Archive for June, 2018

Farnham Carnival

June 30, 2018

Farnham Carnival is an annual event, last Saturday of June.

The disgusting fast food stalls would have done justice to Aldershot. I had hoped maybe they would have improved but sadly not. It contrasts badly with the Sustainability Fayre of a few weeks ago.

There is absolutely no excuse these days for not inviting quality street food stalls, anymore there is no excuse for coffee shops sourcing bad coffee.

A beer tent rows and rows of pumps serving Carlsberg.  Why not invite The Little Beer Corporation to run a beer tent? They have done an excellent job at Staycation Live last two years.

It was then to Krema for a cold brew coffee.

Questions to Krema, and to a  lesser extent a coffee stall at the Carnival.

Takeaway coffee cups compostable? No.

If compostable, will end in general waste stream, and are they compostable?

Reusable cups, heavy, expensive, bulky and a pain to carry around.

A step in the right direction but addresses symptoms, does not address grab it and go takeaway culture. We need to discourage takeaway, encourage relax in an indie coffee shop with speciality coffee served in glass or ceramic.

A walk around Bishop’s Meadow was tempting, but too hot and I would not have got out of Farnham before the roads closed.

On cue in one of the alleys leading from the churchyard a Starbucks plastic takeaway cup illustrating why we need a latte levy.

I did not think I would, but caught the last bus out of Farnham before the roads closed.

Aldershot Armed Forces Day

June 30, 2018

Aldershot self-proclaimed Home of the British Army.

Town centre as usual deserted.  A handful of people in Princess Gardens, a fraction of for Victoria Day.

Dreadful music blasting out.  Norm for Aldershot.

A scattering of stalls.

Karuna Coffee was as Victoria Day serving V60 pour over coffee.  Clueless on coffee I did not bother to check it out as I very much doubt improved from last time I tried, and with their arrogant and abusive manner I doubt will have learnt how to pour V60 coffee.

Instead later in the afternoon, after visiting Farnham Carnival, in contrast packed, but disgusting fast food that would have done justice to Aldershot, it was excellent cold brew from Krema in Farnham using single origin Ethiopian coffee from Horsham Coffee Roasters, a coffee shop that is professional in the coffee business, a professional coffee roaster that engages in direct trade thus benefiting the growers and ensuring their dignity not forcing them into the FairTrade scam or reliant upon charity to send their kids to school.

Contrast Armed Forces Day in Aldershot with Armed Forces Day in Guildford that ended with opera from the balcony of the Old Town Hall to a packed High Street.  Launch of Guildford Fringe Festival, a month of cultural events.


Afternoon in Guildford

June 29, 2018

A hot day, though maybe not as hot as previous days.

Walking along the River Wey to the High Street, moronic rap music blasting out from Electric Theatre disturbing the peace and tranquillity of this walk.

Walking up North Street I noticed Harris + Hoole empty. Death by a thousand cuts by Caffe Nero.

Lunch at Bamboo Shoots.

Picked up a couple of biodegradable plastic straws from Bamboo Shoots for compost trial. Nothing on the box to say what made off.

Walking past Surrey Hills Coffee as empty as when they were in Chapel Street. Posting on facebook doing well at new site when anyone walking past sees not simply makes look foolish. Looking in it looked very tacky, as though knocked up  as a temporary location, cf Canopy Coffee or Krema. They say now doing food. Do they have A3 planning consent? It takes more than a change of location, maybe a case of grass looks greener on the other side, or cheaper rent. 5-30 is hardly extended opening hours, and worse to encourage grab it and go takeaway culture. Do they really think anyone is going to pay to rent an upstairs room when many places locally to meet for free? The one bag of coffee I looked at was at least freshly roasted, compared with their old coffee shop where it could be a couple of months old. What though will it be in a couple of months time? Why do they have A-boards blocking both the High Street and Jeffries Passage? Is it really necessary an A-board outside the coffee shop? The council needs to clamp down on A-boards as a hazard for pedestrians with poor sight. When there is Krema serving excellent coffee,  it is going to take more than a change of location, like maybe decent coffee, skilled baristas.

Roadworks still ongoing in Tunsgate. Krema barricaded off. Now panic stations to complete the work. Cowboy workers cutting stone, dust everywhere, no damping down, no face masks worn.

There is to be  street party in Tunsgate next week. But how is anyone to know as no information anywhere?

Cold brew coffee in Krema.

Walking back down North Street, Harris + Hoole empty. Are their takeaway coffee cups compostable? No. Their plastic cups yes. Nothing to say they are, or what made of. If used for hot drinks they melt. One taken away for compost trial. No cold brew coffee. The gimmick nitro brew was short lived.

Quando toda rua toca Led Zeppelin

June 27, 2018

Incredible spine chilling street performance of Stairway to Heaven.

Do compostable coffee cups compost?

June 25, 2018

Compostable coffee cups are a step in the right direction, but addressing symptoms not the underlying problems of takeaway grab it and go throw away culture, which is part of a larger problem of pointless consumption.

Compostable coffee cups raise two questions:

  • what to do with the coffee cups
  • do they actually compost

If I pick up a coffee cup then wander down the street what to do with the cup? If thrown in a bin it will join the general waste stream.

Do the cups compost, do they compost on a compost heap? Some cups claim to be biodegradable, a few compostable, some make no claim at all. For example a coffee cup from Morrisons, the outer is card, can be recycled, but what of the inner core, a composite structure forming an integral whole?

Only one way to find out, conduct a little experiment, deposit takeaway coffee cups on a compost heap.

A little collection of cups, including what I believe to be a plant-based cellulose straw. It clams to be biodegradable.

These added to a compost heap a little after midday today. End of June temperatures 27C and forecast higher over the next few days.

Always need a control. Added a cup from Starbucks which helpful staff did not believe to be biodegradeable.

Starbucks have on sale at £1 ugly reusable cups. Bring own reusable coffee cup a small discount of 25p.

As always it is indie coffee shops leading the way. One small chain Boston Tea Party has banned takeaway cups. More need to follow their excellent example, encourage relax in an indie coffee shop with speciality coffee served in glass or plastic.

Afternoon in Farnham

June 23, 2018

A warm day following a cool start.

A bowl of leak and potato soup in Okomoko. It was not very good, neither was the wholemeal bread.  I am at a loss why they are serving winter soup on a hot summer’s day.  Try tomato, pea or asparagus.

I did not try a coffee. Surrey Hills Coffee is not great, and a cappuccino with fake milk looks and tastes disgusting.

If not wish to use milk, then serve V60 pour over or cold brew with quality single origin coffee, for example from Chimney Fire Coffee.

At £3.20 a ludicrous price for a cappuccino, especially when consider not quality coffee, fake milk, and Krema a speciality coffee shop nearby serving excellent coffee.

Bags of coffee on sale, but I again recommend Krema, where not only serving, but also has Horsham Coffee on sale.

Nor did I fancy a vegan cake.

I had looked forward to cold brew in Krema, only sold out, once tried it is proving very popular.

Next week Farnham Carnival. Unfortunately clashes with street food market in Godalming.

Hidden Curiosities Gin

June 22, 2018

In The Keep, Hidden Curiosities Gin set up a gin pop up shop and free tasting.

Curious I decided to pop along.

Not in the Gin Alley, oops Gin Parlour upstairs at The Keep, an area had been set aside downstairs.

I am no fan of gin, cannot stand the smell let alone the taste, but was curious, this was craft gin.

For some perverse reason, gin has become the in drink.

Did I wish to try?

The aroma was quite pleasant, not at all like that normally associated with gin. To drink, like drinking firewater, lacking the maturity of a good brandy. I could see why it is usually drunk diluted. It also has potential for cocktails with cold brew coffee.

A long chat with Jenny, she is also a fashion designer, who had designed the gin.

We have craft beer, speciality coffee and now craft gin.

Chatting with Jenny as passionate about craft gin, as brewers are about craft beer, or roasters and baristas about single origin, direct trade speciality coffee. And equally passionate  about slow fashion.

She does not distil the gin, this is done using spare capacity at a distillery, but it is carried out to her recipe with her overseeing the distillation.

Twenty botanicals are added.

Botanicals? This sound like alchemy, or maybe something out of a  steam punk novel. Why botanicals, why not simply call herbs?

Because more than herbs are added, spices and berries are added, and this is what gives the interesting aroma, not what could be described as the crude unpleasant smell of gin.

And the gin itself then forms the foundations for something else, it could be as simple as a gin and tonic or maybe an exotic cocktail using cold brew coffee.

It was only later I thought of last year at Union Summer Festival, Martin Hudak had won World Champion Barista for Coffee in Good Spirits and later at The Underdog in Athens a V60 from Manos Mamatis, the No 2, and also in The Underdog three previous winners of Coffee in Good Spirits.

Maybe something for Robustos to consider, a speciality coffee shop with excellent wines, whiskey and of course coffee.

Or The Square in Winchester.

Something I had not seen before, copper straws.

Afternoon in Guildford

June 22, 2018

Strange weather, starts cool, turns hot.

As I walk up North Street by the market, arrogant idiot parks in No Parking to do his shopping on the market. When it is pointed out No Parking, he ask where am I to park when shopping? Maybe car park as everyone else.

Lunch at Bamboo Shoots, honey crunch chicken with brown rice, then back to market, but too late, strawberries gone. From another stall, two boxes of strawberries, two pineapples, £3-00.

Work on Tunsgate progressing backwards, now digging up that previously laid.

In Krema, excellent cold brew coffee. I resist the temptation to have another.

I give one box of strawberries, one pineapple, to Krema.

Walking down to The Keep, I see the work on Tunsgate is extending half way down the road.

In The Keep, Hidden Curiosities Gin have set up a gin pop up shop and free tasting.

I am no fan of gin, cannot stand the smell let alone the taste, but was curious, this was craft gin.

For some perverse reason, gin has become the in drink.

Did I wish to try?

The aroma was quite pleasant, not at all like that normally associated with gin. To drink, like drinking firewater, lacking the maturity of a good brandy. I could see why it is usually drunk diluted. It also has potential for cocktails with cold brew coffee.

Morrisons Café takeaway coffee cups

June 21, 2018

Takeaway coffee cups in Morrisons Café illustrate why we have a problem and why we need a latte levy.

The cup a composite structure, a cardboard surround wrapped around a who knows what inner core forming an integral whole.

The cup showed the outer is card and can be recycled but how? It would have to be separated from the inner.

Questions to Morrisons lead nowhere.

Why are there takeaway cups in Morrisons Café when there are ceramic mugs? It would not seem very likely anyone would pop in for a takeaway coffee. Maybe shoppers wander around the store with a coffee in hand. But in that case use compostable cups with a bin provided in which to deposit the cups.

What this highlights yet again is the need for a latte levy.

Afternoon in Winchester

June 20, 2018

A pleasant afternoon in Winchester.

Missed a bus, missed a train.

Looked in Alton Station Cafe. Tonight for bikers night, chicken casserole.

Driver of 1415 No 64 bus Alton to Winchester running several minutes late, driving like a lunatic, exceeding speed limit, hit curb and smashed bus at Four Marks.

Alight and walk down Magdalen Hill into Winchester.

Sicilian guys still serving crap from their stall. It is tragic, they used to serve excellent pasta from their stall, worth a trip to Winchester for.

Flat Whites stall no food, all gone. Different guest coffee to last week.

I decide to check out the food at The Square. Spoilt for choice. Sourdough toast with grilled mushrooms.

The people sat outside, relaxing with a coffee, chatting with friends, I am very much reminded of Tailor Made in Athens.

Shocked to learn it is already five o’clock.

I head off to Flat Whites coffee shop. Too late, closed. I drop off a couple of copies of Caffeine. As last week, I recommend, do not subscribe to Caffeine, instead subscribe to Standart.

Back to The Square, but first check out Coffee Lab. I am shocked to find now closes at three. Coffee Lab Academy, as last week, chairs piled up, there were still people sitting there. It has gone rapidly down hill with no Laura in charge.

A cappuccino at The Square. Different barista and not as good as last week. Very large slice of walnut and coffee cake. Best I have ever had.

At Alton Station, same problem as last year, an ice cream van illegally parked in the car park, obstructing access, engine running, serving ice cream.

As last week, no special left at Alton Station Cafe.

As I board train, steam  train leaving.

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