Archive for December, 2018

Keep

December 15, 2018

Passing by vegan cafe Okomoko I noticed a board saying zero waste and on display in the window an ecoffee bamboo coffee cup.

I walked in to inquire, I was curious to learn how they achieved zero waste. Whilst waiting, I noticed a sign pointing upstairs to a zero waste shop. Curious and curiouser. I climbed the stairs. I was expecting to maybe find a counter selling off old stock.

What I found was a little shop in a room, an Aladdin’s cave of delights.

Keep, a tiny version of Hisbe in Brighton. Two pleasant and helpful young women. They told me they rented the room.

Quite a clever idea and not the first time I have come across this arrangement, Anonymous Coffee in Reading, down an alley leading from Broad Street to Reading Minster, has a similar arrangement, rent space in a wine shop.

By renting space, in this case a room, overheads are low, for Okomoko, assuming they are not busy, it helps share the rent and puts to use unused space.

What is the alternative, a pop up shop, a market stall?

On offer, grains, cereals, nuts, dried fruit weigh and buy what you want. At the back, large containers of liquids, for example detergents, buy what you need.

Even ecoffee bamboo coffee cups on sale.

What would be a clever idea if Okomoko and Keep crowdfunded a joint glass KeepCup.

As I explained, a similar concept to Hisbe in Brighton. I recommended they visit.

If we are to aim for zero waste, there is much that coffee shops and restaurants can do.

  • eliminaate takeaway coffee
  • on sale reusable coffee cups and offer discount for use
  • compostable takeaway coffee cups
  • leave coffee grounds to be taken away
  • use food waste in cakes and soups
  • compost food waste

Reusable coffee cups and compostable coffee cup are a step in the right direction but what we must do, is eliminate grab it and go takeaway, encourage relax with speciality coffee served in glass or ceramic.

Keep is open Monday to Friday morning to lunchtime, Saturday until five, Sunday morning.

 

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Cold wet mid-December afternoon in Farnham

December 15, 2018

Today could not have been worse, cold, heavy rain and windy.

I caught a bus that goes around the houses, to save waiting for the next bus.

I had no idea where I was, until it was driving down Castle Street. Ideal for Gail’s bakery, but still ideal for centre of Farnham.

No surprise, no one about in Farnham.

Passing by vegan cafe Okomoko I noticed a board saying zero waste. I walked in to inquire, I was curious to learn how they achieved zero waste. Whilst waiting, I noticed a sign pointing upstairs to a zero waste shop. Curious and curiouser. I climbed the stairs. I was expecting to maybe find a counter selling off old stock.

What I found was a little shop in a room, an Aladdin’s cave of delights.

Keep, a tiny version of Hisbe in Brighton. Two pleasant and helpful young women. They told me they rented the room.

Quite a clever idea and not the first time I have come across this arrangement, Anonymous Coffee in Reading, down an alley leading from Broad Street to Reading Minster, has a similar arrangement, rent space in a wine shop.

By renting space, in this case a room, overheads are low, for Okomoko, assuming they are not busy, it helps share the rent and puts to use unused space.

What is the alternative, a pop up shop, a market stall?

On offer, grains, cereals, nuts, dried fruit weigh and buy what you want. At the back, large containers of liquids, for example detergents, buy what you need.

Even ecoffee bamboo coffee cups on sale.

What would be a clever idea if Okomoko and Keep crowdfunded a joint glass KeepCup.

As I explained, a similar concept to Hisbe in Brighton. I recommended they visit.

A pity I had not seen before my visit to the butcher, as I would have mentioned to him, and he would have let his customers know.

They are reliant on word of mouth and social media. Maybe something the Farnham Herald should run a feature on.

A pleasant change to Waitrose where fresh produce wrapped in plastic, bananas rotting on the shelves.

It is unfortunate the shop across the road never got their act together. It could have been an excellent wholefood shop, something like Grocer and Grain in Brighton.

Very late lunch in Gail’s. I had hoped for soup. Too late. A sausage roll was the only thing available hot. At £4 a bit pricey, on the other hand the size of at least two sausage rolls and top quality.

I followed with a pecan and maple tartlet (ie very small tart) and a cappuccino. The cappuccino not great but at least an improvement on the last time I had a coffee. At least drinkable.

Waitrose was all but deserted

Cold misty afternoon in Guildford

December 14, 2018

A cold afternoon. In Guildford not misty, but looking down the High Street to North Downs across the valley shrouded in mist.

It used to be if saw any reusable coffee cups it was Keep Cup, then inferior clones of Keep Cup started to appear, and now one clone ecoffee cup is starting to dominate, only it is not that simple.

What is ecoffee, is it a company making coffee cups with a horrible rubbery, actually silicone, surround and lid, or is it several different companies, all buying from the same Chinese factory branded under their name?

So far

POLŪ Coffee Lab variety dark blue, logo on the rubbery surround, ecoffee FCB Coffee version multicoloured, logo on the rubbery surround.

Discussing this with both Coffee Lab and FCB coffee, why logo on the rubbery surround, which many remove as serves no useful purpose, would not it better to be on the cup, after all coffee shops put their name on the cup for takeaway throwaway cups (though I have never understood the logic of wishing to put ones name on trash that is littering the environment)?

We assumed cost, same cup, different bands. Though on reflection this makes no sense, as all the cups are different multicoloured cups. Though that raises questions on the dyes used. Maybe it is copying Keep Cup, the logo on the surround.

There are further questions, sustainable bamboo, compostable?

Crossing the road from Guildford Station to the River Wey, Harris + Hoole demonstrating why we need a latte levy.

Descending down to the River Wey to walk along the river into the town centre a noticeable drop in temperature.

Looking in Harris + Hoole, fairly busy, usually nearly empty. Since takeover by Caffe Nero they probably attract those who frequent the corporate chains, as they have lost any kudos they once had as a specialty coffee shop.

Looked in Food for Thought. Serving a disgusting concoction to drink. I suggested they check the Christmas farmers market on Tuesday. If Chimney Fire Coffee have a stall, talk to them about stocking their coffee.

As always excellent lunch in Bamboo Shoots.

On leaving, now very cold.

As always Surrey Hills coffee shop empty. Well OK, two customers, as good as empty.

By contrast, Krema as always busy. I am lucky to find a table.

I have a cappuccino followed by a V60.

V60 at Flat Whites

December 13, 2018

Flat Whites since it opened a little over a year ago has very rapidly acquired a reputation both for serving excellent coffee and for acting as a coffee curator with their guest coffee.

Flat Whites was already familiar to many as a little van, strictly speaking a pod, in the High Street in Winchester. It took over the spot once occupied by Jimmy Bean.

It was to Flat Whites I headed on a cold wintry December afternoon. As much to get warm as for a coffee.

I was too late for a coffee. I stayed and had a chat in the warm whilst closing.

Then someone calls in and has a V60. I too get a V60.

Guest coffee this month Assembly.

Assembly won coffee roasting championship this year in the UK. I have tried their excellent coffee before at Kiosk in York.

The elite in the coffee world is a small world.

At The Speciality Coffee Shop I found Gardelli as guest. Last year they won the world coffee roasting.

In October, The Underdog, winners of Greek coffee roasting championship.

In October I met at Manor House No 2 world latte art champion  Michalis Karagiannis who kindly served me a cappuccino.

The barista who served me at Flat Whites knew Michalis Karagiannis. He told me when Michalis was in London on holiday, he kindly stepped in and judged a latte art competition.

Flat Whites is located in a courtyard in Parchment Street. Easy to find, walk up Winchester High Street, past the Flat Whites van, turn right at the corner where located WHSmith.

If in Winchester on a Wednesday, a street food market in the High Street, and close by the Flat Whites kiosk an excellent cheeses stall.

Cold afternoon in Winchester

December 12, 2018

The day started off cold and misty. Mist went but it remained very cold.

Nightmare getting down to Winchester.

Train to Alton running late. I miss the bus at Alton. I then miss the next bus sitting itn the Alton Staion Cafe. I almost miss the following bus, stopping off at Alton Books,

I pass by Coffee Cherry, note it is empty. I cannot see it surviving.

Bus gets into Winchester late.

I finally arrives in Winchester at a quarter to four.

Too cold for street food, too late to eat anywhere, I have a pizza in the street.

Chat with cheesemonger, buy some cheese.

Head off down to Flat Whites. Too late for a coffee. I stay and chat in the warm whilst closing. Then someone calls in and has a V60. I too get a V60.

Guest coffee this month Assembly. They won coffee roasting campionship this year for UK. I have tried their excellent coffee before at Kiosk in York.

I head to City Square. They are closing earlier and earlier. I did not know they were closing at eight. It is now six. Though six is reasonable for winter. Hopefully they will stay open later in the summer when it is pleasant to sit outside.

https://mobile.twitter.com/PoluEcoProducts/status/1066275148775518208

They have a reusable coffee cup Polū I have never heard of. Sustainable bamboo, or claimed to be, clone of ecoffee cup. Maybe ecoffee cup under a different name, or maybe, as this is the second copy I have come across, the other in Robert Dyas, one manufacturer different branding.

I wander to the Christmas Market. No one about, apart from the ice skating rink.

I have a chat with the guy with Comte cheese. He offers me a slice for £3-00. Er, no. I will buy from King’s Cross.

Next shed fake Cheddar encased on wax. No thanks.

Christmas market packing up at 6030. I have time to catch 1850 bus. I arrive to see it leaving at 1845. I check timetable. Throughout the day, xx20 and xx50. Showing 1845, next bus 1930.

I decide to go for a walk along the river and around the back streets, back through now deserted Christmas market. Very dark.

I catch the bus. I ask driver when did timetable change? He says early in the year. I am baffled when he says bus should have left at 1920, and I was lucky to catch, only leaving late because a kid has wrong ticket.

I go and check timetable. I had been looking at wrong timetable, but the reason I thought correct, shows bus leaving at 1845. Thus bus left as I originally thought, five minutes early.

What has changed, where late bus used to leave hourly at xx50, now hourly at xx20.

Something going very wrong.

Old bus, double-decker no wifi, no usb charging ports. Usually late bus new single-decker with wifi and usb charging ports. I assume they use these new buses as more fuel efficient.

At Alton, not train until 2044.

I pop in Waitrose. Even by the low standards of Waitrose shocking the amount of rotting bananas on the shelves. And no excuses as someone had stuck pitiful reductions on the rotting bananas.

I raise with two members of staff. Greeted by total indifference.

The fresh produce only reduced by pence. Store about to close. Will then be thrown away.

When I alight from train, fifteen minutes wait for a bus.

I finally arrive home a little before ten.

Afternoon in Reading

December 10, 2018

A cold day that got colder.

GWR trains Gatwick-Guildford-Reading have usb charging ports and 13A mains sockets. Great, can charge phone, top up power bank, only one problem, half the time not working. Not working because Guard has not turned on the power. Same applies to wifi, the trains have wifi, but half the time not working. The Guard rarely walks through the train, thus passengers unable to inform the guard there is a problem, or buy a ticket.

Not able to buy a ticket on train, Guard fails to pass through the train.

Queues at Reading Station to buy a ticket.

New timetable? None on display. No one manning Information desk.

In January, rail companies will justify hike in rail fares claiming they are improving the service.

Reading Station has a side exit. Not sign posted. Hidden behind shops. I only know because I came in that way once. It is handy as leads direct to Reading Town Hall and cuts out the town centre.

Pass by CUP Reading Town Hall. Convenient if catching a train, but I would not otherwise recommend.

Chicken and noodle soup at Mum Mum. They are going backwards, was wooden utensils now plastic.

Why does every town centre think they have to have Christmas sheds selling disgusting junk food?

Reading town centre no exception. Sheds selling German sausages, doughnuts. The stomach churning stench wafting down the street from the doughnut stall makes one want to throw up.

Sales in High Street stores falling every month, mainly due to the service so bad. Instead of looking at how to enhance the town centre, some worthless jobsworth in a bullshit job who can not see further than the end of their nose, rents out space to these sheds to earn a few quid for the council, even though cost far more in loss of pleasant environment.

I look in mobile phone alley. I do not find what I want.

Opposite alley to Reading Minster and CUP coffee shop.

I look in Anonymous Coffee Shop. I ask why owner never there? I learn running a private coffee shop in Thames Tower, ugly office block outside the station.

Why open a coffee shop, ok a coffee counter in a wine shop, if never going to be there?

As always excellent cappuccino in CUP Reading Minster. Barista advises Costa Rica from The Roasting Party excellent.

But why no information about the coffee? The Roasting Party do not care. CUP have a sign, please ask barista for further information on the coffee.

Note: If go to The Roasting Party website there is still no information on their coffee. This is bad, very bad.

On leaving CUP and passing back down the alley, I see owner of Anonymous Coffee or at least who I assume to be the owner wheeling in a bicycle. I am about to walk in, he locks the door and says we are are closed. Odd for a wine shop.

Had I arrived earlier in Reading, I would have caught train around 4-30 to miss later packed train.

I catch 1732 Reading to Gatwick. As I expect packed, standing room only. Toward the front more room. A fat woman occupying a seat and a half.

Wifi not working, though usb power port working.

City of My Mind album launch party

December 9, 2018

City of My Mind album launch party at Roadtrip & the Workshop 243 Old Street Shoreditch London

I head to Old Street. Find what I am looking for, where Jewelia is holding a launch party for City of My Mind, her debut album.

A queue to get in, bouncers on the door. I walk to the front of the queue, show I am invited, they usher me in. Through a bar, down into an airless basement.

Jewelia welcomes me.

I was not going to stay late, maybe leave at latest by nine, in time to get to Lower Marsh and eat at Maria’s Cafe. But, I have arrived late, Jewelia does not play until late. I decide to stay. I will leave at 10-30 very latest.

She doe not finish playing until gone 10-30.

A brief chat, I feel guilt leaving, but do not know when last train.

V60 at The Espresso Room

December 9, 2018

Saturday in London, looking forward to a V60, I detour to The Espresso Room, which luckily I find still open.

Too late to eat at Home Slice in Neal’s Yard, Saturday evening there will be a long wait as very popular, I go on a detour to The Espresso Room, which I find open, open until seven.

I abandon all hope of eating at Home Slice, as there will be a long wait.

They remember me, I get a free coffee, as bought a bag of coffee on my last visit.

A Lithuanian girl makes me V60 using Kemyan coffee. Excellent. Best coffee all day. Very fruity.

We chat long gone closing time.

Available free Clipper. An example of a free magazine of quality. Comparable with Independent Life, a free magazine in Leeds and York.

On my last visit I was given direction to a shop selling Standart, Drift. I could not find. I followed directions, head down Monmouth Street to Seven Dials.

I learn a vital piece of information was missing, in Shorts Gardens.

Balance

December 9, 2018

I looked in Balance on my way to Four Corners.

Chatting to Jessica Moscrop by her stall JesSpoke, her own designs, I noticed Balance, a new coffee shop across the street.

Mushroom and chestnut soup in Balance had sounded good when I looked in earlier. I double checked it was still available and that it was mushroom and chestnut, not chestnut mushrooms. Sounds good.

Sadly when served weak and watery and lukewarm almost cold. The toasted bread soggy, as they had already put the butter on the toast.

I ordered a cappuccino. Served too hot.

The menu says we do not serve coffee hot, thus absolutely no excuse.

The salad looked enticing except it looked no different to when I looked in much earlier. Not therefore so enticing.

Moronic music playing in the background, fortunately not too loud.

A coffee shop trying to be trendy and failing miserably.

Four Corners

December 9, 2018

Lower Marsh, hidden behind Waterloo Station, is one of those up and coming places that has not yet arrived, but well worth exploring.

Lower Marsh has a street food market in the week, Saturday a craft market.

In London a couple of weeks ago on a cold misty day in London, I encountered Four Corners serving coffee from a van outside Waterloo Station. Or at least they were serving coffee, when I found them they were packing up. They suggested I try their coffee shop in Lower Marsh.

It was on my way to find their coffee shop in Lower Marsh that I came across Jessica Moscrop with her stall JesSpoke, her own designs.

At the far end of Lower Marsh I found Four Corners.

I order a cappuccino. Blended with cocoa. Why, why use Ozone coffee, then ruin with cocoa? I cannot be bothered sending back.

On the way I encountered drunken idiots in Santa costumes, more and more and kept turning up. Hundreds and hundreds of them. Impossible walk down the street. Eventually coffee shop door is locked to prevent then walking in to use the toilet. Not a singe one buys a coffee, not even a takeaway coffee. They are also sitting on the coffee shops seats outside, leaning on the window. When they finally leave the street is covered in rubbish. They have managed to kill trade for the day or the street market. Whoever was responsible for this charade should be made to pay to clean up the street.

In indie coffee shops it quite common to find books on coffee. In Four Corners a long bookshelf lined with travel books hence the name. They also supply Four Corners passports, mugs, little notebooks and sweatshirts.

Amazing poster hidden in the toilet.

Finally the drunken idiots depart leaving a trail of rubbish.

Four Corners were giving away free books. No idea why and I did not see any. Maybe publisher is nearby and have surplus stock to dump and what better way to obtain free publicity? But why promote a book on trash? Pulp fiction?