Archive for the ‘Lincoln’ Category

V60 Japanese iced filter coffee at Coffee Aroma

May 8, 2018

Today a hot day, not as hot as Monday when it hit 28.7 C, but still a very hot day.

A cappuccino out of the question.

What I had in mind when I asked at Coffee Aroma was a V60 Japanese iced filter coffee brewed with a single origin supplied and roasted by Hasbean.

As a V60, with one big difference, half the hot water as usual, the other half as ice in a carafe.

As the hot coffee drips into the ice it is instantly chilled.

Not cold brew, nor the same as a V60, brewed with hot water then chilled.

Very refreshing on a hot day.

This was 50:50 hot water to ice. May wish to try a ratio of 3/2.

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Kings of the Sky

May 6, 2018

Celebrating 100 years of military flying.

May Day Bank Holiday Weekend, Saturday, Sunday and Monday, a three day event at Lincoln Castle to mark 100 years of the RAF.

An Avro Lancaster aircrew, Special Operations Executive, music from WWII, a replica biplane, a replica Spitfire, and much more.

Hot and sunny clear blues skies.

Towards the end of Sunday, a flypast by a Dakota, which then circled around. Excellent vantage point for those on the castle walls.

Three days of clear blue sky, each day hotter than the preceding day.

Bank Holiday Monday, 28.7 C outside of London.

Around the City of Lincoln, 100 Voices celebrating 100 Years of the Royal Airforce.

Charlotte Jane Kessler

April 29, 2018

Angel Coffee House has an exhibition of the art of Charlotte Jane Kessler.

Well worth a visit.

Angel Coffee House revisited

April 29, 2018

When I last visited Angel Coffee House a year or so ago, it was grim, a dreadful place, noisy, sofas black with ingrained dirt, cushions with stuffing falling out, and the coffee awful, the bags of coffee stacked on the shelves well past its best.

Not a place I would recommend to anyone.  I had been in better squats.

Shortly thereafter it closed, the place gutted.

I was told following refurbishment it had improved.

I would not usually return to somewhere this bad, but as I was passing by, I thought with much trepidation I would try.

The interior much improved, clean, very light and airy due to whitewashed walls.

The walls provide an excellent back drop to use as an art gallery, and many coffee shops are now doubling as art galleries.

I do not know for how long, an excellent exhibition of art by Charlotte Jane Kessler.

My eye was caught by kaffee form coffee cups. It looked like an exhibition of pottery.  I knew what it was, the first time though I have seen, let alone held and examined. Nor did smell of coffee as I expected. Nor as I expected a rough surface. No, smooth. The cups surprisingly light.

Kaffee form coffee cups are made of recycled coffee grounds. They are used for serving coffee. I asked could I have a coffee in one, was told no. If used, and if break, can be composted.

These coffee cups though are very expensive, espresso cup and saucer 15 euros, cappuccino cup and saucer 20 euros, which is why not likely to find in use in a coffee shop any time soon.  There is also a takeaway cup 15 euros, which puts in the same ballpark as KeepCup.

A coffee shop. How was the coffee?

It was better than before. It would have had to have been very bad to have been worse than before. OK, not great, not undrinkable, weak and insipid. And they did at least ask, did I wish for chocolate dumped on top. As mentioned in the current issue of Caffeine, chocolate is dumped on cappuccino to hid a multiplicity of barista sins. They need to examine their extraction and weigh the coffee not guess.  If I was to give a ballpark, I would say not quite as good as 200 Degrees house blend, and it is not great.

The coffee is sourced from Forge in Sheffield.

Forge have committed the cardinal sin of what no reputable roastery would do, try to poach business from other coffee shops, not when they are sourcing from one of the best coffee roasteries in the country.

Angel Coffee House still has a fair way to go, but at least is heading in the right direction.

If compare with coffee shops in Lincoln, not in the same league as Coffee AromaMadame Waffle or Makushi aka Base Camp on Steep Hill, but better than Coffee Bobbins which was recently awarded best tea or coffee shop in Lincolnshire by Good Taste Lincolnshire (which makes a farce of awards) and of course far better than any of the corporate chains, Costa, tax-dodging Caffé Nero or Starbucks.

V60 Japanese iced filter coffee at Makushi

April 21, 2018

A few days ago, I had a V60 using a Rwanda natural Gatare from Alchemy at The Speciality Coffee Shop.  It was excellent.

I came away with a bag, or at least half a bag, as that was all they had.

Today I thought, rather than have a cappuccino at Makushi aka Base Camp on Steep Hill, why not try this coffee as V60 guest coffee.

Then on arrival, I thought why not as a lovely day to sit in the garden, as a V60 Japanese iced filter coffee.

This is brewed as a V60 with two big differences, the carafe has ice, and only use half the water, the other half is in the ice.

The ice instantly chills the coffee as it drips through onto the ice.

Allow the ice to melt, then serve with ice.

Enjoy.

 

 

Official opening of International Bomber Command Centre

April 12, 2018

To coincide with 100th Anniversary of the founding of the Royal Air Force today saw the official opening of International Bomber Command Centre.

Veterans of Bomber Command were invited from all over the world. Some like the Poles and other Europeans, had escaped with their lives from occupied Europe to then put their lives on the line to serve in Bomber Command to help defeat Nazi Germany and liberate Europe from German occupation.

Invited they came, from as far afield as Canada, Australia and New Zealand. The Australian government met the expenses of their veterans who came. Three hundred veterans, the youngest 92 the oldest 100.

Military personnel too, from US, Canada and Australia milling around.

The surrounding roads were closed, causing a long diversion.

Parking in an adjacent field, even for the veterans. Those in wheelchairs somehow managing not to get stuck in the mud.

A guard of honour mounted by RAF personnel, all in dress uniform, bedecked with their medals.

Once in the marquee, reserved for veterans only, would you like sir tea or coffee, from an airman.

Wandering around, the site shrouded in mist, the trees on the site vanished in mist, not even possible to see the South Common, let alone Lincoln Cathedral the other side of the valley.

The site has special significance. It overlooks Lincoln, it overlooks Lincoln Cathedral. A spire that is the tallest war memorial in the country, the height the width of a Lancaster wing span. For the airmen who flew on a bombing raid, Lincoln Cathedral was the last sight of what they called home, on return if they made it back, the first sight they saw. Many did not make it back. Their names, over 57,000, their names are cut in the panels. They may not have made it back, but they live on in spirit, with their laser cut names. The average age of the aircrew, 23 years old.

Also on site the Chadwick Centre named after Sir Roy Chadwick who designed both the Lancaster and the Vulcan.

The Chadwich Centre houses an interactive museum, in conjunction with Lincoln University, a digital archive, which is hoped to go on-line in the summer.

Between the Chadwick Centre and the Memorial Spire, a path alongside are tablets with a dedications to those who lost their lives.

All too soon, everyone was herded out of the warmth of the marquee, where lunch was to be served later, out into the misty cold, for the opening ceremony.

And cold it was. Survival blankets had to be handed out to keep people warm.

An address by someone from the Lottery, who provided some of the funding (the majority was donated by the public), Lord Howe defence minister in the Lords and Nicky Barr chief executive of IBCC whose hard work, plus her army of volunteers, has made everything possible.

There was to have been a Lancaster flypast, but to the disappointment of everyone, not possible.

No official bigwig, Royal Family or RAF Top Brass. Instead, which was a nice touch, the veterans cut the ribbon. A long ribbon unravelled across where the veterans were sat, scissors handed out, and the ribbon cut.

The Last Post, then everyone, no one sure what to do, headed back to warmth. The opening ceremony had not finished, there was more music, drama, but the cold was too much.

In the open reception area of the Chadwick Centre, on sale books, tea, coffee, craft beer.

At the entrance, complimentary copies of Lincolnshire Life featuring IBCC.

Back in the marquee lunch served for the veterans their guests had to make do with the various food stalls parked outside. A choice of burger, burger or burger, one stall had noodles, and another cakes.

The lunch, three sausages one assumes Lincolnshire sausages, served on a bed of potatoes, carrots and peas. The serving staff volunteers from a local college catering school.

BBC Look North excellent live coverage in the evening by Peter Levy and the Look North team, a pity about the crass comments from the weatherman which were uncalled for, and unfortunate cut short by five minutes by a party political broadcast.

One of life’s ironies, as the opening took place, high level meetings in London, the US and across Europe on whether or not to bomb Syria for its use of chemical weapons on civililians.

In the evening a concert.

On Saturday, world premier of the digitally remastered Dambusters.

Evening Thursday 24 May 2018, RAF 100 Centenary Concert in Lincoln Cathedral will also mark 75th Anniversary of the Dambusters Raid.

Happy Cat Coffee House

April 7, 2018

As I was leaving the Lincoln Vegan Festival in Lincoln Drill Hall, I noticed a coffee stall. At first I assumed it was a roasterie, as prominently displayed a bag of coffee.  Though there was also on display a bag of chocolate. A roasterie would have made sense. But no, it was a pop up coffee shop, Happy Cat Coffee House.

Did I want a coffee?

No, I do not like fake milk. It always tastes disgusting.

I had a cappuccino. It looked disgusting and was not good.

Large bubbles, at least a millimetre across.

Why was it so bad?

A combination of three things: lack of skill of barista (it was served scalding hot), fake milk, and maybe poor quality coffee (though taste so masked by fake milk impossible to tell).

It is not possible to make a decent cappuccino with fake milk. Apart from tasting disgusting, it looks disgusting. And what of the environmental damage caused by soy plantations, one of the main causes of destruction of rain forests?

The coffee was from Frank and Ernest Coffee. When a company peddles a gimmick such a nitro cold brew coffee, it says all you need to know.

I was given a sample of the beans.

Happy Cat Coffee House had driven all the way from Hackney for a pop up coffee shop selling cappuccino at £3 for a takeaway in a town that has three coffee shops, Coffee Aroma, Madame Waffle and Makushi, only a few minutes walk away serving excellent coffee.

Questionable why a vegan festival which one would hope exacts high environmental standards has a coffee stall encouraging the use of disposable coffee cups, when what we should be doing is encouraging sit down and relax in an indie coffee shop serving coffee in ceramic or glass.

I left, pouring my coffee down the drain.

It was then to Makushi aka Base Camp on Steep Hill where I was guaranteed a decent cup of coffee served in ceramic not a takeaway cup.

 

 

 

 

Lincoln Vegan Festival

April 7, 2018

I have to admit, I am no great fan of vegan food, a main dish yes but cakes are always disgusting.

Lincoln Vegan Festival held in the Lincoln Drill Hall.

If nothing else, an opportunity to see inside.

Wonderful ironwork. Shame the building has been partitioned and ruined.

Few food stalls. Most of the stalls were anything but food, animal rights, hunt saboteurs, tea, coffee, candles.

One stall selling vegan sausages. Yuk. Another had some very disgusting looking chips.

The only stall with food worth eating was Indian food. I though had already eaten.

Low environmental standards. Food served on plastic, plastic utensils.

The only stall I found of interest was a tea company from Hull, Leaves of the World,  where I stopped and had an interesting conversation on tea.

As I was leaving, I noticed a coffee stall. At first I assumed it was a roasterie, as prominently displayed a bag of coffee. That would have made sense. But no, it was a pop up coffee shop, Happy Cat Coffee House. I had a cappuccino. It looked disgusting and was not good.  It is not possible to make a decent cappuccino with fake milk. Apart from tasting disgusting, it looks disgusting. And what of the environmental damage caused by soy plantations, one of the main causes of destruction of rain forests? The takeaway cups were compostable or at least some were.  The coffee I poured down the drain.

It was then to Makushi aka Base Camp on Steep Hill where I was guaranteed a decent cup of coffee served in ceramic not a takeaway cup.

It did not happen whilst I was there, apparently the power kept tripping out. Either earth leakage problems or excessive power load.  The organisers claimed this regularly happens at festivals, ask caterers. Not something I have ever experienced.  Ask the caterers may give a clue. Excessive power load if all the caterers hit peak demand simultaneously. It is the norm to have a separate power circuit for cooking equipment due to the excessive load. If the catering equipment is plugged into 13A power circuit this explains a lot, and the system was reacting as designed by cutting out. This is something Lincoln Drill Hall should check. If they are permitting excessive load, they may be invalidating their insurance.

Coffee Bobbins

April 4, 2018

Coffee Bobbins an award winning coffee shop opened a year ago Easter at the bottom of The Strait.

I must be a glutton for punishment, award winning yes but the award by Good Taste Lincolnshire, compounded by the fact they serve tea pigs and coffee supplied by Lincoln Tea and Coffee.

In their defence Coffee Bobbins may say we are a cake shop, and it is true a display of scrumptious looking cakes, though limited choice and I did not try. They do though call themselves a coffee shop not a cake shop, and I was there to try their coffee.

When I see a coffee or tea shop displaying tea pigs it immediately tells me they are clueless on tea.

The coffee supplied by Lincoln Tea and Coffee again not a good sign as it is not good coffee. I have tried before at Bailgate Deli. It was not good. When I asked to look at the beans I found to be cheap over-roasted coffee with defective beans and a very unpleasant aroma.

The same Brazilian blend that Lincoln Tea and Coffee claim they supply as an exclusive blend for Bailgate Deli, a speciality coffee shop. Not then exclusive, neither is Bailgate Deli a speciality coffee shop, if it was, it would employ skilled baristas and source better quality coffee beans. Not that Bailgate Deli has ever claimed to be a speciality coffee shop, they are a deli specialising in vegan food.

Lincoln Tea and Coffee claim their beans are fresh. They do not roast, merely buy and bag and on the bags no roast date thus no way of knowing how fresh.

The decor is reasonable, though lacking in ambience.

The entrance very badly designed, and forced to push past people blocking the way.

My coffee not good, too hot, chocolate dumped on top.

I asked for a coffee without chocolate. It was not good either, again scalding hot and undrinkable. After one sip I left it.

I asked for water. I am used to Athens, water is always brought without asking or is on the counter.

Toilets are out the back in a yard. Not good if raining.

If as appears, Coffee Bobbins care about their cakes, then why not care about the coffee? I can visit a chain if I want to drink bad coffee, Costa or tax dodging Starbucks or Caffé Nero. And the price not cheap, at £2-80 expect quality coffee.

They also need to employ skilled baristas. Though the best barista would be hard pushed to make a decent cup of coffee with the beans they are using no matter how hard they tried.

There is absolutely no excuse for this. If they have not a clue on coffee, begs the question why open a coffee shop, but if not a clue, then pick up a copy of The North and North Wales Independent Coffee Guide where will find listed speciality coffee shops and coffee roasteries. A hint, try 200 degrees, or better still Hasbean or Dark Woods.

It is commendable to buy local, but never at the expense of quality. And how local is local, Hasbean and Dark Woods are regional.

Similarly if they are serious about tea cannot get more local than Imperial Tea half way up Steep Hill, which is served in Pimento Tea Rooms.

The one good point was the two girls serving, polite, pleasant, helpful, and in conversation knowledgeable about coffee.

Afternoon in Newark

March 27, 2018

A fleeting visit. Very much a spur of the moment decision. I saw a train and hopped on it.

It went to the wrong station in Newark, there are two, but that was a minor in inconvenience.

I have often passed through Newark, but never actually visited.

Signage from Newark North Gate Station would have been of help.

I passed by a museum that had a Lawrence of Arabia Exhibition. I had not the time, but I learnt the exhibition had finished a couple of weeks earlier.

A small market town. Surprisingly not taken over by chain stores, still many independent stores. Nor has the heart of the town been ripped out by modern buildings, though a pity the modern shop fronts.

I thought the road I was on was it, until I walked through an arcade, and found myself in a large market square, not surprisingly called Market Square.

Rows and rows of empty stalls, no market traders.

I poked my head in a coffee shop that was on one side of Market Square, The Bean and Vine. I had not intended to stop and have a coffee, but when I asked and they said closed at four, in ten minutes time, I decided to stay.

A little early to close, on the other hand I had seen no one around since I had arrived, it was like siesta time in a small Spanish town.

I ordered a cappuccino. It was not great but at least they asked, did I want chocolate dumped on top.

I asked of the market. Trades every day but not today, Tuesday. Wednesday and Saturday the big days, but depends on the weather.

I thought walk to the river, opposite way to what I thought, but no time.

Now lost.

I retraced my steps, and just made the train with a few minutes to spare