on Allpress Espresso
I often like to dig deep into a particular subject, to find out more about what's below the surface and so I wanted to add a section in my blog to "Spotlight" areas such as individual coffee shops, roasters, coffee beans etc. My first "Spotlight" is about Allpress Espresso coffee.
I was first drawn to "speciality coffee" in the early '90s after visiting a Seattle Coffee Company coffee shop in Edinburgh's Lothian Road. I loved the feel of the space and a new experience of lounging in a trendy environment with a huge milky espresso based coffee. This was the start of a new "Second Wave" coffee scene and it was fast moving. It was sad to see the Starbuck's takeover of Seattle Coffee Company in the late '90s but soon the whole scene was changing with a huge influx of speciality coffee shops, including large national chain shops such as Costa Coffee and later, Cafe Nero.
Then came a "Third Wave". Entrepreneurial businesses wanted to go further - sourcing the coffee beans themselves and roasting the beans locally to bespoke profiles; and describing the flavours of the various roasts just as a wine connoisseur would do for wines. The beans would have a certifiable traceability where a story could be told about the origin of the bean, down to the Country, Region, individual farm and even the farm workers.
The core products on offer are on the whole, espresso based coffees - espressos, lattes, cappuccinos, mochas, etc. - but there has also been a resurgence in filter coffee using various brewing methods. The coffee experts, geeks, aficionados, speak about their preferred brewing method, extraction rates, correct degree of grind, amongst a host of other parameters they like to use to get the best possible result. However, whilst the coffee shop owner can offer this to attract the knowledgeable coffee drinkers, the core offer will usually be a range of espresso based drinks. These can be made from a "single origin" coffee with it's own distinguishing taste, or a blend of coffees to combine the best components from a range of different beans. The large chains such as Costa and Nero have their own bespoke blends which are popular and easily recognisable to their own consumer base. The advantage of these blends are that they are consistent and have "middle-of-the-road" flavours which attract and satisfy a wide following. When you visit a Costa or Nero you know what you're going to get and you will go back again - it's a "safe haven" in today's coffee scene.
Castello Coffee Co
7a Castle Street, Edinburgh EH2 3AH
While I like to visit lots of coffee shops and try the various different coffees on offer, I always like to have my own "safe haven" (or two) in the back of my mind - sometimes you just need to get some time-out where you know the coffee will be good. Fortunately, with the wide variety of coffee shops available in Edinburgh I'm able to have a number of "safe-havens". One of them is Castello Coffee Co in Castle Street, who use Allpress coffee - a reliable and consistent espresso coffee.