They say Aussies make the best cuppa, so we asked co-founder and coffee lover Cloe de la Vega (and her dog Annie) to find out.
What makes a great coffee?
A great coffee starts with a quality bean. For us, that means tasting a variety of beans and choosing a flavour profile we like. We do this regularly as beans can change with the seasons. It’s also important to ensure that the beans are organic, fair trade and single origin. Single origin beans give much more of a distinct flavour profile, much like a wine. We only use Central and South American beans, which have a natural caramel flavour and are therefore the best single origin for milky coffees as well as black.
What are common coffee mistakes?
The most common mistake for baristas is burning the milk and serving a coffee that has had a short extraction time – if you’re drinking a coffee where the shot hasn’t been weighed, the grind doesn’t get adjusted properly and the shot just drips through in under 20 seconds. This is when you get that awful watery, bitter, almost cigarette flavoured taste.
What is your most ordered coffee at Abuelo?
Definitely flat whites!
How do you think London’s coffee habits have changed in the last five years?
We decided to open in London because we saw such a gap in the market for cafés like we have in Australia, where great coffee is standard and you can get a good made-to-order meal too. With such an influx of good Antipodean cafés, there has been an awakening of the coffee possibilities for locals here. As a result there is definitely a decline in interest in chains and more support for independents happening in London.
What key factors are most important to you when sourcing coffee beans?
The most important thing
to us is that they are ethical sources, that it’s organic,
and that they’re from smaller farmers who are actually receiving proper financial return and support. Right now, our house bean is from Honduras – it is Organic, Fairtrade and Rainforest Alliance certified and is sourced from a co-operative of individual smallholder farmers, high in the mountainous Ocotepeque Region of Western Honduras. Our guest bean is from Nicaragua, it recently also won a Cup of Excellence, which puts it in the top 2-3% of all speciality coffees entered into the competition.
What would you eat
(and drink) for your last breakfast?
Obviously a coffee (three quarter latte in particular) and Abuelo’s fig & honey whipped mascarpone toast!