Alpress Espresso Flat White
The London Coffee Festival is on at the Old Truman Brewery this weekend, I ran down in my lunch break today to see what caffeinated fun was on offer DEAR GOD LEARN FROM MY MISTAKES.

1. There is no such thing as too much coffee

Seriously I am a coffee drinking machine, I laugh at this puny coffee festival. I am the master of the bean FLAT WHITE ME BABY.

2. Yes there are a lot of hipsters at a coffee festival, but also just a lot of normal people that like coffee too

Even though the London Coffee Festival was in Shoreditch not everyone there had a beard. I even put away my Python-esque beard that I normally wear out in hipster areas of London. I would go as far as to say there were people there today who were just Londoners who liked coffee. There were even tea stands there for people who don’t like coffee…but we don’t talk about those weirdos.

3. There are some new style coffee roasters out there who are not at all snobby

Assembly Coffee Roasters

I met Rory from Assembly coffee and I might or might not have fallen in love with him. I mean I told him that I was after his espresso, but actually that was my way of proposing marriage (seriously Rory, tweet me #iloveyou). Anyway Assembly coffee is a roaster without the snobbery, it is a cafe collective that allows the drinker to discover the flavours for themselves. The cool blend logos give hints to what flavours you could pick up in the beans (yellow for lemon etc), but at the end of the day if you like it, drink it.

4. There are coffee roasters outside London

Freehand Coffee Roasters

The name caught my eye, the artwork drew me in, the coffee made me stay. Freehand coffee is a roaster from Cornwall (apparently this is outside Zone 1???) that only launched YESTERDAY. I know, brave guys starting their business amongst the stiff competition of the London Coffee Festival. The coffee was super smooth and is one I will be keeping my eye out for.

5. I still feel sad 5 hours later that I missed Timberyard

Timberyard is a weekend favorite of mine, and I was looking out for them. When I discovered after I left that they had been serving boozy salted caramel affogatos a solitary tear rolled down my cheek. Those affogatos are my magic trick for making a depressed weekend come right, and adding booze? My god it might have been better than kittens. Any chance of this making an appearance at your cafes Timberyard gods?

6. I can be bribed.

Fields Cafe Bribe

A strange man came up to me and offered me a bribe. I turned it down because I am a totally ethical blogger (lies I 100% took it and it was for a kick ass coffee at Fields).

7. When confronted by a flat white sized Keep Cup the answer is yes

phoenix_sx_368x438

How the hell did I become the sort of person who has TWO Keep Cups. I might have had about four coffees by this point and as soon as I saw they had a special flat white (6oz) cup it just had to be mine. Apologies to everyone nearby who hears me yell Ermahgerd FLAT WHITE at the top of my caffeinated lungs.

8. Some people don’t understand Instagram

Not kidding, when I asked one roaster (who shall remain nameless) if I could take a picture of their coffee they looked really confused and asked “why?”. Ummm I don’t know maybe because it was the press/industry day at the festival and bloggers like photos? The reason it remains nameless wasn’t because of the photo thing…it was because the coffee was just meh.

9. There is such a thing as too much coffee

Turns out that having 6 shots of coffee in an hour while on your lunch break is TOO MUCH COFFEE. For the rest of the afternoon I was typing at the speed of sound but all it said was COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE

Mondays Cafe Auckland
Sometimes you want healthy. I mean don’t get me wrong it still has to be tasty as fuck, but healthy none the less. After a week of indulgence (my parents were showering me with love in the form of food) I needed to consume something that wasn’t full of sugar, carbs or alcohol*. Here however formed the dilemma, I wanted guilt free but I still wanted the café vibe. Enter Mondays.

Mondays Cafe

Hidden down a driveway in Kingsland (hidden being the operative work, you have to be Sherlock to find it) is Mondays, a wholefood café that specialises in raw, vegan and simply delicious food. It is the darling creation of Eleanor the brains behind the Petite Kitchen blog and the cookbook of the same name. I actually went to primary school with Eleanor, and am glad that the old Mums network that keeps an eye on all the people you went to school with is alive and well; after all it led me to Mondays!

I went for a chia seed parfait (black chia seeds, coconut cream, vanilla bean and fruit) and my Mum went with the papaya boat filled with paleo granola. Mum was shocked beyond belief that hers was actually served in half a papaya. NB: for anyone who lives outside NZ fruits like papaya are redonkulously expensive. It was lovely sitting out in the sunshine with Mum, feeling angelic for eating this healthy food as we planned a trip to a vineyard.

Mondays Wholefood coffee

This was also the ultimate in ‘oh my god bloggers are such a pain in the ass’ experience for Mum. Now, all bloggers know that bright direct sunshine is not ideal for food pictures. The light reflects weirdly and shadows creep over the food when you try to take an overhead shot. Not wanting to be too much of a bother I attempted to take a couple of photos but was dissatisfied with the results. I put my camera away giving up on the blog post, but Mum took that moment to get all… efficient.

Mondays Wholefoods Papaya Boat

Picking up two plates and a coffee she marched MARCHED from the small garden where we were sitting around to the front of the building. Picking another table (out of the direct sun) she put the food down and looked at me. Seeing the ‘hurry up I want to drink my coffee’ look on her face I took photos as fast as I could. Imagine how much better my blog would be if I lived with Mum full time…

 

*of course, if you asked my parents they would say that travelling with me is like traveling with a misbehaving 3 year old who demands ice-cream every ten minutes…

Orphans Kitchen Brunch

Because what is a trip to Auckland without a serious amount of brunch? Two highlights for me were Orphans Kitchen in Ponsonby and Dear Jervois on Jervois Road, both suggested by my big sister. As mentioned before in New Zealand it’s not about just getting the poached eggs right, its all about brunch innovation. I genuinely can’t think of a café in London that even comes close to matching these two in the innovation stakes. I think you could say that Duck and Waffle et al are comparable food wise, but they are high concept restaurants, these Auckland beauties are just humble cafes. Humble cafes that kick the London offering to the curb.

Orphans Kitchen

My visit to Orphans Kitchen got off to a sunny and entertaining start. The table next to us was obviously a group of old friends, but when the waiter went over to take their order there was a shriek and hugs all around. Turns out one of the group had just come back from overseas, but instead of a normal off the plane welcome had decided to pose as a waiter in Orphans Kitchen to surprise them, super cute.

Brunch at Orphans Kitchen Auckland

The food here was tricky, I honestly couldn’t find anything I wanted on the menu. Talk about innovation, there was no easy ‘poached eggs with bacon’ offering here, and I just couldn’t picture the end product from what was on the menu. But getting hangry I let my sister choose for me, and by gods it was good. Mum went for the breakfast panna cotta with kiwifruit and buffalo milk (why had no one thought of a breakfast panna cotta before?!?!), my sister for the black rice pudding with tamarillo, blood orange, and banana (above) and chosen for me was the  roasted avocado with bacon, feijoa and vine tomatoes…heaven.

Dear Jervois

Dear Jervois brunch

Dear Jervois was an interesting one, I LOVED it and my parents had the opposite view. It was all down to how busy it was. In London I am 100% used to battling the crowds to get to food, and while I refuse to wait for brunch I find sitting cheek by jowl totally normal. My parents however are used to the kiwi luxury of a more peaceful spaced out brunch, which is not what you get at the very popular Dear Jervois.

Dear Jervois sage fried eggs

But as always the food is most important. Well maybe not the coffee is important to and we had to send back the first round because they were cold. Eh. Anyway the food was yum, the highlight for me was the sage fried eggs that just did something stratospheric to my taste buds. I would have married those eggs if I could. And the interior was beautiful, for those who did have to wait they wrote their names in a chalk pen on the tiled wall. Love.

Oh and the second round of coffee was AMAZING.

Dear Jervois coffee

Good One Cafe

This might sound a bit hippy dippy, but I truly believe in having a solar system of friends. Imagine that you are the centre of your own universe (come on, as a Gen Y you should have NO problem with this). All throughout your life you will have people orbiting, some will be a constant always within reach, others will be heartbreakingly close for a short time before continuing on their own journey. This might be more obvious for expats reading this, but its also very true as people start to get married and have kids. It may feel like you have lost them, but actually life might just be waiting until your orbits come into alignment again. I told you it was a bit hippy right? But if Kim Kardashian has taught me anything, in 2015 being a bit hippy is in.

Good One Cafe flat white

One of the shining stars in my universe is my friend Kylie who I only talk to through complete serendipity once a year. We went to high school together but were in different circles and didn’t have much time for each other. That was until one bizarre moment when we decided to run for school council together under the slogan of ‘vote blond’. Amazing right?

Good One Coffee Supreme Auckland

Since then we have been soul sisters. Together we have been through some serious up and downs, and throughout it all have just understood each other. Now she is living in Australia and is a midwife that has delivered close to 1,000 babies – I in comparison dropped a bowl of cornflakes on my foot last night as I attempted to make them for dinner. #fail

We are both useless at staying in touch. Yes we follow each other on Facebook so keep up with the major plot points in each others lives, but regular skypes/letters/texts just don’t seem to factor in our brains. And yet for the last two years we have happened through pure coincidence to meet up in New Zealand, our trips overlapping by a day and its like we have never been apart.

Good One Auckland Supreme

We met up at Good One coffee (amazing café by the way) and spent three hours catching up on those bits of our lives that weren’t major Facebook status making plot points. We moved from one coffee, to two, from smashed avocado to Little and Friday doughnuts. For that one café visit we didn’t live in different countries, we were back in Auckland just like nothing had ever changed. Well, I say nothing had ever changed, we are both happier than ever finally starting to live the lives we want. The conversations we have now on our yearly orbital collision are full of hope.

And the café? I can’t help but have a place in my heart for somewhere that a) serves Little and Friday doughnuts, and b) doesn’t kick out two girls who have been chatting for three hours. An absolute gem.

Runawaykiwi

Roll up roll up, time for some new London coffee spots. Since it’s summer I have been craving iced coffee, and thankfully with the two cafes I have for you today they rock at the iced latte. Important point to note on this, an iced coffee is not a horrendous concoction full of cream and flavoured syrups (can we all finally recognise that a chain store frappe is just a fancy milkshake???), its just a damn good coffee over ice.

On with the show..

Store Street Espresso – 40 Store St, London WC1E 7D

 

Store Street Espresso

I do seriously love that Store Street Espresso is on Store Street, even if I did look like a complete munter when I asked a friend “what street is that on again?”. Unusually for a London cafe they actually have seating for a fair few people, which is good since their coffee can draw a crowd.

Store Street have a counter of food (they stock Crosstown Doughnuts!) and also have a small breakfast menu to order from (think more toast and muesli not full English and pancakes). I went for the Aussie classic smashed avocado on toast, and was relieved to see that it was just plain avocado. Of the cafes in London offering smashed avocado on toast most pre-mix sweet chilli or the like into it, tipping a healthy snack into dubious territory.

Anyway I digress, Store Street is a cool little cafe with bangin coffee and the perfect space to gossip with friend or crack out your laptop and get blogging.

 

Exmouth Coffee Company – 83 Whitechapel High Street E1 7QX 

Exmoth Market Cafe

I have been going to this cafe pretty much the entire time I have been in London, so while it doesn’t exactly qualify at new I have only just found out what its called. I’m not kidding on this one, there is no sign outside and for two years I have been telling people its the cafe next to the Whitechapel Gallery – turns out it is called the Exmouth Coffee Company.

The coffee is consistently fabulous but the real draw here is the food, their counter is piled high with freshly baked treats, salads, and quiches. I am always a sucker for their flat bread sandwiches (in the picture above) because they are simple but full of flavour. Oh and the treats, lets just say that one of the options is essentially a Damian Hurst but with pecans and caramel instead of a shark in formaldehyde.

Like Store Street, these guys have enough seating to actually sit and enjoy the food & they have the magical ingredient that is free wifi.

xx