Sunday, February 20, 2011

Prufrock Coffee (London) - ♕♕♕♕♕♕

  When 2009 World Barista Champion Gwilym Davies joins up with award winning Square Mile’s seasonal coffee blends, roasted by James Hoffman, himself an equally crowned 2007 World Barista Champion and internationally famed for being at the very edge of coffee development and  an undisputed pioneer at the forefront, would you seriously expect to be satisfied with anything that is less than dynamite or out-of-this-world perfection?   Folks, we’re talking about the top coffee barista in the world, who had won fair and square out of a world population of 6 billion, then please multiply that by x 2!  If you can’t grasp at how excited I was anticipating this leg of my trip, well, as far as I can tell, there is no other cafe which can boast of the same credential anywhere in the world..   A revisit to here and the latest 2nd review can be found here:  Prufrock (II) 2012.


Located in Shoreditch, around 5 min walk from Shoreditch Station, or 10-15 min walk from Liverpool Station.   It’s actually not easy to find, even with the help of GPS in hand.

This is actually found inside a Clothing Store, called Present, which has no external signages advertising its name whatsoever.  And just to make matters worst, Prufrock Coffee is hidden inside this trendy clothing & accessories shop! *As a side note, they carry a lot of imported Japanese clothing stock here, meaning its double the reason for paying pilgrimage to here!   This took me half an hour to find and coincidentally by that time, it’d just opened @ 10:30am, and I was the 1st customer to have arrived that morning shivering in the cold weather… 

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Prufrock’s Anti-Loyalty Card is certainly unconventional, if not controversial.  It encourages their customers to visit some of the best recommended Cafes in London, and once you collect all the stamps from each of these cafes, you can come back to Prufrock to receive a FREE coffee on the house!…  Now that’s truly the sign of a true Champion who is not afraid of a challenge, at the same time assisting to promote the London coffee culture and other like-minded cafes!


Gwilym is here today, how fortunate, as he is sometimes operating at the other market located stalls.  Here I was, queuing up again for my 2nd or was it the 3rd round, and look at how many people have suddenly wandered in for their coffees out of nowhere..


Single Espresso  - using Square Mile’s seasonal “Autumn Espresso”, El Salvador and Costa Rica:
Espresso Shot is pulled via Gwilym’s World Barista Championship prize, a hand lever operated and highly sought after Victoria Arduino Athena machine, and from what Gwilym explains to me in terms of extraction method and the recommended parameters, he agrees this is technically a Double-Ristretto, and freely provided me a whole heap more useful references for me to explore in the future for myself. Not many times do you receive that sort of sensitive information from a World Champion.

For a 1st shot sold very early in the morning and I being the recipient (after fine tuning by his assistant then finally by himself of course), I was surprised to have received such a drop dead gorgeous God Shot, which anything else seems to pale in comparison.  I detected Toasted Almond upfront, Apple Cider Vinegar, just a hint of Red Berries, an obvious Yellow Honey and Milk Chocolate.  And a softest of Earthiness and probably a tinge of Nutmeg spice.  This was so complex but so elegantly balanced, I won’t bother to struggle recalling where else to find a substitute for such top class coffee anywhere in the world – because it is non-existent anywhere else, including Italy   ~  10/10

Caffe Latte -
This looks slightly deceiving, because customers before me who had ordered milk drinks received slightly smoother milk foams and a better looking latte art, but those who’d worked in cafes will know that when you become busier, you tend to rush things a bit more just to try and serve and cover everyone in time.  This does not detract from its equally amazing milk coffee representation.  This was so addictive and the aroma and flavours so spot on, you’ll be hard pressed to find this flavour anywhere in the world.  If only the milk was stretched better slightly…   ~  9.5/10

Look at these superbly designed, graphic laced Prufrock cups!
Prufrock only makes coffees using Square Mile’s quarterly Seasonal Blends (Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter, etc), but they also sell a few other unique blends by the bag here.

It might look like a simple enough Cafe setup, but look closer and you’ll find it has installed a top of the range Mazzer Robur conical grinder with Programmable Electronic Doser, plus his treasured Victoria Arduino Athena espresso machine. It is a set up so exclusive and expensive, you won’t expect to see this combo in any cafe within Hong Kong anytime soon.   One shall never ever underestimate a World Barista Champion, his skills, his equipment and his commitment!  Smile

The newly opened Allpress Coffee from New Zealand with a big in-house Roaster, is only a street away from Prufrock, but unfortunately closed on Monday… (wtf)   If my past experience Down South with Allpress coffee is still relevant, they’ll need to work extra hard to beat their closest competition!  And don’t forget, there is also Taylor St Baristas down the other end of the street which is also very exceptional!



Price: £1.5 to £3.0 per person
Score:  ★★★★★★
Opening Times:
Mon – Fri -  10.30am -  18:00pm
Sat -  11am – 17:00pm
Sun – 11am – 16:00pm

Address:  Currently serving at “Present” Clothing Store, 140 Shoreditch High Street, London, E1 6JE
Gwilym Ph: 07985628821


  1. Hi Babedolphin (O...! should call you HK Epicurus),

    You may know who I am with my profile picture.

    O...! It is wonderful to read your coffee review in London. It should be faboulous and enjoyable to have a cup of coffee from 09 barista champion! I truly envy you your experience there! haha!

    Look forward to reading more article from you in UK or other countries. Then I can mark it down for my next (or next next) journey. Thanks for sharing!

    Best Regards,

  2. Thanks for your kind words, Edmond!

    Yeh its taking me ages to write about anything, just a bit too lazy nowadays ! Hope I find the energy to keep writing again soon !

  3. He was my local barista for the past 3 years in London when I moved into the Barbican. I would pass everyday on the way to work (when he used to work on a stall on Whitecross Street).

    I didn't realise quite how much I would miss his coffee out here..

    Really glad you enjoyed it. This is your first full rating!

  4. You're such a pleasant find! Don't think you're remember me, you used to expand my world of coffees on Openrice when I was known as "小穎頤":) What a beautifully small world.

    Thanks to your recommendation I paid my visit yesterday to Prufrock. I haven't got round to writing about it yet, but just wanted to say thank you for yet another eye-opener (or taste buds tingler).

    PS: We probably walked pass each other in early March, seeing I live and work at Canary Wharf.

  5. Dear Wingz,

    I think I remember you - were you the one who wore a beanie and you wrote about W's Entrecote and a few other places too, before disappearing a bit? :P How have you been? Oh so you're based in Canary Wharf, a nice area.

    Anyway when do you plan to revisit HK? Sorry about my late reply btw, wasn't in HK, then came back and the laptop broke down. Needed to borrow someone's netbook for now :) Will add you on my blog now, thx for visiting!



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