Archive for July, 2018

Pharmacie

July 29, 2018

I first came across Pharmacie, a small coffee roastery in Hove, when I came across their coffee as guest coffee in Flat Whites Coffee Shop in Winchester.

I decided to pay them a visit. Hence the reason for finding myself in Brighton on a Saturday when I would usually visit on a Sunday.

What I did not expect was the long trek to Hove.

I was looking forward to a pleasant walk along the seafront, but instead found myself battling a gale force wind.

First though, after an excellent lunch at Iydea in North Laine, a cappuccino from Brass Monkey, an ice cream parlour. I had learnt from my last visit to Brighton early June they would be serving coffee from Pharmacie.

The cappuccino was not good, neither was the ice cream, honey and lavender.  Not a good sign.  On the other hand the person who served the coffee, not a clue on coffee, served too hot. It makes the point, if care about the reputation of your coffee, take care to where you supply.

It had been windy. I assumed would be sheltered walking along the seafront.  Quite the opposite. A gale blowing from the south-west.

The seafront at Hove is ugly. A wide monotonous expanse of tarmac that goes on for ever. The monotony only broken by a Victorian Bandstand, a sculpture entitled Constellation and painted sheds, otherwise known as beach huts. People pay a small fortune for one of these sheds, to sit in and stare at the sea.

Past the sheds, I head inland.

It is far far further than I thought to walk to Pharmacie. I arrive at a quarter to four, fifteen minutes before they close.

Pharmacie is located in an old cobbled mews. One side used to be stables, the other side housed the carriages.

Pharmacie is housed in one of the old stables, a coffee shop and roastery.

I am the only customer.  Apparently they are busy in the morning.

I order a cappuccino. It is excellent.

I only wish time fora V60, a cold brew.

A guy brings in a Swiss roll he has made. He offers me a slice. I am reluctant to accept as no fan of Swiss roll. I find it is excellent. Very tasty, my only regret I declined a larger slice.

He later offers me chocolate coated coffee beans, which he has also made.

I buy beans, roasted that morning, single origin from Colombia and Ethiopia. I am given a tote bag to carry away my four bags of beans.

I query the packaging. Can be recycled, the average coffee bag cannot as a composite structure.

The bags have details of the beans, how processed, the farm they came from.

When meet coffee roasters who can tell you nothing of their beans, offer light, medium or dark roast for the same beans, have beans so over-roasted they are black and oily, have roasted beans in open hessian sacks on a stall at 30C or at the same temperature in bags in the midday day sun, or can tell you nothing of the provenance of the beans, where they were roasted, who lack any respect for the beans they are selling, then look elsewhere.

Sadly I have met several charlatans this month alone who are a disgrace to the coffee industry.

Sitting in the corner a large coffee roaster,  Geisen. Maybe the same model I saw at Edgcumbes Coffee the previous week.

I pick up latest Caffeine and what I have not seen before, The Independent Brighton & Hove Coffee Guide, an independent guide to coffee shops in Brighton and Hove. It is stressed it is genuinely independent, the coffee shops have not paid to be listed. Contrast with The North and North Wales Independent Coffee Guide which is a blatant scam, coffee shops pay £500 for a listing and write their own entry.

I would have liked to have tried a V60, maybe a cold brew, but arrived too late and they were wishing to close.

I head back down to the seafront for the long trek back to Brighton.

Interesting villas line the street, as did the road I walked up. A few appear to be single residence, many have been converted to flats, a few are hotels.

I pass Small Batch, look in, but no time to stop for a coffee.

As I approach the road that runs along the seafront I am nearly blown off my feet. It is now worse than before.

Pharmacie is four people with long experience in coffee, including a Master Coffee Roaster. Contrast with the many coffee roasteries established by people with no experience of coffee let alone coffee roasting.

Pharmacie is only open on a Saturday. On the first Saturday of the month they add a food truck.

Their tweets often make little sense, and posting pictures to twitter via Instagram is pointless as the pictures not visible on twitter.

Yes, it is possible to walk from Brighton along the seafront, and in the absence of a gale, would be a pleasant walk, otherwise Hove Station is close by.

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Trip to Brighton

July 28, 2018

Much cooler weather but still pleasant.

Before setting off grass seed sown. I only wish I had sown Friday morning before the thunderstorm.

Train to Gatwick, not only has 1A power points, but also integral usb charging, 2x 1A ouput. Advantage taken, solar power bank charged.

Chaos at Gatwick. 1158 Southern Fail Gatwick to Brighton running 13 minutes late (Southern Fail from Victoria).  Passengers packed in like sardines, not every one able to board the train. At intermediary stations, not every one able to board.

Train finally arrives Brighton at 1246, it should have arrived 1231.

I head to North Laine for lunch at Iydea.

I pass Brighton Sausages and inquire when they close.  Seven o’clock. I will pop back later.

North Laine is busy on a Sunday. Today, packed, can barely move.

Excellent lunch at Iydea.

I take an ice cream and cappuccino from Brass Monkey ice cream parlour next door. The ice cream not good, neither the cappuccino.

I had an ice cream early June not long after they opened. Then it was excellent. Thus lack of consistency.

Coffee is new. Makes the point, if want a decent coffee go to an indie coffee shop serving speciality coffee.  It is also not doing the reputation of Pharmacie any favours.

I look in Pelicano. No they have not the latest Standart. Not sure if they stock, as does not sell.

I check Magazine Brighton. Neither latest edition of Standart nor Drift.

They tell me they post on Instagram when new magazine comes in. I say bad idea, post on twitter.

I then set off to find Pharmacie, a small coffee roastery in Hove.

This was why I was in Brighton on a Saturday. Only open on a Saturday. It was also why I had a coffee at Brass Monkey as the coffee supplied by Pharmacie.

It had been windy. I assumed would be sheltered walking along the seafront. Quite the opposite. A gale blowing from the south-west.

The seafront at Hove is ugly. A wide monotonous expanse of tarmac that goes on for ever. The monotony only broken by painted sheds, otherwise known as beach huts. People pay a small fortune for one of these sheds, to sit in and stare at the sea.

Past the sheds, I head inland.

It is far far further than I thought to walk to Pharmacie. I arrive at a quarter to four, fifteen minutes before they close.

Pharmacie is located in an old cobbled mews. One side used to be stables, the other side housed the carriages.

Pharmacie is housed in one of the old stables, a coffee shop and roastery.

I am the only customer. Apparently they are busy in the morning.

I order a cappuccino. It is excellent.

A guy brings in a Swiss roll he has made. He offers me a slice. It is excellent.

I buy beans, roasted that morning.

Sitting in the corner a large coffee roaster, Geisen. Maybe the same model I saw at Edgcumbes Coffee the previous week.

I pick up latest Caffeine and what I have not seen before, The Independent Brighton & Hove Coffee Guide, an independent guide to coffee shops in Brighton and Hove. It is stressed it is genuinely independent, the coffee shops have not paid to be listed. Contrast with The North and North Wales Independent Coffee Guide which is a blatant scam, coffee shops pay £500 for a listing and write their own entry.

I head back down to the seafront for the long trek back to Brighton.

Interesting villas line the street, as did the road I walked up. A few appear to be single residence, many have been converted to flats, a few are hotels.

I pass Small Batch, look in, but no time to stop for a coffee.

As I approach the road that runs along the seafront I am nearly blown off my feet. It is now worse than before.

Walking back along the seafront, at least I now have the wind behind me.

Taking pictures, my phone is nearly torn from my hands.

I walk as far as Brighton Pier and set foot on the pier. I do not walk along the pier. Too many people.

I head back to North Laine, just make Brighton Sausages 15 minutes before they close.

Unusual shop, sausages and cheese. I query this. They tell me they are a deli. I had always assumed them to be a butcher.

I buy sausages, cheese I have never heard of and a pork pie. I say a small pork pie. None left, only large. What is the big one then? Huge.

Too late for Pelicano. They sell me a bottle of their cold brew. I learn they also sell Drift, which unlike Standart, sells.

Walking to the station, I pass Blend & Brew, a tiny coffee shop I have never noticed before, mentioned in The Independent Brighton & Hove Coffee Guide which I had picked up from Pharamacie.

I think visit next time I am in Brighton, visit on my way to North Laine. Only open Monday to Friday.

Outside Brighton Station, Gourmet Burgers. Do not touch with a bargepole. Gourmet they are not.

Just before I pass under the bridge to the station a little stall doing burgers, claimed to be gourmet. Ranked No 1 for street food. I risk and eat on the train. Excellent. This is how burgers should be, quality.

Note: I learn on a return visit to Brighton a few weeks later called Organic Dirty Burger, but as a Sunday, not able to try as sadly only open Wednesday to Saturday and I was there on a Sunday.

The train is Gatwick Express. It used to run Gatwick to Victoria, non-stop. Now it runs Brighton, Gatwick, Victoria. Whether this is an extra service or merely replacing an existing service I do not know.

At Gatwick they barely give people opportunity to board the train, station staff harassing the passengers to board.

At Gatwick, I have twenty minutes wait for Reading train. I pass into the airport to M&S. The service appalling, manned tills replaced by automated tills.

I arrive home 9-30 very very tired just as it is starting to rain.

V60 Japanese iced filter coffee at Krema

July 27, 2018

Today a hot day, not as hot as Thursday when it hit 35.1 C, but still a very hot day.

Did I want cold brew? No, I would have V60 Japanese iced filter coffee, and showed how to make it.

Ratio of water to ice 1:1. Half the usual amount of water, the other half as ice in the carafe. As the hot coffee drips through instantly chilled by the ice.

Served in an ice cold glass out of the fridge.

Not cold brew, nor the same as a V60, brewed with hot water then chilled.

Very refreshing on a hot day.

This was 50:50 hot water to ice. May wish to try a ratio of 3/2.

Brewed with a Kenyan single origin from Horsham Coffee.

Possibly better with a high Q grade Colombian, or better still Panama Geisha.

Last word to James Hoffman.

 

Afternoon in Guildford

July 27, 2018

Another very hot day. Though not as hot as yesterday when 35.1C.

Stopped at FCB kiosk cappuccino Origin guest coffee.

I learnt FCB are going to set up their own coffee roastery, to which I was invited to visit.

Lunch at Pho, fake Vietnamese restaurant, a pleasant day and can sit outside.

Service at Pho is not poor, it is non-existent. A very long wait, maybe half an hour before anyone came to take an order. They could at least have brought a drink. In the top coffee shops in Athens it is the norm to bring ice cold water as soon as take a seat.

Order taken, another long wait before food arrived. Drinks were not brought until food was delivered.

As eating, heavy thunder, then lightning, followed by heavy rain. To their credit, staff rushed out and helped carry things indoors. And replaced my drink.

Another long wait for bill to be brought. In the end it had to be asked for.

In gaps in the rain, dash across to Krema.

Did I want cold brew? No, I would have V60 Japanese iced filter coffee, and showed how to make it.

The Brewhouse Project

July 25, 2018

The Brewhouse Project is a joint crowdfunded venture between Edgcumbes Coffee and Arundel Brewery.

Should they raise the funds they wish to create a café, roastery and brewery located on a site outside Arundel serving and selling craft beer and freshly roasted speciality coffee.

It will be possible to drink a coffee and smell the beans being roasted, drink a beer and see it being brewed.

It is hoped to have a food truck at weekends and evenings.

Union Hand-Roasted Coffee supply coffee to British Airways

July 24, 2018

Union Hand-Roasted Coffee are supplying coffee to British Airways for serving from automated machines in airport lounges and by stewards on their flights.

This is is not good news, indeed it is very bad news.

It is not good news if care about coffee, if Union care about their reputation, if care about the planet.

Global warming is killing coffee. The only people who will be able to afford coffee, the 1%, the very same people sitting in airport lounges pontificating on the delights of Union coffee being served by British Airways, now BA as not British owned.

Aviation is one of the fastest growing sources of greenhouse gases. Does Union really wish their name to be linked to a major climate polluter?

In the northern hemisphere we are seeing record high temperatures this summer. This is not the new norm, this is the beginning of relentless rise in global temperatures as climate change kicks in.

How are Union to explain to the poor farmers when their crops fail due to rising temperatures that they were a willing party?

Supply coffee to other than speciality coffee shops harms the reputation of Union. On the other hand, if profit is the driving motive, then maybe a good deal.

Union supply coffee to Waitrose. On the shelf can be found coffee at least two months old. If lucky, only a month old.

Union supply coffee to Gail’s Bakery. The coffee at Gail’s Farnham is undrinkable.

Clifton Coffee supply coffee to Cosy Club. A corporate chain of fake 1930s bars, so fake a parody of fake. The coffee served in Cosy Club Guildford is undrinkable.

Jamie Oliver has a coffee kiosk at Gatwick serving Italian corporate brand coffee, barely drinkable coffee. A tragedy. With many excellent coffee roasteries locally the coffee kiosk could be used to showcase excellent local coffee.

If care about reputational damage, take care where supply coffee.

Yet one of life’s ironies, Grocer and Grain in Brighton, the owner passionate about coffee, has a good range of coffee on the shelves, including Union, but that on the shelves not as fresh as could be, he would love to serve Union coffee, but Union will not supply, therefore obtained through a third party, thus that on the shelves not as fresh as he would like it to be.

How not to social media

July 24, 2018

A classic example of how not to by Canopy Coffee.

Pictures posted to twitter via Instagram are not visible on twitter.

Always post pictures direct to twitter, assuming that is the reason for posting pictures to social media is wish pictures to be seen.

Scroll down the Canopy Coffee twitter feed and all that is seen is er, nothing.

It is a reasonable assumption that in posting pictures Canopy Coffee did wish the pictures to be seen, otherwise why go to the trouble of posting.

How not to use social media. Pictures posted to twitter via instagram are not visible on twitter. Always post pictures direct to twitter, assuming that is the reason for posting pictures to social media is wish pictures to be seen.

Redber coffee tasting at Steamer Trading

July 22, 2018

I avoid town centres on a weekend. On Saturday Guildford was packed.

The only reason I was in Guildford, coffee tasting at Steamer Trading, a kitchenware shop.  Coffee provided by Redber, a local coffee roastery.

The choice on offer of coffee beans seriously over roasted, dark black and oily, a dark roast and a medium roast.

A cappuccino was made in an automated expensive domestic espresso machine. Price well over a thousand pounds. Pour the beans in the top, the machine will automatically tamp the ground beans, extract, even has a wand for steaming the milk.

The result looked disgusting, tasted disgusting, an unpleasant bitter coffee.

These machines are a  complete waste of money. If you want an espresso, flat white or cappuccino, go to an indie coffee shop where they serve speciality coffee, have the gear in which to make it, and employ skilled baristas.

And do not part money for a Nespresso machine, expensive low quality coffee, the pods bad for the environment.

If wish to see how bad Nespresso, take a Nespresso off the stall in Tunsgate Quarter, I am assuming free, do not part with money, then visit Krema in Tunsgate and try a cappuccino.

As I walked in I noticed rCup on sale. Not recommended, not barista friendly.

I am not sure what was the purpose of the coffee tasting. Was it to showcase the coffee or the machine? It was a dismal failure either way.  And if to bring people in, also a failure as I was the only one taking an interest.

Afternoon in Guildford

July 21, 2018

A hot afternoon in Guildford.

Remind me again why I avoid town centres on a  weekend. Guildford was packed.

The only reason I was in Guildford, coffee tasting at Steamer Trading, a kitchenware shop.

Coffee beans were a choice of seriously over roasted, dark black and oily, a dark roast and a medium roast.

A cappuccino was made in an automated expensive domestic espresso machine. Pour the beans in the top, it will automatically tamp the ground beans, extract, even has a wand for steaming the milk.

The result looked disgusting, tasted disgusting, an unpleasant bitter coffee.

These machines are a complete waste of money. If you want an espresso, flat white or cappuccino, go to an indie coffee shop where they serve speciality coffee, have the gear in which to make it, and employ skilled baristas.

And do not part with money for a Nespresso machine,  expensive low poor coffee, the pods bad for the environment.

If wish to see how bad Nespresso, take a Nespresso off the stall in Tunsgate Quarter, I am assuming free, do not part with money, then visit Krema in Tunsgate and try a cappuccino.

I am not sure what was the purpose of the coffee tasting? Was it to showcase the coffee or the machine? It was a dismal failure either way.

Bamboo Shoots closed. Excellent lunch at Pho, though service very slow. I sat outside. Pleasant sat outside, but they should make no smoking. I would not sit inside. Dark and dingy with awful loud music.

Back to the market. Little left.

Cold brew at Krema.

I have never seen Tunsgate as busy as today. Maybe because a Saturday.

Littlehampton and Bognor Regis

July 21, 2018

On leaving Edgcumbes Coffee I decided as only one stop, end of the line, I would visit Littlehampton.

If I was expecting something like a smaller version of Brighton, I was to be bitterly disappointed.  More like Aldershot-by-the-Sea. The only difference no empty and boarded up shops and no filthy Nepalese parasites.

I waled to the sea front, then back along the river. I passed a closed down amusment park

I had to change trains for Havant. Only one stop further to Bognor Regis. No, I would catch the train for Havant.

I alighted, remained on the platform as instructed, hopped on the next train which pulled in a few minutes later. It took me to Bognor Regis.

Bognor Regis a larger version of Littlehampton, equally as grim.

I walked to the sea front. A man with a truck selling wood-fired pizzas. Sorry mate, I am closed, council will not let me serve beyond eight.

It was back to the station, making do with chips to eat.