Wednesday, 8 February 2012


My fingers cannot possible type as fast as I'm thinking and I have so much information in my head I desperately need to get it out! It may be I'm still wired from my 4 or was it 5 coffees I tasted yesterday at Protein by Dunne Frankowski. Actually for that matter the amount of caffeine I've drunk in recent weeks I probably can type as fast as I'm thinking.

As you know I've been reviewing independent cafes for The London Coffee Map for the last few months. I certainly don't pretend to know everything there is to know about coffee, I've never been trained as a barista I am simply a coffee lover and daily consumer (multiple daily consumer) and I like to think I know the difference between a good Flat White and a burnt over extracted one.  I am after all a New Zealander and we are a little snobby when it comes to coffee, sorry if that offends, I shall rephrase and say I'm a coffee snob and I've been known to say we make the best coffee. ( I don't necessarily believe that any more, there's amazing coffee from many parts of the world and it depends on what sort of coffee you tend to like )

I've been doing my research the last few months, that means talking to a lot of people who make coffee, not just antipodeans and reading about the art and science behind making coffee. I've learnt to appreciate more the rich variety and complexity of flavours and how these change with the various different methods of brewing a coffee be that espresso, pour over, French press etc.  Through tasting coffee different ways I have learnt to narrow down what I like in a coffee, what I'm looking for in flavour and how I want mine prepared. Its very much similar to tasting wine and reminds me of the time i spent wine tasting in Bourgogne (Burgundy, France) a few years ago. I've been in to French Chardonnay ever since.

I would say my favourite style of preparing coffee at the moment is a filter method using freshly ground beans and a coffee that is smooth and sweet. But whilst I know what I like, I don't know why and I feel I really should if I'm going to recommend you a coffee. At the end of the day you just want to know you're getting a delicious coffee and that what you've paid for tastes good but wouldn't you be happier knowing what you were drinking was hand picked by you and is your ultimate coffee. Its a simple pleasure, and its completely achievable.

A good place to start would be at Protein by Dunne Frankowski, over a coffee tasting with Rob Dunne ( half of Dunne Frankowski ) I learnt the answers as to why I liked what I like and some of the ways flavour is extracted through processing, roasting, grinding and brewing.
I was able to try 4 coffee varieties and the same coffee brewed by two different methods. Through this I tasted the massive difference these two methods of brewing could make to intensity of flavour in the same coffee. So I realised no two coffee beans can be necessarily treated the same way, some may favour a more simple filter approach or some may work well as an espresso, or it might just come down to personal preference and how well the barista knows the coffee.

I spent a little over an hour discussing the set up and even had a look at the Espresso machine and grinder ( more important than the machine!! ) I am no expert so I say if you want to learn more about these things go and have a chat or read a book. I'm reading The Professional Baristas Handbook right now. The machine was set up so both heads had different temperature settings as Rob explained they were for two different coffee beans which reacted better to different temperatures. There were 12 bars of pressure which was set to go up and down at specific points throughout the extraction. These setting are tested and changed when new beans are introduced.

I was given a tasting of 3 varieties of Square Mile Coffee, prepared for me in a Sri Lankan tea set. First hot water from a tap permanently at 94c was added to the coffee/tea pot to pre heat it.  The coffee beans were weighed, 7 grams, ground finely as you would for  French press (or your cafetiere) and added to the emptied, pre heated coffee pot.  Then 94c hot water was poured over, lid on and left for 4 minutes. This was timed. At the end of 4 minutes the coffee is skimmed off the surface using a spoon which looks a bit like a soup spoon and then poured in to the cup over a fine mesh filter. Tasting should being at 6 minutes. 

This was done three times with each coffee served to me having its own distinct flavour and as Rob said the flavour changes as the temperature of the coffee falls.

My tasting was this...

1. Bella Vista, Colombian. Process: Fully washed.
Fully washed or Wet processed means the
coffee fruit is disconnected from the seed or bean before washing and drying. It produces more fruity and acidic flavours.

2. Capao, Brazilian. Process: Pulped natural.
Pulped natural is a process whereby the skin of the fruit is kept on when washing and drying the coffee bean out. This was my favourite with hints of caramel, and nutty sweet biscuit flavours.  I tried this pulled as an espresso shot as well and wow its flavour expanded ten fold.  A mighty mighty punch which I feel personally I'd prefer with milk or as the filter coffee I first tried. 

3. San Maniego NariƱo, Colombian. Process: Fully washed.
Very citrusy,  I likened this to a fruity tea when I tried it. In fact if you don't ( or think you don't ) like coffee I might suggest you try this one.

More information on the various processing methods can be found easily on line. I have been reading more on this website.  There are many factors that create difference in flavour so its interesting to have a read before tasting different coffees. 

At Protein there is no house blend, they describe themselves as a multiple roastery cafe.

Neither Dunne nor Frankowski are antipodean they are Irish and Polish respectively. Rob Dunne even admitted to not liking coffee until a few years ago when he decided to find out what all the fuss was about. He has also spent a year or so training in the art of tea and tea making something I sense encourages his preference for the tea style of brewing the coffee. 

Protein by Dunne Frankowski run classes in tasting and brewing coffee and they are also available as coffee or cafe consultants. As well as coffee their interests include design, photography and food.

I'd recommend going for a coffee at Protein, just don't expect to sit down and chat with friends over a latte, its really not that sort of cafe. Its worth taking the time to speak with the baristas asking questions and tasting, I know this might seem slightly intimidating but its not at all, its rather inviting.  

There's nothing else like this in London I've seen, for now.

Protein by Dunne Frankowski
18 Hewitt St


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