Archive for the ‘coffee’ Category


January 13, 2022

I had several people tell me Effy worth a visit.

Today a visit, my first visit.

My first impression stuffy, as can be from the steamed up windows. They need better ventilation, especially during coronavirus pandemic.

Awful lighting, a dull pink glow, which makes feel as though eyes are not functioning correctly.

Coffee on sale on the shelves Manhattan, a roastery in Rotterdam. Though not what I was served. Difficult to read what was written on the bag due to poor lighting.

A few cakes on display. Whether food served or not, I do not know.

I ordered a cappuccino. Bailies, a roastery in Ireland that I was familiar with. Short lived Flat Whites served Bailies as a guest coffee.

The only coffee shop I have seen an Origami in use other than in Athens, though not on sale. Using Kalita wave filter papers.

Knowledgeable and helpful barista.

Too busy to try, I left a few coffee beans of the coffee I had with me.

We now have four excellent coffee shops in Nottingham

  • Effy
  • The Specialty Coffee Shop
  • Kigali
  • Cartwheel Coffee

All within a few minutes walk of each other, a few minutes walk from Nottingham Station. 

From Kigali worth a detour to Sneinton Market to Luisa’s bean-to-bar craft chocolate and Neon Raptor craft beer brewery.

Kigali is located in Hockley, many interesting indie businesses. If looking to eat try Paste (Thai restaurant) or Ugly Bread Bakery. 

I asked did Manhattan have a coffee shop? No. It was recommended try Fuku Friedhats in Amsterdam. 

That is one of the nice things visiting coffee shops, recommendations of other coffee shops to visit. It my be a few minutes walk away, a nearby town, or even as in this case, another country. My visit to Effy was based on recommendations.  A friend had asked me, recommendations for Amsterdam?

Hotel Chocolat Nottingham

December 21, 2021

Hotel Chocolat a corporate chain, overpackaging and obscene use of plastic.

Some time in the summer Hotel Chocolat introduced Nespresso pods.

The best that can be said, better than Nespresso, marginally better than offering in supermarkets, but not worth wasting money on.

The pods are made of aluminium, can be recycled with a gadget from Hotel Chocolat or Lakeland to first extract the spent coffee grounds.

A couple of weeks ago, Hotel Chocolat introduced their version of a Nespresso machine.

I looked in Hotel Chocolat Nottingham hoping would have in stock, on display, in use, or at least could tell me something about.

Member of staff knew nothing, called over his manager who was little better.

He could tell me the price, £180, but little else, other than manufactured by Dualit, which means low quality domestic machine. Is this a Lakeland machine rebadged?

Why buy when can buy cheapest Nespresso machine for around £60, certainly less than £100? An Opal One at around £120. Why pay three times the price of a Nespresso machine?

He did not know, other than to tell me if I bought on-line, limited time offer, came with a bundle of their capsules.

He then fed me bullshit, Nespresso quality coffee, a matter of opinion if say otherwise. No, it is cheap vile unpleasant tasting coffee. It never helps other than to make oneself look stupid, to feed bullshit to someone who knows about coffee.

If have a Nespresso machine, buy third party capsules from reputable coffee roasteries, and if do not have a Nespresso machine, buy an Opal One.

Hotel Chocolat now all things to all men, chocolate, alcohol, ice cream and now coffee.

If wish to buy coffee, at least three excellent coffee shops in Nottingham

  • Cartwheel Coffee
  • Specialty Coffee
  • Kigali

If wish to buy chocolate, there is only one place for cholate in Nottingham, Luisa’s in Sneinton Market, bean-to-bar high quality craft chocolate.

And as for the ugly coffee cups. Look in Kigali for a choice of coffee cups, elegant design, and the correct size.

The capsules cannot be selling. Boxing Day Sale on Baristas Selection, almost half price. Does it include bars of chocolate? Or, not in the Sale, The Tasting Selection, which is cheaper. Confused? Me too.

Beginning of January, their Nespresso clone machine half price.

General Store

December 9, 2021

A coffee shop cum general store selling high quality provisions, overlooking Winchester Cathedral.

I had found last year, looked in and stayed at least an hour longer than I would have wished.

It was quite busy, but not too busy.

I decided to stay and to have lunch. It was excellent. A rarity to find anywhere in Winchester worth eating.

Lunch followed by an espresso which was ok and a cappuccino which was excellent. Though I would have preferred not to have been served in takeaway cups. Why takeaway I do not know as my flapjack which was excellent was served on a plate.

As I was eating lunch, I looked out and noticed it was raining. It poured for the rest of the day. I was going to get wet.

I came away with a bar of chocolate, a box of chocolates and a bag of coffee.

Paper carrier bags are excellent for the environment, bloody useless when it rains. I visited Coffee Lab Academy, then as it was dark, a trip around the Christmas Market, half way round, paper carrier bag disintegrated. Luckily a stall holder came to my rescue with a sturdy Sainsbury’s bag.

I looked in General Store, open until late, to dry off, then headed to the station to catch a train.

Philly’s Coffee & Sandwiches

December 1, 2021

Philly’s Coffee & Sandwiches, a coffee shop cum sandwich shop, sadly takeaway only.

From the north end of Farnborough town centre, head West, a walk of about ten minutes along a very unpleasant busy polluted main road. A very cold walk on a cold day.

I find closed, or at least it said closed in the window. Door was open. I asked could I have a coffee, otherwise not only a wasted journey, an entirely wasted afternoon?

No window, rotted and being replaced, freezing cold, but at least I had a coffee.

Coffee sourced from a local roastery, Coffee Gems in Farnham. Wherever possible, quality and supply issues permitted, source locally.

I had an espresso, followed by a cappuccino.

It then chucked it down with rain, I stayed chatting. Long past closing time, but until window finished, could not close.

The only place in Farnborough serving drinkable coffee.

— to be continued —-

Karuna Coffee House closed

November 22, 2021

This world is full of idiots distributed strategically so you can meet at least one per day. — Paulo Coelho

I had passed by Karuna Coffee House on Saturday, found closed, a notice stating many days closed. Not that I had time for a coffee, as I was on my way to Farnham for a coffee.

Today, to save a wasted journey, I checked Facebook, no opening hours, no mention of the days closed.

I tried calling.

Next I posted a query on their Facebook page.

Coffee shop open today?

No opening hours on facebook page.

Nor mention of days closed.

I noticed passing by Saturday, closed and many days closed.

Their response a diatribe, when all required a simple answer to a simple question. Hours open, when open if closed.

As you point out in your post you saw on the door the notice letting you know when we are back to our regular working times. Detail is important, skipping it can create a biased posted.

Regular opening times can be found on the door. also a simple Google search will let you know too. Give it a go.

As an independent business we get to choose when we are open. As you would have seen the notice on the door states that we are taking annual leave. This is important to us, to ensure our team are at their best and that our regular customers get the service and quality they have grown to expect.

Furthermore, our regular customers knew weeks before when we were closing and when we reopen, we look forward to welcoming them.

My calm measured response to their diatribe.

Correct. When passing by noticed there were days when closed. Hence the question as could not find information in Facebook page. An obvious place to post, both opening hours and if additional days when closed.

A simple question requiring a simple answer. I had also tried calling.

The response an unbelievable diatribe.

Customer relations obviously not a strong point. Or how to make effective use of social media.

Maybe learn both, and more to the point answer a simple question on opening , not engage in a diatribe.

I have shown the response to where I am eating and they were incredulous.

I can only hope the coffee is not a reflection of the diatribe.

All that was required was their opening hours, when they are next open if days closed. Maybe having drawn to their attention, they post this information on their faceboook page for all to see.

Aldershot is somewhere to be avoided, boarded-up shops, rarely see anyone on the streets.

Not somewhere to open a coffee shop when no footfall on the street. Coffee shops open, serve undrinkable coffee, do not last long, then close.

Not therefore the way to treat an inquiry about opening hours.

They give their staff a holiday. What do they want, applause?

Do they pay their staff a real living wage? What are they paying the growers of the coffee, what premium above commodity price?

When think cannot get any worse, later in the evening using their facebook account to post abuse and personal attacks.

Something going very very wrong with this coffee shop.


Late night when think can get no worse, yet more attacks, this time with a name attached. Hard to believe all I did was ask when open.

Keith Parkins this is a very sad sad situation you have gotten yourself into here (AGAIN). At least we all know that you know the meaning of the word ‘diatribe’, except that perhaps you could learn were to direct it…. (yourself would be a good start).
Sorry you haven’t enjoyed our exchanges today. We have little patience (actually none) for you as we have gone around this mountain with you a few years ago, twice, and you simply don’t see the world the way most people do (not your fault). We’ll pass on you offering your opinion of us, we are doing just fine and our customers tell us so.
As mentioned before, your blogs/tweets/posts are something quite spiteful (but at least i’m reading them…. i mean, who else is???), when you see something you don’t like you just trash it publically (something you don’t like in return) without the business owner being given a choice or chance, although you do seem to be a hard man to please so i dare say it would be a wasted effort.
Although I am probably taking this way too far, Keith, I actually enjoy this, because no one else sees this the way you do. I have built this little coffee business up from the ground with my own hands, I have sweat, blood and tears invested into it and you taking issue with it really gets me going. Whats more, as a charity director, is that I don’t profit from this business, our community get coffee & cake of a good (to high) standard and reasonably priced. AND a community hub that is free to use, we simply try to be a force for good in the town that you have nothing good to say about (i know, it’s hard to believe i’m a good person after all this, i do try). On-top of that the profit that does come from our coffee and from the shop all goes to our charity that has provided education and healthcare to people all over the globe and we have done this for over 30 years. (WELL DONE US)
So, in closing, forgive me if the only words I ever utter to you in the future are not what you want to hear but my world is much bigger than your small opinions. And again please don’t come to our shop!! And have a nice day

Once again a reasonable measured response from myself.

Once again missing the point.
A simple question when open to save a wasted trip to Aldershot.
Easy enough to answer, but instead a diatribe.
I am not the one launching personal attacks, but at least we now have a name to the person launching the attacks.
I have said nothing about the coffee shop, I have not a view as was not open when I passed by.
I have highlighted your appalling lack of people skills, merely re-posted what you posted.
I am not sure how asking a perfectly reasonable question on opening hours is getting oneself into a situation. And it would not have even been necessary to ask, if posted on on facebook page, plus of course mention closed for several days for whatever reason.

This coffee shop claims to be a charity, though I have not seen a charity registration number listed as required.

If a charity, would require a board of trustees. The trustees need to be asking questions what is being posted in their name.

Each post more and more bizarre. And let us not lose sight that this is in response to a query when open.

Attacks on the business? None. I have not found open, I do not have a view. If they served bad coffee I would say so, if good coffee I would say so. I am merely highlighting the increasingly bizarre posts. If nothing else, highly unprofessional.

The Roosters

November 11, 2021

A new contemporary design coffee shop and roastery in Peristeri, sister coffee shop of Mind the Cup.

Ethiopian served as espresso, complex flavour notes.

Beans and capsules on sale.

Capsules plastic which is not good. Only ok if biodegradable. Need to move to biodegradable or aluminioum capsules.

The capusles on sale in box of ten or presention box of twenty. One Christmas present solved.

On the counter three different pour over methods, gem, V60 or origami.

I was introduced to owner Christos, who owns Mind the Cup.

Roosters were at the Limassol Coffee Festival on the La Marzocco stand where the rotatad different roasteries every hour, though I did not see.

I learnt we have mtural aquantanticies in Nicosia. Brew Lab, Kollabortative,

I recommend coffee shops in Larnaca, The Third Room, Koffea, Paul’s Coffee Roasters and Nick’s Coffee Bike.

— to be continued —

Limassol Coffee Festival

October 16, 2021

The very first coffee festival to be held in Cyprus let alone Limassol.

A very very long day. Up at seven for breakfast. Local bus to Ayia Napa. Intercity Bus to Larnaca. Intercity Bus to Limassol

Saturday or Sunday not good days to travel by bus. Not that any day good by Intercity Bus, weekend is worse.

Scenery different, mountainous.

I am surprised how large Limassol and the degree of development taking place.

Limassol Coffee Festival held in Limassol Marina. At least half an hour to find. Ticket useless, qr code, nothing more.

Finally find. Hungry. Web site said street food. No street food.

Quick look round, then serious business of trying coffee.

Two coffee stalls with exceptional coffee, one from Ukraine the other from Moscow.

I buy coffee from Mad Heads and from ЭРНА Erna, roasted by Silky Drum.

Erna, a Moscow coffee shop, are mentioned in Standart issue 19.

A stall I did not try, The Welder Catherine, a Russian stall next to Erna, though Erna recommended I tried. Yellow bags, easily confused with The Underdog.

I later try The Underdog. I can try any time in Athens. I am surprised that the coffee from Ukraine and Moscow exceeds that from The Underdog. Exceptional indeed.

Chat with guys from Kudu, another Athens coffee shop and roastery. One of the girls knows me from Athens.

Later I find Stefanos Domatiotis. He is amazed to see me. Unfortunately I did not see last time in Athens during lockdown. We have many mutual friends. His Create videos excellent on how to brew coffee. A special plea, in English please, currently only in Greek. I am introduced to Christos from Brew Lab. If in Nicosia I will have to find him.

One of the stalls Square Mile. No, not Square Mile, a coffee shop serving Square Mile.

A chat with Rocket. Very rare to find in UK, but find in Cyprus and Greece. The Third Room and Nick’s Coffee Bike in Larnaca use Rocket. Hand made in Milan.

One very big stall, I assumed catering supply coffee, but surprised to find no, .Cup from Crete. Interesting conversation when introduced to the owner. We discuss not only coffee, but also chocolate. I highlight Luisa and Bullion, bean-to-bar craft chocolate. Cup their cold brew excellent. But no more than two. My God, refreshing on a hot day.

A conversation with several people, coffee roasteries springing up like fungi after warm autumn rain. Too many are cowboys or at best amateurs, with no knowledge of coffee, gives the industry a bad name

Another problem in Cyprus, I have not encountered elsewhere, a bad coffee shop obtaining beans from a reputable roastery via the back door. It gives the roastery a bad name.

Amusing how everyone gave Coffee Island a wide berth. Almost as though diversions signs around their stall.

Talks? If there was, I did not encounter.

All good things come to an end. Time for bus to Larnaca, I’d already missed one. Now feeling very sick. Caffeine poisoning. Not eaten all day since breakfast.


Ditch the moronic music. Not necessary.

Forget trade day. Make all days open. Public transport dreadful weekend, and not good weekdays. We are lovers of good coffee. Do not discriminate.

Street food would have been a good idea. And I emphasise street food not disgusting junk food.

Ditch the ticketing agency. Try EventBrite.

Mixed feeling on Limassol Marina. On Intercity Bus route, essential, but need to know where located within Limassol Marina.

Size about right and the right mix. Never follow the example of London Coffee Festival which has degenerated into a monster.

No corporate chains, no franchise operations, no commodity coffee.

Limassol must move away from their arrogant selfish dog-in-the-manger attitude it is our festival. Cyprus is a small island, we must all work together on improving the dire offerings in Cyprus, on educating and informing what is good coffee.

I cannot comment on the coffee scene in Limassol, first time visit, and all I saw was Limassol Marina.

Cyprus is infamous for bad coffee. Anything that raises the standard of coffee in Cyprus is to be welcome.

I would recommend hold every two years in Limassol, alternate with a coffee festival in Larnaca.

Larnaca with four excellent coffee shops

  • The Third Room
  • Koffea
  • Paul’s Coffee Roaster
  • Nick’s Coffee Bike

has become a coffee destination.

Find one, and ask.

Thanks to everyone for their efforts, organisers, exhibitors, and not forgetting volunteers, for making an inaugural coffee festival in Cyprus a huge success.

The world’s smallest coffee shop?

October 5, 2021

On my last visit to Guildford some time end of last year, Krema had drawn to my attention a red telephone box serving coffee. I had noticed as walked past, but thought nothing more of it.

Today, visiting the farmers market in the High Street, I thought I would investigate further.

Quite literally, a red telephone box functions as a coffee shop, a few tables and chairs outside.

I was offered Brazilian coffee.

Brazilian coffee is usually poor quality from mechanised plantations, but there is an awful lot of coffee in Brazil and there is some good stuff.

I try an espresso. I was happy with what I was served. An espresso a good test.

We had a chat, coffee from Brazil, coffee in Greece, I learn the guy is Greek, though no Greek accent.

Black Sheep Coffee King’s Cross Station

October 4, 2021

Passing through King’s Cross Station, I noticed what I had never seen before, Black Sheep Coffee.

A mild evening, pavements wet with rain, I decided to give it a try.

They were closing and yet it was not late, not yet yet eight o’clock. I was offered Robusta. You got to be kidding me.

I learnt from an Italian guy bringing in the tables that it was a chain, all over London.

The only reason I walked in I saw their equipment. They had good equipment, usually a good sign.

Afternoon in Nottingham

September 1, 2021

My first visit to Nottingham since lockdown last year.

First of September,  first day of Autumn. 

Awaiting train, many on the platform at Lincoln Central, two-coach train busy, many more passengers than usual mid-week for Nottingham.

Idiots not wearing face masks.

After Newark, complete overkill, three staff walking through a two-coach train checking tickets.

Big changes in Nottingham.

Massive student block erected next to Hopkinsons, the other side, a massive hole.

Why oh why have Hopkinsons defaced their building with a electronic display sign? 

Rental yellow peril e-scooters dotted around. Not yet the problem of Athens or Oxford with rental cycles.  A few idiots whizzing around on. 

Before half-demolished Broadmarsh, anther massive building, a broad pedestrianised walk is being created. 

Walking through the half demolished Broadmarsh Intu shopping centre, emerge the other side, retail desolation, everything closed or closing down.

Not many people about, usually busy.

Walk past Cartwheel Coffee, very sad to see the cobbler Loakes shoes has closed. Thea Caffea has taken over the empty tea shop at the back. Erected ghastly garish A-boards in the street, out of keeping with the building, believed to be a listed building. I take a look, plastic flowers as walk in sums up the tackiness. For good measure, a tacky ugly sign hiding the name of the building. If this is a listed building, why no Enforcement action? 

I was not going to, but stay at Cartwheel Coffee, sit outside with a cappuccino.

Further up the street, a florist in the street.

I notice a side street yet more retail desolation.

Cubed, a new coffee shop and barber shop. I ask of the coffee, 200 Degrees, worse still, their poor quality Brazilian blend bulked out with cheap crap Robusta from Vietnam. I ask the girl outside smoking, never a good sign, the coffee machine. She had told me she was the barista. She does not know. No, you cannot look inside if do not want a coffee.

Paste, excellent Thai restaurant closed, no longer open lunchtime.

Eat at The Ugly Bread Bakery. Excellent lunch. Packed inside, I decided to eat outside, then outside no free tables, but a table free inside.

Stop at Kilgali, was Outpost Coffee, to ask when open until. I think they said five, maybe six. Great, time to visit Luisa.

Pass by Yolk, new coffee shop last year, has already closed. I am not surprised, nice coffee shop, but the coffee was not good.

No Luisa. Closed for the day.

I head to the craft beer brewery. Sorry we are brewers, cannot sell you any cans.

Head back to Kigali. Outpost Coffee was an excellent coffee shop, and yet Kigali have managed to improve upon. No mean feat. Guest coffee, coffee mugs and Standart on sale. I sit outside with an excellent cappuccino.

I leave with a copy of Standart

Pass by another new coffee shop Braze next to Ugly Bread Bakery. Yet again, 200 Degrees, at least their guest not their house blend. But even so, what is the point of opening a coffee shop and buying low quality coffee? We are spoilt for choice. On the other hand reputable coffee roasteries are choosy who they supply coffee to. But worse still, why open an independent coffee shop then buy coffee from a chain? 200 Degrees is a chain serving mediocre coffee.

Look in Cobden Chambers. How to ruin a lovely courtyard. Covered seating for a bar.

Ideas on Paper not open. Sad, as was an excellent shop. Not opened since closed beginning of pandemic last year.

Head to The Specialty Coffee Shop. Changes to the interior, three staff. I have time for an espresso.

Head to the station.

Packed train, though not as packed as pre-pandemic. Had I caught the next train it would have been bad. Not acceptable only two-coach train.

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