Was it a dream or was it REALLY that good?
Picture the scene… I am in London on a day of meetings – nice pre-Christmas ones, over lunch and drinks with lovely people. I arrive in London on a crisp, bright December morning, a heart full of love for this amazing City and a sparkle of Christmas in my step.
And guess what – I am early, in London with time for me! This makes me happy. My first meeting was just round the corner from Covent Garden, which is one of my favourite places. The over sized reindeer, Lego advent calendar and of course Christmas trees and the smell of food and coffee. Coffee? Now that is what I need, all on my own and wanting to soak up the atmosphere. Then the choice hits me – where to go? London is packed with cafes, chains and independents. I wander into Starbucks, which is literally packed with a queue out the door. Why, why, why am I being a sheep and going with the obvious choice?
I wander away and onto a street off Covent Garden and there it is, a lovely looking independent coffee shop, welcoming and inviting.
What a find!!
In I go and take a look at the coffee menu on the blackboard above the counter and there, the drink that I rarely see but always love – a Cortado. In fact, I cannot remember drinking a cortado in this country ever; it’s a “holiday” coffee. Should I risk it and ruin my rose tinted holiday glasses that tell me a cortado is always fantastic? How could I resist?
And this Cortado was A-MAZ-ING. Short, rich and perfect. At this stage you may be asking ‘what is a Cortado?’, so here is the definition from the nice people of Wikipedia:
A cortado is an espresso cut with a small amount of warm milk. The ratio of milk to coffee is between 1:1 – 1:2, and the milk is added after the espresso. The word “cortado” is from the Spanish cortar, to cut.
It genuinely was perfect, as was the almond croissant that I could not resist, despite a client lunch just a few hours later.
How is it that we suffer poor coffee so frequently? Over-frothed, burnt beans, bad coffee? Why does it feel like only on the continent are you pretty much guaranteed great coffee, regardless of venue? Or is it me and my rose tinted glasses?
That is why I have written this blog. If you find yourself in London with time for coffee PLEASE go and drink a Cortado at Notes at St Martin’s Lane, London WC2N 4ER. Then come back and tell me what you think?
To see more pics take a look at the Umami Pinterest Café board.
Now – I need a REALLY good coffee…anyone fancy a trip to London?
Beware – if you drink too many you get ‘Cortado Mad Eyes’!
Article by Michelle Dalley, coffee snob