I often mention Twitter in my blog or refer to people I have met through the social network. That’s because Twitter opens a world of opportunities, not only to meet like-minded people (foodies, coffee lovers, photographers), but also taste new foods and discovering little hidden gems, like the Coming Soon Coffee pop-up in Barbican.
Coming Soon is a specialist, experimental Pop-Up Coffee bar absolutely focused on quality and the essence of coffee. A collaboration with Exhibit Galleries, we are offering courses and workshops alongside our careful attention to the craft. Happiness in a cup.
By chance, a couple of weeks ago I started following Hoi Chi Ng on Twitter and shortly after he invited me to visit Coming Soon, so yesterday I walked the short distance from my office in Farringdon and spent an hour tasting espressos and chatting about coffee.
From Tuesday to Friday, Coming Soon operates a limited opening time of 8-9.30am and 1-2pm. It’s tricky for some people to visit at these times, but luckily it works well for me as I work nearby and can pop in before work for a breakfast cappuccino or during breaks for a post-lunch espresso. It’s also open on Saturday from 10am to 4pm, so no excuses!
Coming Soon is located inside Exhibit gallery/studio, a narrow and long space selling books and furniture pieces. There is a big front window where you can sit at the wooden bar looking outside at the busy Goswell Road. The light coming through the café is amazing, even in London on a cloudy day. As a photographer, I am always looking for good light as it makes my job so much easier and the results much better!
Coming Soon uses single origin coffee (ie. with a single known geographical origin) rather than blends of different beans. With single-origins you can understand more about coffee flavours as you get the specific taste of a single farm or country. Traditionally, single origins are used in filter coffee, whereas espresso is made with blends. These are best to achieve the sweetness, aromatics and smoothness desired in espresso. Yesterday I tasted coffee from Coffee Libre El Salvador and Hasbean Bolivian.
Espresso Making for Dummies.
As my experience in coffee-making is very limited to Bialetti Moka, I asked Hoi to explain me the basic steps of how to get a (good) cup of espresso using a spring lever machine like the Bosco.
According to Coffee Research, the way to the perfect espresso starts with a quality blend and light roast that will preserve the aroma and sugars. Then it’s time for the barista to grind the coffee and tamp it. Hoi uses two different grinders and freshly grinds the beans whenever someone orders an espresso and only what is necessary for one shot. This is essential to achieve peak flavours.
The coffee is then tamped, the excess is brushed off and the tamper weighed before locking it in the espresso machine. During the pre-infusion, the hot water from the machine penetrates evenly into the coffee tamper. This stage is followed by the brewing, when the water is released and it falls through the tamper and into the cup.
A long study goes into finding the right extraction time, ie. the time during which the espresso machine lever is pulled down. In the modern electric machines, you simply press a button to start the water and the extraction time is pre-set. In the Bosco machine, as it is fully manual, you need to pull down the lever (putting extra care not to let it go and hit your chin!) and hold it down until you’ve extracted the right amount of coffee. For example, to make a ristretto you will choose a short extraction time as you want to get a short espresso with a stronger taste.
Sorry for getting a bit technical there, but I find it’s important to understand how much work goes behind a cup of espresso. I never used to put any attention in this or think that a barista requires so much study and training! It makes me appreciate coffee even more!
I love these photos from Coming Soon as they represent the warm and welcoming atmosphere of the place! If you are a coffee lover, you should definitely come here!