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October 15, 2013

Yelp Takes A Moment!

Posted by Rowena Harris

How often do you take a moment? In this busy world we live in, the non-stop to and fro, the hubub, the noise, it's not often we get space and time to ourselves. But here in Leeds, as frenetic as it may be, there's a safe haven in which to escape. And that safe haven may be new on the scene, but they're ready to welcome you in from the cold, and offer you such delights.

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This October saw Yelp Leeds welcomed into Moments Coffee Shop, a brand new coffee shop opposite the Malmaison Hotel, for the latest installment of Elite Event cavorting. These exclusive Yelp events are, at their core, about showcasing what makes the Leeds independent scene so special, and this was no exception.

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There's a wealth of hard working, unique, and incredible indies at our fingertips, on our doorsteps, and ensconsed in our lives, and that's what makes Leeds an amazing city to live in. Where does Yelp come in? Right here. And over there. And at the click of a button. It's all about connecting you to the best local spots, and that's what this event was — connecting folks to Moments. Community is at the heart of Yelp, and at the heart of this fantastic new coffee shop.

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The evening began with a warm welcome, especially since it was such a cold eve, and the first bout of perks were handed out. Iced Deep Forest Mochas were given out immediately, to ward off the chill, as folks settled in and met friends old and new withing the Yelp community. Home made honey and ginger tea was offered to those who wanted non-caffeine, and before long, Koko Kanu cream coffee cocktails to give an extra kick.

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Once everyone was in an introduction was had, welcoming guests — both regulars from Yelp and new. It was then time for Agne, owner and proprietor of Moments, to share her story. This story, ongoing as it is, began over 10 years ago with a passion for coffee and a dream to open her own shop. This seed grew, under her nurture, as she worked relentlessly toward this dream. Many moons ago, as a barista in another coffee shop, she shared her intentions with some customers. They gave her a £10 towards her dream, which she still has today, proudly framed within the shop. After much hard work, even having her brother her join her from Lithuania to take on the role of head chef, she now has this fantastic coffee shop.

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Once the introduction was finished, and Agne's contagious passion had been caught by all, it was time to begin the 'lessons'. Since Agne's shop is designed around Moments, a 'me' moment space, a 'business' moment table, a 'chill out' moment set of comfy chairs, and a 'meet up' moment area for tables of two, she wanted to share some of her moments with Yelpers. As such, four areas of learning were set up, for a specialist coffee tasting, cocktail making, latte art, and how to make the perfect omelette.

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Mark Cato, of Appleton Estate Rum, lead the way in cocktail making and showed the guests the importance of balancing ingredients, the history of Appleton Jamaican rum, how to use the shaker, and how with the simplest of ingredients you can make an incredible drink.

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Meanwhile, Katie demonstrated how to make the perfect latte, and showcased her incredible latte art skills. The first being the art of manipulating the jug of milk with the coffee, and the second (for mochas) how to use chocolate sauce to create further imagery. With a few tricks, Yelpers realised that they could create images themselves, and everyone soon got stuck into their own creations.

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In the kitchen, VIllius had everyone captivated, with his tips to making the perfect omelette. The simplest of tricks can make all the difference, such as not leaving eggs in the fridge — with an omelette you want it to cook as swiftly as possible, and so the colder the eggs are, the slower it cooks. This was followed by a sample session, and folks even tried their hands at making themselves.

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Lastly, Agne lead a specialist coffee tasting. She explained that the coffee she sells has been designed by her at the roastery, and explained that with coffee roasting there are four different 'pops' in the process. The fourth 'pop' creates a heavy, intensive flavour, where as the first allows for sweetness. She demonstrated how smell affects the taste of coffee, and also how the flavour can change when matched with something sweet — their fantastic brownie!

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After a brief break, the finalé of the evening was to come. Matthew Bellwood, accompanied by Red Caputo, rounded off the evening of moments with one final moment for everyone to share: A session of storytelling. After a dark tale of kings, and a demon who ate them in exchange for gold, a story a little closer to home was shared: Mary, The Maid Of The Inn, by Robert Southey, 1796.

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In this tale, depicted in fantastic shadow puppetry, Matthew sang the story of Mary. She was a young maid of the inn, modest and good, who had many try to court her. She finally picked a suitor, who was disreputable, although she wouldn't have a poor word said of him and was content to marry him. On a cold evening she was challenged to visit the abbey in the darkest nights, to which she took up the test and stepped out into the black to make for the abbey. Upon arrival, she spotted her husband, together with a fellow ruffian dragging the corpse of some poor soul. She fled the scene, but it was too late, for they were tried and hanged and she forever lost her mind, having been driven hopelessly insane.

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In spite of the dark tales, spirits remained as high as could be. It was time to bid goodnight to Moments, having spent an incredible evening sharing lessons in coffee, latte art, cocktail making, omelette crafting, and storytelling. At it's heart, this Yelp event was about introducing one community of passionate Leeds Yelp folks to a hub of passionate hardworking independents. But at it's soul it was about sharing a moment, and appreciating the little things that make living in this city all the sweeter. If you have a chance today, make sure you take your moment at Moments, and see for yourself what all the buzz is about. Grab an excellent coffee, eat a delicious omelette, and soak it all in.

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Rowena H

Yelp Leeds Community Manager

Don't just take my word for it though – here's what the community themselves had to say!

Anna F: "I am sure I wasn't the only one buzzing by the end of this night!
Espresso tasting, latte decorating, brownie eating, espresso martini making (and tasting) may have made me a slight liability in the kitchen ha!

However, one of the (many) things I love about the Yelp community is how lovely everyone is! These Elite Events allow us not only to meet in person and share our passion for all things delicious and tasty but also to discover new spots one would not otherwise have known.

Neil H: "Coffee tasting, cocktail making, coffee art, bit of storytelling and some shadow puppetry......... normal Thursday night for me! Ha, well nearly. But I loved seeing the 'behind-the-scenes' of somewhere like this. And even the effort that goes into selecting the mix of coffee for their own blend! Amazing attention to detail."

Andy W: "Yep another elite event and another 5* review!

I knew I was in for a good night when I walked through the door and was greeted by the owner, who was very smiley and welcoming. After a brief chat I could immediately tell her heart was in this place, and by the end of the night I could see why.

The combo of lovely coffee based drinks and the gorgeous little cakes had me sold pretty quickly. I was surprised at how amazing the espresso cake that was topped with coffee beans was - the beans gave an extra little crunch and worked perfectly. And the chocolate and peanut butter brownies were as lovely as they sound!"

Tim M: "I'm the sort of guy who can sit in the middle of a crowded room and be alone (everybody saw awwww) but Yelp always kind of spoils my sad facade because they provide crowded rooms where it's just about impossible to be alone and this time they have really upped the ante. I've always enjoyed the elite events and they usually get five stars (always well deserved) so now I'm left searching in vain for a sixth star."

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