I never used to be a coffee drinker. I used to be a tea devote, however in the last few years I have become a coffee lover - with at least one a day during the week, usually bought from a Brighton local chain called Small Batch Coffee.
If you aren't a Brighton local, you might not have heard of Small Batch - an independent business, that started and thrived during the worst of the recession. They started off as a roasters just outside of Brighton who supplied cafes with their delicious blends of coffee beans. This eventually moved to Hove and several coffee shops opened up, as well as 2 coffee vans at both Brighton and Hove train stations.
Not only do they do fantastic blends of coffee, but their food (which is supplied by another independent shop, sourcing local produce) is also divine. If you ever get the opportunity to have one of their egg and bacon baps, just do it - and make sure you try their home-made tomato sauce!
Earlier on this year Joe (Hubs)and I were at the Hove coffee shop when I noticed that they held Latte Art Courses, this sounded awesome. The course itself is £75 per person and lasts for four hours.
Most people would not feel the need to know how to create latte art, but you also get to learn a lot about making coffee and working with milk. It's ideal if you are thinking of starting your own cafe and need to train your barista, or if you are just a major coffee enthusiast that wants to create the experience at home.
I've never worked in cafe and apart from briefly having a home drip coffee machine, I have no experience making coffee, but I was thrilled to be invited to come learn how by the lovely Laura at Small Batch.
I arrived at the Seven dials coffee shop, which is situated inside an old bank. I meet Laura at the bar and she greets me warmly showing me downstairs. The class room is located in an old vault, which I have to say was pretty cool.
Laura is obviously a coffee fiend, she knows the trade well and is passionate about what she does, which really helps you settle in and feel like you are in capable hands. During the lesson you are taught all about making coffee before you even touch the milk, and it is quickly revealed exactly how much thought, love and care has gone into creating Small Batch Coffee.
After I have mastered making the shots of coffee we move on so the Latte art - during the four hours Laura teaches me three shapes, which she describes as being the basis for all other coffee art, a bit like how drawing can be broken down into circles and squares.
The first is the simple heart, which is the easiest, followed by the Tulip (which I sort of managed) and finally the Rosetta, which I wasn't great at, but managed to use the basic technique to jazz up my heart,
I really enjoyed the course and will endeavour to get another drip coffee machine, with milk steamer so that I can practice and eventually perfect my Rosetta.
Are you a coffee lover, what's your favourite coffee shop?
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