#EatWell #TravelOften #london #coffee #greatcooffee #travel #WhereInLondon #WhereCoffee #coffeeblog
From over two decades of travel I realized one thing – you are really hard pressed when it comes to trying to find a decent cup of coffee at hotels. From a 1 star (and believe me I’ve been to a couple of one stars) all the way to the super pooper 5 & 6 star hotels (haven’t been to a 7 star hotel… yet) the coffee is almost always awful. And when I say awful I mean awful, full-on robusta espresso blends with that musty/woody robusta cutting through the liters of milk. You try to cover it up with 3-4 packs of sugar and it’s still awful… Did I say there was robusta in those espresso blends? Anyway, it’s one of those things that just bugs the snot out of me every time I travel. Then it happened! I saw it… the future of hotel coffee and I was in awe. I literally have goose bumps on my forearms as I’m writing this.
Let me tell you how it all started before I tell you what I saw. My great friends at La Marzocco Lorenzo and Andrea invited us out to see their La Marzocco UK office in the East End of London. I asked a simple question from my wonderful Italian travelers and that is do you have any recommendations about a nearby hotel I should stay at? They said, “Ace Hotel Shoreditch”, so that’s where I stayed. For those who don’t know Ace Hotel (like me before I stayed there only 4 months ago) they simply ROCK! I mean I had a turntable with David Bowie’s Let’s Dance vinyl album in my room, yes you heard right. If that wasn’t enough to blow your mind totally away here’s the coup de grâce… wait for it… I had a flippin’ Martin Guitar in my room. Unbelievable! I’m in heaven, the coolness just was pouring out of collaged walls.
So, my first morning, I woke up at 4:00 am (jet lagging, of course) immediately picking up that wonderful 6 stringed instrument provided by the glorious Ace Hotel, and did my best to remember “Wish You Were Here” by… well you know who it’s by. I then went on to say my prayers, read my morning readings, and answered all my emails waiting for 6:00 am when the espresso bar in the lobby opened up. And that was where it all happened… that’s where I saw the future of hotel coffee.
It may not look like much but this is James Hoffman’s Bulldog Edition espresso bar at the new Ace Hotel in London’s Shoreditch. It was perfection. These baristas knew their stuff. They served me beautiful coffee day after day starting out with a wonderful pour over of Ethiopia Karachi region and then hitting me with either a double ristretto or an Americano depending on my mood crafted with the amazingly smooth Red Brick espresso blend. I then finished whatever work I had getting ready for the day as I talked with the baristas about various roast profiles, different grinder features, how they liked their La Marzocco Strada, and, of course, what’s it like to live in Siberia.
This was such a quintessential coffee experience. Most of the time when I travel I bring my own French press and a supply of various Traveler’s Coffee single origins. This was one of those rare times that I didn’t use my Traveler’s Coffee supply on the road. I was so deeply affected by this experience. I hope that one day Traveler’s Coffee will be able to open up in an Ace Hotel.
While I have your attention I’d like to show a couple more pictures of this wonderful coffee bar and the Ace Hotel as well. Also, the Ace Hotel in New York with the equally amazing Stumptown Coffee espresso bar there… enjoy!
Eat Well, Travel Often