Archive for July, 2017

Coffee cupping at Taylor St Roasted

July 18, 2017

Taylor St Baristas are half a dozen coffee shops in London. The gold standard.

They used to have a coffee shop in Brighton, which was excellent, but sadly it closed a couple of years ago. It was in the wrong location. It was a pity they did not relocate or let the staff and customers acquire as an open coop and run as an indie coffee shop.

Having had fingesr burnt with Harris + Hoole, focus is on Tayor St Baristas and organic growth.

The latest venture Taylor St Roasted, a coffee roastery, to supply the coffee shops, and to supply customers direct.

Taylor St Baristas were supplied by Union Hand-Roasted Coffee. A hard act to follow. Was it a wise move to open their own roastery? Too many are going into roasting beans who know not a thing about roasting coffee beans. A long chat with their master coffee roaster. He knows his stuff.

On walking in, I noticed one large roaster and a row of half a dozen Probat roasters for sample roasting.

A fascinating introductory talk by Henry Clifford, coffee trader from D R Wakefield green coffee bean merchants.

Coffee beans sourced from one producer, different varieties, different plots, different processing of the beans.  Plus from the same farms, two lots of beans from Horsham Coffee Roasters for comparison.

Horsham Coffee Roasters

We’re very excited to announce our new lots from the Los Nogales project in El Salvador. Located in the Apanaca Llamatepec region of El Salvador, Los Nogales is a very special farm. Launched by the farm’s owners, the Salaverria family, Project Nogales is a unique opportunity through which buyers are invited to chose their coffee by plot of land, process and variety. We have chosen two lots processed two different ways from the El Roble plot, which is planted with Red Bourbon. One lot has been processed using the Natural method and the other is fully washed and then soaked, a method that has become widely known as the Kenyan process. After pulping, fermentation and washing the coffee is then soaked in fresh water which allows proteins and amino acids to develop which is thought to result in higher levels of acidity and complexity in the cup profile.

Direct Trade: Taylor St Roasted go through an intermediary, who works in partnership with the growers, will offer highr price for quality.

The growers were interested in participating in the project, Los Nogales Project.

Now down to business, the cupping session.

Beans ground, smell the beans.

I had mugged up before on coffee cupping, Standart issue 6 and Real Fresh Coffee.

An aside. Coffee cupping is to coffee what wine tasting is to wine.

I did not know, would I notice a difference between the different coffees, I think a dozen.

Surprisingly yes.

What I also noticed was that one of the coffees from Horsham appeared identical to one of those from Taylor St Roasted.

Next add hot water, leave for four minutes to brew.

As the coffee is brewing, a crust forms on the surface of each cup of coffee.

Next break the crust. An aroma will erupt from the cup.

Now down to tasting.

Each time with a clean spoon, slurp the coffee.

Again I could notice the different tastes. One tasted over roasted and I did not like. A  few were very tea like.

Again I noticed identical with a coffee from Horsham, but, what was curious, it was not the same two coffees. as before

All the coffees from the same farm, identical roast profile (Horsham would have been different) and yet very noticeable different tastes.

Occasionally a coffee shop may have a cupping in the evening for example Madame Waffle. How they do this I do not know, but at a guess, different coffees, maybe a bag of coffee from a supermarket for contrast. Maybe also look at the beans first, note the defects in the supermarket coffee. Thus would expect to see differences in cupping.

What surprised me was how noticeable were the differences, for Los Nogales Project coffee beans all from the same farms, a difference in how the beans were processed, the varieties, the plot.

Note: Between picking the coffee cherries and shipping out the green beans, coffee beans are processed to remove the flesh of the coffee cherry.  On a bag of speciality coffee, in addition to information on origin, maybe variety, maybe Q grade, it may include notes on processing.

It was then beer. Bottled beer from a craft brewery.

— to be continued —-

V60 Japanese iced coffee

July 18, 2017

V60, as with Chemex, is a pour over filter coffee.

Pour hot water, just off boiling, over the ground coffee, collect below.

The difference with Japanese iced coffee, is that the hot coffee drips straight into a jug of ice to be immediately chilled.

Note: This is not cold brew coffee. Cold brew coffee is made with cold not hot water, made over a period of hours, not minutes.  For more on cold brew coffee see Cold Brew Coffee.

Pour hot water into the V60 filter, then discard. This cleans the filter and for a hot coffee warms the jug cf warming the tea pot.

Note: To appreciate why cleanse the filter. Fill two mugs with hot water, into one place a filter paper.  Leave for four minutes. Taste the water in both mugs.

Special thanks to the baristas at Coffee Island in Covent Garden for indulging me and making a Japanese iced coffee.

— to be continued —-

Bar Italia

July 18, 2017

In the back of Real Fresh Coffee are two pages, easily missed, of famous cafés, only five listed, of which Bar Italia in Soho is one.

Established  in 1949 by Lou and Caterina Polledri, Bar Italia in Soho is claimed to be the oldest coffee shop in London.

It was from here on 26 January 1926 at 22 Frith Street, though not then a coffee shop, John Logie Baird made his first TV broadcast, the first TV broadcast in the world.

It too me a while to find Frith Street in Soho then Bar Italia.

Italians are infamous for awful coffee, and were it not for the mention in Real Fresh Coffee, I would not have sought it out, and even then it was with trepidation, wondering was this to be another wasted journey when pushed for time.

Walking through the door, very much entering a time warp, 1950s, or maybe 1960s, then ruined by the large widescreen TV occupying most of the back wall.

Italian coffee is that awful coffee found in Costa and tax dodging Caffe Nero.

I ordered a cappuccino, expecting the worse, look awful, made with chocolate dumped on top to disguise how awful.

I was pleasantly surprised, a well crafted cappuccino.

A pleasant late afternoon, very warm, a helpful waitress escorted me to a table outside an Italian restaurant.

What did it taste like?

It was excellent. One of the best coffees in London.

Inside, a wide range of delicious looking cakes, and savoury food too.

Next time, maybe lunch here.

An ancient cash till, equally ancient espresso machine, maybe both original when the coffee shop opened.

On the back wall, a large signed poster from Rocky Marciano.

I asked of the coffee. Their own blend roasted for them.

Very much old Soho, much of which greed has destroyed in the last decade.

— to be continued —-

Day in London

July 18, 2017

A hot day, not even a coolish start.

As thunderstorm expected later, half an hour in the garden, long grass cut, grass seed sown.

Too hot for London, a day for sitting in the shade of a  tree in my garden.

But then, crossing Hungerford Bridge, with stunning view down river, I thought no different to being in a city in Europe, indeed surrounded by foreigners I could be in Europe.

On arrival, a detour to Love & Scandal.  A mistake, as the falafel was not good, but the fresh orange juice was excellent.

I  learnt from a helpful Australian  woman who preferred to sit in the coffee shop than her office, that there was another coffee shop further down Lower Marsh, roasted their own coffee, but closed at three.

I did check. And yes, closed at three. I asked why. They said they liked their afternoons.

I also learnt, street food market every day, not as I thought Thursdays and Fridays and that it too closes at three.

On my way to Love & Scandal I passed by a bookshop. The guy remembered me and said we have a coffee book in. It was outside on a table. I looked. Of no interest. A book of recipes using coffee.

I cut through Waterloo Station. Quicker than walking around.

Free cans of Lucozade, free tea.

I had intended to have a coffee off the kiosk at the foot of the steps for Hungerford Bridge but far too hot. The fresh lemonade was too tempting. It was excellent, though I wish would not fill with ice.

I sat and chatted with two girls from Latin America, one from Argentina, the other Venezuela. Conversation switched back and forth between English and Spanish.

Across Hungerford Bridge, through Embankment Gardens,  across The Strand, Covent Garden, then cut through China Town into Soho.

A Chinese lady invited me into her parlour fora massage. Sorry no time.

I was after Frith Street, which took me some time to find, in the end I had to ask.

What I was seeking, once Frift Street was found, was Bar Italia, claimed to be the oldest coffee shop in London.

Bar Italia, well worth the search. Excellent cappuccino. But, wonderful atmosphere ruined by widescreen TV.

Then to Coffee Island in Covent Garden.

I was after Standart issue 8. Third time lucky, they had in stock.

Not really time for a coffee, but I decided to try Japanese iced coffee using V60.

Then dash to Charing Cross Station, train to Lewisham, DLR to Depford Bridge, then find Taylor St Roasted for cupping session.

Interesting view from the train of route I usually walk. Front carriage of train from Charing Cross fairly empty. Packed when it pulled into London Bridge. When I alighted at Lewisham, I saw the carriages behind packed in like sardines.

This was the only reason I was in London on one of the hottest days of the year, and had treked out to Depford, a cupping session at Taylor St Roasted.

Well worth the visit.

Back the same way to Waterloo East. Something to eat in Lower Marsh. Missed train.

— to be continued —-

Lamb burger with sweet potato chips at Lion and Lamb Cafe and Restaurant

July 15, 2017

Whenever I walk by Lion and Lamb Cafe and Restaurant in Lion and Lamb Yard in Farnham it is empty. There is a reason for this, the food is awful and expensive, though the menu is enticing.

I inquired of the menu. The reason I enquired is experience has taught me  what it says is not what is on offer.

I returned later, to be told to sit outside as two parties of loud drunk women inside.

They should have told me this earlier, but at least the girl did apologise.

Lamb burger with sweet potato chips ordered. Not long coming. It looked disgusting.  It was disgusting.

When I cut into the lamb burger, it was not cooked.

To put in context. A burger at The Queen Hotel, a Wetherspoon pub in Aldershot, is better, cheaper and you get a pint of real ale.

A couple of weeks ago, a 9 oz burger from a stall at the Street Food Picnic at Allen House Grounds in Guildford was vastly superior, and it came as an extra with a side of new potatoes. But then it was a quality burger, that from Lion and Lamb Cafe and Restaurant anything but.

The only thing good about the experience was the girl serving was pleasant and polite.

I learnt later from their website, that serve artisan coffee. I saw no evidence of this.

I have been here a couple of times before, it was bad then, and nothing has improved.

I checked to see what TripAdvisor had to say. Once again, glowing reviews that are not true.

As I said to the couple who walked away, good luck finding anywhere decent to eat in Farnham.

Afternoon in Farnham

July 15, 2017

Another of those strange days when starts off cool then turns very warm.

No soup in Gail’s, though maybe good fortune, as carrot and ginger. Once again, a sign on the counter saying soup when no soup.

As always, Gail’s empty.

I walk by Barista Lounge, it too appears to be empty. Yet again different staff. I look at the food, probably been there all day. The soup has been the same now for many weeks. I do not even bother to ask. I walk out.

Cappuccino and flapjack in Krema. The only coffee shop in Farnham worth knowing about.

A walk around Bishop’s Meadow and Manor Field. The hay has not yet been cut. I notice far end of Bishop’s Meadow has been fenced off. Maybe when the have cut the grass they will graze animals. Excellent if they do.  What is strange, the fencing is not attached to the posts. Maybe something they will do later.

On way to Waitrose, I look in Lion and Lamb Cafe and Restaurant, query the menu. I do this as from past experience, what it says may not be what they have.

In Waitrose, Union Hand-Roasted appears to be the only coffee worth having, the only coffee with a  roast date.

I return from Waitrose, told to sit outside, as two parties of drunk women inside. Why not tell me when I inquired earlier, as I would not have bothered to return?

Lion and Lamb Cafe and Restaurant is always empty when I walk by. There is a very good reason for this, the food is awful and expensive.  But the menu is enticing.

I ask for lamb burger and sweet potato chips. It looks disgusting when served, it is disgusting. The lamb not cooked.

Whilst I was sat outside, a couple turned up. I sad they would not be able to sit inside. They walked off.

Three people turned up as I was eating. Their food arrived as I was leaving. I warned them it was not good, and seeing two had the lamb burger, I advised check as it was probably not cooked. They cut into it, from the look of disgust I guess not cooked.

I recommended complain. I would have complained but no time, I would have missed the bus.

Coffee House at 62 Haydon Place

July 14, 2017

I had popped in Food for Thought, where I was recommended a new coffee shop further down the street. After a wasted journey to Oxfam Bookshop to see if they had any coffee books, they had not, I decided to check it out.

From North Street head off down the street passed Food for Thought, keep on going, past Waitrose, and there on the corner, opposite Waitrose car park, 62 Haydon Place.

Nicely laid out.  Outside seating.

Coffee is Square Mile. Also guest coffee.  During my visit two guest coffees from Glen Lyon Coffee Roasters, a blend and an Ethiopian coffee.

They tell me they wish to have guest coffees.

I suggest try Karuna Coffee.  Also Ethiopian Coffee Roasters.

I mention Caravan, which I had found in The Deli at 80 last week in Finsbury Park. I am told a very good coffee, which confirms my thoughts. If a competent barista, then would be very good.

I am offered the guest coffee., the Ethiopian single origin.  I find a little over roasted, and at the same time, a little weak. Maybe it was only one shot.  I would have preferred the Square Mile.  Ethiopian coffee from Ethiopian Coffee Roasters is better.

Whilst there, I notice a constant flow of people, more than I ever see at Surrey Hills Coffee, which when I pass by is always empty. 62 Haydon Place is out of the way, apart from opposite Waitrose, therefore must be spreading by word-of-mouth, which is how I learnt, as I would never have known of otherwise, which is good news.

They close at five. I suggested six, maybe even seven, for the summer.

The big problem with Guildford, the little coffee shops close at five which is far too early. They stand at the door turning customers away, which is bizarre.  Why does anyone turn away business? But I accept, long hours if open at eight in the morning to catch the morning trade. Winter is different close at five.

There are too many coffee shops opening that know nothing about coffee. Esquires Coffee is a good example. If wish for rubbish undrinkable coffee, we have Costa, Caffe Nero and tax-dodging Starbucks. It is therefore always good to find a coffee shop opening where they are passionate about coffee.

Definitely a coffee shop to visit in Guildford.

Now have four places for coffee, FCB coffee kiosk on Guildford Station, Harris + Hoole in North Street and Dylan’s ice cream at The Village.

I am calling 62 Haydon Place. I had to go back and ask, what is this coffee shop called? It is actually called Canopy, but I think 62 Haydon Place is a far better name, and as it is writ above the shop in gold lettering, I think that is what they should call it.

If 62 Haydon Place are regularly changing the guest coffee, meanwhile Food For Thought who recommended the coffee shop are looking for recommendations of quality coffee to stock, why not an informal arrangement whereby Food For Thought stock the guest coffee, direct to the Coffee House to taste, and vice a versa the Coffee House direct to Food for Thought to buy the beans.

Afternoon in Guildford

July 14, 2017

Coolish start to the day then turned very warm.

Excellent moussaka off Greek shop at The Village.

I think this is now my fifth visit to The Village, still a disaster, still devoid of visitors.

A new unit has opened selling burgers. Only his second day, but sat outside eating my moussaka, disturbed by the loud music from his stall. The use of polystyrene burger boxes is not acceptable. If nothing else, The Village must set high environmental standards. If individual stalls are going to cut corners, then The Village must set the standards as a condition of opening a unit.

The burger guy comes all the way down from Stevenage.

I look in Food For Thought. They tell me of a new coffee shop, further down the street. I say I will check it out. I have a long chat about coffee. I suggest check out Union Hand-Roasted Coffee, The Little Bicycle Coffee Shop and Standart. I also recommend Real Fresh Coffee.

I look in Oxfam Bookshop. Nothing on coffee.

Outside Oxfam Bookshop, a group of Italians about to cross the road to tax-dodging Starbucks. I ask do they not like coffee? Probably not, as Italy infamous for bad coffee. I suggest Harris + Hool, FCB coffee kiosk on Guildford Station, Dylan’s ice cream or the new coffee shop I have yet to try.

I head to the new coffee shop. I double check where it is. Someone else recommends. They tell me Surrey Hills not good, a rude female with attitude problem and yes, the new coffee shop is good.

Claimed to be an artisan coffee shop. A bold claim to make. especially if not. Caracoli claim to be best coffee shop in Guildford. They are not, not by a long way, which simply makes them look foolish.

I find the new coffee shop, 62 Haydon Place. A long chat with the owner. He has Square Mile coffee which is a good sign, plus guest coffee. He says he is going to host different guest coffees, which also a good sign. I suggest try Karuna Coffee.

Then return to The Village, BBC have been filming around Guildford all day, no idea why, now filming at The Village.

Someone who appears to be responsible for The Village tells me how well it is doing, that it is busy. I look around and see the lack of people. Maybe she sees invisible people. That last week they were forced to halve the rent says the exact opposite.

I learn there is to be a food festival maybe September. I suggest invite Bedda and Karuna Coffee. I should have added Curries from Home.

I try my hand at latte art. Not very good, but I at least realise what I was doing wrong. Not bad for only second attempt. Last time was May at Miyu Coffee, and that was far worse, so at least improving.

Afternoon in Winchester

July 12, 2017

Coolish in the morning then turned warm.

Alighted from the bus and walked down Magdalene Hill into Winchester.

A Chinese girl on the bus with luggage. I assumed she had like me, alighted from the London train. I found her waiting at a bus stop. I asked where she was going. I was surprised when she said Heathrow to catch a flight to China.

I asked where she had come from, when she was on the bus. She said she lived in Alton. I explained she was going a very long way around. She should have from Alton Station, caught the train to Woking, then bus to Heathrow. Maybe she will do this when she returns.

Pasta off Bedda was not good. Two Sicilian guys have been there since beginning of May. Their pasta usually excellent, tagliatelle with creamy mushroom sauce excellent. Today tomato sauce, like spaghetti Bolognese minus the meatballs. Not good

Why do people do this? Start off excellent, then rapidly deteriorate.

I eat my not-so-good pasta in the Cathedral Grounds and pick up a new found friend, a dog joins me.

Flat Whites packed up early. No. I had not even said what I wanted. I do not want a coffee, a cake. The answer was again no. I asked why were they leaving early. An ignorant man, who I have never seen before, argued, said they always leave at this time, and he should know because it was his van. And no, they do not usually leave early

Odd, it belongs to lady who usually runs the van, and when not there, helpful young lads. Has she sold the business since opening a coffee shop in Southampton? Or if staff, not doing her reputation any good at all.

Too late for a cappuccino at Coffee Lab machine shut down. A chat with Dhan. Which then made me too late for a coffee in Coffee Lab Academy.

A cappuccino at The Dispensary Kitchen, which unfortunately spoilt by the addition of chocolate. Nothing wrong with it, but when using a quality blend from The Roasting party, not getting the best out of it.

A walk along the river and around the back streets and through the Cathedral Grounds.

Luckily on arrival I had noticed the bus station being demolished, as had to catch the bus in the street.

Ice cream van in the car park at Alton Station, blocking access through the car park, engine left illegally running belching out toxic fumes.

Popped in Waitrose. Compared with Sainsbury’s or Asda, only about half the coffee on sale rubbish brand coffee, the other half at least an attempt at quality coffee. Only that from Union Hand-Roasted Coffee appeared to have a roast date, and then only just inside the optimum as roasted a month ago. Makes the point that the furore about Sainsbury’s pulling out of the FairTrade scam is meaningless.

One of the counter arguments against Sainsbury’s ditching FairTrade, is can buy FairTrade in Waitrose. I did not notice any of the coffee to be FairTrade.

Union is direct trade. Union pay farmers a better price than FairTrade, they want quality coffee not commodity coffee.

If you want quality coffee, why buy from a supermarket? Buy from indie coffee shops or coffee roasters where not only will get fresh quality coffee, but the farmers are getting a higher price for producing quality, not FairTrade commodity coffee.

For example in Winchester can buy coffee from Coffee Lab or Coffee Lab Academy, which is their specified blend from The Roasting Party.

Excellent chilli con carne at The Station Cafe. Apart from too spicy. But far better than the disgusting meal when I last passed through.

I would have sat outside as a pleasant evening. But not possible because of the pollution from the ice cream van.

I do not know who owns the car park, but South West Trains or Alton Town Council need to deal with this problem.

Iced latte in Caffe Macchiato

July 10, 2017

Maybe third time lucky.

A couple of  weeks ago I had an iced latte in Caffe Macchiato.

The following week a variant on what I had the previous week.

This afternoon, a further variant

Two weeks ago, milk, ice cream, two shots espresso, ice, mixed in a blender, poured into a glass, add a straw.

Last week, as before, but no sugar. I was not aware before sugar had been added. The espresso at least ten minutes in  a freezer to chill.  Add to blender as before, but not the espresso. Pour into the glass, then add the espresso. This should achieve a marbled effect as the espresso is added. It did not, practice required. Then add straw.

This afternoon, ice in the glass, blend milk and ice cream in the blender, pour into glass, then add two shots of espresso, which has been chilled in freezer for at least ten minutes.

This was best to date. Improvement in taste and appearance. Practice required to perfect the marbled appearance.