Is Cotto London’s Saviour For Authentic Coffee?
By Sumit Rehal
The Highlight Nation team were at Boxpark Croydon’s launch festival at the end of last year, where we got to sample all of the creative cuisines from the local entrepreneurs while listening to UK’s finest music artists.
While Boy Better Know performed in the background, I polished off Fish Wings ‘N’ Ting’s authentic jerk chicken. I soon found myself needing a pick me up after eating too much. Since I was spoilt for choice when it came to cuisines from every corner of this green earth, I thought there were bound to be options when it came to a good cup of coffee to hit the spot. I was however left searching as there wasn’t much of a choice when it came to an independent specialist coffee pop up.
I had been craving good coffee in London for months following a recent trip to Amsterdam where I tasted a latte like none before. It was then where I realised that I had been drinking plastic, processed, burnt coffee that had no love in it from the likes of Starbucks and Costa my whole life while paying six times the price of what it’s worth.
A few weeks later, my train was delayed for the third time in a row at East Croydon (Thanks Southern) so I decided to go for a wander to pass some time. I noticed that there was a stall that I hadn’t seen before just outside the station called Cotto. The friendly barista informed me that they just opened that week, which got me thinking if the coffee angels had been listening to me!
I saw a deal that said any coffee and a pastry for only £2.50, so I thought I’d might as well go for it as my train isn’t gonna come any time soon. I asked for a latte and a cannoli before I was given a stamped loyalty card. While the potion was being cooked up, I was told that the beans were native to India and then brewed in Italy.
Being of Indian descent myself, I never knew that coffee was even a produce of the motherland so I was even more excited to try it out! I was also recommended to not add any sugar as the drink would naturally be sweet. The milk was poured artistically to resemble the shape of a scorpion and then I was told to have a nice day as I set off to get train that finally was arriving.
I’ve been a fan of cannolis ever since I saw Paulie and Silvio scoff them down weekly in the Sopranos so I took my time when tending to it. The pastry crumbled into near even pieces for the chocolate that was parked inside to let loose. It was one fine cannoli, especially since it came as an add on to a £2.50 coffee! Tony Soprano would have loved to get his gnashers on this.
Now it was time for the main event! I was somewhat sceptical still as I usually add two sugars to my coffee as it is usually so bitter. I took the lid off as I’ve learnt over the years that like wine, half of the taste in coffee is aided with the aroma. I took my first sip and it went down smoothly. I couldn’t judge just yet as for some reason I only get the true taste of a cup of coffee from the second sip.
The second sip changed the whole hot drinks game! It definitely was the best cup of coffee that I’ve purchased in the UK…and this was right on my front door step in Croydon! The barista was right, I didn’t need to add any sugar as the natural fragrance and flavour left such a pleasant aftertaste. The brewing technique ensured that there was a consistency throughout each sip and I finished the whole cup like it was water by the time I got off my stop at Redhill.
I told all my colleagues about how I had the greatest cup of coffee that morning and within a week I already snapped up a free cup with my loyalty card. Who knew that India has a secret nugget in coffee? Perhaps tea took all the glory when it came to the search for a caffeine hit and the British snapped up that trade instead.
We’ve been missing out on the Indian coffee front ever since but I’m glad that I’m able to experience a delicious cup made with a smile that has happened to be sourced from the motherland. Here’s to the future of Cotto, who hope to expand their coffee across London in the years to come!