Archive for the ‘Farnham’ Category


July 16, 2018

When I came across Cupsmith at the Guildford farmers market I did not know whether to laugh or cry.

I first encountered Cupsmith last year running a stall at Farnham Maltings Christmas Market. The conversation that ensued was to say the least bizarre. If roast the beans, have a stall, at least have someone knowledgeable about the coffee manning the stall. The lady running the stall impressed me with her lack of knowledge of coffee.

To put in context, Workhouse have in their coffee shop, a choice of single origin, blends, I counted 18 different, available to be weighed and bagged. Staff were only too helpful to explain the beans, how roasted, where sourced from, roast date.

Roast date, not on the bag. Roasted the previous day, so at least freshly roasted but would it not be better and no excuse to actually have on the bag? Best by is meaningless.

The lady disagreed. She claimed their customers did not want to know the roast date.

Really, have they been asked, do they know the importance of roast date?

And why the silly names, Breakfast coffee, Glorious espresso? Quality coffee will have country of origin often the name of the farm, how the coffee has been processed. All important information.

Q grade of the coffee? Did not know, would need to talk to the man who roasts their coffee.

Would I like to smell the beans. I did, and they did not smell good.

Quality beans have a lovely aroma, these did not. I would certainly not buy coffee that smelled liked this.

If the coffee I had tried was not good, that was the fault of the barista. It was a problem as coffee roasters they were up against all the time, lack of good baristas, impossible to find in Farnham, it was not London.

I had not encountered this problem in Farnham, I can think of an excellent coffee shop Krema, source coffee from Horsham Coffee Roasters a reputable roaster, had at the time of the conversation at least three skilled baristas who never failed to serve me excellent coffee. Krema now have a second coffee shop in Guildford.

Nor elsewhere, be it Winchester, Brighton, Lincoln, Nottingham, York, Hull or Athens. But then apart from skilled baristas, they are also using quality coffee.

The high end of the coffee industry, traceability, transparency, quality is important.

I had wished to visit their roastery outside Farnham, a request to visit a year ago was ignored.

I have come across Cupsmith coffee served in two places, neither occasion good. The first time a skilled barista tried his best, the result was not great, and he would much rather have had better quality beans, the second time at Farnham Maltings Riverside Cafe, the coffee was disgusting.

When I next encountered Cupsmith the first Tuesday of July on the Guildford farmers market I did not know whether to laugh or cry.

Local yes, quality they are not.

The roasted coffee beans were in open hessian sacks, exposed to the heat and sun. One thing you learn in coffee is respect the beans. When coffee is treated like it says all you need to know about the vendor.

A sign on the stall cited Jamie Oliver as praising their coffee.

Coffee any Italian would be proud of — Jamie Magazine

Jamie Oliver may be a celebrity chef, that does not make him an expert on coffee, as his coffee kiosk at Gatwick demonstrates. The Gatwick kiosk is a tragedy and a lost opportunity. It could be a showcase to visitors to the UK for local coffee roasteries, serve excellent coffee, not barely drinkable coffee, corporate catering Italian brand coffee.

Coffee any Italian would be proud of. Was this meant to be ironic? Italy is infamous for its bad coffee. Something Italians are finally getting to grips with.

There are exceptions, there are always exception, Bar Italia, The Speciality Coffee Shop, Rubens Gardelli coffee roaster and owner of Gardelli Coffees won the World Coffee Roaster Championship in China last year, but these are exceptions, not the norm for Italian coffee.

I asked of the Q grade. Over 80.

The coffee lacked aroma. But then hardly surprising when exposed to the elements.

Cupsmith a roastery supplier of catering supply coffee, the bags lack essential information, country of origin, roast date, where sourced from.

To supply catering supply coffee is a mug’s game, a race to the bottom. Up against dodgy practices, we supply the machine, you have to buy our rubbish coffee at higher price then you would pay for quality coffee.

There is a myth peddled, people do not want quality coffee.

And yet, when speciality coffee shops open, they are busy, as when people discover what quality coffee tastes like, served by people who care about coffee, there is no going back.

These days spoilt for choice for quality coffee, no excuse for frequenting coffee shops serving poor quality coffee. And if wish to buy bags of coffee, good indie coffee shops will often have on sale, or go direct to the coffee roasteries.

Cupsmith also deal in tea and chocolate.

The chocolate I cannot comment on as I have not tried.

The tea is supplied in tea bags. Er, quality tea is supplied as loose leaf tea. The tea bags looked remarkable similar to those supplied by a tea supplier in Winchester.

To experience quality tea, try CUP, Coffee Lab Academy, Bamboo Shoots, all of which serve quality loose leaf tea.

In Guildford for loose leaf tea, Bamboo Shoots in Jeffries Passage is a must. They also serve excellent tea.

For coffee spoilt for choice in Guildford. Krema has a choice of single origin and espresso blend from Horsham Coffee Roasters. Canopy Canopy has guest coffees. Surrey Hills has coffee. FCB coffee kiosk on Guildford Station. And for a drink of coffee, Krema end of Tunsgate.

Yes, I wish to see coffee on the market, but quality coffee, not poor quality catering supply coffee. Invite Chimney Fire Coffee, speciality coffee roasted locally in the Surrey Hills.

I will leave last thoughts with Stephen Leighton, head honcho, green bean buyer, coffee roaster at Hasbean and author of Coffeeograpghy:

And do remember, life is too short for bad coffee.



Farnham Park

July 15, 2018

I used to regularly walk in Farnham Park. Up the hill then once the top is reached, a foot path continues.

On leaving Bells Pierce Summer Fete on Saturday I decided to walk along the ridge and into Farnham.

I thought I was walking the tree lined avenue, but was actually walking along the top of the southern slope.

This brought me to Farnham Castle, then out into Castle Street and down to Gail’s Bakery.

Bells Pierce Summer Fete

July 15, 2018

In the summer I have passed by Bells Pierce Summer Fete but never visited, too late to then visit Farnham.

On Saturday as I was early in Farnham I visited Bells Pierce Summer Fete.

I assumed next to The Six Bells, or even associated with, but no, it was along a drive.

The Six Bells was once again closed and derelict. It appears to change hands every six months. That it is owned by Greene King, one of the trio of bad pubcos who screw pub landlords the other two Enterprise and Punch, says it all. One of the ladies serving food, confirmed The Six Bells closes and changes hands quite regularly. She said she has had good food, when she next went it had changed hands ad the food was disgusting, and she has never been since. Again, typical of Greene King.

To my surprise Bells Pierce Summer Fete very popular. A typical English summer fete.

I was reminded of the fete at the English church in Puerto de la Cruz. The main difference was less junk and not forced to pay to enter.

I wish people would would learn how to cook on a barbeque. One could see the sausages were not cooked. I sent mine back, and even then, only barely cooked.

I decided to walk along the ridge of Farnham Park into Farnham. This brought me to Farnham Castle, then out into Castle Street and down to Gail’s Bakery.

Afternoon in Farnham

July 15, 2018

Hot afternoon in Farnham.

Passing through Aldershot, a brass band playing. The band far outnumbered the audience, and in the absence of any meaningful publicity, they were probably like me only passing by.

As I was early in Farnham, I visited Bells Pierce Summer Fete.

I assumed next to The Six Bells, or even associated with, but no, it was along a drive.

To my surprise very popular. A typical English summer fete.

I was reminded of the fete at the English church in Puerto de la Cruz. The main difference was less junk and not forced to pay to enter.

I wish people would would learn how to cook on a barbeque. One could see the sausages were not cooked. I sent mine back, and even then, only barely cooked.

I decided to walk along the ridge of Farnham Park into Farnham. This brought me to Farnham Castle, then out into Castle Street and down to Gail’s Bakery.

Why does nowhere understand that in the summer you do not serve winter soup? I made a mistake and had chicken and vegeable soup.

I looked in the new vegan place on Downing Street. Cold gazpacho soup. Yes, it was a big mistake soup at Gail’s.

Butcher was shocked when I told him of the turkey stall on Guildford farmers market and Godalming street food market, poultry sitting on a stall in this heat. Like myself, he questioned how do they get away with it.

Advice has now been issued to Guildford farmers market in a newsletter the public does not see. Utterly meaningless advice. Only leave on the stall for a reasonable time in warm weather. It was not warm, it was hot, and what is reasonable time? Ice cubes in a glass melt in within a few minutes. The turkey stall should be kicked off the market. They are a disgrace. Food and hot weather do not mix. Environmental health should be patrolling markets in hot weather. And stalls like the turkey stall, fined and kicked off the market.

Cold brew coffee from Krema. It was better than what I had Krema Guildford.

Krema was empty. But then so was Gail’s and the vegan cafe.

I then took a walk around Bishop’s Meadow. Not far, then back along the River Wey and around Manor Field.

The hay has already been cut. My advice has been followed, now grazing cattle though I did not see them.

Lion and Lamb Cafe and Restaurant as always empty, apart from a couple sat outside, Cote opposite packed. It is now time for desperate measures. Last time I looked, eat and pay what you want, though so many conditions attached not worth bothering. Now it is book the venue, catering free. And they are hosting events. The menu always looks enticing, but the couple of times I have eaten there the food has not been good.

Service was abysmal in Waitrose, even by their normal low standards, Only one till manned.

At the Bells Pierce Summer Fete I learnt McDonald’s was to move into the old Argus store in the centre of Farnham. Very bad news if true.

As I pass by to catch the bus I see nothing on the shopfront to indicate this.

Farnham Carnival

June 30, 2018

Farnham Carnival is an annual event, last Saturday of June.

The disgusting fast food stalls would have done justice to Aldershot. I had hoped maybe they would have improved but sadly not. It contrasts badly with the Sustainability Fayre of a few weeks ago.

There is absolutely no excuse these days for not inviting quality street food stalls, anymore there is no excuse for coffee shops sourcing bad coffee.

A beer tent rows and rows of pumps serving Carlsberg.  Why not invite The Little Beer Corporation to run a beer tent? They have done an excellent job at Staycation Live last two years.

It was then to Krema for a cold brew coffee.

Questions to Krema, and to a  lesser extent a coffee stall at the Carnival.

Takeaway coffee cups compostable? No.

If compostable, will end in general waste stream, and are they compostable?

Reusable cups, heavy, expensive, bulky and a pain to carry around.

A step in the right direction but addresses symptoms, does not address grab it and go takeaway culture. We need to discourage takeaway, encourage relax in an indie coffee shop with speciality coffee served in glass or ceramic.

A walk around Bishop’s Meadow was tempting, but too hot and I would not have got out of Farnham before the roads closed.

On cue in one of the alleys leading from the churchyard a Starbucks plastic takeaway cup illustrating why we need a latte levy.

I did not think I would, but caught the last bus out of Farnham before the roads closed.

Sustainability Fayre

June 9, 2018

In Gostrey Meadow in Farnham a Sustainability Fayre.

I recall passing through last year, not busy, not many stalls, but maybe I passed through as closing.

A good variety of stalls, far better than at the Farnham Carnival. Something the Farnham Carnival should take note of and act on.

Sadly no coffee stall.

A burger off a farm stall was very good. Though unfortunate not fresh off the grill.

A brief chat with Farnham Town Council. They must exact higher environmental standards in the park for events, get rid of the Tony Fresko ice cream van belching out noxious fumes at the height of small children damaging their brains. They do not own the park, but did not disagree with what I said, maybe we will see change.

A bowl of soup from the vegan cafe that has opened in Downing Street. Far better attitude than the failed deli, and busy. The bread was black. I have never come across black bread.

Excellent cold brew coffee off Krema. Once had one, desire another. Very refreshing on a hot day. Far better than the V60 earlier in the afternoon off Karuna Coffee during a fleeting visit to Aldershot Victoria Day.

Afternoon in Farnham

May 12, 2018

A cold wet afternoon in Farnham. Heavy rain all afternoon.

Chicken and vegetable soup followed by smoked salmon in a small bread roll at Gail’s.

The Farnham Deli is no more. No surprise, it was only a matter of time before it closed. The deli side was excellent, the tea shop dreadful, not helped by a woman who was rude to customers.  It is now a vegan cafe.

I looked in. The place has been gutted, the back half turned into an open kitchen. Noticeable cleaner that the Deli, a surprise it was never closed on health grounds. The upstairs also opened up. Art on the walls.

I am not very likely to eat here as no fan of vegan food.

Nor have a coffee. Coffee sourced from Surrey Hills, which is not great coffee, especially when they add robusta. A cappuccino bloody expensive at £3-20, all the more so when made with fake milk. It is not possible to make a cappuccino with fake milk. It looks disgusting, tastes disgusting.

I may though in future try the soup. Today it was roast tomato and red pepper soup.

A cappuccino at Krema. I was a little disappointed after their coffee shop in Guildford yesterday. Most of the regular staff appear to have left. My cappuccino was blended with chocolate. They did offer to make me a fresh one, but I declined.

Wandering through Lion and Lamb Courtyard, a novel offer at Lion and Lamb Cafe and Restaurant. We choose the menu, you choose the price. Curious I walked in and asked.

What was it, beans and toast? I have never seen busy, usually empty. It was admitted it was a last ditch attempt to attract custom. The menu chalked up on a large board but to the side a number of conditions, which somewhat defeats the offer.

I have eaten here a few times. The menu looks enticing the food has never been good. Which probably explains why always empty.

Afternoon in Farnham

December 16, 2017

A cold day, cold frosty morning.

With a little under twenty minutes to spare, having just missed a bus, I wandered into Aldershot town centre.

I found a Christmas Fayre, if that was what it was, a couple of tacky fairground rides blocking the street, Rotary Club blaring out distorted music, a coffee stall with no one drinking coffee, and the streets deserted.

On the bus 1400 No 17, female Stagecoach employee stood chatting to and distracting the driver. A notice clearly states do not stand forward of this point and distract the driver. One rule for passengers, another for Stagecoach?

In Farnham, alighted off the bus and walked along the riverside walk. Walking up through Gostrey Meadow, very cold.

I popped in Phyllis Tuckwell charity shop. I wanted their Christmas cards. Sold out. I did though pick up a three-dimensional jigsaw puzzle.

Excellent carrot and butternut squash with herb soup served with toasted sourdough bread. Far better than the soup of late in Gail’s artisan bakery.

Followed by cappuccino and a flapjack.

There was not many people about. Unlike last few weeks, Krema not packed. Cook on the other hand, very busy. No idea why, as usually only busy when a special offer. I asked. They did not know why busy either, and no, no special offers.

Churchard very cold.

I cut through the churchyard to Bishops Meadow. Dusk, gloomy and cold.

Lion and Lambs Courtyard very busy.

I looked in Caracoli. They have their own, or at least branded as their own, a bit like branding KeepCup, double walled plastic reusable coffee cup. Plastic! Somewhat defeats the objective of reducing the use of plastic. The lid screws in, which maybe makes it leak proof.

Only one coffee book in Waterstone’s, the completely useless Where to Drink Coffee. It has been relegated to a shelf by the floor.

Waitrose very busy and yet not all the tills manned.


Afternoon in Farnham

December 2, 2017

Anther cold day, not far above freezing, but did not feel as cold due to lack of strong wind and wind chill.

Alight from bus and walk along the riverside walk and through Gostrey Meadow.

Last week I found a heron in the River Wey. It was there again this afternoon.

The Christmas fair held two weeks ago has badly churned up Gostrey Meadow. It should not have been held in Gostrey Meadow. Castle Street would have  been a better location.

Lunch at Krema, a bacon in a bap. I would have had soup, but already gone.

Krema was empty when I walked in, but soon filled up.

I was pleased to again find Angar, and he made me an excellent cappuccino.

Which will go first, Wholefood shop, Deli or Barista Lounge? I cannot see any surviving.

Wholefood shop has very poor stock. I wanted muesli, no muesli. I would have thought very basic item  for a wholefood shop.

I made the mistake of buying a jar of peanut butter in the wholefood shop. I could as I anticipated bought one got one half price in Holland & Barrett.

I thought The Lion and Lamb Cafe and Restaurant had closed down as when I walked by Thursday it was in darkness. No it is still there, as always empty when I walk by.

I popped in Neal’s Yard Remedies in Lion and Lamb Courtyard. Man was chuffed when I complimented him on his wonderful winter scene in the window.

Why oh why does Waterstone’s not stock any coffee books worth reading?  Where to Drink Coffee, their one and only coffee book, is rubbish.

Stock control in Waitrose gets worse, fruit and vegetables empty shelves, cheese counter empty.  Then when go to pay, only half the checkouts and not all are manned.

A friend has the right idea. It used to be possible to obtain a free coffee in Waitrose, then they removed the takeaway cups. She takes in her own mug.

But, why, as she said, are their disposable coffee cups not biodegradable, then could go on the compost heap. A bin in Waitrose in which to deposit.

2.5 billion disposable coffee cups go to waste every year. Waitrose are contributing to the problem.

Farnham Maltings Riverside Cafe

November 30, 2017

Pleasant ambience, but terrible coffee.

Sourced from Cupsmith, the coffee was disgusting. I left it after one sip.

I was appalled by their low environmental standards, takeaway cups in both the riverside cafe and the foyer cafe.

This is a captive audience. They should not be serving drinks in takeaway cups.

Do they not care about the environment? Apparently not. 2.5 billion disposable coffee cups thrown away every year, and Farnham Maltings doing their best to keep the numbers up.

I was so concerned, I complained.

Their lame excuse, someone may drop a cup and there would be broken crockery on the floor.

That would be true in every single coffee shop, and the most pathetic excuse I have come across.

If that concerned, then use biodegradable cups, bins to drop in, then compost outside, spread on the flower beds. Do the same with the coffee grounds.

Take a look at what 3fe are doing on sustainability and follow their example.

Or buy HuskeeCups. These cups made from coffee bean husks can be re-used or recycled, will not break if dropped.

Their excuse for using Cupsmith was that local.

How local is local? The Roasting Party are in Winchester, there is a coffee roastery in Arlseford. Slightly further afield Horsham Coffee as used by Krema.

They serve Loseley ice cream. Apart from not quality ice cream, it is not local and comes from an industrial conglomerate.

Coffee served in Gail’s is not good. It should better, it is sourced from Union, but the people employed clueless on making coffee.

Costa, Cafe Nero, Starbucks, serve disgusting coffee, but this was far worse.

The free coffee out of a machine in Waitrose at least dinkable.

The rubbish Italian catering supply coffee served by Jamie’s Coffee at Gatwick far better.

I have been served bad coffee, but this ranks as one of the worst.

Farnham Maltings should invite someone from outside who would do a far better job to run their coffee shop for them.