Waking up to coffee

Smallbatch coffee beans
Beautiful Smallbatch arabica coffee beans, they know just where they come from!

And so there I was, 9am on a Saturday morning in Seven Dials Brighton. Honestly I could have done with a lie in. I had an intensive but inspiring photographic week, I was tired. But I had booked a home barista session for my avid coffee loving husband at Smallbatch, possibly the best loved coffee house in Brighton.

I decided to travel light and just take my iphone so I could enjoy the process. We were greeted by Laura Holmes who’s education in coffee made a great morning wake up alongside my cortado. Ashley and I were joined with Derek, a lover of expresso. Laura assured us we would each get to taste as much coffee as we wanted. All set then!

Smallbatch - Laura Holmes
Smallbatch’s Laura Holmes talking expresso to Derek and Ashley

Expresso grind challenge

I do love coffee but I can honestly say, unlike Derek,  that I don’t drink that much expresso. I like my milk. However, Laura showed us how different grinds create a different flavour. So you I was blown away by how a minute change in grind changed the taste. The coffee was the same, the temperature and amount in the basket was the same. The coffee was astoundingly different. I was learning, this was good!

Coffee grinds & raw coffee
Raw coffee and grinds. This coffee was not going to be roasted, not good enough quality


expresso smallbatch making proper coffee
Ashley getting the basket of coffee ready for take off

Each process is a ritual of respect for the final flavour. From the location of the bean to the roast, to the accuracy of the grind. All very well thought out stages to get the very best taste possible. It’s a care of the coffee bean and with no pretension.

expresso Smallbatch
Letting the first expresso pour out, the crema looks pretty

Milking it


Many coffee chains offer what I call, bubble bath milk. The foam is loose and frothy. I much prefer the velvety lush foam brought about by a careful barista. it makes a better sip moustache. It’s about the angle, the heat, the spin and the pour! I was so pleased to be able to get this right and got the heart!


So I woke up to delicious tastes and flavours and that was worth getting up early on a Saturday for.

Interested? No I’m not on commission, but you can check out Smallbatch’s home barista sessions for yourself.

Sophie Sheinwald is a Brighton based portrait and event photographer, she has been known to use a Smallbatch coffee house as a place to discuss photo sessions!