I am rarely (if ever) a morning person, but one morning last week, as the rain drummed furiously at my windows, I leapt out of bed determined to make it to an early brunch and coffee tasting at Ozone Coffee Roasters, even if it meant combating with the forces of nature.
A cool new addition to creative and coffee cultured Shoreditch, Ozone Coffee Roasters sits comfortably on vibrant Leonard Street, the scent of freshly roasted coffee beans inviting you in. Originating in New Zealand, Ozone has grown to become a world leading coffee roaster and advocate of fair trade.
Entering the warmth and shelter of the café, I was immediately enveloped in the warmth of the rustic scene inside; weathered wood tables, bare brick walls and cosy booth seating. It was downstairs however, where the real coffee adventure takes off.
Resting proudly besides sacks of green coffee beans is the grand coffee roaster - a magnificent bit of equipment, reminiscent of the Victorian Steampunk scene or Willy Wonka's chocolate factory. Before we commenced with the coffee tasting, we were guided through the roasting process and the intricacies in skill required to produce the perfectly roasted coffee bean.
We were invited to enjoy a 'cupping' session next. No, this does not entail the cupping of bosoms or bottoms as some of the guests imagined - a discussion that culminated in a fit of giggles. 'Cupping', in the world of coffee is the method of examining the tastes and aromas of brewed coffee. I was surprised to find that the coffee I preferred the aroma of was inferior in taste, compared to the less aromatic coffee which tasted delicious.
(To view images from my visit to Ozone Coffe Roasters, visit my blog: Head in the Clouds)
After an enjoyable and educational cupping session, we headed to the purposely created meeting space for a much anticipated brunch. Oh my goodness - what an incredible menu! Sometimes I want to embrace the antipodean coffee community for not just the amazing coffee they have introduced to us over the past decade, but also for the exciting and eclectic food they continue to tempt us with. It is suffice to say that I wanted to taste everything on the menu, but alas the sensible grown-up in me disapproved and I was forced to make a decision. After a little deliberating and help from Lizzie, one of Ozone's owners, I ordered the Orange & Cardamom French toast with rose honey, mascarpone and berries.
Whilst I waited for my order, I enjoyed my first Ozone flat-white; smooth, strong and satisfying. With that box enthusiastically ticked, I could savour my wonderfully fragrant brunch. After a disappointing French toast experience (at a different establishment) a couple of weeks ago, I did wonder if I had made the right choice. One bite later, I knew I had. The flavours were delicate and worked perfectly together with the berries and creamy mascarpone. And it wasn't overly sweet! In fact, it was pretty much perfect. I cannot wait to try the rest of the menu!
So will I be back? Yes, absolutely, definitely!
You will find Ozone Coffee at 11 Leonard Street, Shoreditch, EC2A 4AQ
Follow Akeela Bhattay on Twitter: www.twitter.com/ActuallyAkeela