Archive for the ‘Lincoln’ Category

Carluccio’s

December 27, 2019

A chain eatery, thus my expectations were low, and they were not exceeded.

I was only there because Madame Waffle opposite closed and a friend had said the coffee was good (I think she was taking the piss).

Soulless as would expect from a chain eatery.

Cappuccino ordered. Served with chocolate on top.

Why oh why does no one know do not put chocolate on top of a cappuccino? Not unless trying to disguise that is crap coffee. At the very least ask. And a good coffee shop would not dream of asking as would not wish to insult their clientele.

Cappuccino taken back.

Next attempt, oddly in a different cup, not good, cheap catering supply coffee.

A young fellow asked how was my drink? I said not good, very poor compared with Madame Waffle where can get an excellent cup of coffee. He scowled and walked off. Why ask if do not wish to be told the truth?

It was then to Coffee Aroma for a decent cup of coffee.

Pino

December 27, 2019

A greasy spoon cafe with pleasant decor.

Location is wrong for two reasons.

  • On a corner of a busy junction, no outside seating, if there was too polluted.
  • Within spitting distance of two greasy spoon cafes, two corporate chains serving disgusting undrinkable coffee.

Bread sourced from Iceland.

Coffee sourced from LavAzza. .

Layout poor, too much space devoted to their serving counter reducing the seating area.

Ambience not pleasant, mainly due to poor layout and hard surfaces, very noisy, impossible to relax.

LavAzza therefore my expectations were low, and they were not exceeded. Cappuccino with chocolate dumped on top sent back, second coffee undrinkable. All the classic mistakes, including coffee scalding hot.

Why oh why does no one know do not put chocolate on top of a cappuccino? Not unless trying to disguise that is crap coffee. At the very least ask. And a good coffee shop would not dream of asking as would not wish to insult their clientele.

No water brought to the table, nor could I see water on display to help oneself to.

The norm in Athens, as soon as sit down, ice cold water brought to the table. It is called service.

Ibriks on display. For show? To my surprise they served Turkish coffee. Though the bed of sand not large enough. I did not try.

Poor use of social media. Facebook, a message box pops up even though may have no wish to post a message. If do, lack the courtesy to reply.

Maybe would have got away with opening a greasy spoon cafe serving undrinkable coffee ten years ago, not now, the world has moved on, and if wish to drink undrinkable coffee have the corporate chains, two of which Caffe Nero and Costa are located nearby.

The market is saturated. If opening these days have to serve quality coffee, quality food, otherwise on a hiding to nothing. Source coffee from local roasteries Stokes or Seven Districts but God forbid not from Lincoln Tea and Coffee, cakes and bread from a local bakery.

Bricked-up windows opened up have improved a red-brick Victorian building, but why the grief and hassle by the local council, three months delay for a resolution? If going to give grief give for the garish entrance out of character with the building not the windows. The same council with not a clue what constitutes good town centre design, the town centre trashed, ugly buildings, binge drinking bars.

Lincoln Christmas farmers market

December 21, 2019

Held Castle Hill, a dismal Christmas farmers market, a pale shadow of when I last visited the farmers market in the summer of last year or Easter this year.

Sadly it seems to be following the ad hoc farmers market held in the High Street which became smaller and smaller and finally died.

Contrast with Guildford Christmas farmers packed with Christmas shoppers.

I managed to pick up cheese from two different stalls, and raw milk unpasteurised milk from the same stalls.

I regret I did not shop in Redhill Farm shop in Bailgate, when I passed by it was busy, later when I passed by it was closed.

River Witham flowing high

December 21, 2019

On the train to Nottingham on Wednesday, to Sheffield two weeks ago, the fields flooded, the ground saturated from weeks of heavy rain.

Thursday and Friday, heavy rain, the ground saturated, the water flowing straight into the rivers.

River Witham flowing under High Bridge through the centre of Lincoln flowing very high., flowing very fast and very muddy. The mud, top soil washed off fields

Drainage, dredging rivers is not the solution. It simply sends the water faster downstream.

We have to rewild, re-afforest the uplands, farmers change their farming practices, animals grazing fields not crops, flood plains allowed to flood.

Downstream of Lincoln was fen lands. These should be returned to fen land., sea marshes allowed to expand. Soft flood defences not hard defences.

Guildford, the River Wey poised to flood the town. Not only England, Portugal and Spain, heavy rain, widespread flooding.

Forest fires in California, Siberia and across Australia.

COP25 in Madrid collapsed with no firm commitment to the deep cuts required in carbon emissions. Corrupt politicians fiddled whilst the planet burned.

One of the worst countries that went out of their way to sabotage COP25 was Australia. Australia on Tuesday and Wednesday, the highest record temperatures, the continent ablaze with bush fires. Sydney encircled by bushfires, 45C, engulfed in toxic smoke. How many will die in Sydney as a result of breathing toxic smoke? The response of the Australian Prime Minister in the pocket of the coal industry, to go on holiday.

 

Cultivate

December 10, 2019

Hidden down a side street off the top of the High Street.

Not open, though according to a sign positioned for dogs to read was open.

Lincoln Pier Café

December 9, 2019

From St Mark’s, tried to find Lincoln Pier Café on Lincoln University campus. The Students Union pointed me in the direction of a thin sliver of land between the railway line and Brayford.

Good view of Lincoln Cathedral across the Brayford and of Azuma passing by as pulled into Lincoln Central.

Too many universities take the easy option, grant corporate chains concessions serving disgusting coffee on the campus.

Lincoln University has opened its own independent coffee shop Lincoln Pier Café, invested in the equipment, employed skilled baristas, then let the whole show down by sourcing poor quality coffee.

My coffee was made by one of the best baristas in Lincoln, but it was not great, on a par with what I would find in 200 Degrees.

94 Degrees roasted by Roastology, Sheffield based and yet I have never come across in Sheffield.

Lincoln Pier Café a classic example of

Don’t spoil the ship for a ha’porth of tar

The ambience was that of a morgue.

No takeaway coffee cups. Cuts down on litter, good for the environment. Bring own barista friendly cup or buy a takeaway cup. The cups are made from rice husks. Therein lies a potential problem. German research has shown ecoffee cups made from waste bamboo release toxins when filled with hot liquids and cannot be recycled. There needs to be a student research project to replicate the German research with ecoffee cups including these rice husk coffee cups.

In the meantime use glass KeepCup. But why in any case would the University wish to associate its name with an inferior product?

I would not buy a bag of coffee, not when excellent coffee available in the city centre from Coffee Aroma or Madame Waffle. Nor would I go out my way to the University for a coffee for the same reason.

Amazing what can get away with with a captive audience.

Absolutely no excuse these days for sourcing poor quality catering supply coffee from a food and drinks company when spoilt for choice of quality coffee roasteries. But this is what happens when outsource catering and corners are cut to maximise profit.

No excuse when Seven Districts roast locally.

Staff, students and visitors deserve better, though compared with tax-dodging corporate chains serving vile disgusting undrinkable coffee a step in the right direction. But need to try harder, showcase what good coffee should be like, have guest coffees, but please do not cut corners with cheap catering supply coffee from a food  and drinks company.

Seven Districts

December 8, 2019

I happened upon Seven Districts, a stall in the grounds of Lincoln Castle on the first day of the Lincoln Christmas Market. A rare example of a quality stall on a very tacky Christmas market. I stopped by and had a chat.

Seven Districts, a coffee roastery based in Lincolnshire, one of the few local traders on the Lincoln Christmas Market.

The coffee is in eye catching bags, but, and it is a very big but.

A classic example of capture by a marketing company and falling hook, line and sinker for their bullshit.

We’re proud to be from Lincolnshire, where we sipped our first coffee, burnt our first bean and celebrated our first roast, perfecting our craft as we grew; naturally we wanted our own coffee to be inspired by our home.

Many-a-great tale have been shared over a cup of the ‘dark brew’ and doubtless many more will still be told; to carry the heart of our homeland to the world, we want you to enjoy yourself a cup inspired by the folk-lores woven throughout these Seven Districts of Lincolnshire.

Lincolnshire has seven districts, filled with ancient history, beautiful heritage and age-old folklores. We wanted to take some of these to the world and share their passion through the stories woven throughout our seven districts.

We’ve named each of our single origins after a folklore of the seven districts. We’ve then taken the uniqueness of each district and matched it with the profiles of the coffee roasts we produce.

For example Tiddy Mun is a fairy king  who used to inhabit the marshland around Boston until Charles I engaged Dutch civil engineers to drain the marshes. Which begs the question what has this to do with high altitude coffee grown in Rwanda? The simple answer is absolutely nothing. On the other hand could be one of the many tales associated with coffee in Ethiopia.

Gullible American tourists in a touristy shop on Steep Hill may fall for this bullshit but it is not doing the coffee any favours. Good coffee speaks for itself.

Ethically sourced meaningless. Fair Trade long past sell by date, marketing ploy to make Middle Class feel good. Fair Trade pays a tiny premium above commodity price, coffee is coffee, maintains farmers in poverty as no incentive to improve. Direct trade, coffee roasteries form long term partnerships with growers, help to improve quality quality, willing to pay a premium for quality. With Direct Trade everyone benefits, the farmers, the roastery, the coffee shop, the coffee drinker.

The bags Roman numerals, I to VII, seven districts of Lincolnshire. Each bag also has a name, and a little bit of local history. At least I thought each bag had a different Roman numeral, logical, but no, all VII, only the name is different.

Yes, well designed packaging, but if to be taken seriously the coffee has to have details of the coffee, not local history no matter how interesting that may be.

Coffee is seasonal. It does not help, different single origin packaged under the same name.

Every coffee bean has a story to tell, if telling a story, tell the story of the farm the coffee beans come from. This means a lot to the farmer.

Within the coffee industry have often discussed how much information to put on a bag, too much and turns people off, too little and not sufficient.

But as a bare  minimum, where sourced from. altitude, processing of beans, tasting notes and roast date. Maybe a little summary of where sourced from. More information may be provided via a qr code.

I can think of several coffee shops that regularly have in stock and serve guest coffee. Would they stock this coffee? No. The reason why, there is not the information on the bags their discerning customers expect to find.

A coffee shop where Seven Districts tried to peddle their wares was singularly unimpressed by their lack of knowledge of coffee.

Excellent advice in Businesses for Punks, do not waste money on marketing, do not engage marketing consultants, invest the money in your product.

Seven Districts have ably demonstrated why that advice is so valuable. They have poured money down the drain.

An artistically designed booklet. Try reading in anything other than strong daylight.

Marketing bullshit to one side, what of the beans, the roasting?

A Q grade in excess of 85. The roaster no previous experience in coffee roasting.

On the stall it was possible in not ideal conditions to try a not very well poured V60. It was ok, not great, nothing to get excited about. I do not know which of the seven coffees on display I was served.

I took away two bags of coffee, an Ethiopian and a Rwandan.

I await an expert brewing.

As I write a beautiful aroma from the Ethiopian, nothing from the Rwandan.

Lincoln Christmas Market

December 5, 2019

Why is it that every town thinks dump a few sheds selling tat and junk food in a town centre and call it a Christmas Market?

One of the worst if not the worst is Lincoln Christmas Market, 90% crap, and that is being generous. The travelling circus masquerading as a street food market that is held occasionally in the High Street is bad but this is far far worse.

I had wandered through Monday as was being set up, not impressed by what I saw.

Visiting Thursday afternoon, far worse than I expected, and locals had warned me it was not worth visiting.

Plastic identical shrink-wrapped in plastic flavoured fake cheddar cheese, stomach churning junk food.

Not to say there were not quality stalls, for example local farm cheese, quality meat from Redhill Farm,  local craft beer, speciality coffee from Seven Districts, but very much the exception and could count on one hand.

Seven Districts I stopped by and had a chat.

Yes, well designed packaging, but if to be taken seriously the coffee has to have details of the coffee, not local history no matter how interesting that may be.

Coffee is seasonal. It  does it help,  different single origin packaged under the same name.

Only possible to try a not very well poured V60. OK but not great. It would be interesting to see in the hands of a skilled barista.

Not having encountered before, I picked up two bags of Seven Districts coffee, but the cheese, can obtain every third Saturday from the Lincoln farmers market and from The Cheese Society, Redhill Farm has an excellent farm shop in Bailgate, where later I picked up Lincolnshire sausages.

A stall claiming its coffee was specialty coffee. It was not, it was over-roasted coffee beans sticky with flavourings. This is not specialty coffee. The stall must be kicked off the market, a prosecution by local Trading Standards. Stallholder turned unpleasant when the scam was exposed.

Market patrolled by police bearing side arms and carrying semi-automatic weapons.

I feel sorry for those come from afar to this tacky market.

A claimed 250,000 visitors. How are they counted?

Lincoln is close to gridlock ever day. This is gridlock, roads closed, bus routes diverted, long queue to enter the railway station.

Look to Winchester for a quality Christmas market. Runs end of November until Christmas, does not overload the local infrastructure, includes a large ice rink, attracts quality.

Winchester Christmas Market attracts half a million visitors a year, is ranked as not only the top Christmas Market in UK, but one of the top ten in Europe.

In Lincoln, the car park by Lincoln Castle hosting a big wheel, could be a large ice rink.

The organisers of this appalling market need to think again.

For visitors, visit any time of the year and not be jostled, or if wish to come when an event do so over the August Bank Holiday Weekend for the Asylum Steampunk Festival when will enjoy a far more pleasant experience.

Travelling street food circus returns to Lincoln

September 20, 2019

It is bad enough this travelling circus of junk food, poor quality street food, German sausages, chips, kebabs, poor quality cheese, passes through Lincoln once a year. Now it seems twice a year.

Added to which, as if Lincoln has enough problems with drunken yobs in the High Street on a Saturday afternoon, without adding a bar in the street in Corn Exchange.

Quality street food this is not, and yet another example of how Lincoln BIG wastes public money and why they should be wound up.

Quality Street food can be found in Lincoln for example Curry Jacks (outside Central Market, St Mark’s and once a month at Coffee Aroma), The Mint Box (outside Central Market), Barbell Burger Co (Lincoln Castle during Lincoln Steampunk Festival), Redhill Farm slow roast pork (Lincoln Castle during Lincoln Steampunk Festival).

It is long overdue these quality street food vendors got together as the founders of a Lincoln Street Food Festival, locally organised, local traders, invite only, if not quality, do not get a repeat invite. Would need a craft beer stall, a quality coffee stall, possibly cheese stall, if also served cheese in bread, pasta, paella, wood-fired clay oven pizza.

Ichamara washed Kenyan

September 11, 2019

Three bags of coffee. An excellent espresso blend roasted for Refinery by Bonanza, single origin Kenyan roasted by Coffee Gems, and a Costa Rican roasted by Red Roaster.

Of the three, which to choose? The aroma was excellent. Not my choice, that of Mike head barista at Stokes at The Lawn.

No contest, he chose the Kenyan from Coffee Gems.

He made himself a black Americano, for me a V60. Although Mike chose an Americano for himself, an espresso based coffee, he said would not work as a cappuccino, wrong flavour profile.

He thought the Americano excellent, even I was impressed.

For me the real test was the V60. I had tried a Colombian brewed as V60 at Blackbird and it was excellent, a hard act to follow.

Wonderful colour, as was the Americano. And the taste? At first I thought not in the same league as the Colombian. But as it cooled, and every V60 improves as it cools, it was probably on a par with the Colombian.

Mike commented it was like red wine.

His comment was most apt, I agreed, we both agreed mulled red wine without the spices.

Worth noting coffee has more flavour notes than red wine. Something coffee drinkers are unaware of when are so used to the crap served by coffee chains, over-roasted coffee, over-roasted to hide the defects of cheap coffee, then the vile taste masked with sugar and syrups. Coffee does not should not taste like this, but so used are people used to drinking crap coffee that they identify it as the taste of coffee. Sadly nothing could be further from the truth.

What coffee drinkers also forget, the care to bring us quality coffee, that of the coffee pickers, the processing of the beans, the roasting, and finally the skill of the barista.

Ichamara fully washed Kenyan, var Batian, Rairu 11, SL28, SL 34, red volcanic soil, taste notes grapefruit, lime, creamy and sweet, roasted by head roaster Ricardo.