On my way home from the gym, I noticed a new cafe was recently opened on Eastcheap Street. It’s called Black Sheep Coffee and was designed by a group of coffee-loving friends who decided to “Leave The Herd Behind”. They set out to challenging the status quo by sourcing only unorthodox coffees that have a story to be told. This is the case with robusta coffee.
Among more than a hundred coffee varieties, the two most common are Coffea Arabica and Coffea Canephora, also called Robusta or Conilon. The plants are quite different, with robusta being a more rustic and productive plant, while arabica is more sensitive and produces less, requiring much more care in the field. Arabica grows best at high altitudes and mild temperatures while robusta needs a warmer, humid climate at a lower altitude. While arabica has 1.2% of caffeine, robusta has almost double, 2.2%. As for the taste, arabica is sweeter, with a mild and slightly acidic aroma and flavour; robusta is more bitter and prominent, and for that less appreciated.
That’s where Black Sheep’s differential comes in. The main coffee used by them at present is Robusta Revival, prepared exclusively with robusta grains from Uganda. On my first visit, I ordered a flat white and was surprised by the intense and pleasant flavour, with notes of nuts and chocolate. I liked it! In addition to the robusta revival, there is also an arabica option called Blue Volcano, with a fruitier and milder flavour.
The cafe is quite small with a few places to sit. It is a proper place to serve the public that passes by, picks up a coffee and heads to work or home. In addition to the traditional espresso menu, there is also filtered and cold coffees. I tried the Nitro Cold Brew, which came out of a draft beer machine. The addition of nitrogen in the coffee made it feels creamy and taste very interesting, bringing up the freshness of the grains. In addition to coffee, the cafe also has some goodies like croissants, brownies, muffins, cold drinks, hot chocolate and teas.
The staff is very kind and helpful. I was welcomed by Andrea, the shop manager, who kindly speak with me about the shop and the coffees used by them. He also mentioned that he is proud of working for Black Sheep (it indeed reflected in the excellent service given to customers). Black Sheep Coffee is certainly a place that is worth the visit if you are keen to try different coffees.
Black Sheep Coffee
31 Eastcheap – London