I would have gone to Glutton & Glee in Tunsgate, but got delayed, and they close at 5pm. This sadly is where indie coffee shops lose out to the chains, who stay open until 7pm.
And so it was Harris + Hoole aka Tesco.
To be fair, the coffee is good, the staff are very pleasant, but it is 49% owned by Tesco and it is a tax-dodging chain even though it does its best to look and act like an indie coffee shop.
The coffee is sourced from Guatemala (this has changed since the last visit). It is not Fairtrade, but they do claim, they buy from farms that are to that standard. Problem is, who audits the claim?
I have sympathy with them not wish to deal with Fairtrade. Not because they do not wish to maintain standards, but a lot of people are telling me dealing with Farirtrade is a bureaucratic nightmare.
The ambience is awful. Loud pop muisc from a moronic pop radio station, noise from espresso machines, people shouting to make themselves heard (and nearly empty), hard surfaces, makes it very noisy and impossible to relax or have a quiet conversation. It may be better upstairs.
Nowhere to sit outside. North Street is the wrong street. They ought to have located in one of the side streets.
Harris + Hoole claim they do well in reviews. Reviews by who, compared with who? Compared with Costa or tax-dodging Starbucks, one would have to be really bad to do worse. Compared with Cafe Mila in Godalming or Stokes on High Bridge and several other indie coffee shops in Lincoln, I do not think so.
At the end of the day, fresh sandwiches, sausage rolls etc are thrown away. I have passed by in the past and seen two black sacks thrown out.
This is appalling food waste, which costs the company money to dispose of.
I have suggested, towards the end of the day, sell off half price, give away with a tea or a coffee, or simply give away.
And if there is still food left over to be thrown away then arrange for collection by a local charity, to be given to the growing army of homeless and destitute.
Pret a Manger, aka McDonald’s, just around the corner, does make such an arrangement. I had a chat. They did not know who does the collecting, and apparently it is not every day. Pret a Manger not as fresh as they claim? I have asked that they ask whoever does the collecting, please have a chat with Harris + Hoole, and see if they can arrange the same deal.
This is something local jobsworth should be doing, linking people up, reducing food waste, helping the destitute, but that would require imagination and vision, not box ticking.