Sunday, 17 April 2011

Brixton Village: Federation Coffee

Coffee houses used to be places where rebellions were planned and where deals were struck.  In the 18th century they were the central trading houses for shares and bonds, a fairly new idea at the time.  Lloyd's Bank has its roots in this world, having itself started as a coffee house.  However, coffee in the twentieth century was very different.  Seen as a slightly strange drink that had a peculiar popularity on the continent, good coffee was hard to find.  Then came the chains.  Still not so good, but better.  After a while they upped their game and good coffee came to be expected.  No we are in the midst of a new wave of smaller artisan cafe's that focus on high quality in preparation and detail in sourcing.  At least half of these places are run by antipodians.  Enter - 'the flat white'.

Less milky than a cappuccino it's meant to be smooth, but pack a bigger punch.  The one in Coffee Federation in Brixton Village certainly does that.  Beautifully presented, it's deep and strongly roasted.  Very good indeed.  But, this is after all a food blog and going on about the different flavour notes in coffee is beyond my general remit.  So it's lucky that they do great cakes.  And I mean really great.  The first one I had was a raspberry and vanilla friand.  A friand is like a muffin, but lighter and a little moister.  It was delicious.  The brown, slightly chewy outter lair gave way to a beautifully soft inside.  The parts of it with a raspberry nearby where gooey and sour, working perfectly against the sweet batter. Delicious.  The second was even better.  A rich caramel, coffee and walnut cake was a series of deep, bitter flavours lifted by the sweet caramel.  There was not a hint of dryness anywhere.  

Coffee Federation is a great cafe.  There are no rebellions, and thankfully no banking, just great coffee and cake in a really nice setting.

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