Cup North Special
I very often avoid using the word special.
Unless maybe I am tearing the ear off an unassuming non-coffee drinker, explaining the difference between an Aeropress and a general 'insert heartless name here' brand of instant coffee from 'insert corporation supermarket/chain'. I am, unknowingly boring my non-coffee acquaintance, in which, during my explanation of the pyramid type coffee grading system of growth and production, they interrupt my babble and remind me all they asked was if I wanted... A cup of tea.....
Oh, well.... in that case, go on then, I'm partial to that as well. No sugar though, nice one.
On occasion though, mainly once a year, in Manchester, the wonderful folk of CupNorth provide myself the ideal opportunity to bring along my enthusiasm and excitement for all things speciality coffee, with others who share my likeminded tediousness of talking about coffee to anyone who has a pulse and a few minutes spare between buses and trains. Mixing with other said coffee maniacs, and asking questions in a room in which no judgement will be found based upon our nerdiness. It is a strange concept to those who don't drink coffee, or appreciate the subtlety of it's draw. We sneak off to an unassuming warehouse in Salford, away from corporate institutions of the high street, to breathe the questions and answers of coffee. It is relaxing, it is an escape, it is educational, and you meet some dead sound people too. I often get asked:-
'yeah but lad, it's just coffee isn't it? What do you mean there are good and bad types?'
If only I could teleport said individuals to Manchester Coffee Festival, or any other speciality coffee event for that matter. But, this post isn't about any other event is it? That's not why you clicked on the link is it? Nor is it why maybe the 1 or 2 of you who are reading this on the lav have got this far, if you have, I appreciate your attention span so far, here's a visual for your patience.
So, getting technical...
Bare with me, I'm relatively new to this blogging and writing lark, you might have to re-read sections, due to incoherence...my bad.
As you may be aware, if you have read through any section of the website, or the previous post (a while ago). I previously (around 4 years ago) owned my own Speciality Independent in Chester, and only recently have I had the courage to part ways with my 2 Group La Marzocco FB80. I cried, it was weird, my girlfriend judged me.
So, understandably, I get very excited when any speciality coffee event is sponsored by La Marzocco UK ...
Linea machines for days kids. It's a beautiful site to behold. Though my opinion being based upon the growing trend in the industry and my particular experiences on Espresso Machines is that Victoria Arduino are fast becoming the go to with their new kit, their black Eagle model is something to behold. Here's some neon for your pallet...
On to the actual Coffee Aficionados showing their game.
There are plenty, and by plenty I mean 48 individual indexed coffee guru's to go through, though because I don't have the best part of a few decades to write this post this next section will be focused upon those that specifically stood out to Five Ounce.
A1 - Oatly / North Star
This Batman/Non- Diary Superman combination, so first off, Oatly, though non of the guys behind the stall were Swedish to my knowledge, the company is based in Malmo, Sweden. Automatically my love for anything Scandinavian gives me an incentive to find out more. Being a Barista myself, I delve deeper into the art of what this non-milk thing is all about, and why it is so unusually hard for us kind to be consistent with non-diary based milk: my man from North Star (based in Leeds, go there it's boss! Only a train ride away, in fact stop reading, go now and continue on your return) explains to me that the chemical make up of non-diary requires more sensitivity in the steam, something I was previously aware of, but not to the extent that it could be altered by the produce. As he talks and creates flattie perfection I notice how easy it was for this wizard to create. Talent aside, the smooth and richness from these beautifully tall oats helps maintain consistency through the pour at the perfect temperature. I at the time did not have a notepad to hand, as they were full with coffee, have limited notes on the particulars. As I said, North Star, check them our. Go and ask questions. One thing I will state is that I much prefer these to the alternatives that I have tried over the years, I am an Oatly convert. Takk.
The one thing that stuck with myself thanks to North Star and Oatly, was the deep and sheer passion my man behind the counter had for the ethics and morality of the product. No pesticides, this is forbidden in Sweden, those bike riding, handsome, blonde liberals that they are. This resonates with myself. I stopped eating meat due to the effects on the environment, to my joy I found out that not only was this crazy tasty but ethical too. I'll admit, I was sold. I will admit, I am always sceptical of new trends in the coffee industry, I love innovative ideology, but I'm okay just having my flattie in a take out cup, not inside a PennyFarthing riding Avocado. Though I enjoy Guacamole and Avo's in their appropriate use. I walked away wondering as to how I could get my hands on another cup of soundness....
Well to my surprise they have an search location app: baller!
Oatfinder - the rightmove to the non-diary coffee lover(primary school finder attachment coming soon). Check it out....
TOP 3 FOR SCOUSERS - you can find it at: TOP 3 FOR mancs - you can find it at:
Bold Street Coffee - Bold Street. Fig and Sparrow - Oldham Street
92 Degree Coffee - Hardman Street. Federal Cafe and Bar - Nicholas Croft
Blooming Skull Coffee (Outskirts) - Bebington Common Ground - Shaws Road, Altrincham
(I'D USUALLY INCLUDE 'IDLE HANDS, MANCHESTER' IN THIS LIST THOUGH AS OF NOW THEY ARE BETWEEN LOCATIONS BUT STILL SMASHING THE EVENTS MARKET)