Archive for June, 2017

Afternoon in Guildford

June 30, 2017

A warmer sunnier day than has been of late.

I looked in Harris + Hoole. Pleased to see chiller cabinet now working and hole in the ceiling of the toilet has been patched.

Now we need Harris + Hoole to stop abusing coffee drinkers, passing their personal data to Murdoch when accessing wifi.

I spent the afternoon at The Village.

It was dead two weeks ago when it opened. It was dead today. Whoever is responsible seems determined to drive people away.  Today irritating distorted pop music from tannoys across the site.

I was looking forward to moussaka off the Greek unit. Again no moussaka. I tried the meat balls with rice and salad. This was quite good.

An ice cream off Dylan’s ice cream.

Needed, a good coffee shop. This may happen. Dylan’s ice cream will start serving coffee in about a week. They need though to source quality coffee. I have suggested Karuna Coffee.

Today, or yesterday, delivery of a brand new coffee machine. I spent the afternoon as volunteer coffee taster.

Both the Greek shop and Dylan’s ice cream, need tables and chairs. Either organisers of the village provide extra tables and chairs, or they reallocate the existing tables and chairs which are not in use.

One of the problems apart from lack of quality businesses to draw people in, the music driving people away, and the complete lack of any passing trade, is that three different organisations are responsible for The Village, Guildford Council, a private company letting the units and a third body organising events, a recipe for chaos.

Lower Marsh Street Food Party

June 29, 2017

Today saw the launch of Waterloo Food Month with a street food party this evening in Lower Marsh.

Live music, workshops, more stalls than the weekly Lower Marsh Market.

I tried the hog roast. Quite good, even though I got the scrag ends.

I was appalled at the low environmental standards, stalls using polystyrene burger boxes. I raised this with one of the volunteers running an information stall.  She agreed, and said it would be raised.

Then a look in Love & Scandal, and some of the shops that were still open.

A remainder bookshop. Did they have any books on coffee? No, but some were due in.

a little red book, Waterloo Food Month Gastro Passport is a guide to all what is happening during July.

One of the more fascinating events, every Friday join kids at the local school for school dinner

— to be continued —

Coffee Island in Covent Garden

June 29, 2017

Coffee Island in Greece and Cyprus is synonymous with Costa or tax dodging Starbucks or Caffe Nero, a ghastly corporate chain serving undrinkable coffee. I was therefore somewhat surprised to learn last week from a  Greek barista at Union Summer Carnival  that  not only had Coffee Island opened a coffee shop in Covent Garden but that they served good coffee.

I expressed my surprised. He agreed, in Greece, rubbish coffee, but that they were nearly all franchises, and the one in Covent Garden was different.

I had had a similar reaction when the editorial in Standart 5 praised Coffee Island.

I therefore decided to investigate.

A detour to Home Slice in Covent Garden for a  pizza, then to Coffee Island.

I passed by Monmouth Coffee, a queue outside. Why thought I, am I going to Coffee Island when I could stop at Monmouth Coffee, though it is overrated.

Therefore it was to Coffee Island with low expectations, but happy to be pleasantly surprised.

Through Seven Dials, down Monmouth Street, to Coffee Island, where it is the grotty end, almost Leicester Square.

In Covent Garden, why are all these little narrow streets not pedestrianised? If in Europe, the entire area would be pedestrianised, traffic free.

Walking through the door, it screamed corporate, no matter how hard they tried to pretend it was a speciality coffee shop.

Lots of impressive gear. In this I was reminded of Coffee Berry in Zorbas Bakery, lots of impressive gear, but clueless on coffee.

Not only very expensive espresso machine, but also several different brew methods. I would be very surprised if competent in use of all these different methods.

There was also a good selection of gear on sale. More than I have seen elsewhere.

The coffee was in tubes along the wall, or what they called silos, same style as Coffee Berry. Looks decorative but not good for the coffee.

The coffee included microlots, single origin.

And what was called flavoured coffee. Whatever that means.

No roast date,  and would be difficult to give a roast date, when poured in one end, and eventually comes out the other.

Roasted in Greece, delivered monthly.

Difficult to assess, without turning the knob and extracting the beans, but looked over-roasted.

It would have been far better to have had in coffee bags, pre-packed, 250 grams and 1 kg, with roast date.  Or maybe in wooden boxes as Monmouth, weighed and bagged.

On sale and on display Standart 7. Did they have Standart 8? No. It has been out for a couple of weeks. They had in a cupboard issue 6 but not issue 5, indicating not been open long.

Upstairs a mezzanine floor, with a good selection of coffee books in the corner, including The World Atlas of Coffee, and God in a Cup.

Scattered around copies of Caffeine.

On the counter expensive cakes, £3-20 for millionaires slice. Not made on store. Looked like factory cakes.

I was tempted to have  a cappuccino, but as one of the extremely rare places that serves freddo cappuccino, I decided on freddo cappuccino.

It was not served in plastic takeaway, but was served in a plastic reusable cup.

A classic example of how not to serve a freddo cappuccino, especially as it had an ugly plastic band around it saying Coffee island. The corperate brand more important than a well presented  freddo cappuccino said it all.

Staff pleasant and helpful.

A sign saying top ten speciality coffee shops in London. Really? Says who?

This is the Coffee Island flagship store, their only store in the UK, and it is not in the same league as quality coffee shops in London.

A reviewer on TripAdvisor wrote a damning review that not up to Coffee Island standards, that they expected all Coffee island coffee shops to be the same. Maybe they were being ironic.

Do we really need yet another corporate coffee chain muscling its way in? This is to go backwards to second wave coffee, when we should be moving forward to third wave. If we are to see new coffee shops, and more are opening all the time, we need to see third wave artisan speciality coffee shops, not as would likely to be, franchises of a corporate business.


Coffee kiosk Hungerford Bridge

June 29, 2017

On the South Bank, at the foot of Hungerford Bridge, is a little coffee kiosk.

I asked where were the beans from, he told me the country of origin.

Who are the suppliers, the roastery?

The Roasting Party.

The reply immediately told me, they must know what they are doing if sourcing from The Roasting Party,  as used by Coffee Lab and The Dispensary Kitchen.  They must serve good coffee

I ordered a cappuccino and  was not disappointed.  Excellent cappuccino.

The little kiosk is called Beany Green, part of a little chain called Daisy Green.

If not Friday, Saturday or Sunday (or Monday if a Bank Holiday), when I would head for Ethiopian Coffee Roasters on the South Bank Street Food Market, this would be where I would head for a coffee.

Then walk across Hungerford Bridge for one of the best views in London looking down river.  Then cut through Embankment Gardens and up into Covent Garden, if that was where I was heading.

Excellent coffee.

— to be continued —

Day in London

June 29, 2017

One of those days when varied between cool and warm.

Arrived about three hours later than I would have wished,

As was passing by, dropped in Royal Festival Hall and booked ticket for next week.

At the foot of Hungerford Bridge, a little coffee kiosk. I asked what were the beans from, he told me the country of origin. Who the suppliers, the roastery? The Roasting Party. That immediately told me, must be good coffee, as used by Coffee Lab and The Dispensary Kitchen. I was not disappointed.  Excellent cappuccino.

Across Hungerford Bridge.

I was tempted to pop in the Savoy visit the American Bar, but no time.

A pizza in Home Slice. To date, it has been the best pizza in London, but now as good as that what I had last week from … at Union Summer Carnival.

Very tempting a coffee in Monmouth Coffee, a queue to buy the coffee beans, but no, I was on my way to Coffee Island.

Coffee Island in Greece and Cyprus is synonymous with Costa, tax dodging Starbucks and Caffe Nero, a corporate entity serving disgusting coffee. I was therefore somewhat surprised for a Greek barista to suggest I try Coffee Island in Covent Garden.

I decided to try. Low expectation, you never know, I might be pleasantly surprised.

It screamed corporate. And no, the coffee was not great.

It was now half past seven coming up to to eight o’clock.

I was actually on my way to a street food party in Lower Marsh. I probably should have gone straight there after my coffee at the foot of Hungerfood Bridge, as when I left it was gone five o’clock and it started at five.

I arrived some time after eight o’clock.

Little left of a hog roast. I walked to the end, then back to the hog roast, now even less. I gave it a try, Better than expected, as now all that was left was the scrag ends.

A look in a few shops, which were open late.

Did the book shop, remainder books low price, have any coffee books? No, but expecting some in.

Then to Love & Scandal, a Turkish-Cypriot coffee shop cum bistro.

I decided not to have a coffee. Green tea.

— to be continued —

Bravery of Tower Bridge police officer

June 28, 2017

Armed only with his baton police officer Wayne Marques faced down three Islamist terrorists. 

A very moving account by an unarmed police officer Wayne Marques who during the terrorist attack on Tower Bridge and Borough Market put his own life on the line and as a result saved the lives of many.

Today scum Tories denied a pay rise to police officers but could find £1 billion to buy the votes of DUP to enable Theresa May to cling on to office.

World Coffee In Good Spirits 2017 – Martin Hudak

June 27, 2017

This is incredible to watch, Martin Hudak at World Coffee In Good Spirits 2017.

Amazing attention to detail.

Geisha, to which he refers, is a coffee from Panama, one of the world’s highest rated coffees.

Geisha grows at high altitude, shaded by trees, as all the best coffees grow.

When it was discovered in Panama, the reaction of those who first tasted Geisha was that of discovering God in a cup.

I had the honour of meeting Martin Hudak at Union Summer Carnival last week, not only meeting but actually trying one of his cocktails, a cocktail made with Geisha.

I have always thought, using cold brew coffee to make cocktails, a waste of good coffee. Half of Cold Brew Coffee is padded out with recipes.

But having been served a cocktail by World Champion barista Martin Hudak, I have changed my mind.

Not only have I tried his cocktail, I have Geisha, the very same Geisha he won the World Championship with.

For more on Geisha and its almost mystical status, God in a Cup is an absolute must read.

Emergency appeal: malicious attack on pro-JC campaigner

June 26, 2017


r_swindPro-Corbyn blogger @Rachael_Swindon is one of the most tireless campaigners for Labour, Corbyn and a fairer society that you’ll ever find.

As well as blogging and creating some of the strongest memes to support Labour’s message, she is a full-time mother of two kids who also cares full-time for her disabled husband, who recently took a turn for the worse. As a result, she and her family are in the support group of ESA and PIP, which allowed them – just about – to scrape by, except when the DWP screwed up.

Until now.

Because of her effectiveness, Rachael has angered right-wingers both inside and outside the Labour party. Because she has a ‘donate’ button on her blog, in case the occasional donation comes in to help eke out meagre benefits, someone made a malicious report to the DWP, triggering an investigation.

Let’s be clear, Rachael has done nothing wrong –…

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Jeremy Corbyn headline act at Glastonbury

June 24, 2017

Jeremy Corbyn given the reception at Glastonbury that most performers could only dream of.

Mail has become a parody of itself.

A 4×4 is what you use to get around a farm. Not as posers use around Chelsea and Kensington.

No mention of course that Jeremy Corbyn travelled to Glastonbury by train as an ordinary passenger.

Express, another rabid rag, this time owned by a Dirty Des a pornographer, complained Jeremy Corbyn failed to support Armed Forces Day, not true, but then what is the truth when it is more important to run a Jeremy Corbyn smear campaign.

We support our armed forces not with jingoistic parades, but by providing them with the right equipment when we send them into conflict, by supporting when demobbed.

No mention by the BBC that Theresa May was booed when she attended Armed Forces Day in Liverpool.

Later Jeremy Corbyn was pulling pints at the Solstice Bar.

Times they are a changing, as Bob Dylan would have sung.

Cappuccino in Barista Lounge

June 24, 2017

When Barista Lounge opened last year, massive teething problems, staff not up to scratch, massive staff turnover, coffee not good.

But far from improving, it goes from bad to worse.

The food is not good, the coffee undrinkable.

Falafel has to be freshly made, not sitting in a cabinet in a dried up wrap, then if you are lucky hotted up.

Bread has to be fresh, not sitting in a cabinet, so dried up, that almost breaks your teeth biting into it.

Over a period of several weeks, the soup has bene the same soup.

Wa are they doing, hotting up each day?

No exuse for the poor quality of the food when a kitchen out the back.

Last time I passed by, a new lad, never seen before.  He was all on his own, not a clue what to do, had only started that day.

Time before, a guy who claimed he knew all about coffee. He was there again today. As glum as the staff in Costa who are only there cos it is better than McDonald’s.

No, he knows nothing about coffee, cappuccino served hot, with chocalate dumped on top. Two elementary mistakes no barista would make.

People claiming to be baristas who are not.

Poor quality coffee used, catering suppply coffee.

No excuse when there are many quality roasteries around.

Owner never seen. People keep asking for him.

From empty Barista Lounge to Krema which was full.

Easy to see why Barista Lounge always empty.

— to be continued —

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