It’s official: East Ham is getting a tonne of new coffee places. I make it my business to review them. Some of the old, established places like Sunrise Cafe need no introduction, and there are places making the requisite noise on social media (Erstwhile Parrot). Some need a mention, a boost. Thus, I chose a simple method: an espresso in each one, compared. Like for like. A dipstick test. A benchmarking, a kind of apples against apples, or, to use a more Brexist analogy, cabbages for cabbages.
I begin wherever I chose : why be tied down by the weight of tradition? That weight of expectation will drown your soul. I visited Coffee Express on Barking Road by the Town Hall and the Denmark Arms. Here’s the frontage.
A rain-slicked tarmacadam and the overuse of the Express suffix benchmarks this part of town, which used to house a famous fast food joint that pioneered the three toppings for a quid personal pizza. Now its gone, like so much of our youths and the notion of the social contract.
The espresso was good. A long, slow pour, a very dark roast and a suitable glass. The coffee shop has diner style benches and bright lights and is done up in anti-hipster touches like shop-bought pastries and Indian finger food.
A strong effort with almost the hint of a Turkish coffee (reminiscent of some of the finer efforts of Sunrise and D&D)
As I drank, it left a crema and sediment behind like memories carved into the trunk of a beloved tree.
I left, having drunk the coffee, thus concluding my business at this establishment.
Rating: 6 beans out of 10