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Introduction to speciality coffee

At Espresso Library we do speciality coffee.

What is speciality coffee?

Speciality coffee is characterised by care and attention, beginning with the growing process, through the artistry of the coffee roasters and finally into Espresso Library's loving embrace. The second thing that makes our industry so compelling is its transparency. This allows us to know exactly where our coffee is coming from at every stage, from farm to cup.

The history of coffee is a rich one and one that has been written about extensively, meaning we always have literature to dip into. But, we don’t want to talk too much about the industry specifics or the technical details of extracting the perfect espresso, as so many good blogs already do, but talk more about why we do speciality coffee at all. 

Here at Espresso Library our final decision lies in what elements really makes a great coffee.

In London, speciality coffee is already evolving, progressing and pioneering, while in Cambridge it is continuing to find its feet. The cafe scene is really beginning to blossom in this historical city.

The wider industry filled with energetic people, leaders such as Matt Perger (https://baristahustle.com/), James Hoffman (http://www.jimseven.com/) are creating content that is expanding our knowledge base and inspiring us to bring out the best in the coffee. Doing so, for us, is incredibly exciting and with (partially caffeine fuelled) enthusiasm we try every day to get the best out of our coffee.

So we lavish care and attention on coffee, and for what?

Coffee can be incredibly functional.

We all know that caffeine boost first thing in the morning or the mid afternoon shot that fuels those hours of productivity. However, it can be much more than that.

We believe making a delightful cup of coffee is a ceremony, a ritual and we love being present with it. We grind the coffee beans fresh, ground to a specific recipe tailored to the specific bean and made in a specific length of time. This care and consideration is key when it comes to making a great cup of coffee.

Know that coffee rather than a static material, is one that is always changing, evolving and getting the best out of it requires experimentation. Our approach is it to learn, to taste, to examine, to use those tools at our disposal to create and share a really great cup of coffee.

All in all speciality coffee is about sharing. It is about sharing what we know, sharing what we love and of course sharing an exceptional coffee experience.

.  .  .

Over the following months, Espresso Library will be showcasing a range of exciting coffees. Guest @ EL will include some of the most talented roasters in the UK.

We invite you to come into 210 East Road, Cambridge and have a unique coffee experience.

 

Vegan Cheesecake from our Polish Supper Club

illustration by Joshua Jones

And we're off! Our first vegan supper club took place at the cafe on Tuesday, March 29th, and we couldn't be happier with how things turned out! Having launched Espresso Library "live" on February 9th, 2015 (we started working on E.L. in 2013!), the daily operations and tasks have been taking up a lot of our attention... It had made it tricky to grow E.L. as a platform for things both myself and my partner John wanted to use it for. Luckily for John, he has not given in to this pressure of the daily runnings of the business as much, and he has run the weekly bike rides from the cafe on a regular basis from the day we opened. And so, though like with everything, one can always find reasons why there aren't enough hours in the day, I too decided that it is high time to do more of what I have always intended to do at E.L. I set the date, I advertised it on social media (great way to get yourself motivated - there is no turning back from that!) and that was it! Simple as that, my first vegan supper club was on schedule.

The interest in the event was incredible - with over 250 people registered on Facebook I was overwhelmed with happiness knowing so many of you were curious about trying out a vegan supper - Polish vegan supper no less! Inspired by the amazing Marta Dymek of jadlonomia.pl (top Polish vegan blogger) and some traditional recipes, I created a four course menu. One of the highlights was the pudding - so many of you asked for the recipe, and I don’t see why I shouldn't it here on our blog! The recipe is borrowed (and slightly tweaked) from the said jadlonomia.pl blog. The original recipe can be found here.

Rebecca slicing the cheesecake (high on chocolate! it's fair to say we made far too much topping..)

Plating 27 slices of the tofu cheesecake

Chocolate & Coconut “Cheese”-cake

Base

150 g digestive biscuits
3 tbsp coconut oil
1 tsp raw cacao
a pinch of salt

“Cheese” filling
1 cup of coconut milk
1 packet of silken tofu (360-400g)
3/4 cup of cooked millet
3/4 cup of icing sugar
1/4 cup of maple syrup or other favourite sweetener (date syrup etc)
2 heaped tbsp of potato flour
3-4 tbsp of freshly squeezed lemon juice
a pinch of salt
150 g of good quality dark chocolate

Topping
50-75g of good quality dark chocolate
1 heaped tbsp of icing sugar
1/2 cup of coconut milk (i prefer to use the creamiest part for this)

Method:

  1. Prepare the base: in your blender (we use Magimix) combine all of the ingredients and blend until it becomes nice and crumbly. Line an 8 inch round cake tin with baking paper (the best way to do this is to have a separate round piece on the bottom, and long strips on the sides to keep the perfect shape of the cake. I add a tiny bit of coconut oil to the sides of the tin so that the paper stays in place). Tip the crumble into the lined cake tin and press it evenly on the bottom of the tin. Place the tin in the fridge for 30min.
  2. Preheat your oven to 180 degrees. Place the tofu, millet, icing sugar, maple syrup, lemon juice and a pinch of salt in your blender and blend until smooth (really smooth, it may take a few minutes depending on your blender).
  3. Break your chocolate bars into small pieces and melt the chocolate using the water bath method (you can also do this using a microwave, we don’t own one). Once melted, add it to the tofu mix together with coconut milk and blend again until well combined in your blender.
  4. Take your cake base out of the fridge and pour your tofu-chocolate mix into the tin. Place the cake in the oven and bake for 15 minutes in 180 degrees. Subsequently, reduce the temperature to 120 degrees and bake for further 45 min. Then turn the oven off and let the cheesecake stay in the oven for another 15 minutes before taking it out to cool down. You’ll need to allow at least 2-3 hours for the cooling process.
  5. To make the topping: melt the chocolate using the water bath method, add the coconut milk and the icing sugar and combine until smooth using a whisk. Let it cool down for at least 30 minutes before laying it out on your (cooled down) delicious cheesecake. Decorate with whatever you fancy! We suggest berries, coulis, whipped coconut cream, cacao nibbs, icing sugar…
Instagram snaps by our guest Hannah

Instagram snaps by our guest Hannah

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Veggie March

If you visit Espresso Library on a regular basis, you probably noticed that our menu is predominantly vegetarian and vegan. We believe that eating a mainly veggie diet is the way forward!

With March just round the corner, we'd like to invite you to challenge what you know about the food you eat and what impact it has on the environment.

Starting already on the 1st of March, you have an opportunity to join a free discussion on the impact the meat we eat has on the planet, and our health ("Squash the Beef" held at Espresso Library). To register, follow https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/squash-the-beef-tickets-21643198389

On the 9th of March, Cambridge University will hold a panel which aims to explore both the arguments surrounding reduced meat consumption and the role that policy could and should play in changing what people eat. For more information follow http://www.sciencefestival.cam.ac.uk/events/eating-less-meat-planetary-and-population-health-government-policy-or-your-choice

On Tuesday, 29nd of March, we will host our first Espresso Library Vegan Supper Club, a pop-up catered by E.L.'s Co-Founder Malgo, who follows a plant based diet. We will post more details about the supper club soon so stay tuned!

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