First stop was Gwilym. For those of you who don’t know him he was trained by James Hoffman of Square Mile and won the World Barista Championships in 2009. I know for Jamie and me, as well as countless other Baristas in the country, he’s somewhat of a Coffee icon and to be able to watch him at work was a real treat. Immediately we were drawn into his world of enthusiasm: real passion and real technical skill . It was a pleasure watching him at work with his glorious machine the Nuova Simonelli which he won at the World Barrista Championships.
We tried the Square Mile Winter Blend as an Espresso and must say it was quite something. None of us had tried the lighter roasts before so the complexity of the Espresso was something to get used to, however I can say now that I do enjoy lighter roast espresso and in fact am sourcing some from Jason Bruce at Union Hand Roasters as we speak!
Gwilym engaged with us and got us to go round the counter as he explained the process that he goes through with every Espresso. When asked what the number 1 thing that Independents get wrong he chose not to focus on Coffee but on a simpler task… ‘engaging the customer. Some Baristas just pull shots and don’t engage’ … we gained a lot of knowledge from Gwilym just from watching him work, and his passion for people as well as coffee. As we left he handed us a coffee map of London -hopefully something we can achieve in Birmingham soon- and directed us towards Allpress roastery round the corner.
More on that later….