Peter turned the sign to “Open” and we were welcomed in to our first collective visit to Dandelion & Driftwood. There is no doubt that reviews about this cafe abound the Internet, the unique thing for us is our passion for coffee started years ago when we met Peter and tried the coffee at Veneziano. It was like full circle … oh and our Mocha Mate was so looking forward to the experience, he went straight for a brewed black coffee – unbelievable!! Seriously, if you want to know about the coffee you are drinking and the best way to drink it, then this is a place where you will be informed and engaged. With the coffee being sourced and roasted by Wolff Coffee Roasters, there is a depth of knowledge and experience behind each cup. As with all things popular, business becomes a positive pitfall. As a remedy, Dandelion & Driftwood is expanding to include a new premises on the North side – so stay tuned for that!
So to the coffee … On advice, we all went brewed coffee to start – the Kenyan Nyeri as Chemex and a Honduras Fernandez as AeroPress. As with Elixir, our coffees were served with tasting cards and we were fully informed before choosing. Without sounding too wanky, you could definitely get the flavours from the tasting notes – a dark chocolate flavour of the Fernandez (Mocha Mate was delighted!) and a fruity berry flavour of the Kenyan. The brewed coffee provided a clear and crisp aroma and a surprisingly smooth taste for a straight black coffee. A great place to start! Where to next? Time to hit the espressos! These were brewed using a La Marzocco and Peter was a big fan – a great machine to bring out the flavours of fresh beans. There is harmony between the roasting process and the operation of the machine – the beans are roasted to ensure the quality from the machine is maximised for the drinker.
Mocha Mate went with the Driftwood blend for his mocha. It was unbleievable! The Driftwood blend has been roasted to achieve a thick body and extra creaminess to the flavour, a great choice for a mocha. The chocolate element though is where this coffee stepped into another league. For the chocolate, Dandelion and Driftwood use a specially sourced Cacao from Papua New Guinea. From reading further on my tasting card I learnt that the cocoa was fermented for 144 hours and then dried on raised beds. Astounding! Such a great deal of care and attention had gone into this coffee and it’s ingredients, and it didn’t disappoint. It produced an amazing taste and one that any lover of chocolate will truly appreciate. Then another twist, Piccolo Pal went for a short macchiato with the El Salvador single origin, which Peter believed was the best they’ve had. It was a shorter 20-25ml pour, which Peter explained that different beans require different pour techniques to extract the desired flavour. The macchiato was easy to drink and the after taste was one to savor. Just when our flat white friend was about to go the standard option, the short long affectionately named the ‘Shlong’ was suggested! A short black of the Ethiopian single origin, that is then elongated with a ristretto pour. Why not? It seemed a great atmosphere for experimentation. Another easy to drink black coffee and once again the taste was smooth and fruity.
One thing that stuck in our minds was Peter’s initial statement that, “we are always trying new sh** out” with the aim to extend the customers palette and experience with coffee. Peter was even sourcing some beans that were grown in a biosphere! That ethos of pushing and playing with the boundaries may have prompted our willingness to expand our experiences at Dandelion & Driftwood. If you are feeling daring, create your own experience … don’t just read ours!
We give it a ‘massive’ 10 beans!