Extract from Surrey's Coffee Heroes by Catherine Whyte of Surrey Downs Magazine:
It’s a truism for sure: once you’ve discovered the difference between a good cup of coffee and a bad one, you’ll never look back. In fact, you’ll find yourself going out of your way to seek out that perfect cup.
It’s also true that, once you begin to look into the coffee world in more depth, you realize how much more there is to know. For some, it’s the start of a journey that leads them to set up their own coffee houses or roasteries.
Happily for Surrey coffee lovers, there are an increasing number of cafes passionate about serving that perfectly brewed cup. We even have some local roasteries too: it’s really worth buying freshly roasted ground coffee (or beans) from these smaller artisan businesses. You’ll get a much fresher, tastier product.
All in all, it’s a wonderful world to discover.
Coffee aficionados – and I include all the businesses listed here – know that it is single estate filter coffees, rather than espresso blends, that are the most prized in terms of purity of taste. That awareness is beginning to seep into the public consciousness and onto the high street too. Mark my words, you’ll begin to see a lot more of them. The advantage, of course, is that you can enjoy the particular flavour notes from that one berry and region – which are distinct unto themselves. The comparisons with terroir in wine are obvious.
Pinnock’s, over in Ripley, has the UK’s first drip coffee bar. Inspired by Philz, a very famous coffee house in San Francisco, Russell and partner Andy ditched their previous (coffee-unrelated) jobs to pour their hearts and souls into this wonderful coffee house which opened only last year. There’s an extensive menu of coffees to choose from – many supplied by Woking’s Beanberry (see below) – which Russell grinds on the spot and then feeds into the drip station. It’s a real luxury.
“I had always wanted to set up a coffee house but was eager to do something different,” Russell remarks.
Indeed. Pinnock’s is no ordinary café. The food is fantastic, and the upper floor feels more like a gentlemen’s club with its comfy chairs, bookshelves and backgammon boards. You could lose yourself in there for hours. I know, because I have.
Beanberry Coffee Company is, like Pinnock’s, a new arrival on the Surrey coffee scene. Owner Edward quit his job as a finance director of an oil company in Colombia to pursue his dream of opening an exclusively organic, artisan roastery.
“My mission is to get the very best, organic coffee in the world, matching the best non-organic in taste,” he says.
Pinnock’s and Beanberry have discovered a mutual love of single estate coffee, and Beanberry now roasts for Pinnock’s on demand. It’s really nice to see two local companies working together to raise the standards of coffee in the county. Beanberry is about to start supplying The Lightbox, Woking’s art gallery café as well.
Order some coffee from Edward online, he’ll roast it – and grind if necessary, of course – and have it on your kitchen table 24 hours later, while the oils and flavours are at their peak.
As I write, Edward is expecting a delivery of a new Bolinda Primavera coffee, which translates as “beautiful Bolivian spring”. It comes from a microlot of six farmers, members of neighbouring Colonia Bolinda and Colonia Primavera settlements, and is processed at the Buena Vista wet mill – a very good mill in Caranavi town. It sounds divine.
Like.. Russell and Andy, Edward is totally smitten with his new adventure. He sums it up nicely.
“It’s a romance,” he says.