Freddie is a CWTCH veteran and has worked with us since our days under a marquee. He is full of beans (usually the coffee variety) and can geek about coffee with the best of them. He studies sound engineering and also DJ's on request. His enthusiasm is infectious and it was no surprise he was the first to put his hand up and write a CWTCH blog - I think its great!!

Free range pigs may fly

In 2006, when a farmer from Nottinghamshire dropped 20kg of costly free range bacon on my doorstep, I felt like I had made a big mistake. Firstly, our piddly domestic fridge was not big enough to fit hardly any of the bacon in - I had no idea how much 20kg actually was when I said "yes lets do it". We ( you will notice "I" has turned to "we" - Leah, my wife and Trick, our flatmate at the time, were dragged in to the whole debacle pretty quickly) set about filling cool boxes with bags of ice - visiting every corner shop in a 2 mile radius in the process. I was monitoring the temperature of the bacon every two hours as the ice slowly returned to water, before one of us went running out to get more ice from the next shop: 

"you must be having a big party at home tonight, Sir"

"urrmm, not quite".

The next day I had to get up super early, pick up a huge commercial fridge, load in all the bacon, find a decent bakery, buy some 'tommy k' and 'hp sauce', get up again super early on the Friday morning, pick up some fresh rolls, lift an impossibly large gas cooker on to the station forecourt, light the cooker in the dark and finally start cooking the bacon that had been causing me so much hardship (phew). All this - not knowing if anyone wanted the rather more expensive [than your average] free range bacon rolls I had almost inadvertently started selling.

Originally I had not planned on any of this. My concept was selling freshly squeezed juice and oaty breakfasts, which were popular in sunny California, Sydney and the likes. Although people loved the concept, in slightly grey, damp and cold Wandsworth - in the middle of November - a Birchers muesli was just not cutting the mustard. Our grilled free range breakfast buns grew in popularity as we helped clean up pre-weekend hangovers in the local offices and hand out tasty treats to all braving the winter cold. It turned out people loved the idea of a simple bacon or sausage bun, made with fabulous free range pork - and the extra cost was fine as long as the quality stayed high.

A few years later, a change in petrol prices meant our original farm were no longer delivering to London, so we went on the hunt for a new pig farmer (as you do). The last time I was not even looking for bacon and 20kg ended up in my front room - so how hard could it be to find a new supplier?

Quite hard as it turned out. The reason being free range pork only accounted for around 1%-2% of British Pigs at the time - and not much more now we guess. The methods of looking after free range pigs are much more costly to a farmer, which means the meat is far more costly to buy. On top of this, the message about free range pork has not taken off in the same way it has for free range chicken meaning the demand is not as high as it could/should be. 

A free range pig ..... well she certainly looks happy!

A free range pig ..... well she certainly looks happy!

There are many ways of labelling pork in terms of welfare, which makes it all quite confusing. Simply, 'free range' means the pigs have constant access to outdoor space while they are being reared and this just feels right to us. I have added some interesting links about this below.

After lots of bacon and sausage tasting (it's hard but someone has to do it) we finally found a family run farm in Devon producing free range meats ... and they delivered to London!! The applewood smoked bacon was incredible and the sausages were coarse and actually tasted of pork - this sounds a little silly but it turns out not many sausages do. Have a flick through their web site for a little more about their farm - Devon Rose.

Free range is not a stamp of quality - its just about how the pigs are reared but when the farm has spent so much effort looking after animals properly you nearly always find they continue the effort into production. By buying free range pork we don't just get an ethical benefit but we ensure we get the quality our cwtchers (see previous post for details) demand. 

Next month, Richard, the owner of Devon Rose will be at our kiosk to chat to everyone about his farm, the weather or anything else on your mind and we will be cooking some sausage samples to munch on while you chat. We will send out more details nearer the time so look out for this in March.

Enjoy your weekend.

Pete from CWTCH

Some further reading about pigs as promised:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-19976691

http://www.npa-uk.org.uk

http://www.porkprovenance.co.uk/productionmethods.asp

 

A visit to Mozzo World

 

A few years ago we went on the hunt for a new 'partner in coffee'. We did not want to just buy some good quality beans but wanted the opportunity to work with a group of like minded people to try to make our coffee experience at CWTCH perfect.

After hunting around London's migration of new shiny roasteries, we found loads of new and interesting coffee but something was missing. I was told I should call up a guy called Grant in Southampton who ran a coffee company called Mozzo. After a visit to their little site on the docks and sinking many, many, many coffees, we knew the search was over. Their perfect blend of unbridled passion for coffee with not even a hint of pretension was just what we were looking for and the coffee they were producing was balanced perfectly and we thought it was delicious.

A few years down the line we have a fantastic, loyal group of cwtchers (just made this up if you are wondering where that label came from) who visit the kiosk to drink the coffee we make in partnership with Mozzo. To keep our coffee just the way cwtchers (see - its catching on now) like it, every new team member gets the chance to go to the roastery and sit down with the aptly named Mozzo Masters. We learn and chat about coffee away from the fast and 'ever so slightly' mad pace of the kiosk environment and try and cover a range of coffee related things: steaming perfect milk for a flat white, debate how many grams of coffee we should use, or learning how coffee was first found by a Ethiopian man and his dancing goats (as legend would have it).

Jordan in a thrilling grinder action shot ....

Last week Freddie, Saskia and Jordan made the trip to meet with the Mozzo Training Master - Danielle (as the job title hints she is a little like a Jedi Knight of coffee). They spent time learning some more of the theory behind brewing a great cup and got to play with all the machines and grinders they have next to their office and above the coffee roaster downstairs.

After this we all get a chance to take a short coffee exam, which, is part of the Speciality Coffee Association of Europe (SCAE) diploma. Danielle is one of only a handful of qualified SCAE trainers in the UK. Although there is no alternative for learning while making coffee at the kiosk, the SCAE course means we make sure everyone at CWTCH has the same structured knowledge to help them make decisions when calculating how best to make your cup of coffee.

As you might expect ... there is also lots and lots of coffee tasting. It can be quite a challenge - we have had some casualties in the past (I have to put my hand up on this one). We tried coffee from Brazil, Columbia, El Salvador, Guatemala, Rwanda and Honduras. Interestingly, also an Indian coffee from the "black sheep of coffee" Robusta bean (the Arabica beans poor cousin). This coffee might start to clear up Robusta's reputation, however, as it has been R graded as a speciality coffee three years in a row. 

If you visit the kiosk this week don't be surprised if you get a little more coffee chat than usual - and don't be afraid to throw out some awkward coffee related questions yourselves too.

The weekend is not far away - so enjoy (if you enjoy a little too much come see us and we will fix it).

Pete from CWTCH

 

a new cwtchy blog ...

Hi,

With New Year resolutions ringing in the ears we are setting out to try and keep a blog of all things happening at cwtch over 2015. Always loved the idea but convinced myself I am too busy cooking bacon/steaming milk to make it happen. However, with our new kiosk bringing a bit of calm to the madness of building a cafe under a tent each day this is no longer a decent excuse.

We will try and make it a good 'with cup of coffee' read and not just about which new cake we have on that week (although I am sure there will be some shameless self promotion through the year). I am hoping to get everyone here at CWTCH to contribute something to the blog.

A few things to look out for over the year:

  • A possible, potential, currently rather vague, exciting new chapter in the CWTCH memoirs 
  • Our 2015 breakfast tour - we take our tent, cooker and espresso machine on a walk about
  • New drinks being added to our menus for the summer
  • And next week - our visit to Mozzo - our roasters in Hampshire, as we embark on getting everyone at CWTCH SCAE certified and fully coffee'd up.

Well thats the start I promised to make - now to try and keep it up for the whole year long!!

Thanks for all the support.

Pete from CWTCH