Archive for the ‘coronavirus’ Category

Lincoln coronavirus lockdown day fifty-four

February 28, 2021

Saturday like Friday, starts off with a chill to the air, clear blue sky, sun warm.

It is becoming like August of last year, too many people out, behaving as though coronavirus does not exist. No surprise that across the country covid-19 cases beginning to rise. Lincoln is now above the national average for new coronavirus cases.

Sincil Street busy.

From butcher, chicken thighs wrapped in streaky bacon, as favour to me, a regular.

Look in 200 Degrees, curious, coffee from India, I am told it is good. Maybe try one day. Anything is better than their cheap house blend.

Two lots of prawns from fishmonger, including raw king prawns for prawn toast toastie for tea.

No customers zero waste store in Central Market as I pass by. What I am learning, people are visiting Lincoln Eco Pantry in Bailgate, a wider ranger of stock. There may though be another reason. Lincoln Eco Pantry built up a following long before they opened. They were due or at least rumoured to open at two different premises before Bailgate, but for whatever reason, did not happen. In the meantime, the stall in the market stole a march on them.

Chat with barista Angel Coffee House. He tells me Ozone was the best of the coffee they had tried. Begs the question what had they tried? He does not know. I suggest they try Cartwheel Coffee and Outpost Coffee. If I pass by again, I will suggest try espresso blend from DT Coffee Roastery. I also suggested Coffee Gems.

I raise reusable cups, they should not be accepting as a disease vector. I am told what I was told before, we fill a jug, then fill the reusable cup. Before I was also told, we trust our customers.

Whilst we are chatting, a man hands over a reusable cup to be filled, barista takes away, fills with coffee, then hands back.

I question then man. I’m ok, I have been vaccinated. Actually no, you have had the first dose, you are at risk and put others at risk.

I am now encountering ignorance of vaccines, I’ve been vaccinated, therefore I am OK. No, you have had one dose. .

A woman on a bus a couple of weeks ago. I have bene vaccinated, I am OK. Coffee Aroma had a customer walk in claiming they did not have to wear a mask, been vaccinated.

When people go to be vaccinated, they need to be given clear information, that they are still at risk, are a risk to others, must still carry on with coronavirus biosecurity.

I think try Vines early. No bread left people were queuing from nine in the morning.

Again many people around Steep Hill and Bailgate, though not as many as last weekend, but still very busy.

No farmers market, cancelled. Why, no idea. It seems they are cancelled on a whim.

Sourdough bread from Redhill fam shop. Not what I wished for, but all they have.

Lincoln Eco Pantry looks busy, I do not pop in.

Haddock and chips from Elite on the Bail. Pleaant sat in the sun.

Take a walk round to Stokes at the Lawn. As I suspected, closes at three. I arrive just after three. They offer to serve me, I say ok and decline the offer, I was checking if open.

Cappuccino from Coffee Aroma.

Am I damaging the planet with my coffee habit?

February 13, 2021

Are reusable coffee cups doing more harm than good?

Indie coffee shops are as always showing the way, ahead of the game, compostable coffee cups, reusable cups, but are we doing more harm than good?

We are in the midst of a coronavirus pandemic, takeaway coffee cups, contactless payments, necessary evils to stop the spread of coronavirus.

Best practice is that shown by Coffee Aroma. Only one person allowed into the coffee shop at a time, contactless payment only, takeaway cups a necessary evil, no reusable cups. No reusable cups accepted, anyone who tries will not be served and if persist will be asked to leave.

At the other end of the spectrum, Brian of Brian’s Coffee Spot going around coffee shops insisting they take his coffee cups, in one coffee shop he handed over two different coffee cups, then bragging on social media his cups accepted and encouraging others to do the same. Highly irresponsible behaviour.

A minority of coffee shops have reusable coffee cups on sale. Why reusable cups on sale? If on sale customers will expect to be able to bring in reusable cups. When I have queried this, no one should be using reusable cups during coronavirus pandemic, I was told if someone brings a reusable cup, they fill a takeaway cup, up to the customer to then fill their own reusable cup. Somewhat self-defeating.

It cannot be emphasised enough, no one should be taking a reusable coffee cup to a coffee shop, no coffee shop should be accepting. It is to introduce an unnecessary disease vector that puts staff and customers at risk.

Compostable coffee cups are not compostable, at least not on a compost heap, they will biodegrade in an industrial biodegrader, though I have found they will compost on a well made compost heap. What do we we do with them once we have drunk our coffee, unless on our way home to drop on the compost heap, assuming we have a garden let alone a compost heap.

Reusable coffee cups simply address a symptom, not the underlying problem of grab it and go, instant gratification, pointless consumerism.

The only way to enjoy a coffee is to relax in an indie coffee shop with coffee served in glass or ceramic, which sadly not possible in the midst of coronavirus pandemic. And even when coffee shops were open, even before the first lockdown, many coffee shops were only serving in takeaway cups contactless payment to reduce the risk of cross infection.

Coffee shops get lumped together with pubs as hospitality, they should not be, they were not spreading coronavirus.

When we come out of lockdown, it should be slowly slowly, pause at each stage with a willingness to immediately impose hard lockdown, with testing in the community. We should close our city centres to traffic, pedestrianise the streets, the first to open as the weather warms up indie coffee shops and restaurants with socially distanced tables in the street. Win win for everyone, kick starts the local economy, helps local businesses, improves city centre ambience.

I would berate Scott though not for forgetting his reusable cup and using a takeaway cup. I would berate Scott for using either. If the coffee was so good he wished to brag about, why did he drink it from a disposable cup (pandemic excepted but then should not be using a reusable cup)? I would berate Scott for not relaxing in a coffee shop, the excellent coffee served in glass or ceramic. To do anything less, is to not do justice to the coffee and the person who brewed it.

Would we treat a red wine in this way, slosh into a takeaway cup and jog off down the street? I think not, not unless we are a wino. Therefore why do we treat coffee with such contempt?

We face several existential crisis, global pandemics, climate change, plastic pollution, mass species extinction. We have to address all, we cannot pick and choose.

UK later this year hosts COP26. Cumbria has given the go ahead for expansion of coal mining, Leeds airport expansion, relaxation of rules on night time flying at Leeds Bradford Airport.

Worrying about drinking a cappuccino is pissing in the wind. We would better direct our efforts at closing down drive-thru takeaway coffee outlets.

Plastic-lined takeaway cups contribute to plastic pollution.

Currently whilst in the midst of a global covid-19 pandemic, a takeaway cup a necessary evil to reduce risk of cross infection. No one should be taking a takeaway coffee cup to a coffee shop, no coffee shop should accept, it is to introduce an unnecessary disease vector which puts staff and customers at risk.

Grass-fed cows, the grass continually eaten acts a carbon sink, improves soil structure, soaks up rain water, soaks up carbon, slows flash floods, good for wildlife. We have woods, hedgerows, ponds and marshes.

Yes, we should be concerned about about our carbon footprint. A cappuccino is the least of our worries.

Drinking a cup of coffee, drive to a drive-thru coffee shop? What of flights?

Fake milks cause huge environmental damage, soy destruction of rainforest (and unless certified organic almost certainly gmo), almonds drain the California water table.

I would not have coffee beans shipped from outside the country, not when add shipping cost. On the other hand, if out of the country, I may pick up a bag of coffee and bring it back home.

But what of my arranging coffee beans to Cyprus? If not, do we deny coffee shops source of speciality coffee beans?

Beggars belief incineration being suggested as alternative to landfill, landfill we are running out of, hence a landfill tax.

No, we close the loops, we reduce waste, we do not use takeaway cups, we do not use reusable cups. In the natural world waste does not exist either in time or space, output of one process feeds into another process.

How many coffee shops place their spent coffee grounds outside in a strong paper bag to be taken away to be used on the garden?

Carbon neutral transport? Electric vehicles powered by renewable sources, or the carbon offset scam? The only way to reduce carbon in the atmosphere is not to emit carbon.

We have to look at whole life cycle cost. At best the plastic cup can be downcycled, the metal cup recycled many times, the energy recovered.

And that was the problems with the discussion, takeaway cups or reusable cups, which is the better? Neither, neither should exist, instead we should address the underlying problem of takeaway culture.

If we care about the coffee we are drinking, let us do it justice, let us show respect for the barista, the roastery, the farm and the growers.

Laura Young sums up Oatly:

I don’t want my money going to the destruction of the planet, and putting peoples lives and land at risk just so that I can have a creamy coffee in the morning!

A man flogging fake milk tells us to drink fake milk. Now who would have guessed that?

Comparison of Oatly with milk from cows was biased, but then what to expect when the source is someone flogging fake milk.

We heard of transparency. No mention of acquisition of a share of Oatly by Vulture Capitalists responsible for forest destruction or by a Chinese state owned company to facilitate access to the Chinese market.

Oatly used to be a small company that made a profit. They are now a big company that made a loss of $35 million in 2019.

The comparison was with industrial agriculture, the same industrial agriculture producing oats for Oatly, intensive agriculture.

Cows have an advantage, they are very efficient at converting to something edible what we cannot eat, converted to meat, milk and cheese, cheese produced by an age old natural method of fermentation.

Yes, cows produce methane, and yes methane 20 times more potent than CO2, but CO2 lasts decades in the atmosphere, whereas the methane produced by the cows short lived. We fill a field with cows, assuming we do not increase the stocking level, a small increase in atmospheric methane which will then remain constant, it will not increase, the grassy field will be a carbon sink.

No mention of nutritional deficiency

The only thing can be said in favour of Oatly, one of the better fake milks, nevertheless a cappuccino poured with Oatley looks and tastes disgusting.

Is that milk with your cappuccino or watered down porridge with enzymes added?

Milk needs fat for structure and flavour, essential for a cappuccino.

If do not wish for milk in a coffee, then ask for a V60 pour over.

The only fake milk maybe worth trying, and I confess I have yet to try, Rebel Kitchen, they at least have attempted to address the issue of fat.

Plant-based has become the new low fat, a means of marketing the output of global food corporations.

We should be supporting grass-fed agriculture, agroforestry, not monoculture, rows of monoculture crops which require herbicides, fertiliser, pesticide, will enable runoff, loss of soil, no improvement of soil structure.

Climate Change is a result of a mindset, that is based on monoculture, fossil fuels, chemicals, corporate control. We do not address Climate Emergency by applying the same mindset that caused the problem, global corporations trying to control what we eat and drink, destruction of local culture and diversity, is not the answer.

Excellent environmental issues being raised and discussed, but please do not greenwash on behalf of Oatly.

Adventures in Coffee a collaboration between Caffeine Magazine, Jools Walker and Filter Stories. Presented by Jools Walker and Scott Bentley.

Lincoln coronavirus lockdown day eight

January 13, 2021

Lockdown, third lockdown, started Tuesday of last week.

Tuesday third lockdown day eight, the first time I have been into Lincoln since lockdown began, my first outing since tier 4 New Year’s Eve.

I see at least double the number of cars parked at Ferry Lane Washingborough than I would usually see. People driving to go for walk alongside the River Witham not acceptable, if not a breach of lockdown, it should be.

Little traffic, few people about, very much like the beginning of the first lockdown early last year.

Although bus station deserted, many buses parked up, causing problems for buses trying to enter.

Easy to see why coronavirus spreading so rapidly even though few people about.

At the butcher, a limit of three people. With new highly infectious mutation, limit should be reduced to two people. I wait outside. A woman with mask dropped below her mouth. I raise with butcher. Not for us to enforce. I disagree. Ask to wear mask or leave shop. Speaking straight into your face with no mask.

Baker, limit of three people. I suggest they reduce to two. We are compliant with government regulations. Are these people brain-dead?

Only two stalls open in Central Market, zero waste and fruit and vegetables. I am tempted to buy a box of dates, a bargain at one pound, I look again four pounds, I decide not.

I look in Wilkinsons few people in the shop. But why is it open?

Coffee at Coffee Aroma. No queue. A steady trickle of customers, maybe one every ten minutes.

The only coffee shop I will visit, where they take coronavirus biosecurity seriously, nowhere else does, and their coffee is good. A model of coronavirus biosecurity, other coffee shops should follow their excellent example.

  • form orderly socially distanced queue outside
  • only one customer
  • contactless payment
  • takeaway cups
  • no reusable cups

To go out for a coffee is a breach of lockdown, is a breach of the rules. To take a coffee whilst out for legitimate reasons food shopping or exercise is not.

For me food shopping and exercise.

I am told M&S Food Hall not the coronavirus death trap it has been of late. I chance it. Not crowded and staff tell me it has not been crowded all week. Never spent so much in M&S.

So-called plant-based junk heavily promoted. No, lentil shepherd’s pie is not shepherd’s pie, nor does shepherd’s pie have a long list of ingredients. Shepherd’s pie is a simple dish of lamb, root vegetables  and potatoes. Come end of January, hype of Veganuary over, thee same products will be heavily discounted and sold off

Caffe Nero lack of social distancing

January 4, 2021

Tuesday of last week, two days before tier 4 on New Year’s Eve, lack of social distancing in Caffe Nero, top end of Lincoln High Street.

Half a dozen people lined up at the counter. Half a dozen people putting themselves and staff at risk. This is an example of why covid-19 is out of control and why a highly infectious strain B117 is spreading like wildfire.

Covid-19 is a respiratory disease, it spreads person-to-person, it spreads through people touching contaminated surfaces.

Not only Caffe Nero.

I think it was the previous week, a family butcher a notice on the door, people not able to count, I counted seven inside, the notice said three.

A local baker, limit of three people posted on the door, people take no notice, often there will be three people stood in the doorway, blocking the way as leave the shop.

Guildford, first Saturday after the second lockdown, first Saturday of December, the town was packed, too many people on the street lack of social distancing. Looking in coffee shops, no social distancing as customers queued for a takeaway coffee.

It is not difficult to form an orderly social distanced queue outside.

Coffee Aroma in Lincoln sets a standard that others need to follow:

  • one customer
  • form an orderly queue outside not blocking the door
  • contactless payment
  • takeaway coffee cups
  • no reusable cups

We prevent spread of covid-19 by avoiding other people, keeping our distance, avoiding overcrowded enclosed spaces.

From midnight, England goes into lockdown. Will remain in lockdown until at least mid-February. England should have gone into knockdown Christmas Day.

Happy New Year 2021

January 1, 2021

New Year 2021, firework display London was muted, spread over a wider area, fewer fireworks, a laser light show and what I assmed to be drones incredible display.

The past twenty years, massive firework display concentrated in the centre near London Eye, barges anchored in the Thames with fireworks, massive crowds.

This year no crowds, the fireworks fewer and spread over a wider area, reduces air pollution which exacerbates the risk of covid-19.

Racists go into overdrive the mention of Black Lives Matter.

Shocking the images from Wu Han where covid-19 originated. People packed in the streets, coronavirus has not gone away. Similar shocking scenes in New Zealand.

Covid-19 is a respiratory disease, it spreads through person-to person-contact. The only way to stay safe and stop its spread is to avoid other people, avoid crowded enclosed spaces, wear a mask.

Data presented Monday was sobering, the new more infectious strain of covid-19 the number of new cases rising rapidly. The last two days of 2020, the number of daily deaths in UK close to 1,000 deaths per day. On New Years Eve, the number of new cases exceeded 55,000. In the last two weeks, the number of new cases has doubled.

UK should have gone into tier 4 at least a week earlier. UK should now be in lockdown.

Two vaccines have received Emergency Approval, Pfizer and Oxford-AstraZeneca, to be rolled out in a mass vaccination programme. But we should be cautious and not relax our guard. Vaccinations are usually carried out in advance of a disease not during a global pandemic. The vaccine does not become effective for several weeks, in other words may sill catch covid-19 and fall ill. Little is known about transmission, you may be vaccinated but still pass covid-19 to others.

New Year’s Eve, coffee in a coffee shop, I learnt the barista who served me last week, now off sick with coronavirus.

I end with a short reflection from Paulo Coelho on what has been a very difficult year for everyone.

The Sound of Silence

December 31, 2020

To end the year.

This could have been any city during lockdown.

It could have been Athens during lockdown when not a soul around.

Please do not take reusable coffee cups to a coffee shop during coronavirus pandemic

December 23, 2020

Reusable coffee cups address symptoms takeaway cups not the underlying problem of grab it and go wanton consumerism.

Would treat a good red wine this way, then why coffee?

The only way to enjoy coffee is to slow down, sit and relax in a coffee shop drinking coffee served in glass or ceramic, coffee brewed by a skilled barista.

The world has been turned upside down by coronavirus, drinking in a coffee shop no longer possible, where open, often takeaway only, and if can find open, takeaway cups to reduce cross infection.

During coronavirus pandemic using a reusable coffee cup is an absolute no no. It is to introduce an unnecessary disease vector putting staff and clientele at risk.

No reputable coffee shop should be accepting reusable cups.

Takeaway cappuccino from Coffee Aroma. A model of how it should be. Only one person allowed into the coffee shop at a time, contactless payment only, takeaway cups a necessary evil, no reusable cups. No reusable cups accepted, anyone who tries will not be served and if persist will be asked to leave.

At the other end of the spectrum,. Brian of Brian’s Coffee Spot going around coffee shops insisting they take his coffee cups, in one coffee shop he handed over two different coffee cups, then bragging on social media his cups accepted and encouraging others to do the same. Highly irresponsible behaviour.

Thermal efficiency irrelevant. If I order a coffee, it is to drink, not save for some time in the future.

If I were to use a reusable cup it would be a glass KeepCup or Huskee cup. The glass KeepCup has the bad habit of smashing to smithereens if dropped. Huskee cup is a well designed cup, the lid an optional extra.

Huskee cup is an iconic design, with eco credentials of finding a use for the discarded husks from coffee beans, but and it is a very big but, it combines the husk which can be composted with plastic which can possibly be recycled and turns into a product which can be neither composted nor recycled and will at the end of its life end up in landfill or incineration.

I have never understood why anyone wishes to drink through a hole in a lid.

Not addressed, reusable cups must be barista friendly, that is clean and not too tall will not fit the espresso machine.

If we wish to reduce the number of throwaway takeaway cups the answer is simple, sit in a coffee shop and relax with a cup of coffee, but whilst that is not possible during coronavirus pandemic, please do not take your reusable coffee cup to a coffee shop and introduce an unnecessary disease vector.

If wish to take ones own cup to a coffee shop to drink out of, then take an enamel mug.

Guildford tier 2 day four

December 5, 2020

Guildford is best avoided on a Saturday at the best of times. The first Saturday in December, the first Saturday out of lockdown, my worst fears Guildford packed. No social distancing, queues outside shops.

Sadly no lessons learnt. We entered lockdown too late, exited too soon too fast, no random testing in the community.

I walk to a station, in pain, miss train due to barriers down, wait half an hour for the next train.

Guildford Station far busier than I find on a weekday.

Coffee off FCB kiosk weak and insipid. Not to usual standard. Maybe once again changed the beans.

Cold as I walk along the River Wey.

Bottom of the High Street over the River Wey a car park. Unless choose the route I do along the river into the town, which few do, the car park empty but for a few stalls.

A useless council jobsworth decides what a marvellous location to erect stalls for a Christmas market. The market would usually be in the High Street. Speaking with one stallholder, I learnt had taken 10% of what would have taken in the High Street.

I cross the bridge and I am horrified as I walk up the High Street. It is packed with people. As is North Street. My worst fears, super spreader Saturday.

A new coffee shop Ceylon House of Coffee I have not seen before. A queue outside.

Starbucks empty. Never seen Starbucks empty before.

Young woman in a shop selling nuts and dried fruit having difficulty keeping order. Sign clearly states five people I would consider two too many, but no one taking any notice.

Harris + Hoole packed. No one keeping order. Too many people in the coffee shop, no social distancing. They should be in a socially distanced queue waiting outside.

North Streetjam packed with people.

I wanted lunch in Hanki a Korean restaurant it is packed. Never seen anyone in it before. As is Koja, aka Surrey Hills Coffee, which is always empty.

As I walk into Hanki, two tables become free. I sit in the far corner.

But half a dozen Chinese. Absolute pain, shouting.

I didn’t enjoy my meal.

I am pleased though they took note of what I said about Deliveroo. A notice on the door telling Deliveroo serfs to wait outside. But half ignore, they don’t bother to take of crash helmet, not all are wearing a mask, and leave door open as walk in and out. Cold air, but at least ventilation.

To Koja. Barista / manager says busy. A lady leaves and gives me her seat. Others then leave. Occasional customer pops in for takeaway or a bag of coffee.

I order a cappuccino. It is not good.

I learn Koja has not changed hands. A rebranding exercise under new new management.

It is then to Krema where I have a decent coffee.

On the way pass by Gail’s bakery in Tunsgate. If as bad as the one in Farnham, then not worth a visit.

I learn that earlier in the day Gail’s was chaos, full of people, no social distancing. The Council should act to close down coronavirus hotspots and hit with hefty fine.

Excellent cappuccino from Krema. Alost closing time, not too busy.

Suggest to Ben’s Records, if we go into a third lockdown, which looks increasingly likely, stick a table across the door and sell out of the door.

To Waitrose. A queue. Waved through quickly, wiz round and make my train.

Takeaway coffee The Underdog

November 8, 2020

Night time curfew. Tuesday bars, restaurants and coffee shops closed. Saturday first day of lockdown.

Only allowed out with special papers. Luckily I have.

I take a walk around The Acropolis. Allowed out for exercise. Not specified for how far or for how long, other than short near home or accommodation.

A detour to The Underdog. I was very surprised to find open. Me, a barista and somewhere a chef. Usually on a weekend The Underdog would be heaving.

Chef? For deliveries.

They have now expanded their choice of coffee in Nespresso capsules. The day before I noticed Kudu and Mind the Cup were offering Nespresso capsules. Even Panama Geisha sourced from 90 Plus in Nespresso capsules.

Buy a 60 euro Nespresso machine and coffee from quality coffee roasteries, for example The Underdog, Kudu, Mind the Cup, but never ever use Nespresso capsules.

I came away with a takeaway coffee. Not great, though my fault, I allowed it to cool. Not the same though as sitting in The Underdog.

Deliveroo serf speading covid-19

October 5, 2020

Deliveroo serf acting as ideal disease vector for covid-19.

Deliveroo serf waiting several minutes in Hanki a tiny Korean restaurant, several minutes within a small enclosed space for order to be processed. That was whilst I was there. How many more minutes before I walked in? How many places visited, in out no mask, how many customers visited no mask, today, preceding days, following days? No track and trace, not required to provide contact details. No attempt  to remove crash helmet.

No surprise covid-19 cases doubling every few days.

I asked the young guy serving to file immediate complaint with Deliveroo. In future, make wait outside until order ready, do not allow inside, if steps inside to collect, remove helmet, wear mask. It would be advisable not to deal with this Deliveroo serf again.


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