There's a new kind of cafe rising up: specialty coffee is no longer experienced singularly within the confines of a cafe. It's consumed on the street, on a bike, shopping for groceries & in your cocktails.
Scrolling through our Instagram feed, we see our scales being used in a variety of ways in a myriad of settings. This exploration lead us to find Espresso Library in Cambridge, UK, which opened in February 2015. Our scales are used on two types of bar: coffee and alcohol.
The decision to turn Espresso Library into a multifunctional space is due to the blending of the co-founders' various interests. John Gull is a cyclist and mathematician, while his partner, Malgo Dzierugo, is an art historian, yoga teacher & a cook.
This fusion of interests produced Espresso Library: "a cycling cafe, art gallery, specialty coffee shop, whole foods eatery and cocktail bar."
We conversed with Malgo via email.
Your space is gorgeous! Tell us more about the inspiration behind the design & how it works with the community you serve.
Thank you! It means a lot. We had worked on Espresso Library for almost two years prior to February 2015, when the cafe's door opened to the public for the first time. The finished interior was a joint effort: we teamed up with a couple of designers, Vanessa Battaglia and Brendan Young of mineheart.com and a local artist and woodworker Loukas Morley. We envisaged Espresso Library as this large, multi-functional space which channels our passions and interests so that we can share them with our community. We have our own cycling team, we run social and training rides and show all major cycling races on TV - there even is room for riders to hang their bikes up on the wall (Cambridge is REALLY into cycling!). We regularly hold a variety of events at the cafe, from art shows, yoga classes, workshops, talks, PechaKucha Nights (first in Cambridge!) and concerts.
What do you find to be the most challenging as a multi-functional space?
The most challenging part is coordinating all the events we put on at the cafe on top of running a small business, however, it is important for us to do our passions justice. For instance, by choosing to regularly put on new art exhibitions we are able to showcase a larger variety of art and offer accompanying cultural events.
Do you ever mix your alcoholic drinks with the espresso? What was the result?
We are still working on our signature espresso based alcoholic drink. Finding the balance between the spirits, coffee and other ingredients is something we are still perfecting.
We saw on your Instagram page that you build your cocktails by weight using our Pearl. How has it helped you in designing your drinks?
It seemed like an obvious choice to use the Pearl whilst pouring our alcoholic drinks. We found in espresso we needed to control the variables in order to get the desired flavour. Using your precise scales and the app to log the brew method helped us hone in on and repeat a fantastic recipe, so we took the same approach to pouring our cocktails. It's quick, consistent and there is no contamination compared to using spirit measures. The clean functional aesthetic is also right in tune with the feel of our space.
Would you mind sharing a favourite cocktail recipe for our customers to try out in their home bar?
It’s got to be the Candy Bellini: mostly because it requires you to make a small batch of our most popular smoothie which you can enjoy in the morning after!
Candy Smoothie (Serves 1-2):
400ml of freshly squeezed orange (or blood orange) juice
1 large ripe banana
1/2 fresh ripe mango
a handful of frozen raspberries
generous pinch of raw vanilla bean powder
Blend everything until smooth.
Candy Bellini (serves 1):
Grab your Acaia scales, turn it on and tare it with a champagne flute on top. Pour 25g of Candy Smoothie and top up to 125g in total with your favourite prosecco (this must be done slowly and carefully, using a straw to stir it as you pour to prevent it bubbling over).
Thank you so much! Cheers!
Follow along on their adventures on their Instagram page at @espressolibrary.
All photos provided by Espresso library.