Archive for August, 2019

Cappuccino at Craft Coffee

August 22, 2019

When passing through King’s Cross it is always wise to give oneself a little extra time to visit the street food market in the forecourt in front of King’s Cross Station and Craft Coffee a little coffee stall down the side of King’s Cross Station, between the station and St Pancras Station serving some of the best coffee in London.

The coffee is roasted by Notes, who reside nearby.

Always single origin.

I prefer not to have coffee in a takeaway cup, but craft Coffee one of those rare exceptions.

King’s Cross street food market

August 22, 2019

When passing through King’s Cross it is always wise to give oneself a little extra time to visit the street food market in the forecourt in front of King’s Cross Station and Craft Coffee a little coffee stall down the side of King’s Cross Station, between the station and St Pancras Station serving some of the best coffee in London.

One of my favourite stalls on the market is a stall selling Comte cheese. It used to be only Comet cheese, the rounds of cheese piled high, of a late a few other cheeses.

I do not remember before but now a second cheeses stall, also selling large bread rolls with cheese.

Spoilt for choice, tortilla off one stall, large cheese roll filled with genuine Cheddar made from unpasteurised milk, Comete and another cheese, tortilla and a cake. The only think lack from the market is craft beer.

Then to Craft Coffee for a cappuccino.

I prefer not to have a coffee in a takeaway cup. Craft Coffee is one of those rare exceptions.

Spotted at King’s Cross Station one of the new Azuma trains.

One thing to be very wary of around King’s Cross, the illegal use of facial recognition software.

An app for sharing surplus food. Is this really a great idea? Hey, I have a few spare potatoes, half a loaf of bread. I am all for food shops at the end of the day giving away their surplus food, not going to food waste, or farmers donating surplus crops, but at household level I think a non-starter.

Poetry on the London Underground.

Rental bikes are being dumped everywhere. This is becoming a major hazard in cities across Europe, Berlin Oxford, London, e-scooters in Athens

Twin Pines

August 21, 2019

On walking in from the street, difficult to see as dark and gloomy inside. Once eyes adjust, a pleasant ambience.

Pleasant to sit on the little bench seat outside. Not so pleasant when smokes blow smoke in your face.

An excellent cappuccino though I thought somewhat perverse when serving speciality coffee to ask if want sugar. I would not wish for sugar any more than I would wish for syrups or chocolate dumped on top.

The espresso blend is from a local roaster. I think Cast Iron Coffee Roasters but stand corrected if wrong.

Served in interesting cups.

I have tried coffee from Cast Iron before at Black Mocha. I was not impressed. Maybe time to revisit.

On the counter guest coffee from Calendar Coffee. Twin Pines regular rotate their guest coffee.

The label depicts the tasting notes, though not obvious.

I would have wished to buy a bag, but already closed the till.

Also on the counter a selection of chocolate. Whether quality chocolate I do not know as too dark and gloomy to read a list of ingredients or whether or not bean-to-bar chocolate. From the puzzled expression when I aksed I assume not.

Quality chocolate:

  • cocoa mass – sugar – vanilla
  • cocoa mass -cocoa butter – sugar – vanilla

Purists will not add vanilla. EU permits emulsifiers.

Several of the chocolates had a Great Taste Award sticker and at a guess the determining factor when stocking. A meaningless award absolutely no guarantee of quality.

I suggested they try Bullion.

Located in Kemptown. Easy to find, head inland from Brighton Pier.

Information in The Independent Brighton & Hove Coffee Guide incorrect. Close at six on a Sunday not seven as listed.

Day in Brighton

August 18, 2019

Morning cool, mist like drizzle, then it chucked it down.

Luckily it almost stopped as I walked to the station catch a train, as I did not wish to lug an umbrella around Brighton all day.

Odd, no one at the station waiting for the Gatwick train. Had I got the times wrong?

I soon learnt why, Gatwick train cancelled.

Myself and a lady going to Gatwick caught the slow train, and I advised her to change at Redhill.

I warned her doubtful get there much earlier, but if wait for the next Gatwick train no guarantee it will turn up, it too could be cancelled.

No station announcement to advise of this, not denouncement on the train.

Wifi not working, usb power failed.

We arrived Gatwick five minuted before the next Gatwick train would ave arrived, assuming not cancelled, assuming on time.

Train to Brighton crowded, standing room only.

I arrived Brighton one hour late.

These days, no guarantee train will turn up, or even get home, network is in chaos

A few days ago, it was announced rail fare will rise in January just short of 3%. And when they do, we will be told rail network has improved to justify the hike in rail fares.

Pass by Blend & Brew, see no one I know, owner there, I carry on to Coffee at 33.

Lunch at Coffee at 33, followed by cappuccino and cake.

New beans came in a a dustbin. Bagged, I had a bag. Only roasted a few days ago.

Coffee at 33 were not at the Brighton Coffee Festival last Sunday. I learnt why, apart from staffing issues, £1000 for a stall. Blatant rip off. Would have to sell a lot of bags of coffee to recoup. Basically it would be written off. Written off for what?

Looked in Magazine Brighton then Pelicano.

Pelicano have sold all their cosies of Drift, the London edition. Worth having if can obtains a copy. I do not though recommend the London edition of Ambrosia, a grave appointment.

Looked in The Flour Pot. Their cakes look good, but looks can be deceptive. I have tried their cookies in the past, not good and a layer of saturated fat at tee base. The Flour Pot Restaurant on by the iSore the seafront the coffee undrinkable, though compared with the tacky bars and disgusting fish n chips outlets an improvement.

Looked in Iydea. Nothing I fancied. It is depressing it has gone downhill. It was somewhere I always looked forward to eating.

Brighton Bookshop next door has been sitting derelict for months, windows covered in graffiti. It was an excellent bookshop, always interesting books in the window. A pity it was not sold as a bookshop, but I understand the owner did not even try.

Looked in Infinity Foods, picked up a couple of scones.

I raised a=once again refusal to take back Faith in Nature 5 litre containers. I learnt why, even the shop does not send them back. They are not refiled, they are recycled, therefore why send back when can send for recycling in Brighton.

Dopes this mean everyone is being conned by Faith in Nature?

Infinity Foods Kitchen once again closing early, no tables and chairs outside. The excuse this time it was raining. Maybe it was first thing in the morning, but the streets were dry and everyone else had their tables and chairs outside. Once again claimed staffs shortages.

I asked of the canned water. Met with surliness to the point of rudeness, refusal to discus.

This is a workers coop. Why do the workers not know anything? They are acting a employees.

Note: According to a report on BBC Radio 4 You and Yours, a can is more detrimental to the environment than a plastic bottle.

The most sustainable bottle of water is the one you do not buy.

I looked in Bond Street, coffee shop for Horsham Coffee Roasters. Keep Cup for £4, plus free coffee. Same cups as they had at Brighton Coffee Festival. If there was an offer at the coffee festival no mention of. They do not look like Keep Cups. I learnt made of bamboo, cf e-coffee but a fraction of the price. Must be a new venture for Keep Cup.

If we assume a cappuccino for £3, a Keep Cup fort a pound.

Bamboo Keep Cups, same applies to e-coffee, are not as would expect, very solid and feel like ceramic. What I do not like are the rubbery lids and surround.

Branded Horsham, good marketing.

For environmental reasons they are phasing out takeaway coffee cups.

Something I have been arguing for some time. Compostable cups, reusable cups, a step in he right direction, but address symptoms. We need to eliminate takeaway coffee, encourage sit and relax with coffee served in glass or ceramic.

Reusable cups are not the answer, a pain to carry around. Only of use if popping out from a neighbouring business, an office or a shop, for a coffee. At the Brighton Coffee Festival only a very tiny minority brought and were using their own cups, even though had been asked to. A niche market.

Note: Not Keep Cup, though Bond Street claim they are. No mention of bamboo cups by Keep Cup. Plastic Keep Cups are ugly, though the glass ones are attractive.

Two large murals, occupying the sides of buildings.

One of Alice, I had not realised was of Alice until later walking back that way when I noticed tucked at the bottom of the mural, a white rabbit.

I had not noticed many empty premises in North Laine, very noticeable in The Lanes.

Once again I notice cars parked in the pedestrianised streets. One car narrowly missed running me down as it drove past. Whilst in Blackbird I notice cars driving through at speed, not slow as would expect in a pedestrianised area, and the delivery morons on motorbikes and motor scooters. Complete lack of enforcement.

I found Blackbird busy, but once again closing early. Sunday is a day out for people. Closing early is to turn away business. I observed many turned away.

I tried an Ethiopian V60 roasted in Turkey. It was ok, not exceptional.

Last week I had problems attempting to book Brighton Coffee Festival on-line. You are the only one, I was told by the organisers. In Blackbird I learnt I was not the only one.

Nor was I happy that the ticketing site engaged in a trawl for personal information. During the week, junk e-mail promoting events. The organisers must instruct they delete all personal information collected, and in future use a reputable site that does not collect and abuse personal information.

Walking down to the sea front, I spot two traffic wardens. I ask them to enforce the pedestrianised area. It needs not only enforcement, barriers at the entrance. Either bollards or a gate.

A gale blowing along the seafront.

I try Twin Pines. I was too late last week.

Excellent cappuccino. On show guest coffee. Interesting coffee cups.

Back to the seafront. But a gale blowing.

I decide walk back to the fish n chip shop in North Laine where I had excellent haddock and chips last week.

Only haddock with skin. No. Haddock with skin is vile. And they refused to take the skin off.

I walked out.

To Pelicano. To late for a coffee.

Whilst I am there a woman walks in, claims to be from one of the local shops, babbled about a scam, but the more she babbled, the less sense she made, least of all what the scam was. Maybe she was the scam.

No ticket coming down, I go to the ticket office to buy a ticket. So slow I thought I would miss my train.

Pizza of the pizza van outside. OK, not great. I would not recommend. The only thing I could say, than the disgusting burger van.

Would there be a train from Gatwick to Reading? Luckily yes.

Wifi works, usb works, but no working toilets.

Sometime after leaving Gatwick, heavy rain en route.

Luckily I do not get wet as rain has stopped when I alight from the train.

I am so tired, feels like midnight, when not long gone nine.

A very tiring day.

Note: Strange captions to many pictures. Bright light, I could not see, Android tries to help with auto correct.

Afternoon in Farnham

August 17, 2019

On the way to Farnham popped into Aldershot.

Walking through Gostrey Meadow a rather sad pathetic VE/VJ Fete. little there and few people. Sad too because these people gave their lives for the freedoms we enjoy today.

Why do idiots think ok to park on the double yellow lines in Downing Street?

Poor quality pork chops in the butcher. He apologised for the poor quality.

Lunch at Gail’s. Nothing left. Empty.and yet tables not cleared.

To Krema for a cappuccino.

A walk around Bishop’s Meadow. I was disappointed to find no cows. Then I spotted them, they had settled down for the evening.

Waitrose was almost empty. Served promptly, wonders will never cease.

Afternoon in Guildford

August 16, 2019

Cool wet afternoon in Guildford. Raining all day.

GWR Reading to Gatwick train, water flowing from disabled toilet through the carriage, no working wifi in next carriage.

At station before catching the train, I mention hassle yesterday, train Oxford to Reading running late, have to catch the following train. I am told expect problems on return. Why? No trains, lack of train crew, on holiday.

But we are told train fare rise of almost 3% in January is justified because train companies are improving their service. No one who uses the trains has witnessed an improvement, what they do see is a rail service in chaos with no guarantee will get home at the end of the day.

I like trains, but what I like are clean, reliable trains, not overcrowded, which run on time and are not charging extortionate rail fares. We need to shift people out of cars onto public transport but this is never going to happen until we improve our atrocious rail and bus service.

Market not very busy. French cheese stall not there. Last time when not there he denied he was no there.

I see an Infinity Foods lorry. I look in Food for Thought. Do they have problems returning Faith in Nature 5 litre containers? No, but then they do not use Infinity Foods, only for food items.

Excellent lunch at Bamboo Shoots. Closed for next two weeks.

Surrey Hills Coffee six customers. A record. When I passed later, only two.

Passing earlier Harris + Hoole on my way to the market it was busy. I let one of their baristas know how was Brighton Coffee Festival.

Cappuccino in Krema. I then try a V60 using Kenyan coffee from Horsham Coffee Roasters. I was curious how it compared Brighton Coffee Festival. Good but not as good.

Long chat with Ben in Ben’s Records. Rain had by now eased off.

Afternoon in Oxford

August 15, 2019

Set off later than I would have wished to Oxford.

As train pulled into Reading, a fast train to Oxford pulled into Reading. Not a chance of catching. It pulled out as I was crossing platforms.

CrossCountry train to Oxford only four coaches not five. Packed.

Why is there a bull outside Oxford Station, hidden down the side of the Said Business School? No one I ask knows.

Pleasant walk along Oxford Canal.

Jericho, reached by crossing a footbridge over the Oxford Canal, was the first suburb of Oxford. Built for the workers attracted by the canal. What is strange the footbridge is modern, not of the era of the canal.

I wished to visit 101 Coffee Espresso Bar which unlike last week was open, but thought if I did, there would be no food left at Branca Food.

There was no food left at Branca Food. I settled on a pizza and flapjack. No salad, no delicious desserts as last week.

A man apologised, said they had been very busy lunchtime and were a chef down.

I settled down in the courtyard. Problem is, once settled in the courtyard, so relaxing reluctant to move.

A cappuccino at 101 Coffee Espresso Bar, though now less inclined than before.

I learnt why closed last week, at a festival. Barista showed me their stall. They take as flat pack in a van, then erect on site.

I suggested they try Staycation Live next year, as they need a quality coffee stall.

Too late to walk back along the canal. I took the road.

It meant I saw a a part of Oxford I had not seen before.

I passed an interesting bookshop, but no time to do it justice.

I regret I did not buy My Name is Red by Orhan Pamuk.

The road emerges behind street food market.

Time to look in Cafe Society, no more.

Latest issue of Society Cafe not yet published. I had hoped they would have an edition of Standart I had seen in 101 Coffeee Espresso Bar. No such luck. But I think they did have a few weeks back.

Time to visit Colombian Coffee Raster in Oxford Covered Market.

We try some beans I had picked up or been given at Brighton Coffee Festival on Sunday. I have no idea what they were or who had given them to me, a small sample not labelled.

I should have stayed another hour in Oxford. I did not realise I was returning an hour earlier than previous visits.

On arrival at Oxford Station, I regretted leaving early. Train running very late. Have to catch next train, and it arrives in Reading as my train is leaving. An hour wait for the next train.

I am in luck. Train arrives in Reading early. I somehow manage to catch the train as it is leaving.

Coffee #1

August 14, 2019

Alresford has two coffee shops, Carocoli and Coffee #1.

Carocoli never knew what they were, a coffee shop, a deli, the coffee was not good and they went bust. Now under new owners.

Coffee #1 new, only open a few weeks in Alresford.

I decided to alight from the bus passing through to Winchester, a quick look around, try a coffee at Coffee #1, then carry on down to Winchester.

It is easy to tell when a coffee shop not good, a row of syrups and asked what size cup for a cappuccino.

A row of syrups on the back wall, I was asked what size cappuccino.

If asked what size, I always ask to see the cups. Regular and large.

There is only one size, the correct size, no other size will suffice.

Feeling hungry having not eaten since late breakfast I also asked for a bap with bacon.

A long wait to be served, though there was an apology, an even longer wait to be brought my bacon bap, longer still before my cappuccino arrived.

The bap was brought with no serviette. I had to go in search of. It was ok, not great.

The cappuccino when it finally arrived appeared to have been carpet bombed with chocolate. I sent it back. The next to arrive looked disgusting, tasted disgusting scalding hot, deep layer of froth and foam, of which I scooped out a large glop with my teaspoon.

Bags of coffee on display. I picked up an espresso blend and a Costa Rican.

Nothing to say where the espresso blend sourced, the Costa Rican commodity coffee, no mention of farm.

No roast date, only a meaningless best be date. Actually worse then useless. Old stale coffee, no aroma.

Ambience pleasant.

Service took so long I missed the next bus and had to wait a further half an hour.

Young girl making the coffee treated very badly by young man who seemed to be in charge. Shouted at her in a very unpleasant manner Come Here. Further shouting at her. Then the shouting became worse, she walked away, clearly distressed and upset, walked into a room marked Private, and did not emerge until some time later as I was leaving.

Had I not been about to leave I would have spoken to her as a very bad example of bullying in the workplace. A report was filed to Coffee #1. They lacked the courtesy to respond, which shows the importance they attach to workplace bullying.

Note: Workplace bullying is a breach of employment legislation.

Coffee +#1 is a a large chain of around 100 coffee shops owned by Caffe Nero and it shows.

Harris + Hoole is also owned by Caffe Nero, and since bought by Caffe Nero has experienced death by a thousand cuts, but they at least attempt to make decent coffee. Coffee #1 do not even go through the motions.

The only good thing I could find to say, bags of coffee grounds to take away for the garden, though from the number of bags piled on the floor the take up appeared to be low.

It was then pick up the bus, head into Winchester, to have a decent coffee at The Square.


August 14, 2019

I pass through Alresford, New Alresford to be correct, on the way to Winchester. Today, even though I was late and it was raining I decided to alight from the bus.

Town hosues,a few shops, at least smany indeepndent shops, tow coffee shops, Caracol and Coffee #1.

Caroclo went bsut, new owers, coffee was never good.

Coffee #1, enw, only a few weeks in Alresford. The coffee and service as I wa stio learn terrible.

It was then hop back on the bus to Winchester.

— to be continued —-

Afternoon in Winchester

August 14, 2019

This morning heavy rain. A trip to Winchester not an option. It then brightened a little, rain stopped, and off I went to Winchester.

Heavy rain on the way, roads awash with water.

Had I set off early, I would have stopped off at Alresford, arrived Winchester early afternoon.

I decided to stop off anyway, a quick look around, maybe find something to eat.

Alresford has two coffee shops.

Carocoli went bust, was then taken over by whoever runs the coffee shop in the department store in Farnham. It was not good before, can only have got worse.

Coffee #1 is new. I learnt how new, onl ya few weeks old.

It is aching, chain owned by Caffe Nero, and it shows,from the poor service to the bad coffee.

Service was that bad that I missed the bus to Winchester, caught the next bus.

Arrived in Winchester a little after five.

Long chat with cheese guy. I learnt it was he who had told me of Coffee Gems.

Just made The Square before it closed at six.

I could have maybe made the 1820 bus, decided to make the 1920, go for a walk behind the Cathedral and back vin the River Itchen.

Wednesday night bikers night at Alto Station cafe. No one had tuned up, only a single bike parked up outside. More turn up in the depths of winter.

At least it meant there was food left.

— to be continued —-

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