There’s an increasing volume of great coffee being served today in this corner of London. But for fanatical attention to detail, plus total dedication to the poetry of a decent cup, The Fields Beneath remains almost unbeaten.
To keep things interesting, they rotate their roasters every 20 kilos of beans (that works out about once a week) having carefully selected five favourites: Square Mile and Federation from London, Round Hill from Bath, Butterworth from Bury St. Edmunds (who supply the speciality teas too) and Extract from Bristol, which was in the grinder when we dropped in.
It formed the basis of a picture-perfect latte, its frothy crown lovingly styled with creamy organic milk from award-winning dairy Goodwood. Though to really taste this particular roast’s full range of surprisingly fruity notes, the black Americano (using typically restrained amounts of hot water) delivered the best flavour, effortlessly leaving the insipid giant chalices of the coffee chains in its rich, dark wake.
There’s something about coffee geekery that’s as seductive as the daily caffeine high, and owners Gavin, Sybil and their young baristas provide plenty of both. Casual customers will find themselves learning the love story behind the guy who delivers this week’s beans, plus the carefully researched match of grind and method behind making them truly sing.
Helped down with a slice of Gavin’s mum’s rhubarb and cherry slice and a cheeky triangle of her chocolate and pistachio cake too, the whole Fields Beneath package is simply a winner from every angle (our only gripe? A little more seating space). They continue to refine, improve, tweak and perfect too.
Whoever said a bit of obsessionalism was unhealthy?