Monday, August 14, 2006

Monmouth Coffee Company

I’d just arrived in London and went straight to Borough Market, my favorite indoor/outdoor market located in the Southwark neighborhood of London. I was in desperate need of coffee and stopped at the Monmouth Coffee Company right outside the market. I rarely order a cup of regular coffee because it is usually watery or burned so I settle for an espresso or cappuccino. I was excited to see that the people at Monmouth have perfected what I think is the best method for making regular coffee--pouring the water for one cup at a time through a filter containing the coffee (the old Melita method). They have designed a unit to hold the filter and its cone just above the cup—either a white ceramic tumbler if you are drinking it there or your to go cup. Having just done a story on coffee for my upcoming larder column, I think that when I say that this is the best cup of coffee I’ve had, the statement carries some weight. Blue Bottle Coffee Co. in Berkeley, whose coffee I order at home, has a similar contraption at their shop though it’s more primitive and the filter sits too high above the cup. The Monmouth Coffee Co filter and cone is only a few inches above it and I think that might make a difference.

Monmouth sources their coffee from small farms, estates, and cooperatives around the world. The coffee they were making that day was from India, from the Bibi Plantation in the Karnataka State. It was very dark, had a fabulous dark sugar taste to it, and was very full bodied.

My dream is that Monmouth’s method of making coffee will catch on all over the U.S. It is so inspiring to see a place taking the process of buying and making coffee so seriously. Best of all, they seem to be doing well. The place is packed.


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