Excellent cappuccino in Stokes on High Bridge but easy to see why these days when I pass by, not busy.
Two lads who I have not seen before, standing by to guide to a table.
Then at least a five minutes wait if not longer, to take my order.
I popped back later, as I walked in, I asked for a cappuccino.
No, we have table service.
I contrast with Coffee Aroma, prompt service and the coffee better.
And I am not one of those who wishes rapid coffee. I am quite happy for a barista to take their time so long as I get excellent coffee.
Nor am I saying cappuccino not good in Stokes. Cappuccino excellent, but Coffee Aroma has the edge.
On the counter Guatemala coffee beans organic and FairTrade, though no logo for either.
But no roast date.
I checked other coffee beans. No roast date.
Best by is absolutely meaningless.
I asked the girl, and she told me they had been roasted the week before.
I asked how did she know?
Either she or or colleague had roasted in-store.
Fair enough, but they should write the roast date on the bags.
And she had no idea why roast date was important.
Stokes are expert coffee roasters and should know better.
Their staff are usually well informed on coffee.
The high standards which set Stokes apart are slipping.
Any coffee connoisseur seeing no roast date and not knowing Stokes, would simply assume, unless they made further inquiries, that they know nothing about coffee.
Stokes have two coffee shops in Lincoln, plus a warehouse where they roast coffee. They are featured in the second edition of Northern England Independent Coffee Guide, which surprisingly they do not have on sale.
Stokes on High Bridge, a long established family business, in an Elizabethan building, on a Norman Bridge over the River Witham flowing through the centre of Lincoln, is one of the top coffee shops in the country. But Stokes need to up their game, as whereas others are innovating Stokes appears to be going backwards.