I made the resolution to try out some of the other Tapped and Packed shops after leaving the Rathbone shop with a good impression. This is very belated, but there was another good reason for returning to TAP — they’ve now dropped Has Bean in favour of their own roast. Bold move.
The Tottenham Court Road shop is natural. A trunk of a tree sits in the middle of the room (acting as a table for sugar and napkins, and other things that a coffee drinker doesn’t concern themselves with). Weathered wood plays a big role in the shop, and making you forget that one of London’s busiest roads is bustling outside. An oasis of coffee, a sea of calm in the heart of the city.
The filter coffee served is all through V60. The first one I tried was a Kenya. A wonderfully sweet and bright Kenya, fresh and fruity. The finish to the coffee is slightly salty, but otherwise very clean. It’s not a complex cup, as the barista admitted, but it has some nice flavour, and leaves you with an overall easy swill. I was definitely impressed by this first try of the new TAP roasting. It’s a difficult venture to master, especially when there are so many good roasters already in London, but TAP are making an admirable charge into the roasting industry. Without wanting to make an undue judgement on their quality though, I tried a second cup.
The second cup was a Guatamalen coffee (that I got for free through TAP’s marvellous loyalty cards) was not as flavourful as the first, but it was complex and presented a significant challenge to the taste buds. The marmelade tones in particular were difficult to find in the depth of the cup, but rewarding when I did. This was definitely a coffee which improved as it cooled. The cooling effect is variable with coffees, but often it’s worth leaving a coffee for a few minutes to see how the flavour improves with time.
I can only see TAP’s own roasted coffee improving over time, and their first batch made me want to try it again. The shop itself is a wonderful example of how speciality coffee can sit opposite high street stores and flourish.
My review of TAP Rathbone Place