Doubleshot recently invited Sustenance into their cozy yet trendy coffee and tea shop for a coffee, tea and casual chat – and what an experience it was!
Doubleshot is situated in the rejuvenated Braamfontein district where we met up with Daniel, whose passion and energy for coffee is tangible.
We ended up spending just under two hours learning all two newbies could know about tea and coffee from plant to cup.
Doubleshot is a collaboration between Alain, the owner, and Alex, who owns a farm in Malawi, supplying most of their green, black and white teas, as well as their Malawian coffee beans. This partnership ensures a high standard of quality in the Doubleshot end product. In addition, Doubleshot works with other farms or estates through incentive programs, thus supporting the originating farms in improving their product.
All the coffee sold at Doubleshot features the Country of origin as well as the name of the Estate the bean comes from on the packaging. The coffee beans are roasted on-site by Alain, who is also the Master tea blender. Basically, they have a hand in every stage of the process, from farming to roasting and blending to training of baristas.
Fun fact: The coffee bean is actually the pit of the fruit from the coffee plant, which is called a coffee cherry.
Once a new bean arrives in the store, Alain takes small batches of the bean through a roasting process in an effort to pin point its particular “sweet spot”. This is the art of coffee roasting. The science comes in in trying to replicate the roasting flavour with every batch of each particular bean, for which they have special logging software paired with probes in the roaster measuring the temperature of the beans and the environmental temperature.
As part of Daniel’s research and development role he will then take the roasted bean and try it in a siphon, as an espresso, a cappuccino, etc. to find out where it works and where it doesn’t. Finally, the coffee is added to the menu.
“… we’re not a one blend pony.”
According to Daniel, Braamfontein is becoming a coffee capital, in the way that people go to Parkhurst to find craft beers. What sets Doubleshot apart from other coffee establishments is their openness and willingness to share information and knowledge about their craft with those who enter through their doors.
If you want to learn the difference between a Costa Rican, a Brazilian and a Malawian coffee they will happily guide you on your journey of discovery. It is not only the final destination but the journey that makes the Doubleshot experience unique. That is in addition to the abundance of choice between top quality coffee roasts and tea blends. As Daniel humorously put it, “we’re not a one blend pony.”
Being a decaffeinated coffee drinker, the topic of caffeine and decaffeination soon came up. There are various methods of obtaining decaf coffee, one involves a chemical wash, another involves saturating the beans in water loaded with “flavour particles” which then extracts the caffeine whilst leaving the flavour in the bean. Another method of decreasing the caffeine in a bean is by dark roasting it, which then breaks down the caffeine within the bean. At the same time this tends to break down the acids and sugars, giving the coffee less flavour. Each decaffeination process has its own pros and cons, but they all affect the flavour in some way.
I must say that after the conversation we had about decaffeination, I am not keen about drinking it any more! I will have to either delve further into teas or switch to regular jo. Needless to say, Doubleshot do not stock decaf coffee, but have a large selection of flavoured rooibos teas! If you, like me, are looking to switch from decaf to regular coffee, the best way to do this would be to go for smaller portions, such as a single shot cappuccino, as suggested by Daniel.
“What people don’t realise is that filter coffee has more caffeine than espresso”
That leads to the question of which cuppa jo offers the best caffeine punch? As it turns out the popular myth that an espresso is sure to keep you going all day was busted. If you had to choose between a single espresso and a cappuccino, the caffeine in the cappuccino would last longer because the caffeine bonds to proteins in the milk and lasts in your system for 4-5 hours as opposed to 45 minutes to an hour for the espresso. Likewise, filter coffee contains more caffeine than a single espresso because the brewing process is slower, meaning that the beans are in contact with the water for a longer time, releasing more caffeine into the coffee.
With our heads buzzing from all the information we’d just acquired it was time to try out some of Doubleshot’s offerings. Doubleshot are known for their iced teas, so I had a delectable Strawberry Rooibos iced tea, served in a lovely glass jar. Nico started off with a flat white Malawian bean coffee. I could say that it was one of the best coffees I have ever tasted (of course I took a sip!). Sweet, creamy, a little bit of dark chocolate bitterness with a hint of nuttiness – pure yumminess.
Next, we were treated to the incredible experience of the coffee siphon. The siphon is a device which brews coffee at a constant temperature, and provides a spectacular show in doing so! The way it works is as follows, water is poured into the bottom chamber and heated. As the water evaporates it forms water vapour, which pushes the heated water up the funnel to the top chamber. The coffee grounds are then added to the top chamber. Once the brewing time for the coffee has been reached the heat source is removed, which causes the water vapour to contract in the bottom chamber causing a vacuum, which pulls the coffee through the filter and back down the funnel. We highly recommend trying out the siphon, it is a must-do experience – both scientific and magical.
Daniel kindly organised a tea tasting for me since I have a low caffeine tolerance. This was, for me, the highlight of our visit. I so enjoyed the tea tasting that I feel warrants a separate blog post.
We finished off our visit with a tour of the kitchen and an espresso made by our host, which Nico thoroughly enjoyed. We also discussed their plans for an exciting new product launching in the near future – watch this space!
“You have to try a place three times before you can really say this is great or this is terrible.”
Daniel was an incredible host, bursting with knowledge on what one can tell is one of his favourite subjects. We could easily have spent our day chatting and sampling the great beverages on offer in their relaxed atmosphere. Daniel told us that “[y]ou have to try a place three times before you can really say this is great or this is terrible.”, well we owe two more visits but we can already say that Doubleshot is one of our favourite coffee and tea destinations.
Visit them at:
Offline: 1 Peppermint Place, Corner Juta & Melle Streets, Braamfontein, Johannesburg