Archive for January, 2018

Costa demonstrates why we need a latte levy

January 19, 2018

2.5 billion disposable coffee cups are thrown away every year in the UK.

What appear to be paper cups are not. They are lined-with plastic, and therein lies the problem, these plastic-lined paper cups cannot be recycled, if tossed in with paper, contaminates the paper with plastic.

Plastic pollution is killing the planet.

8 million tonnes of plastic are discarded into the oceans every year. The plastic accumulates. By 2050 the amount of plastic in the oceans will outweigh the fish. It is hazardous to sea life.

It is thanks to chains like Costa why we have a problem, they encourage a grab it and go, throw away consumerist culture.

Why are these cups sitting on a table, why was the coffee not served in a ceramic cup?

It demonstrates why we need a 25p latte levy, to be introduced at the next budget, why we must make it socially unacceptable the grab it and go coffee culture.

Please sign the petition calling on Michael Gove to introduce the 25p levy. And boycott chains which are lobbying hard to stop introduction of the latte levy.

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Press preview International Bomber Command Centre

January 17, 2018

My last visit to International Bomber Command Centre, muddy approach, shell of a building, hard hat, steel-tipped boots, hi-vis vests for access.

Today, a loose gravel approach to the finished building.

Not yet officially open, today was to give the media a glimpse.

Walking in, after passing through an open plan reception, a large auditorium, large screen, various interactive and static displays.

The interactive displays, students dressed the part, speaking what it was like, based upon recorded first hand accounts.

The interactive displays in the prison cells in the old Victorian Prison in Lincoln Castle give an idea of what to expect.

For the Centre, to collect these first hand accounts, was literally a race against time.

Since the first hand accounts were collected, of people in their nineties, a third of those who gave these first hand accounts are sadly no longer with us.

The static displays, a pair of flying boots, a lamp, playing cards.

The playing cards, on each card, hand written account of a bombing raid.

Dominating the room a large display.

On the large screen, bombing targets lit up. At first I thought, not many, that was until I noticed a scrolling bar. What was being shown was nightly raids, night by night.

A warning, a film was to be shown, almost like warning of an air raid.

Was this a warning to evacuate the room? Maybe.

Too loud.

Then I could see why so loud, when an Avro Lancaster took off, then the bombs dropped, then a building on fire, then footage from the air of the destroyed buildings, presumably taken by the Germans, then the lost people wandering the streets.

I was privileged to be able to watch this in a room on my own, well almost on my own, a BBC film crew and one veteran of WWII Bomber Command.

The impact would not have been the same in a room full of people.

To describe as emotional would be an understatement.

I later congratulated the Centre Director Nicky Barr and said she should she be very proud of what she has created.

She said that even though she had created, the first time she watched, it was a very emotive experience.

There are other smaller rooms, including dining room, with coffee, San Remo espresso machine and associated kitchen.

Not today, but when up and running, will be serving a special blend of coffee and tea created for the Centre by Stokes. They will also have on sale bags of the coffee and tea.

The Centre is not only a visitor centre, it will also be a research centre with archive material.

The Centre tells the story from all sides, the crew on the ground, the aircrew, and the Germans who were bombed.

What is the point some may say.

Syria. Look what Assad has done to Syria, bombed-out buildings, the only way he can retain control of Syria is to kill his own people, aided and abetted by Vladimir Putin.

Yemen. Corrupt House of Saud carrying out genocide in Yemen, weapons supplied courtesy of British arms companies.

Reusable coffee cups are not the answer

January 16, 2018

Reusable coffee cups are not the answer to the growing waste problem of plastic pollution.

It seems to be that [reusable cups] are the best solution if we can get to that. — Caroline Lucas

In the UK, we throw away 2.5 billion coffee cups every year.

These coffee cups are not as first appears paper, they are paper lined with plastic and therein lies the problem, these plastic-lined coffee cups cannot be recycled and contribute to the growing problem of plastic pollution.

 

Contrary to what Caroline Lucas has claimed, reusable coffee cups are not the answer.

I have yet to be in a coffee shop and seen a reusable cup sold, let alone used. When I have inquired, I have been told take up is minimal, even when a substantial discount is on offer.

There is also as James Hoffman has drawn attention to, a hygiene problem if people bring in their own cups to be washed.

Compostable coffee cups of little use, unless a compost heap on which to deposit.

Resusable cups are expensive, bulky, inconvenient to carry around. With the exception of office workers popping out for a coffee to take back to the office and even then only if coupled with a discount, unlikely to have any impact.

Pret a Manger started the New Year with filter coffee at 49p a cup, a 50p discount if brought own cup. In the absence of any in-store information, lack of reusable cups on sale, will make little difference. Little more than a PR stunt.

Why are we not seeing any statistics published? I would expect to see a weekly report, to see what impact, if any, in reducing the use of plastic-lined takeaway cups.

Without seeing any results from Pret a Manger SumofUs have launched a petition asking that Costa follow suit.

This is tinkering at the edges, addressing the symptoms not the underlying problem.

The underlying problem is the grab it and go consumerist culture, encouraged by chains like Costa and Pret a Manger, it is what their businesses model is built on.

What we should be doing is encouraging relax with a cup of speciality coffee served from glass or ceramic in an indie coffee shop. Only then are we gong to reduce the plastic pollution.

We should also be pushing for the introduction of a 25p latte levy at the next Budget.

Please sign the petition calling on Michael Gove to introduce the 25p levy.

Copper Joes

January 14, 2018

A coffee shop part of a museum complex.

One way to explore a city is via its indie coffee shops. Had I not been told of Copper Joes, I would not have explored a different part of Winchester, found Peninsular Barracks, or explored West Gate.

Last year, on a visit to Winchester, I was told of a new coffee shop that was using coffee supplied by The Roasting Party.

On my next visit to Winchester, it was a pleasant summer afternoon, I decided to see if I could find it. Other than it was using The Roasting Party and a rough idea of where to head, I had no idea what I was looking for as I lacked a name.

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 Joes, in the guard house of what was once a military barracks, Peninsular Barracks, part coffee shop, part museum.

Three people and a very hot dog sat outside.

I asked was the coffee good, they replied yes.

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

A very pleasant ambience.

A mother and daughter operation, mother Nikki makes the food, daughter Layla the coffee. The cakes supplied by The Winchester Cakeologist.

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

A coffee shop serving coffee sourced from The Roasting Party should know better than to add chocolate to a cappuccino, or at the very least ask.

The name Copper Joe comes from two different sources.
In 1913 Josephus Daniels was appointed secretary of the Navy. The story states that on 1st June 1914, Secretary Joe issued General Order 99, this prohibited alcohol aboard naval vessels. From this point on, the strongest drink allowed on naval ships has been coffee. The annoyed soldiers unhappy about the changes called the coffee ‘a cup of joe’ out of anger.

The Copper element was added due to location. The Guard House was used by the Military Police, in Cockney slang coppers.

On my way back down, I found a side door into West Gate, stone steps, that led to a museum, once a debtors prison, further steps led to the roof, with a restricted view looking down the High Street.

Caffè Nero demonstrates why we need a latte levy

January 11, 2018

2.5 billion disposable coffee cups are thrown away every year in the UK.

What appear to be paper cups are not. They are lined-with plastic, and therein lies the problem, these plastic-lined paper cups cannot be recycled, if tossed in with paper, contaminates the paper with plastic.

Plastic pollution is killing the planet.

8 million tonnes of plastic are discarded into the oceans every year. The plastic accumulates. By 2050 the amount of plastic in the oceans will outweigh the fish. It is hazardous to sea life.

It is thanks to chains like Caffè Nero why we have a problem, they encourage a grab it and go, throw away consumerist culture.

Why are these cups sitting on a table, why was the coffee not served in a ceramic cup?

It demonstrates why we need a 25p latte levy, to be introduced at the next budget, why we must make it socially unacceptable the grab it and go coffee culture.

Please sign the petition calling on Michael Gove to introduce the 25p latte levy. And boycott chains which are lobbying hard to stop introduction of the latte levy.

Ecoffee Cup

January 11, 2018

Ecoffee Cup is made from what is claimed to be sustainable bamboo. Only problem, plastic lid and surround.

I came across this reusable coffee cup on a shelf in an Oxfam bookshop.

Lightweight, price at £7-99, cheaper than a KeepCup, but lacking in elegance of a glass KeepCup.

Bamboo sustainable and compostable, the plastic lid and surround rules it out.

 

Vegware compostable coffee cups at County Restaurant

January 11, 2018

County Restaurant is one of the best kept secrets in Lincoln.

It is one of the best places to eat lunch weekdays.  Or was. It went downhill. I am pleased to say it has improved, at least if my roast dinner and sweet that followed is typical of the daily fare.

Sitting by the side of the coffee machine, vegware compostable coffee cups. Also some other coffee cups not sure what they were.  Also lids, not sure if compostable.

About half the people with a  drink were using the takeaway cups. There were ceramic cups available.

By the drinking water, plastic cups and glass.

The majority of people a takeaway cup to take back to their desk.

Unless bins for the composting of the cups, nothing has been gained and the cups will go to the waste stream.

It beggars belief, polystyrene burger-style boxes for takeaway food.

Encourage relax with a coffee in the restaurant, a coffee in a ceramic cup.

Though as there are indie coffee shops in the town serving speciality coffee, why not take a walk, relax in an indie coffee shop, support the local economy, not drink something disgusting out of a  machine?

For those wishing to take back to their desk, bring your own coffee cup, have KeepCup on sale, bulk buy, brand with Lincoln Imp and a slogan to encourage their use, sell at a discount.

As this is Lincolnshire County Council, responsible for waste disposable and recycling, why are they not setting much higher standards? They should be showcasing best practice for others to follow.

The lid and cup have been retained. They will be dropped on the compost heap to see what happens.

Meet Lulu

January 8, 2018

Lulu was a whale, an Orca, she was washed ashore dead on a beach in Scotland in 2016. She was a member of the last remaining Orca pod in UK waters.The pod is in danger of being wiped out.

Lulu was found to have high levels of PCB in her system. PCBs were banned decades ago, but are still prevalent in the oceans, are concentrated in the fat of mammals.

Lulu is sculpture suspended from the ceiling at Stokes at The Lawn.

Designed by Ptolemy Elrington,  Lulu is made from bits of plastic and parts from old coffee machines.  She serves as a stark reminder the damage plastic is doing to the planet.

Plastic pollution is killing the planet.

8 tonnes of plastic are discarded into the oceans every year. The plastic accumulates. By 2050 the amount of plastic in the oceans will outweigh the fish.  It is hazardous to sea life.

Ten rivers account for 95% of the plastic in the oceans.

The UK was shipping 5000,000 tonnes of plastic to China every year. It was called recycling. This is not recycling, it is dumping waste onto another country.

Plastic is not recycled, it is down-cycling. Glass, steel, aluminium is recycled.

Wood can be reused.

Makushi is an excellent example of wood reused as tables.

The Underdog has reused railway sleepers as tables.

Something every single one of us can do is stop using disposable coffee cups. In the UK, we throw away 2.5 billion disposable coffee cups every year. These are not made of paper as they first appear.  They are paper with a plastic liner, cannot be recycled, go to landfill or incineration, or are thrown in the street.

Stokes are investigating replacing the plastic-lined cups with compostable paper cups.

A step in the right direction, but, what to do with the paper cup once empty of coffee? Unless a compost heap is to hand will go in the waste stream.

Stokes at The Lawn have on sale Frank Green Smart Cup. Ugly, expensive and no one can recall one ever being sold. It lacks the elegance of a  KeepCup.  And is made of plastic.

Unless targeting office workers with a substantial discount, reusable cups of limited value in reducing waste.

What we have to do is discourage the grab it and go consumer culture that is encouraged by the coffee chains and  instead encourage  sit and relax with a cup of coffee at the coffee shop. After all what is the hurry? Coffee is a drink, or for that matter tea, to relax
with.

The clientele at Stokes do tend to be sit and relax with a coffee or afternoon tea.

Pret a Manger offering filter coffee at 49p a cup if bring own cup for a refill has to be seen in the absence of in-store information and no reusable cups on sale as little more than a clever publicity stunt.

House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee has called for a 25p levy on all disposable coffee cups, the so-called latte levy. This should be implemented at the next Budget, but already the chains are lobbying for the levy not to be introduced.

Please sign the petition calling on Michael Gove to introduce the 25p levy.

As always, it is the indie coffee shops who are leading the way.

What we have to do is discourage the takeaway culture. Compostable paper cups, reusable cups, is merely tackling the symptoms.

We have to encourage relaxing with a cup of coffee at a coffee shop in ceramic or glass. There is then no requirement for a takeaway cup.

If art has nothing to say, it is not art.

Becca Turner

January 6, 2018

Becca Turner, artist, illustrator, coffee aficionado,  who combines her passion for coffee with her art.

Her illustrations graced the front cover of Caffeine last year.  Her art was also featured in Caffeine last year.

Latte Levy

January 5, 2018

The UK has woken up and smelled the coffee cup nightmare – and now there’s no way this horrendous and avoidable problem can be put back to sleep. — chef and environmental campaigner Hugh Fearnely-Whittingstall

2.5 billion throwaway takeaway disposable coffee cups are thrown away every year in the UK.

Prior to the Autumn Budget environmentalists proposed a 5p levy on takeaway coffee cups. It would not have made a jot of difference and was wisely rejected.

House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee has proposed what has already been misleadingly dubbed a latte levy, misleading as not a tax on lattes, it is a tax on disposable coffee cups, a levy of 25p on plastic-lined disposable coffee cups.

These cups are not as first appears paper, they are paper with a plastic liner, which means they cannot be recycled, go to landfill or incineration, or are dumped in the street as litter.

Note: The pedantic may point out there are three plants in the UK that can recycle these plastic-lined cup. They would be correct, but who is going to separate out these cups and send to the the plants? Thus to all practical purposes, they are not recycled.

The Select Committee took evidence. Three chains refused to cooperate, the usual suspects, Pret a Manger, McDonald’s, and tax-dodging Caffe Nero.

Earlier in the week, Pret a Manger launched filter coffee at 49p a cup, a 50p discount if brought own cup. In the absence of in-store information and sale of reusable cups in Pret a Manger, has been dismissed as  a PR stunt.

There are available compostable paper cups. But, in the absence of a scheme to compost or a compost heap to drop the cup on, will join the waste stream.

Reusable cups are of limited value. Expensive to buy, often made of plastic, have to be carried around. They only come into their own if used when popping out of the office for a coffee to bring back to the office, and only then if a substantial discount is given for their use.

The chains are already lobbying hard to stop the latte levy, their business model is built on encouraging the grab it and go, takeaway, consumerist culture, which may be why Pret a Manger  launched a preemptive strike earlier in the week.

Please sign the petition calling on Michael Gove to introduce the 25p levy.

As always, it is the indie coffee shops who are leading the way.

What we have to do is discourage the take away culture. Compostable paper cups, reusable cups, is merely tackling the symptoms.

We have to encourage relaxing with a  cup of coffee at a coffee shop in ceramic or glass. There is then no requirement for a  takeaway cup.