16th November 2011

The Italian division of Grazia Magazine came in today taking few snaps and having a quick chat as part of a feature …which was another a nice surprise! And it’s also nice when Italians enjoy the espresso, as they did, especially because it’s not so much ‘Italian style espresso’, in the strictest sense, so I’m often unsure how it will be received, even when I’m happy with it.

Winter Hoard 2011 is on. Such an exciting espresso blend.

A somewhat unsettling week coffee-wise at times so far though, but a great day today, and I’m reminded that ’tis the season to be …restful. With a little helping hand to accelerate things, the window finally opened up, and we enter that period where the coffee shines its brightest, and the light starts flooding in from here until it begins to close again! I am making careful moves, as always, to try to compensate for seasonal influences, and keep this window open as long as possible, and as often as possible, much as it ever tries to be ephemeral.

Few days in London last week, and visited a few cafes on the outer reaches of the radar – didn’t make special trips out of the way this time, just tried places on the list that were fairly near wherever we happened to be at the time, so was expecting more mixed results. Tapped and Packed (Tottenham Court Road), London Review Book Shop, Wild and Wood, and Beas St Pauls. Also arrived at the church on Fleet Street on Saturday …only to realise Flat Cap aren’t there Saturdays! Tapped and Packed was a particular highlight.

New members of the team continue to progress really well, at various differing levels, and it’s great to see the time invested in training (not to mention the raw materials expended), beginning to pay off, as folks concentrate on developing the techniques, and they move forward with guided practice, and begin to prepare drinks for customers, after those first few weeks. It’s a stickler though, trying to convey the many differentiating features of artisan coffee (balancing the need to generate the understanding, without saying too much), when it’s all new to people, and when the interest isn’t necessarily there… Often, sadly, it’s even clear that there’s the impression that the whole concept is just something I’ve cooked-up to make things sound good! Which is a shame. Only to be expected though, especially in this setting, and all part of the job. Usually, in fact, it takes many months before things start to click, and baristas actually begin to get a more sincere impression and appreciation of the craft, and what they’re working with. Then things can really take-off, potentially. Some never get that far of course, there’s often the plateau… but to be fair to us all, that plateau’s still pretty high, and it’s easy to forget just how far everyone’s come …but with coffee, we can always go further!

I’m currently sampling and shortlisting the new coffees for the latest up-coming seasonal coffees for french press menu for the plan, to appear soon. I decided we had to go the extra mile, and will be including a fantastic Kenyan coffee as part of this!

Also, I’m considering another mod to the ol’ Anfim…

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