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Three Coffee Stops in Norwich

If you're anything like us, then when you take a trip somewhere you make sure your tank is full, you got some water and snacks for the journey, you charged your phone, and -*most importantly*- you googled the best coffee places in a 10 mile radius of your destination. Now, sometimes that might be a little tricky if you're camping out in the middle of nowhere but let's be honest - there's nothing a mini gas stove, a bottle of mineral water, a bag of specialty coffee, a mini pouring kettle (plus a few other accessories) and an aeropress can't handle. However, if you're traveling somewhere less remote, you certainly used a search engine or Instagram hashtag search to navigate your way through the best coffee places. Having done exactly that prior to our wonderful trip to Norwich yesterday, we decided to share a few highlights with you!

Before we get into the coffee scene, let's talk about Norwich. It's been a few years since we last visited this beautiful city and we were amazed by the richness of the green spaces, upkeep of the historical buildings, care for the cultural heritage as well as the amount of small independent retailers and cafes. So next time you want to escape Cambridge for the day (we've all been there!) take a trip to Norwich instead of jumping on that Ldn Kings X train. Whether you choose to travel by public transport or a car, you'll be in there within 1h30m, ready to enjoy a still lovely and friendly yet quite a lot bigger city than Cambridge. 

Norwich has a very unique urban design which makes it a perfect city for a day get-away for anyone who's into art and architecture. So whether you like exploring Medieval or Victorian buildings, museums and galleries or simply love strolling down charming narrow streets finding hidden gems such as small shops and cafes, this is the place for you.


THE NORWICH COFFEE CRAWL

KOFRA SPECIALTY COFFEE BREWERS

"It takes a lot of people and a lot of care to get it right."

We began our day by popping into Kofra- an absolute gem in the world of specialty coffee shops. It's got it all - friendly and knowledgeable staff, wonderful selection of coffees (including an incredible variety of retail coffee beans!), delicious snacks, cold pressed juices and soft drinks - and on the weekends it turns into a cool bar. With a lovely design, combining reclaimed wood furniture, a few simple Scandi pieces and minimalist colour scheme with some funky accessories and plants, Kofra's uniquely fun aesthetic is very welcoming. We enjoyed a long black with their guest coffee and an oat milk cappuccino along a couple of MOJU juices

We loved every little detail about Kofra. The atmosphere, the interior, the coffee (of course!), so we cannot stress this enough - next time you're in Norwich make sure you pay them a visit!


ANCESTORS COFFEE

100% Vegan-Specialty Coffee.

Opened only three months ago, Ancestors Coffee already has a big following - and dare we say it's fully deserved! Everything about this place is pretty special, from it's clean and minimal interior laden with cacti, succulents and big plants through to their fully vegan coffee and food menus. Ancestors offer a lovely choice of coffee beans by specialty roasters from the UK and beyond - when we visited they were serving a Brazilian single origin by Five Elephans from Berlin, which we can confirm was delicious; we both enjoyed it as a long black; it tasted beautifully sweet and nutty. Having scrolled through their stunning Instagram feed we knew this was the place we wanted to have our brunch in - they serve a variety of hearty and nutritious dishes such as brunch plates, buddha bowls and sandwiches, as well as milkshakes, smoothies & smoothie bowls and cakes. We opted for their newly launched dish: scrambled tofu on a courgette, dill and 'feta' frittata with spinach, shredded red cabbage and pumpkin seeds. It was the bomb! 

We couldn't resist trying some of their baked goods either and so we shared a rich and gooey courgette brownie as well as toasted banana bread - they were to die for.

Ancestors Coffee was simply brilliant. In fact, both of us can hardly wait to visit again and try other brunch options... Normally we would choose different dishes but neither of us was prepared to give up having the tofu scramble;)


STRANGERS COFFEE COMPANY

A true passion for specialty coffee.

Familiar with the Strangers Coffee, we were beyond excited to finally visit the shop! As mentioned, it's been years since either of us had been to Norwich, and so until now we only had the opportunity to taste their delicious coffee at home or at Espresso Library as a guest espresso & filter, an arrangement which I am pretty sure we will have repeat very soon. The cafe has a very pleasant and welcoming vibe - the interior is very sleek and minimal and features a lot of plants. In the coffeeshop there are a lot of coffees to choose from, all of which come from the Strangers Coffee Company Roastery (naturally).  There is a choice between a house coffee and guest espresso, and even more choice of coffees at their brew bar! When we visited we both felt pretty over-caffeinated already (oh, the issues us coffee lovers have eh!), and chose to buy a bag of Ethiopian single origin to take home with us as well as a couple of take-away drinks to accompany us on our way to an open day at Hillside Animal Sanctuary.


THE PASSION

Norwich proved to be a wonderful place for a (short) specialty coffee crawl and we were very happy to discover all these incredible places with shared passion for high quality coffee, nutritious food and great customer experience. Equipped with lovely memories and satisfyingly satiated, we set out to spend the rest of our sunny summery Sunday at the UK's biggest Animal Sanctuary we've been meaning to check out for a while - another place we can wholeheartedly recommend you visit too! 

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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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