Archive for the ‘Brighton’ Category


November 22, 2020

On a visit to Infinity Foods Saturday of last week I noticed on the shelves a coffee I had not encountered before, Wolfox. Not that I would buy coffee from Infinity Foods, not when spoilt for choice in Brighton and the coffee will be freshly roasted.

Sunday the following day I passed by their coffee shop.

Wolfox Coffee. New. I have never noticed before. I saw their coffee in nearby Infinity Foods on Saturday. Claimed to be specialty coffee. Girl did not know q grade. But she brewed an excellent coffee.

I picked up a bag of coffee. A criticism, coffee when the coffee roastery, should be freshly roasted. Most of the coffee on sale was roasted in October. No excuse for this, the coffee should be rotated.

I picked up a bag roasted November.

The walnut coffee cake looked good. It was not. I should have known better. It was vegan and vegan cakes are nearly always disgusting.

A couple of days later I revisited Wolfox and had take away vegetable soup. Not hot, warm. but tasty. Not the weather for sitting in the street with a takeaway.

Black Mocha revisited

November 22, 2020

A couple of years ago, not long opened, I had a coffee in Black Mocha.

I was not impressed.

Saturday of last week I looked in and said I would give then a second chance.

Sunday, the following day, I returned.

I picked up a bag of of coffee from Cast Iron Roasters.

I am asked of chocolate. I again recommend Bare Bones, Bullion and Luisa’s. Local? No. Local has merit but never at expense of quality.

My takeaway coffee was reasonable, far better than my first visit, definitely heading in the right direction. Not in the top league in Brighton but getting there.

Bread & Milk

November 21, 2020

Last Saturday finding Coffee at 33 closed, it closes at three, I decided to try Bread & Milk a little further down the street.

I once decided not to have a coffee at Bread & Milk, I cannot recall why. Coffee from Pharmacie. A good sign. Loud music not. Covid-19 death trap. I tell girl too loud. She cannot hear me.

Girl clueless on coffee. Chocolate dumped on top. I take it back. She argues with me. My fault for not telling her. My fault that she is clueless on coffee and I failed to second guess. Coffee hot, too much froth and foam. Quality of beans manages to prevail but not doing Pharmacie any favours.

Ambience pleasant, apart from girl serving, let down by lack of a skilled barista to do justice to the beans.

Note: As I learnt the following day, I confused with a different place of similar name, Milk Not Sugar. Not specialty coffee as sign suggests, once was, now Vietnamese food and coffee Vietnamese style with condensed milk (yuk).

Coronavirus biosecurity poor. Door open keeping well ventilated, restrictions on numbers, but loud music blasting out, refusal to acknowledged a problem, let alone turn it down, turning Bread & Milk into a coronavirus death trap.

Brighton Station walk in health centre

November 21, 2020

Friday 13th easyJet flight Athens to Larnaca, no social distancing, packed in like sardines, take off delayed by an hour and forty minutes due to problems with ice on the wings. Plane arrives late, I have bad back pain, no option other than to spend the night at Gatwick.

When I awake in the morning, Saturday of last week, back pain worse, no option other than to stay for a couple more nights, I ask to see a doctor. No doctor at Gatwick, nearest Redhill or Crawley. Not knowing either and with a regular train service best option take a train to Brighton and visit the walk in centre a couple of minutes down from the station, on the left of the main road heading to the seafront.

Bad back pain. Walk in medical centre close to Brighton Station. Cannot walk in, have to make an appointment. Ok, make an appointment. No, can not see anyone. Why? Covid protocol. That explains why two receptionists, one nurse, no social distancing, no wearing of masks. My only option, visit A&E.

I later visit A&E at Brighton hospital.

Cold, starting to rain, turning dark. I give the seafront a miss and catch No 7 bus to hospital.

Not too long in A&E. May be three hours max. Nothing serious. Maybe strained muscles. Cocktail of drugs, codeine and paracetamol.

Bucketing it down with rain. Catch taxi to station.

Rowdy & Fancy’s Artisan Chocolate

November 20, 2020

I had never heard of let alone encountered chocolate from Rowdy and Fancy’s until I cane across in Barney’s Delicatessen.

If in Brighton, I always pop in Barney’s Deli to see what is new, have a chat. Though no Barney, I learnt he has opened a new shop.

Barney’s Deli used to be local cheese, a compliment to Brighton Sausage which also stocks cheese, but has expanded beyond cheese to stock Sussex produce. An example would be chocolate from Rowdy & Fancy’s which I noticed on a recent visit, a chocolate I had not encountered before.

Rowdy & Fancy’s claims to be artisan chocolate, as meaningless a designation as gourmet. It is not quality chocolate when contaminated with additives. Quality chocolate is bean-to-bar craft chocolate. It is difficult to see what is artisan buying in chocolate, moulding then packaging. The only bars not contaminated with additives were dark chocolate, milk chocolate and white chocolate. The white chocolate on tasting, reasonable, a hint of fruits, on a par with white chocolate from Hotel Chocolat.

Packaging resembles a cigarette package with the chocolate inside wrapped in what I thought was plastic. On checking, not plastic, compostable, made from wood pulp. A new one on me and I would like to know more.

I recommended stock Bare Bones, Bullion and Luisa’s if wish to stock quality chocolate (though not local). Yes, commendable to stock local, but not at expense of quality.

Cafe Coho The Lanes

November 19, 2020

Brighton in lockdown, Cafe Coho in The Lanes one of the few coffee shops if not the only coffee shop open after four in the afternoon.

Coronavirus lockdown, coffee shops closing at four if not earlier, takeaway only, I try my luck at Cafe Soho in The Lanes.

I found open a couple of days ago. Yesterday I was too late, it was closed. Today I am in luck.

Coffee supplied by Union. No guarantee of excellent coffee as Union supply anyone.

My coffee reasonable though not in the same league as the best in Brighton and not doing any favours to espresso blend Revelation from Union.

Cakes sourced from the same bakery as found in Grocer & Grain.

Loud music blasting out.

Coronavirus biosecurity poor. Door open, hand sanitiser as enter by the door, restrictions on numbers, but loud music blasting out, have to shout to be heard by the barista.

AirBnB bookings fall off a cliff

April 9, 2020

With cities in lockdown, airports closed, borders closed, airlines grounded, bookings dried up, AirBnB hosts are bleating at having to refund bookings.

Sorry, we should not feel.

AirBnB is an unregulated sector, it is destroying cities, people being driven out of cities as apartments are let on AirBnB.

AirBnB is not the myth they would like us to believe, someone letting out a room occasionally, or maybe their home when they go away. It is apartments being bought, often whole apartment blocks, tenants evicted, or forced out by high rents. These are the people complaining, who are losing money, who are now trying to offload their properties onto the market.

AirBnB hosts would be operating illegally (nothing new there). Cyprus is in lockdown, hotels not allowed to open. Athens in lockdown, need a permit to go out, which has to be applied for.

EasyJet and other airlines grounded.

Airlines have to refund within seven days, tour companies within fourteen days. Why do AirBnB think they are the exception? Once again shows this sector must be regulated.

AirBnB greed, greedy hosts.

If AirBnB fails, excellent news. It is destroying cities with unregulated lets, driving tenants out of city centres.

With the country in lockdown, police and politicians and NHS staff are pleading with people to stay home, not visit the countryside, coastal resorts, police roadblocks in place, AirBnB is encouraging flouting of the lockdown by offering lets in the very places encouraged not to visit.

Hywel Williams a North Wales MP has called on AirBnB to “identify and delete” any home owners found advertising properties on their site as “Covid-19 retreats”.

Plaid Cymru’s Hywel Williams claims the online platform was guilty of “inexplicable and reckless inaction” after some holiday homes were offered up as safe bolt holes from the coronavirus outbreak sweeping the UK.

The Arfon MP says a number of properties across Snowdonia are still listed on AirBnB as available to rent ahead of the Easter weekend – and almost two weeks after the Government introduced laws to put the UK into lockdown in a bid to reduce the spread of Covid-19.

There were also reports of homes being let to tourists via AirBnB in Denbighshire and Anglesey.

There should be no bailout of AirBnB properties. Any rescue package would be to make the properties available to homeless, then let as social housing.

AirBnB is a zombie company kept alive on unsustainable debt. It has followed the route of too many zombie companies, hype to artificially inflate the value, vulture capitalists pour in money to inflate still further, then dump on the stock market for unsuspecting mugs to buy shares before the company is found to be worthless. AirBnB has been found out before it could dump on the stock market.

Contrast with FairBnB, which not only works with the local community, supports projects in the local community.

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.

Brighton Coffee Festival

August 11, 2019

Brighton Coffee Festival was hosted in Brighton Open Market, along London Road, only a few minutes walk from Brighton Station, down a steep flight of steps, and along Fenchurch Walk. A part of Brighton I was not aware of let alone visited before.

I lacked a ticket. Nightmare trying to book on-line using a phone, little better on a laptop.

Book on-line charged £7 a further £1 booking fee. On the gate £10.

A mix of coffee roasters, many of which were local coffee shops or Sussex coffee roasters plus London coffee roasters, a couple of food stalls, interspersed with talks and a latte art competition.

It was basically wander around try the coffee. Most were serving V60, a few espresso or V60.

A few talks. The sound systems so bad impossible to hear the lady from Pharmacie. A Colombian guy Eduardo Florez from a The Colombian Coffee Company in Borough Market was comprehensible, maybe I was stood in the right spot.

Awful moronic music blasting out. It was overloading the system and clipping. It made it nigh impossible to hold conversation.

Colombian guy Eduardo Florez interesting. Why do we buy coffee? We do not buy wine.

Well actually we do, we buy red or white or fizzy, sweet or dry, the cheapest we can find, but basically we buy wine.

Similarly we buy coffee, or at least we drink coffee.

The discerning coffee drinker seeks out quality, wishes to know the origin, the provenance of the coffee, the variety, when it was roasted, by who was it roasted.

Coffee farmers who focus on quality, are able to command a higher price for their beans, everyone is happy, the grower gets more money, the coffee drinker better quality coffee.

Contrast with the fair trade scam which pays a tiny premium above commodity price, maintains farmers in poverty as no incentive to improve quality.

The rubbish coffee relies on marketing.

We as coffee drinkers by seeking out the best coffee, frequenting indie coffee shops, avoiding the corporate chains and coffee shops serving bad coffee are not only able to sit and enjoy an excellent cup of coffee served by a skilled barista are also helping the coffee farmers improve their livelihood.

It was a pity he did not have a stall to enable visitors to try and buy his coffee.

Interesting conversation with Jacqueline Turner coffee farmer Kinini Coffee in Rwanda. She told me a little of the estate, that processing takes place on the farm, a school has been built for the children.

Red Roaster roast her coffee beans.

On walking in, greeted by Small Batch, and unfortunately an unpleasant cacophony of noise.

I am not a fan of takeaway coffee, the only way to enjoy coffee is to sit and relax with a coffee served in glass or ceramic but one of those rare exceptions where I will stop time permitting and have a coffee is the Small Batch kiosk outside Brighton Station. The coffee served always consistently good.

Small Batch had receptacles for coffee cups, liquid and lids. The only stall, though others may have had hidden, as took cup if handed over.

Everyone was using compostable cups.

I then wandered around clockwise.

First coffee off Horsham Coffee Roasters.

A Kenyan V60, it was excellent. The first and best coffee of the day.

I later returned and tried a Rwandan. It too was good.

It will be interesting to see how compares in Krema.

By contrast, a coffee off Roasted was disappointing.

A table with The Independent Brighton & Hove Coffee Guide. Now in its second edition, a useful guide to have, but a case of feel the width never mind the quality. Too many coffee shops which if the idea is to highlight the best in Brighton I would not include.

How is it financed?

Redemption roast coffee at Aylesbury Prison, where also teach coffee skills to young offenders. They have four coffee shops in London.

Excellent cappuccino off Caravan with their espresso blend. Very interesting flavour profile.

Pelicano had an impressive stand. Their coffee shop in North Laine is one of my favourite coffee shops. Not only for coffee, always an impressive display of cakes. One of the few places places can obtain Drift and Standart, and if further incentive to buy, a free coffee.

Passing by the Pelicao coffee shop later they told me they had had a very good day at the coffee festival.

I have never been to the London Coffee Festival, and from what I hear, each year it gets worse.

The organisers of the Brighton Coffee Festival were helpful, responded very promptly to my queries.

The ticketing on-line a nightmare. I would suggest for future use Event Brite, as never had problems.

Please please ditch the music. It made conversation nigh impossible.

I was pleased chains and corporate coffee suppliers did not get a look in. The ficus was on specialty coffee and local.

I would have liked to have seen Square Mile, Alchemy, Kiss the Hippo, Coffee Gems, Columbia Coffee Roasters, DT Coffee Roasters.

How to fit them all in, if space cannot be extended? Omit the food stalls, food was available from the market traders thus no no need for food stalls, and that includes The Flour Pot, who are a cake shop.

Consider a fringe or alternative coffee festival, events spread over a week or longer, hosted in different coffee shops across Brighton.

Brighton Coffee Festival was hosted in Brighton Open Market, along London Road., only a few minutes walk from Brighton Station, down a steep flight of steeps, and along …. A part of Brighton i was not aware of let alone visited before.

The periphery of the market  lined with shops. Unfortunate less than half were open, and most of those that were  open closed before four. I would have liked to have looked in the zero waste shop.

I found a Turkish lady with a stall making food I have never come across before. She made it look simple, but she told me not as simple as she made it look.

A ball of dough which she dropped into a machine resembling a miniature version of an old fashioned mangle, she then rolled with a tiny rolling pin. Dropped in whatever you wished for, vegan vegetarian, meat. I chose lamb. Fold in half, then popped on a hot plate for five minutes. Delicious. I can only describe as almost like a thin pizza base, but then folded to resemble a Cornish pasty.

On leaving via the London Road entrance I spoke with a man packing up a bookstall. He said when events were on it was varied but today he did quite well.

Note: Brighton Coffee Festival 2020 will not take place due to covid-19 pandemic.

Free Coffee

August 11, 2019

On my way to Brighton Coffee Festival at The Open Market I encountered outside Costa on London Road a small van giving away free coffee.

No idea why.

I think it was to promote the hemp milk they were using, though it could have been a protest against Costa.

The coffee was undrinkable, though probably still better than Costa.

If drinking undrinkable coffee may at least drink free undrinkable coffee, though I would prefer to have neither and pay for good coffee, or failing that a beer or water or fruit juice or tea.

I did not try until I reached The Open Market, a little further up the road. It was scaling hot. I have never had coffee this hot.

I poured it down the drain and the cup I dropped in a bin.

— to be continued —

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