Time to stop and smell the coffee! At least till the roses wake up.
So this is what I tell people: I’m not a coffee person (I would, however, replace water with tea if it not for the small issue of that arrangement likely wrecking my body), but I really like Monmouth coffee. The other day I said this to my boss (I work in a coffee shop) with all the doe-eyed honesty of a, er, 22 year old, and he snapped back in a fit of what I figured was burning jealousy: ‘What so good about it?!’. He’s cool though. So I thought about it, and finally managed to put all my feels into two words: very fragrant. Wow. Much eloquent. I know.
So anyway, my adorable dad is in town and he knows his coffee, so I decided that together we should battle the crowds at Covent Garden and have him a Monmouth. I’d actually never been to the one on Monmouth Street (in Seven Dials), only to the one at the entrance of Borough Market. The queues there always seem to be pretty outrageous, though. I should probably admit at this stage that, being the Singaporean I am, I equate long queues with quality fare, and sometimes this works in some sort of psychological manner to make it such that when I see a long queue, stuff immediately tastes better. But, I shall be impartial and fair in my TGR, of course. *er*
If for some odd reason you live in London but have never been to the Seven Dials area, you probably should since it’s a rather pretty corner, and (this is my theory) because there are so many small alleyways, the terrifying hoards of tourists that generally congregate to shuffle in infuriatingly small steps around the Leicester Square / Covent G area somehow dissipate and distribute, and it’s alot more quiet here. You get a nice selection of both indie boutique stores and the usual high street stuff, like Superdry and American Apparel. This area reminds me of New York’s Soho area, which is not good because I’m still desperately trying to put New York and its charms from my mind before I do something rash (read: purchase ticket, fly across the pond).
So! Monmouth. This store is much smaller than the one at Borough, and mighty tight inside, so your best move is probably to buy takeaway. Anyway, it’s London. Who has time to sit down for a coffee, right? Art students, that’s who. Ha ha ha. Ha.
Coffee first, please. Put that brownie DOWN.
I realise that man is unflatteringly scratching his nose in this picture. Gee. Let’s hope he never reads this.
Normally I get a filter coffee with a dash of milk, but today I decided to try a flat white, and my dad had a black filter coffee. Both were £2.50. That’s a little bit pricey for the amount you get (there’s only one size for everything), but I think the quality makes up for it.
child-sized cup still packs a punch! *hya!*
Flat White with what looks like a scientifically accurate heart on top.
Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not every picky about what the barista decides to do with my foam. It’s just that being a newbie barista myself whose best efforts still culminate in (at best) a blob of foam atop my drinks, it was quite heartening to see that even Monmouth doesn’t always draw masterpieces on their coffees. Phew.
Black filter coffee for pops!
Now, taste. It’s very savoury coffee. Of course that’s partly because neither of us took sugar in our coffees, but also there is a sourish flavour to the coffee that pushes it toward savoury. It’s not pungent, or overly bitter, as some coffees can be. Even drank black it’s incredibly balanced and smooth. But it is rather sourish, in a delicious sort of way. Kind of how sourdough is sour. You get? It’s a wonderful flavour without being so overwhelming as to hang around on your tongue for too long; you kinda want to swirl the liquid around in your mouth before you swallow.
Anyway, because my dad is better with his coffees and is far more eloquent than I am, here is what he had to say about it:
‘Smooth and full bodied, with a hint of wood and tobacco and a savoury ending.’
I was like tobacco?? but apparently those are words that you also can use to describe wine, and, I don’t know about you, but that sentence just sounds very gourmet to me. I like. Classy feels.
Gourmet Teo! The source of my artistic and writing inclinations. #genes
Also, it’s a fun sight just to watch how the filter coffee is done.
All together now: ‘Ooh …’
So those fancy little cups on top are not normal cups. The baristas line the inside with filter paper, put the beans in, swirl in hot water, and the coffee drips out from the bottom into those jugs. Mighty cool, really. Also very fancy.
Me thinks: Very tasty coffee, flavourful without being overpowering or unwelcomely bitter. Smooth and balanced, it’s a great drink whether you get the filter coffees or one of the milk drinks. It’s also a great treat to have a drink from a place that takes their coffee so seriously; you know you’re in good hands.
Cheers (from Papateo and Notsolittleteo!) x
27 Monmouth Street
London WC2H 9EU
(Also locations in Bermondsey and Borough Market)