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Announcing our all important coffee and tea suppliers at Afternoon Tease…

It’s amazing how quickly things have been moving at the cafe in the last couple of weeks. Its gone from being an empty shell to actually resembling a cafe, more so every single day! It feels really strange to see the vision that has been in my head for so long slowly become a reality! I’m constantly playing the role of jack of all trades and a typical day (not that they exist anymore) might find me baking in the morning, popping to the cafe, whilst a cake is in the oven to let a tradesman in, going to Ridgeons for more supplies, negotiating contracts on the phone, sourcing tiles and bidding on eBay…all with the grand aim of getting through that godforsaken ‘to do’ list and opening the doors to Afternoon Tease!

There’s a big update blog post coming up but here’s a sneaky peak…

Getting there...

I’ve been wanting to announce our coffee and tea suppliers to you for a while now but finding the time to sit down and write a blog has evaded me…I apologise. But I hope that you’ll agree with me that it’s been worth the wait.

I am a complete coffee fiend and from the moment that I decided that I wanted to open a cafe, the quality of the coffee has been paramount! Whilst living in London I fell in love with a newly opened cafe, close to my place of work, called Caravan (in fact I have blogged about it herehere, here and here). Firstly I loved their coffee but I also loved the atmosphere they had created, their decor, not to mention their incredible food! In a nutshell…they just get it! After I moved back to Cambridge, Caravan branched out into a second site in Granary Square, Kings Cross

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and are going from strength to strength. When it came to deciding on a coffee supplier it didn’t take me long to think about Caravan. I really wanted to to introduce a new coffee to Cambridge and one that I believe in. Miss Igs and I took a day trip to the big smoke to visit a few roasteries and I was happy to see that it wasn’t long before Ivana was won over too! We tasted their market blend espresso blend and were sold!…

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IMG_7027They roast their own beans in small batches daily and are constantly developing their seasonal espresso blend (the one we’ll be serving) to make sure the best flavour characteristics have been brought out. They are amazingly passionate about their coffee and when we visited a second time we met Estelle, their Head Barista, a lady who knows her stuff! She took us through our paces and showed us how to make the perfect coffee. After all, they want us to be able to showcase Caravan coffee at its best 🙂

We spent the morning tinkering around with their beautiful La Marzocco Linea, the exact machine that is due to be installed at Afternoon Tease in just a few days!…

La Marzocco

My 1st attempt

Ivana's beauty

The team at Caravan have been amazingly supportive and I’m proud to be representing them in Cambridge!

However, it would be a travesty to overlook our very own local coffee roastery, Hot Numbers

Hot Numbers

I love Hot Numbers and think it’s played a very important part in the development of Cambridge’s coffee/cafe culture. Simon has paved the way and shown the people of Cambridge that they don’t have to drink bad ‘chain’ coffee. My cakes have been gracing the Hot Numbers counter for a year and a half and will continue to do so even when Afternoon Tease is open. The added bonus will be that you will be able to get Hot Numbers coffee in my cafe aswell! Simon and Steve have developed a delicious decaf, so often overlooked by cafes who, when you order a decaf, get the bag out of the cupboard that’s been ground and open for months…not in my gaff! You can expect Hot Numbers decaf beans, roasted to perfection, ground to order and made into a coffee that you’d be hard pushed to differentiate from the caffeinated version.

We will also be showcasing one of their current single origin coffees to be enjoyed as a filter or aeropress. We’ll be changing the variety regularly depending on what the Hot Numbers honcho’s come up with next!

Now, all of you tea drinkers, fear not! You haven’t been forgotten. I met the lovely ladies behind local tea company, Kandula, when we worked together on a afternoon tea/teas matching event for EAT Cambridge back in March.

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Kandula

Firstly I like them because they are independent and local, but I can also vouch for the fact that their teas are exquisite! They’ve developed a range of classic orange Pekoe Ceylon teas & white & green Ceylon teas, sourced from ethical tea plantations in Sri Lanka, not forgetting their delicious natural infusions.

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Its taken me a while to decide the varieties that I would like to stock and I can guarantee that there will be a great selection for you to choose from, including their signature ‘Pink Ceylon’ (pictured above), a delicately smokey green tea blended with hibiscus.

That’s all for now…at the time of editing this blog post, it is very early Sunday morning and I am about to embark on another full day of floor painting at the cafe! A blog post full of exciting progress photos to follow very shortly!

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Yesterday I was reunited with an old friend…Caravan on Exmouth Market. I used to be lucky enough to work just around the corner and make a weekly pilgimage there as a Friday treat (blogged here and here). Not only is it an awesome cafe and restaurant, they also roast their own coffee on site. If you happen to venture downstairs to the basement you’ll come face to face with the coffee roaster that they use to roast small batches of beans daily. Their flat whites are very good but if you’re a coffee fan I highly recommend asking for a pour over filter or aeropress of one of their single origin coffees. 

Now, my Twitter addiction is well documented on this blog. Some may see it as an affliction, however it’s also put me in touch with some really interesting people. One such person, who I’ve engaged in some Twitter coffee chat with, is Dan, Caravan’s Wholesale Operations Manager. I hadn’t planned on calling into Caravan yesterday but happened to be loitering around Exmouth Market, slightly early for a meeting so thought I’d use the excuse to pop in. I was really pleased when Dan  came and introduced himself and I was able to put a face to the name and say hi in real life!

I enjoyed a filter coffee whilst I was there and then skipped off to my meeting a happy lady, swinging a bag full of extremely exciting goodies (well I actually walked away normally carrying a bag of coffee but you get the idea)…

This morning I made it my mission to try each one of my Caravan coffees in turn, so I apologise, as the majority of this blog post was written in a caffeine fuelled frenzy!

Now I’m by no means a coffee connoisseur, I know what I like and don’t like and these are my general ramblings…

First up I opened the El Bosque and was surprised at how light in colour the ground coffee was. As my first coffee of the day, which I always savour, it definitely had a head start at being my favourite. It was amazingly rich, deep, dark and easy to drink.

Next up was the El Carmen, from the Apaneca-Ilamatepec mountains in El Salvador, could not have been more different. It was darker in appearance and really packed a punch when I stuck my nose into the packet for a sniff! The tasting notes said to expect ‘some good notes of demerara sugar’, which I liked the sound of and it sure didn’t disappoint! I’m a bit like a goldfish when it comes to coffee, my favourite is usually usurped by a new favourite pretty quickly, which is exactly what happened here!

I moved onto the Kinunu next, a Bourbon coffee from Rwanda. I have to say I wasn’t bowled over by the aroma of this one…it was quite woody and reminded me of sawdust and in particular, my Dad’s garage. It was a lighter and more acidic coffee than the first two and not my new fave!

Last but not least came the Kilimanjaro AA Tarakea, produced on the North-Eastern slopes of Tanzania’s Mount Kilamanjaro. It was slightly more acidic than the first two but unlike the Kinunu, it was gorgeously dark, fruity and somewhat mysterious. A very good coffee indeed!

I never thought I’d say it but I think I might have coffee-ed myself out!…at least until tomorrow morning!

I’ve heard rumours that Caravan may be growing its ranks and branching out down the road in the Kings Cross area. Being a Cambridge to London commuter this makes me very happy indeed! I sincerely hope the rumours are true and that my weekly treats can be resurrected! If you haven’t visited…I highly recommend that you do, don’t just take my word for it, do your own taste test! 

You can find some much more knowledgeable blurb on their coffee’s here and apparently online ordering is imminent! 🙂

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I’m armed and dangerous…a bag of Caravan’s freshly ground espresso blend coffee and my new Aeropress…I’m going to be so wired this weekend!

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08/10/2010 · 12:29 pm

I like my men like I like my coffee

Today’s Caravan coffee was a Bolivian Finca Irupana and as always…..was amazing! It was strong, full bodied and fruity, with a chocolaty, creamy aftertaste. I’m 3 weeks and 3 stamps on my loyalty card into my Caravan addiction and it’s just getting stronger and stronger. I may have to enforce a ban for a few weeks just so I’m forced to continue my hunt for other good coffee establishments….or maybe not! After all there are 6 more days in the week but Friday’s are reserved for Caravan!

As I was walking back down Exmouth market on my way to work the chorus of ‘coffee by supersister’  popped into my head (hence the title of this post) and annoyingly has been lodged there ever since. I realised after it had gone round and round my head on repeat a few times that I only knew the chorus so I googled the lyrics and they really brightened my morning. Read on and I dare you not to crack a smile…..

You ask a question, "Can I come in for coffee?"
I thought this could never be.
I thought for a minute, then smiled for a second,
Coz you're just my cup of tea.

The coffee was steamin', and I, I was dreamin'
You'd take me to boiling point.
Your lips started kissin', my heart started missin'
We damn nearly wrecked the joint.

Like a dream you held my body tight. (you held my body tight)
Like caffine you kept me up all night.

I like my men like I like my coffee,
Hot, strong and sweet like toffee.
Oh, so you know that I can't let you go.

I like my men like I like my coffee,
Hot, strong and sweet like toffee.
Oh, and I know that I can't let you go.

I thought that maybe I'd slept like a baby,
Alas it was just a dream.
Then in popped my lover, pulled back the covers
Coz I like my coffee with cream.

Then I felt a stirring deep inside. (you stir me up inside)
Fill my cup (fill my cup) till it's flowing down the side.

I like my men like I like my coffee,
Hot, strong and sweet like toffee.
Oh, so you know that I can't let you go.

I like my men like I like my coffee,
Hot, strong and sweet like toffee.
Oh, and I know that I can't let you go.

Men like my coffee, really turn me on.
Sometimes espresso, sometimes he's too strong.
Then there's Costa Rican, mellow but he's rich.
But never give me instant, coz baby, he's too quick.

Like a dream you held my body tight. (you held my body tight)
Like a fiend you kept me up all night.

I like my men like I like my coffee,
Hot, strong and sweet like toffee.
Oh, so you know that I can't let you go.

I like my men like I like my coffee,
Hot, strong and sweet like toffee.
Oh, and I know that I can't let you go.

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Another Friday…another trip to Caravan

As predicted Caravan have well and truly ensnared me and when trying to decide where to go for my Friday treat coffee I could think of nowhere else! So, fresh off the bus, I took a trip down Exmouth Market with a spring in my step and boy did they meet my expectations. I decided that although I had thoroughly enjoyed the Musasa I should branch out and try another of their home roasted varieties. I picked the Aceh Tengah, which I was told would be strong but with fruity undertones once it had cooled off a bit. The chance of the coffee lasting long enough to cool was slight to non existant but hey the thought was there. The same guy served me, he talks about his coffees like fine wines and his enthusiasm is catching! The Aceh Tengah was extremely fruity, complex and delicious and made me realise what s*&t other outlets get away with calling ‘coffee’.

I’m 2 stamps down on my loyalty card – it’d be rude not to at least try all of their coffees and fill the card….next up is going to be their new Bolivian, a new variety straight out of the roaster. Is it sad that I’m planning which coffee to drink a week in advance??

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Caravan (of love)

This morning I paid my second visit to Caravan on Exmouth Market. I work just around the corner and had been reading good things about it in timeout and on young and foodish so first thing on Tuesday morning I had headed down there only to be told that they were having ‘issues’ and didn’t have a working water supply and with water being a pretty vital component of coffee I had to leave empty handed. I didn’t write them off however, and this morning, for my Friday treat I wandered over to Caravan again. This time I was not at all disappointed and I can confirm that the wait was most definitely worth it!

I ordered an americano but then noticed the row of china coffee filters on the counter and realised that I wasn’t in danger of being served a filter coffee that had been brewed an hour or so earlier and had been stewing away in a jug…these guys knew their stuff. So I changed my order to a filter.

I was offered three varieties, which they roast in their basement. I was taken through the pro’s and con’s of each and decided on the Musasa as it was the strongest. The guy serving me was incredibly attentive and concentrated on giving me the coffee I had been dreaming of, checking that he was adding the right amount of sugar and milk to suit my taste. The cup was fairly small in comparison to some other cafe’s I frequent and was £2 but after my first sip I knew it was money well spent and realised that I may have started a dark and dirty liasion with the Caravan (of love)!

Only 7 weeks after opening apparently evenings are really busy and weekends are rammed so evidently their food must be something special too. I’ll keep you posted once the inevitable happens and I sample it.

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