Review #16 – Camden Coffee Shop

Hey folks.

I am back! I’m really sorry it’s been a full five weeks without any new coffee for you all, but my kitchen is now restocked and we’re ready to rock and roll.

Today we’re going to be looking at another real life experience, the Camden Coffee Shop which is sort of like stepping back in time the moment you cross the threshold. There’s old scales, grinders and roasters all over the place (And I mean OLD. One of the roasters dates from around 1918), the beans out on display in big tubs with signs shoved in them like it was a market stall.  In the back you can see all manner of coffee making equipment and old grinders in various states of disassembly.  The scales used to weigh the bags look like they could have easily been made in the 1950s, requiring a separate weight to be added to them to balance out the beans to the correct weight.


Nestled in Delancey street, Camden, this unassuming little shop is home to a wide array of coffees, all out on display for your sensory delight thought sadly there were no beans being roasted that day.  When I visited it a week or so ago there were around 12 different coffees on offer for an average price of about £5 for a 250g bag which is really quite reasonable indeed.

I can’t go into too much detail about the history of this particular roastery, sadly, as they have no web presence of their own though you can find details on Google with a number of reviews and pictures.  What I do know, however, is that the current owner has run this teeny roastery for FORTY YEARS years after taking it over in 1978 from his uncle, who had already run it for who knows how long!

That kind of longevity is seriously impressive and speaks volumes for the quality of the product on offer if it’s able to survive in the face of rising competition as the new wave of roasters jostle for customers.

So what did I buy?  After a nice chat with the owner about the sort of things I enjoy we settled on two.  The Mountain Blend, and Santos Light.  Below are pictures of the Santos Light as that’s what I currently have in the coffee maker.

The Mountain blend was….okay.  A perfectly decent if slightly forgettable coffee.  Fine in water, it was richer and more chocolatey in milk so I’d recommend it for latte/cappuccino rather than Americano style drinks.

The Santos Light, though, THAT is a whole other matter.  This might actually challenge my all time favourite, the Granary Blend from Rounton.  In water it’s nice, a little nutty and fruity, very easy to drink but initially nothing that would make me fall over myself to buy it again.  That, however, all changed when it’s used for milk based drinks.  From the moment you take a sip your mouth is filled with this gorgeously rich, nutty, chocolate flavour that’s just…sublime.  Not a harsh note, not a hint of sharpness from first sip to last and when it cooled down a little it got even better

I cannot recommend this coffee highly enough and I look forward to trying it in my syphon filter as well.  Really the only problem here is that if you want to sample this superb coffee then there’s no other way but to visit the shop for yourself to buy it!



Review #6 – Eden Ethiopian Coffee

Hello folks, I’m back again with another review for you and this one is something a bit special. Without further ado, let’s get stuck in.

Today we’re going to be looking at Eden Ethiopian Coffee who were a lovely little find on my last visit to Camden Market in London.  They have a stall there selling both drinks and bags of coffee and they lure in business by roasting beans right there on the stall in a little pan.  You can smell them long before you see them and like a moth to a lightbulb I made a beeline for them the moment I caught a whiff of the beans.

And wow, I am so glad I did.

I’m fairly familiar with Ethiopian types of coffee, I regularly buy Yirgacheffe and occasionally Sidamo as well, but this time I spotted a bean that I wasn’t familiar with – Djimmah.  That’s what we’re going to be looking at today.

As with the Union coffee review, I can’t exactly talk about the online purchasing experience as I picked my beans up from the stall.  The folks working the stall were very knowledgable and friendly and I’d happily go back to purchase from them again.  They’ve recently relocated their stall in the Market and you can see further details about this on their twitter account here – Eden Ethiopian Coffee Twitter

eden coffee

The website takes a moment or two to load, but is very easy to navigate. Prices for their coffees range from £8-£8.50 for a 250g bag.  Currently they offer the following –

  • Djimmah
  • Eden House Blend
  • Sidamo
  • Yirgacheffe

You can get free shipping, or there is a flat rate of £5.40 if you need your coffee hit in a hurry.  They don’t specify the specific details of each shipping option, but I would imagine the free shipping will be by UK 2nd class post, so it’ll take a few days to get to you.

It’s also worth noting that the coffee is cheaper if you buy it in person at the stall. I paid £6 for my bag of Djimmah which is a very reasonable price indeed.

It’s a very simple bag, not air tight, so best to decant these into another container as soon as you can to keep them fresh.  I couldn’t get a very good shot of the beans in part due to the bag being very tall, so there was a lack of light, but also the light in my kitchen wasn’t very good on this particular day.

The first thing you’ll notice about this coffee is the smell. There’s a distinct spicy overtone.  Now the blurb on the back of the bag says that the coffee is more natural and “having a hint of a spicy flavour”.

I first tried this as a milk based drink and all I can see is that for me it was less “mild” spicy notes and more “A bellowing Randy Savage bursting into the room as he exhorts you to snap into a processed meat snack”, or “Kool-Aid man crashing through a wall and offering what appear to be glasses of his own blood”. Mild was not the word I would have used to descrbe it.

The spicy notes are immediately in attendance from the second you open the bag, to the moment you pull the shot to the first sip and yet to say that my brow was furrowed in confusion on the first mouthful wouldn’t be far from the truth. It really wasn’t what I expected it all.  I actually had to ask my wife to try it as well because at first I didn’t believe what I was tasting.  It’s so rich as to be almost chocolatey, with the spicy notes rolling over the tongue as you swallow and lingering very pleasantly afterward.  She had a taste and agreed it was almost like drinking chocolate rather than coffee!

I then tried it in my syphon filter, where it’s a very different affair entirely.  Below you can see a little gallery of the syphon process for those of you who aren’t familiar with this particular piece of coffee-making kit. You heat the water in the bulb at the bottom so that it rises up through the cloth filter and into your grounds.  Once that’s done you turn your heatsource down so that the liquid is just simmering for about a minute or so, then remove the heat and the coffee filters back into the bulb, leaving your grounds behind.

The syphon, I find, tends to bring out the brighter notes in coffee. In this instance that meant it amplified the spicy flavours to the point that they were almost overpowering on the first sip!  It’s a much stronger drink in the syphon, the coffee and spice notes drowning out any hint of the chocolate. It almost reminded me of wine, actually, that sort of quite potent flavour.  It’s not a bad drink by any stretch, but it is very, very different.  I’ve likely drunk as much of this in my syphon as I have with the Barista!

In summary, this is a really lovely, unique coffee with massively different characteristics depending on how you make it. I would NOT recommend you use it for espresso unless you’re going to put it in milk, I found it very bland when used to make an americano.  Filter or milk-based espresso drink is definitely the best way to enjoy it in my opinion.

Up next, the Brothers blend from Ozone Coffee.  That should be out in the next week or so.  Thanks for taking the time to read my latest review.