Saturday, January 15, 2011

Amano’s Coffee (London) - ♕♕

  We were here to visit the famous Tate Modern Gallery, one of the must do visits for art enthusiasts every time you visit London since it carries an all year round rotational exhibitions.  During my time of visit it was gloomy and rainy as is always memorable of London ever since years ago, plus, with the cold breeze blowing down your neck from the nearby river we were desperately in need of a warm drink!    This happened exactly on a Sunday, when most coffee shops in London surprisingly close and is quite opposite to most Australian cafes, when they really thrive on the weekends and are at their peak! 

Monmouth’s other outlet at Borough’s Market being located very close to Tate wasn’t open either as we drove past that, although with the benefit of hindsight I did find that the newish import from New Zealand with its roasting facility fully installed on site, of ALLPRESS fame is actually open on Sunday’s, but  It was too late by then.     We ended up resorting to Amano’s, which has a separate coffee section as well as their better known hot oven cooked pizza and Italian dishes dining area.  Unfortunately this turned out to be one of the worst coffees I’ve had and needed to throw away after just 2 sips.  Why can’t more quality cafes be open on Sundays in London!


Tate Modern Gallery

Amano’s - Union Coffee for the Nth time…

Overall Machine set up is quality stuff, but the Union Coffee is pre-grinded and sitting in the doser since who knows when, blame that on none but the coffee maker! (It’s more understandable in Italy, where the turnover is way higher and stays fresh!). This was visually way underdosed into the portafilter even for a single basket size.  The base espresso shot poured at around  6-7 seconds at most compared to a more reasonable 20-30s range, which I’ve unfortunately had the chance to witness in almost every single cafe or restaurant in London using Union Hand Roasted coffee including the Michelin restaurants, bar one exceptional cafe visited later! 

Caffe Latte -
Weak and aerated, this was at best, of Starbucks quality ~  4/10

Single Espresso -
Without any milk present assisting to mask that underlying ‘piece-of-joke’ espresso base, this tasted acrid and of mostly ashy smokiness from a thin watery body, due to a lack of exposure to pressurised extraction as opposed to over-burning from over-extraction in terms of either being too long in timing or too high a temperature.  It’s definitely showing signs of Under-Extraction here, although in terms of  being under-dosed and therefore lacking of back pressure, rather than being calculated on final brewing ratios and volume and weight.    Many seem to fall into the trap of confusing themselves in this never-ending saga of learning process, as it is genuinely hard to distinguish whether the thinnish Crema presence is directly proportional with an Under-Extraction, or its opposite of Over-Extraction, or sometimes it has to do with a poor individual shot, or as an indication of a lack of freshness, or its being reflective of the particular batch of  beans characters.  There are simply too many variables for consideration and the pretenders are easily picked out for talking BS when they don’t even understand the most basics of concepts, but that’s Hong Kong for you where everyone blufs. It’s all about pretending to be knowledgeable and being pretentious when you’re not!

Fortunately the mouth feel never lies!  Its not something which can be grasped easily within a short period of time, although that could be fixed if  you keep drinking everyday or have really practised and trialled making thousands of shots in a real world cafe environment, rather than regurgitating from hearsay from the net or some unknown books then bluffing your way about to pretend as a coffee know-all - now how DISGUSTING is that!  When you haven’t even practised in a cafe and can’t draw the most basic of latte art, what right have you got to began criticizing a cafe barista for their flaws.  As much as I want to make it easily understandable and self explanatory to everyone the minute differences within every drink, it is a science which can only be conceivable when you start training from the basics and muster it yourself.  In fact, my learning curve from the coffee world has taught myself never to be complacent with your own existing knowledge and egotism when it comes to anything in life, as when you wake up the next day 24 hours later, you might just find yourself once more humbled again !  This shall become a permanent warning to myself!  Never ever believe in yourself for 1 moment, unless you’re absolutely sure about what is at stake and what is being discussed and is true!! shutup  ~ 2/10

Ai Wei Wei’s exhibition of a 100 Million scattered hand-painted Sunflower seeds, made by 160 Chinese artisans rather than being real seeds.  A waste of human resources in my mind!  Ok, point taken then – its not real, therefore…?  If there is a central underlying core story, perhaps being a metaphor to the millions of Chinese factory workers doing cheap labour just for human survival, then that’s ok.  But this was just exhibited for the sake of Art itself without any real meaning behind it all..  I’d expected a more centrally integrated and coherent theme from the artist before going down this path. It occurred to me its for the sake of just trying hard to impress in the sheer amount of volumes.  Artists should always be aware of their social responsibility and theoretical ideal, especially when coming from a well renowned International Artist – isn’t it?


Price: £3 per person
Score:  ★★☆☆☆☆

Address:  Amano Bankside, 20 Sumner Street, London SE1 9JZ
Phone: 020 7633 9574

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