Catalyst Café opened on the cusp of the new year, and I thought it would be just another confused premium café designed to attract hipsters with fancy coffee, kale, biodynamic wines and more kale while having to cater to the needs of discerning professionals based in Holborn. What was unknown to me back then was that they have been secretly keeping a roasting machine in the basement! Their first roast was produced only a fortnight ago, with the aid of renowned coffee specialists Prufrock Coffee. They now offer three different roasts: a Brazilian blend, Ethiopian and Costa Rican single origins, all of which you can request in your brew.
Having tried the entire menu (in one day, I must add), Palate’s “coffee of the month” surely has to be their cortado. A cortado is a Spanish invention made from an equal mixture of espresso and milk. The Brazil blend is nutty with a finish of cocoa, making for a competent base. Yet what makes Catalyst’s cortado so special is the milk. Sam, the barista, makes the most amazing, textured, microfoamed milk in the business, which gives it character. When made with the more acidic Ethiopian beans, this cortado becomes even livelier – the perfect morning pickup.
48 Gray’s Inn Road
by J Khou