A station kiosk, indeed any kiosk, is not somewhere one would at first glance think of being the best place for coffee.
And yet why should that be? One of the best places for a coffee, and certainly by the far the best in Winchester, is off Jimmy Bean, and his battered old Citroen van on the street food market in Winchester on a Wednesday. And not just coffee, he is one of the best places to eat in Winchester. There is not much Jimmy Bean does not know about coffee.
I often walk past FCB Artisan Coffee, into Guildford at a leisurely pace, leaving Guildford with more haste and seconds to spare to catch a train.
Today, with nearly an hour to kill (dysfunctional Sunday service even though many people travel on a Sunday) I chatted to Shaun.
Shaun is probably the best barista in Guildford, like Jimmy Bean not much he does not know about coffee. He was at Harris + Hoole, then Glutton & Glee (where he did wonders for their coffee reputation), now he is running the kiosk on platform 2.
Although it was a hot day, and I did not really fancy a coffee, I thought I would try a cappuccino.
I sometimes wonder, is my taste for coffee going awry, when I try coffees, ok, certainly not disgusting as Costa.
Today I had an internal calibration. No, my taste is not going awry, it is that the coffee is not as good as it could be, care is not taken in the making, for example grinding the coffee afresh for each coffee, and the barista is not up to the job. These factors are certainly true for Costa or tax dodging Caffe Nero and Starbucks.
I have to say the cappuccino served by Shaun was one of the best I have had in Guildford, even better than Harris + Hoole, where you are guaranteed an excellent coffee. It was up with the gold standard, think Stokes on High Bridge in Lincoln or Taylor St Baristas in Brighton.
It had an unusual creamy taste.
It was then hop on the train as my train pulled in for Haslemere, and I did not even have to change platforms, it was step onto the train from the kiosk.
I then noticed something, something I have never noticed before with a coffee, though this may be because I often have a cookie. I was left with a lovely after taste.
If you are passing through Guildford Station, forget Costa, and head straight for the FCB Artisan Coffee kiosk on Platform 2.
If you are drinking coffee from Costa, then there is something seriously wrong with your sense of taste. I once had a coffee from the station Costa. It looked disgusting and it tasted disgusting. My reflex reaction was to spit it out on the floor, and it took self-control not to. Or maybe if drinking at Costa, you have never had a decent coffee.
Do yourself a favour, try the coffee from the FCB Artisan Coffee kiosk on Platform 2.
One criticism, more a suggestion, have on display information about the coffee, for example the origin. I am sure Shaun would have been able to tell me had I asked.
My other query, which I did not follow up, can the cups, the lid, be composted? If not, they should be.