Black Mocha

August 19, 2017

Coffee shop in North Laine in Brighton.

I had noticed Black Mocha in North Laine on a previous visit to Brighton last year, a relatively newcomer to the Brighton coffee scene.

Chatting with a girl sat outside, I asked what was it like, she said good.

OK, I am on my way to Coffee at 33, maybe some other day.

OK, we will compare notes.

Passing by again, I was heading for the seafront, then changed my mind, as it was  a pleasant late afternoon, I decided I would stop and sit outside.

Black Mocha, which I had passed earlier, I tried a cappuccino. Not very good, not helped by chocolate dumped on top.

Staff very pleasant.

Interior pleasantly laid out.

I am not to sure of the ad hoc tampering of their espresso machine. The metal panels removed, replaced by glass, glass I am assured that  is shatter proof. Espresso machines have inside high pressure boilers.

Coffee from a local roastery, Cast Iron Coffee Roasters.

Black Mocha has potential, if employed skilled baristas.

V60 Finca Immaculada Laurina

August 18, 2017

V60 filter coffee Finca Immaculada Laurina de Colombia roasted by Union Hand-Roasted Coffee brewed at Madame Waffle.

A morning in Lincoln, most of it spent in Madame Waffle, part of the Lincoln coffee scene.

First an excellent cappuccino.

It was then try a V60, Finca Immaculada Laurina de Colombia, roasted by Union Hand-Roasted Coffee, which I had brought along.

First wet the filter with hot water. This removes any paper residues and heats the filter and carafe.

If in doubt why cleanse the filter, try drinking the hot water.

Add the ground coffee, tapping to ensure the bed is as flat as a billiard table.

Next pour in hot water, allow the ground coffee to bloom. This enables the CO2 to escape.

Next, pour in the hot water, just off boiling, in a rotating motion.

All steps are carefully weighed, timed, the coffee a precise grind, courser than for an espresso machine.

The ratio of coffee to water, 1 to 60.

  • 17.5 g of coffee
  • 273.6 g of hot water

How to enjoy is personal preference. I prefer a glass to showcase the colour of the resultant liquid.

To brew, there was a choice between a V60 and a Chemex.

V60 is best suited to bring out the best from a natural process light roast bean.

Finca Immaculada is a garden farm located at a height of 1770-2040 metres, surrounded by a National Park. The coffee plants grow in the Andees in the shade of trees.

Laurina seeds originate from the tiny island of Réunion, east of Madagascar and south west of Mauritius, where a red bourbon variety mutated into this rare variety, the Bourbon Pointu.

Madame Waffle has Caffeine available for free, and one of the few places in the country where must have Standart is on sale.

Madame Waffle also serves waffles.

Special thanks to Bruce for kindly brewing and sharing his expertise.

Morning in Lincoln

August 18, 2017

The morning sunny, warm in the sun, cool in the shade. Maybe around 19C, a big contrast to the day before when very warm around 23C. During the afternoon a thunderstorm and heavy showers

New Theatre Royal? What happened to the old Theatre Royal? Same location.  Maybe it went bust then rose phoenix like from the ashes. A poster marked their first anniversary.

Across the road, a micro-brewery, but otherwise run down, empty shops.

So much for Lincoln being boom town. A boom town for greedy developers.

Around the corner, next to Ruddocks, which sadly closed at Easter, Madame Waffle, one of the top coffee shops in the country, part of the Lincoln coffee culture, and where I spent most of the morning.

A cappuccino served, it was then time to try a V60 and a chilled coffee out of the fridge. All were excellent, but then I expect no less from  Madame Waffle.

Madame Waffle has Caffeine available for free, and one of the few places in the country where must have Standart is on sale.

It was then wander up Steep Hill to Makushi, another excellent coffee shop, then back down to the High Street, where a very sad farmers market of around half a dozen stalls can be found on Friday.

En route I encountered Lincoln Knights.

Kings Cross Real Food Market

August 18, 2017

Outside Kings Cross Station, a food market of around maybe a dozen stalls.

Worth exploring if time, and a better option than buying food inside the station or on a train.

Bread, cakes, cheese, fruit juices, tortilla.

I had excellent tortilla, and cheese off the cheese stall, Comte and Gouda, and a cake off a cake stall.

From a fellow passenger on the Edinburgh train, she alighted at Peterborough, I learnt  there is an excellent street food market around the corner in Granary Yard.

The cheese stall told me I must visit Borough Market.

A pity not a coffee stall serving quality coffee.

Afternoon in Winchester

August 18, 2017

A pleasant warm sunny day.

On passing through Aldershot Station, I noticed a board outside The Coffee Bean Club, indicating it must be open.

I noticed The Coffee Bean Club at Aldershot Station a couple of weeks ago, not to be confused with the cafe at the waiting room, but only open in the morning.  Until today, I had never found opened. As my train was running a few minutes late I ordered a cappuccino. Undrinkable. I emptied it into a flower bed at Alton Station.

An Inspector on the bus to Alton, which otherwise was almost empty. He told me something very interesting, never present Bus Pass in a wallet, always present separately. The reason why, the machine will charge a fare to your card. He only believed this when he was shown a bank statement. It simply confirms my fears of contact less cards. Anything can be can be scanning and charging your card.

As always, alighted from the bus and walked down Magdalen Hill into Winchester.

Wednesday is street food market in Winchester.

Pasta of the Sicilian guys. They are still using their new menu, which is a pity. Tagliatelle with creamy mushroom sauce was excellent, with tomato sauce disgusting. I tried with pesto.

On my last visit, I was told of a new coffee shop that was using The Roasting Party. I trekked up the High Street to check it out. I was led to believe it was Eat Drink and Be, that maybe had changed hands.

No, it was still using Winchester Coffee Roaster, though whether it had changed hands, I do not know.

It was a little after three o’clock and they were already clearing out the food. Why, what do they do with it. Do they throw it away, dish it out the next day?

Having got thus far, I decided to carry on.

I passed by West Gate. Saw some run down shops on a corner.

I had thought I was on the road to the station but I was not.

I was about to give up, when I saw a board flat on the ground telling me coffee from The Roasting Party 50 yards.

A few more boards, each different.

I passed by an army barracks, was it here? I carried on, found nothing, retraced my steps.

I found myself at Copper Joe, in the guard house of what was once a military barracks, … Peninsular, part coffee shop, part museum.

Three people and a very hot dog sat outside.

I ased was the coffee good, they relied yes.

I went inside. Myself and the three outside, the only customers.

I ordered a cappuccino, sadly spoilt by the addition of chocolate.

On my way back down, I found a side door into West Gate, stone steps, that led to a museum, once a debtors prion, further steps led to the roof.

It was then to Coffee Lab, but now too late for a coffee.

I asked why were they being forced to change their logo?

Classic case of Copyright Mafia. Some jerk is claiming he owns the typeface of the C they use.

A walk around the back streets, just in time to catch the No 64 bus to Alton.

As a pleasant evening, alighted from the bus and walked through Alton to Alton Station Cafe.

Packed with bikers, too late for the special, settled for breakfast, sausage, bacon, baked beans, hash brownie, fried bread.  Far superior to English breakfast at Wetherspoon.

The Coffee Bean Club

August 16, 2017

I noticed The Coffee Bean Club at Aldershot Station a couple of weeks ago when passing through on returning from Staycation Live in Godalming, not to be confused with the cafe at the waiting room, but only open in the morning.

Until today, I had never found opened. As my train was running a few minutes late I deiced to check it out and ordered a cappuccino.

Beans on sale, but nothing on their provenance, no roast date.

I asked where were they roasted? Did not know, did not wish to know, or with poor command of English, maybe did not understand.

They claim to be purveyors of fine coffee, meaningless, when cannot tell anything of the coffee, then take with a  pinch of salt.

Speciality coffee is defined, coffee with a Q rating higher than 80, anything below is commodity coffee.

Pleasantly laid out but tiny. If open during the day, if used quality beans, if employed a barista, could be a nice little coffee shop

The cappuccino was undrinkable. When I arrived at Alton Station I emptied it into a flower bed.

To date, nowhere in Aldershot serving quality coffee.

Day in Brighton

August 13, 2017

All day, clear blue sky.

Thameslink train from Gatwick to Brighton running ten minutes late, lucky for me as I was able to catch.

It was packed, it was like Tube during rush hour.

New trains no wifi, display on train said out of service.

A chat with the girl running FCB at The Waiting Room.  I mentioned Standart, suggested they ordered and stocked. She has not heard of Standart. Said they would look into it.

A cappuccino off the Small Batch kiosk in the station forecourt. I though it was smaller. It was. I wondered how they towed it a way. Then I saw in three sections, arranged to give a larger space.

The cappuccino was  excellent. Best of the day.

I asked of Standart. Guys running the stall had never heard of Standart, even though Small Batch listed as distributors.  They suggested I try Small Batch in North Laine.

I looked in Grocer and Grain. Sadly the owner not there, expected later.

Excellent selection of coffee, Grumpy Mule and UnionUnion. Plus excellent selection of cakes. They also serve coffee.

Why buy coffee from a supermaket, when can buy from coffee shops or shops like Infinity Foods or Grocer and Grain?

I headed to the sea front.

Shocked by the number of homeless and beggars in the street as I walk down to the seafront.  A sharp increase to autumn of last year, the last time I was in Brighton. This was of the level I am used to seeing in Athens. It was as though I was in Calcutta.

Along the seafront, almost to Brighton Pier, then across to Brighton Pavilion.

I then waste nearly an hour looking for a coffee shop. Had I known where it was, I would have headed straight there.

An entirety wasted journey, The Plant Room has closed down. Google Maps was correct, it was shown as closed.

Walking through North Laine saddened to find the remainder bookshop near Resident had closed. It always had good books.

I learnt later, as too many good businesses, driven out of businesses by rent hikes.

I look in Resident. Nothing of interest.

Seats outside Iydea occupied, then a couple vacate. Excellent timing.

Lunch at Iydea excellent. Always consistently good, but today they surpass themselves. Mushroom stroganoff, served with rice, roast potatoes, mangetout  peas and seeds and tzatziki. Generous portion size and quite filling.

Followed by fresh fruit juice, carrot, apple, ginger and lemon.

I head to Magazine Brighton, pick up copies of Viva Lewes and Viva Brighton. I ask for a bag, and offer to pay, but owner says no, he knows me.

I suggest, he stocks Standart. To my surprise he says he does and a new issue is overdue, and I have reminded him to chase it up.

He also tells me Standart did a feature on Magazine Brighton, but it was never published. I try to think what angle. I tell him I will think about it, and do it.  He used to stock coffee from Coffee at 33, and that is how I first learnt of this coffee shop, a few doors further up the street.

Just in time for a coffee in Coffee at 33. Guy was grumpy. He was grumpy the last time. The first time I visited, excellent service, and interesting conservation about coffee.

On my way there, I look in Pelicano, but do not stop.

I notice Bond Street, have coffee from Los Nogales Project.

I enquire in Small Batch of Standart. No, they have never heard of it. And I must admit, I have never seen it on sale. They tell me unlikely to be on sale.

All very strange, as Small Batch listed as  a distributor, whereas Magazine Brighton not.

Black Mocha, which I had passed earlier, I try a cappuccino. Not very good, not helped by chocolate dumped on top.

Staff very pleasant.

I am not to sure of the ad hoc tampering of their espresso machine. The metal panels removed, replaced by glass, glass I am assured that  is shatter proof. Espresso machines have inside high pressure boilers.

Usually my phone, Samsung Galaxy A3 2016 lasts all day, but not today. Usually by the end of the day, maybe down to 50%, sometimes down as low 20%.  Not today.

Sat outside Black Mocha, warning below 14%. When I leave 3%

Down the the seafront. Cockles off the stall.

A walk along Brighton Pier, but not  to the end.

I could have stayed to watch the sun set, but would have meant catching a train an hour later.

There are two places to see the sun set. End of Brighton Pier and on the sea wall at Puerto de la Crus.

I am surprised having been warned phone down to 3% still able to take photos.

I arrive at Brighton Station early as I did not know if my train for Gatwick was 2025 or 2035, to find no train, running 15 minutes late, which means I miss the train at Gatwick an hour wait for the next train. I may as well have stayed on the pier.  Next time I look, train on time.

Front coaches of the train, no working toilets.

At last, Southern have wifi on their trains, but it is not acceptable to use ‘free’ wifi as an opportunity to trawl for personal data on passengers, wanting name, e-mail address mobile number.

Phone has switched off. I connect power bank. I only reach 6%, before power bank fails.

Power bank 2200 mAh. It should have lasted longer. Either not charged or faulty.

Train from Gatwick, no functioning toilets, one out of action, the other no water. No water, disease spread through the train if passengers cannot wash their hands after using the toilet.

Broken windows on the train, cold air chilling the passengers.

No sign of the guard.

Second power bank reaches 20% before it fails.  Capacity 1200 mAh.

Phone Samsung Galaxy A3 2016, battery 2300 mAh.

When I alight from the train sometime after 2200, it has turned cold. I am glad of the warm jacket I have been carting around all day.

Cappuccino at Lion and Lamb Cafe and Restaurant

August 12, 2017

Many many years ago,  on a sunny autumn afternoon, I used to enjoy sitting outside in the sun in Lion and Lamb Courtyard for afternoon tea.

These days,  I would usually take a coffee in Krema, where the coffee is consistently good, but nowhere pleasant outside therefore for a change, sit outside this little tea shop cum restaurant, and an opportunity to see what their claimed artisan coffee was like.

I had checked their website, and found they laid claim to artisan coffee. A couple of weeks ago, I asked, and learnt it was Union, which is good coffee.

I said next time passing, I would drop by.

I had intended to take a coffee sat outside Lion and Lamb Cafe and  Restaurant sat in the sun. My long walk afternoon walk around Bishop’s Meadow, meant the sun had gone.

I had checked their website, it said artisan coffee, but did not say what. A couple of weeks ago, I enquired, to learn Union. I decided to try, with no great expectations, as the food is not great, which possibly explains why  whenever I pass by, always empty. As it was this evening.

When ordering, asked no chocolate, to save the hassle of having to send back if served with chocolate dumped on top.  Which sadly too often happens.

Cappuccino was brought with a bowl of sugar cubes. These I sent back. A good coffee does not need coffee. Only the disgusting concoctions masquerading as coffee served by Costa, and tax-dodging Starbucks and Caffe Nero needs sugar.

Cappuccino was served scalding hot. A classic mistake. But it was better than what is served at Gail’s, and had the potential to be a good cup of coffee, if served not so hot.

I also had a shortbread cookie. It was not great, made all the worse coated with sugar both sides. There is no excuse for adding this extra sugar, especially as the toxic nature of sugar is now well known. I can buy better shortbread in Waitrose.

On passing by later, I popped in and told the one and only girl, still empty, but tough luck in the unlikely event of a rush, that she had served the coffee scalding hot, that it would have been better not so hot.

She thanked me for the helpful feedback.

She said customers complain if not hot. I gave her a tip, play steam over the lip of the cup to give the illusion the coffee is hot. Also explain, if you want your coffee hot, please ask, but do not then complain of poor quality of coffee.

Problem is lack of training.  Also not working with a  skilled barista.

Union coffee being served by people who are not baristas, does not bring out the best in quality coffee. Neither does it do the reputation of Union a lot of good.

Prayer Station

August 12, 2017

A strange art exhibition in Farnham Parish Church entitled Prayer Station.

The idea is, if I understood it correctly, to pause and reflect, meditate, at each prayer station. Each prayer station being a collection of objects.

One was ribbons, one  an assortment of objects, another a labyrinth (only it wasn’t).

The first prayer station shoes scattered on the floor. Somewhat dumb, walking into a gloomy church from bright sunlight, not seen. Ideal trip hazard. A nasty accident waiting to happen.

There was also a couple of paintings, that lacked titles or attributed to any artist. Whether part of Prayer Station was not clear though appeared to be part of the exhibition by association.

Labyrinths were quite common with Medieval churches not to be confused with a maze.

A labyrinth was an aid to meditation

Afternoon in Farnham

August 12, 2017

A pleasant sunny afternoon.

First time in weeks it has been possible to alight from the bus and walk along the riverside walk, through Gostrey Meadow and up through Downing Street. Last two visits it has been teeming down with rain.

Today they actually had soup at Gail’s, tomato, red pepper and tarragon. It is rare to see the same staff twice. Those who are there, generally helpful and pleasant.

Pleasant day, sat outside.

Castle Street is a pleasant broad street, but ruined by traffic.

Everyone knows the centre of Farnham needs to be pedestrianised, made traffic free, but never any action.

An idiot parks outside Gail’s in disabled parking bay.  Female gets out, does her shopping in Gail’s.

Farnham seem to be full of jerks who think they can park anywhere, usually on double yellow lines, on the narrow pavements. It is nearly always jerks with massive 4x4s.

Tables next to me, left dirty, no one bothers to clean. Not a good impression for anyone walking by.

Visitors to Farnham sat outside and were not impressed by the dirty tables.

Last couple of visits to Farnham the Parish Church has not been open. Pleased therefore to find today open.

A strange exhibition, Prayer Stations. Different sets of objects, one of which was shoes scattered on the floor. Somewhat dumb, as coming in from bright sunlight into a gloomy church, the shoes  are not seen, an ideal trip hazard. someone is going to have a nasty fall.  Even worse if then crack head open on the side of a pew or the stone-flagged floor.

As a pleasant afternoon, a walk around 23 acre Bishop’s meadow,  then through into the field with the horses.

I am never sure whether these horses are friendly or trying to push me out of their field.

I had intended to take a coffee sat outside Lion and Lamb Cafe and  Restaurant sat in the sun. My long walk, meant the sun had gone.

I had checked their website, it said artisan coffee, but did not say what. A couple of weeks ago, I enquired, to learn Union. I decided to try, with no great expectations, as the food is not great, which possibly explains why  whenever I pass by, always empty. As it was this evening.

Cappuccino was served scalding hot. A classic mistake. But it was better than what is served at Gail’s, and had the potential to be a good cup of coffee, if served not so hot.

A very quick shop in Waitrose and just managed to catch the last bus.