It sounds like something out of a sports movie. Our plucky hero, dazed and confused from a catastrophic head cold with points deducted by evil judges in collusion with his arch enemy, all hell bent on denying him his prize, goes to pour his final latte. He knows he's only got one chance to pour the unpourable. The Flying Tulip. In slow motion, he starts to pour. All we can hear is his heartbeat and the ticking of the clock as it heads towards zero. A pause. He's done it, he's poured the latte they said could not be poured!
It was nothing like that, of course. Pity. Neil did pour a hanging tulip but I don't think there were any evil judges involved and I don't think it's considered unpourable, just very good. Not sure on arch enemies. Oh, he did have a cold, though.
Neil won the latte art prize as well as the award for best individual pour on the day at the SCAE UK Latte Art Championship and I congratulated him on his double whammy at Browns of Brockley, where he works during the week. On Saturdays, he and fellow podium finisher, third placed barista Lynsey Harley run Exchange Coffee at Lewisham Market, bringing superb coffee to South East London (more on that in a week or so).
After two visits, Browns has become something of a favourite for a number of reasons. Obviously the coffee's is pretty good as they are a skilled bunch of baristas and they use Square Mile Roasters beans. There's a changing stock of deli type goods on offer, but mostly I like the place because it's possibly the friendliest place I've walked into in a good long while. Punters interact with staff and with each other in a way that you don't seem to get at any of the Central London coffee haunts. A long central table means that it's easy to while away an hour chin wagging. A lovely spot for breakfast, too.