Coffee overload – Black Sheep Coffee

Black Sheep Coffee – Leave the Herd Behind is a chain of coffee shops that sell high quality coffee. One day a group of friends who all loved coffee all decided to Leave The Herd Behind and set up a coffee franchise. They were fed up with the worlds boring average-tasting coffee. They set out to seek only the best unorthodox coffees that have a great story. Thus serving the best unique quality coffee that you can ever get.

Black Sheep Coffee beans

I had the privilege to attend a masterclass at Black Sheep Coffee the other day held at Regents Place.  This was a massive experience and step for me as I don’t usually drink coffee as I am not keen on it.  However Black Sheep Coffee has changed this. I now love coffee but only ones that Black Sheep Coffee create.

Black Sheep Coffee masterclass

See, sniff & slurp

Firstly we are taught about coffee from the look, smell and taste. On the table there was a range of different coffees. Each mug of coffee sat upon different information cards. Each card stated what the coffee granules consisted of and which country it came from. Mugs sat on cards that were turned face down making them mystery coffees. It was up to us to solve what the coffee might be by looking, sniffing and tasting. It was fascinating to learn about the different types of coffees from around the world.

After sniffing we then learnt that coffee should never have boiling water poured over the granules. After we poured the hot water over the coffee it was now time for us to scrape off the floating granules with a spoon. It was now time to taste.  We each was given a spoon so we could taste all the different coffees and the mystery coffee. We was told to slurp as loud as we can and people who did won a voucher to come back to have a free coffee in the future. I am not a great slurper so I never won a voucher but my friends and husband slurped really well so they all got a voucher. With the mystery coffees we all had to use our senses to try and solve which coffee it might be. This was fun and most of us obviously have great senses as we got it right.

Art of coffee

After the coffee overload it was now onto learning about the art of coffee in how to create a heart image. Firstly the milk needs to be warmed up by the hot steam nozzle. Now onto the coffee. After placing the mug under the coffee nozzle you push the button in which black coffee comes will flow out.

Now onto creating the perfect heart. You have to add the milk by holding the flask of milk from quite a distance away from the coffee. Hold the mug at a slant and then pour quickly the milk up away from yourself and then back. Hopefully you will of now created a heart but it is not that easy. I failed on my first attempt it looked more like a splattered puddle of milk. My second attempt was not as bad I managed to create a small heart but that was only because the member of staff literally held my hand all the way. It was though a hit and miss for us all. Below is various photos of mine and my friends attempts.

Let it drip

For the last part of the masterclass it was onto making a coffee made using a ceramic cone filter.

We had to place a mug on top of measuring scales with a ceramic cone with a paper filter. Firstly had to dampen the paper filter. Why as this helps get rid of any paper taste and also helps the coffee filter more easily and hold it in place. Once moistened tip the water out of the mug and set back up on the scales. Now onto the bloom* process. Add 7 grams of coffee beans and pour over 100 ml of 93 degrees of hot water in a circular motion making sure the coffee granules become evenly saturated. Let this sit for one minute. This step allows the coffee to degas, ensuring better flavor in the resulting cup of coffee.  After this time then start adding more water to finish your coffee. Pour in slow, circular and steady stream. The coffee should filter in about two minutes. Instead of counting sheep at night let’s count sheep to pass the time as we are in Black Sheep after all. Once your coffee has come to a very slow drip then your coffee is now brewed and ready to drink.  Who knew there was so much science behind in how to make a coffee.  


Earlier on I mentioned about the bloom process and you are most likely wondering what is the bloom. Well a bloom is a fast release of gas that occurs when hot water comes in contact with the coffee grounds. The bloom is caused by the roasting procedure. When coffee beans are roasted, the heat causes carbon dioxide which becomes trapped in the bean. After the roasting process the beans then begin to slowly discharge giving of gases which is known as degassing.

Coffee that has been roasted within a ten day time frame most of the carbon dioxide will be retained by the beans even though the degassing process has begun. As soon as the beans are ground the gases begin to escape much more quickly. When hot water touches the ground coffee, they immediately begin to purge themselves of the carbon dioxide creating the bloom effect.

Different ways to how to bloom your coffee

Filter pouring – pour hot water in a circular motion beginning from the outside and then working your way into the middle. However just use a little to soak the coffee in the filter. Allow to rest for one minute before pouring the rest of the hot water over your coffee.
French press – slowly pour a small amount of hot water over the coarsely ground coffee. Bloom for 20 seconds by letting it stand. Then stir it so all grinds of coffee come in contact with the water. Then complete your normal brew process.
Coffee maker – put your filter and ground coffee in the basket.  Add just enough water over the ground coffee to soak it but not too much water as you want the coffee to drip through the filter. After resting for about 90 seconds then begin your normal brewing cycle on your coffee maker.
If when you pour hot water over top of your coffee you should see the bloom form. If nothing happens then your coffee is most likely stale and will not produce a quality cup of coffee.

Nightly cocktails

At Black Sheep Coffee they don’t just sell coffees but in the evening they sell cocktails.

I had pleasure in tasting one of their classic Espresso Martinis then followed on by a Velvet Martini. Both of them was delicious but the Velvet Martini had the edge with it’s smell and tanginess.  The mixologist was not able to tell me the full secret of his amazing Velvet Martini but he did tell me he used West Dorset Milt Vodka, fennel gin and lime falernum creating a clean tripled-shaked British Martini (West Country).

Buzzing on a high

At the end of the night I was not just buzzing on a high with coffee and having a spring in my step but I have now been converted into loving coffee.  Plus I also learnt that there is so many different types of coffee out there, the art and the science behind in how to make a good quality coffee.

Forget all the other coffee places in and around London as Black Sheep Coffee is one of the best top quality coffee shops out there.  As I mentioned earlier I hated coffee but they have converted me and so I will most certainly pop into a Black Sheep Coffee place again.

Leave the Herd of all other coffee shops and jump into a Black Sheep you wont baalieve the difference.

Click here to find your nearest Black Sheep Coffee.

Black Sheep Coffee statement

I will be counting sheep all night I think.

It got me thinking about my favourite sheep again from Christmas Tree Farm

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