Archive for the ‘Lincoln’ Category

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.

DT Coffee Roastery Coffee Lab espresso blend

September 7, 2019

Three bags of coffee, Brazilian, Indian and Tanzanian from DT Coffee Roastery.

What was the Coffee Lab blend like as a cappuccino?

Three choices, today the espresso blend for Coffee Lab brewed as cappuccino at Madame Waffle.

In one word, excellent.

Coffee Lab espresso blend, a blend of Brazilian pulp natural and Colombian washed, var Catuai and Caturra, taste notes dark chocolate, nutmeg, ginger and green apple, roasted by either Dhan Tamang or head of coffee Don Altizo.

Cappuccino correct size cup 200 Degrees Lincoln

September 6, 2019

Many problems with coffee at 200 Degrees, poor quality coffee beans, coffee served a cup size too large, for example flat white served in size for cappuccino, cappuccino served in a size too large.

This unfortunately is the bad practice in chains like Costa, serve a cappuccino in a soup bowl to give the false impression of value (super size me philosophy), dump chocolate on top to mask the vile taste of bad coffee.

Seating outside catches the late afternoon sun, and No Smoking a bonus, I decided to dally, enjoy the sun and if possible try a little experiment.

Cappuccino served in cup size too large results in weak and insipid cup of coffee. Could I improve the coffee by requesting in the cup used for a flat white, in other words the correct cup size?

When offered a size that is big, it is not offering value for money, it is offering bad coffee.

To have a sign outside a coffee shop offering big, is simply embarrassing.

I had had a cappuccino at 200 Degrees Lincoln two weeks earlier, how would it compare?

My experiment unfortunately flawed as not comparing like with like, no guest coffee and was obliged to use their house blend (which is terrible).

Anyway staff kindly acceded to my request, cappuccino tried whilst sat outside.

A tad too hot. Yes, an improvement as far as improvement went, but an unpleasant taste, which I could not determine what or why, but not the unpleasant bitter taste of robusta.

200 Degrees unfortunately contaminate, adulterate, call it what you will, their arabica coffee with vile tasting cheap robusta, something no self-respecting roastery or coffee shop would do, other than to bulk out their coffee, profit rules ok.

The unpleasant taste unfortunately remained in my mouth for the next hour.

Indian Balanoor washed coffee

September 6, 2019

Three bags of coffee, Brazilian, Indian and Tanzanian from DT Coffee Roastery.

Which to try today?

A couple of days ago Tanzanian Arusha Natural brewed as cappuccino at Stokes at The Lawn. Today an Indian brewed as V60 at Madame Waffle.

This was the first time either of us had tried an Indian coffee.

It was excellent as cooled, brought out the fruitiness of the coffee.

V60 always improves as cools, until turns cold. Balanoor was excellent even when cold.

Balanoor single origin Indian washed, var Kent, altitude 1300m, taste notes red grape, pecan and raisins, roasted by either Dhan Tamang or head of coffee Don Altizo.

Tanzanian Arusha Natural

September 5, 2019

Three bags of coffee, Brazilian, Indian and Tanzanian from DT Coffee Roastery.

I have tried before an Ethiopian from DT Coffee Roastery, brewed as a V60 at Blackbird. It was good, but a disappointment compared with a Colombian from Coffee Gems we tried the week before which was excellent.

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 Tanzanian.

I would have brewed as V60, thus surprised when he chose espresso.

Espresso for Mike, cappuccino for me.

I was pleasantly surprised, it made an excellent cappuccino, interesting flavour profile.

Arusha Natural Burka State Tanzania, var Kent, N39, Blue Mountain, alt 1350m, tasting notes stone fruit, red berries, bright citrus, roasted by either UK latte art champion Dhan Tamang or head of coffee Don Altizo.

Lincoln Steampunk Festival Asylum X1

August 24, 2019

The eleventh Lincoln Steampunk Festival, day two of the four day event held over the August Bank Holiday Weekend.

A very hot day, and due to get hotter.

Although a hot day, it was still a pleasant walk up Steep Hill.

Before heading up the High Street, I enjoyed a smoothie off a stall I had never seen before outside Lincoln Central Market.

Looked in Crafty Bottle, a craft beer shop on The Strait. What time did thy close? Five. Madness, thousands of thirsty visitors to the steampunk festival and they close at five.

Stalls in Castle Hill, cheek by jowl, net result, cannot get near the stalls.

Not happy to pay to enter the Castle Grounds for what is normally free. I decided on a season ticket.

Highly recommended the slow roast pork off the Redhill Farm stall. Quality street food.

Why no craft beer stall? I asked of a Lincoln Castle stall. They had, but at ambient temperature. The guy running the stall offered to go down to the cellar and bring up a bottle. When he opened, most of the contents foamed up out of the bottle. Not his fault, I suspect yeast left in the bottle.

He opened a second bottle, same problem but opened a fraction to enable the gas to escape.

Sat outside the Castle Cafe very hot, no umbrellas.

What was appalling was an overflowing bin, the only bin with people coming from all directions in the Castle grounds.

Lack of bins, lack of frequency of emptying bins. And why no segregation of the rubbish? Compostable, recyclable and general waste.

Anyone fancying tea, coffee and cakes. Do not waste half an hour in the queue for disgusting tea and coffee. Take a walk out of the West Gate, cross diagonally to the left to The Lawn, coffee shop and roastery, where will be served far superior tea and coffee by baristas.

The Lawn also had a couple of stalls. I would suggest encourage stall for a nominal fee, and encourage more stalls.

Gary Nichols author of The Imaginarium gave an excellent talk on creativity, An artist who works with camera, not a photographer.

He travelled afar for one coast scene, then photos of different rock formation, different sky, all built into one image.

Another, a girl in a flowing dress, the dress becomes the pool of water.

Colin Edmonds author of Steam Smoke and Mirrors, has a third book out soon.

Two years ago, in the yard of a schools, excellent street food. Last year, something of a washout. This year at the school and a car park, mainly rubbish, And no surprise when learn organised by Lincoln BIG not the steampunks. Soonest Lincoln BIG is dissolved the better.

Many of the steampunks the same question, why is everything in the locality closed?

Lincoln Steampunk Festival Asylum X1

August 23, 2019

The eleventh Lincoln Steampunk Festival, day one of the four day event held over the August Bank Holiday Weekend.

A very hot day, and due to get hotter over the next few days.

Today possible to walk through the grounds of Lincoln Castle, as can do every day, but next few days, will be charged the same entrance fee as though walking the Castle walls, simply to visit a few stalls. This is not acceptable and something the steampunk organisers need to resolve. Those who have a stall in the Castle grounds pay a lot of money for their stalls and a barrier is then created to deter those wishing to visit their stalls. It also hits local businesses either side of the Castle entrances

Not many steampunks around, but next for days will be very many.

Bailgate, Steep Hill, The Strait, five o’clock nearly every single business, shop, tea room, cafe, closed, many would have closed at four if not earlier. Sheer madness, biggest steampunk festival in the world, brings in thousands of people, people with money in their pockets, and nowhere open to spend that money.

For visitors a few recommendations.

For coffee avoid the chains and their undrinkable coffee. Walking up the High Street

  • turn left before The Stonebow, Coffee Aroma on the right
  • through The Stonebow, a little further up the High Street, Madame Waffle on the right

For quality beer forget the pubs, pick up a bottle or two of craft beer.

  • on the left in The Strait, Crafty Bottle, craft beer and a bottle opener

For gear no better than

  • The Strait, J Birkett
  • bottom of Steep Hill, antique shop

Cappuccino at 200 Degrees Lincoln

August 22, 2019

Size in coffee matters.

When offered a choice of size it shows no understanding of coffee.

When offered a size that is big, it is not offering value for money, it is offering bad coffee.

To have a sign outside a coffee shop offering big, is simply embarrassing.

And no, never serve a cappuccino with chocolate.

There is only one size for a cup of coffee. The correct size.

At 200 Degrees, a flat white is served in a cup for a cappuccino. The cappuccino is served in a size that is too large.

Not the fault of the baristas, it is the company that is clueless on coffee. Instructing the baristas how not to serve coffee.

Nor does one add Robusta to coffee. A cheap nasty species of coffee that tastes disgusting and has none of the subtlety of Arabica. The best coffee is always Arabica, not cheap commodity Arabica, high quality Arabica.

Since opened in the spring, tables have been added in the street. Kudos to 200 Degrees for making these tables No Smoking. Other coffee shops please take note.

Easter farmers market Castle Hill

April 20, 2019

Easter Saturday I passed through Castle Hill farmers market outside Lincoln Castle on my way to Chow Down travelling circus street food festival in the grounds of Lincoln Castle then returned.

The quality of the food on the farmers market was higher than that at the Chow Down street food festival which was a grave disappointment. A vegan stall, fish, cheese, fresh produce, meat, bread, cakes, pies, craft beer, mushrooms, honey, strawberries.

I picked up five tomato plants, different varieties off an organic stall, and a jar of local honey.

A long chat with a mushroom stall, also tried their excellent mushroom soup.

I was curious how the oyster mushrooms were grown.

in Brighton, coffee grounds are collected from Small Batch, mixed with straw, and used to grow oyster mushrooms, which are then supplied to the local restaurant trade, and mushroom growing kits to Small Batch.

I suggested the mushroom grower tried. He buys the straw already with the mushroom spores. He could try mixing the straw with coffee grounds.

A fresh produce stall, only the fresh produce sweating in plastic bags. An organic grower should know better. Even worse, salad leaves in plastic bags.

Off a cheese stall Lincolnshire Poacher made from unpasteurised milk and raw milk.

Anyone worried abut drinking raw milk, yes there is a risk, a very low risk, there is near zero risk cheese made from unpasteurised milk, but for those concerned about food risk, the risk is several hundred times higher eating from a bag of salad leaves. The leaves are broken and damaged, juices ooze about, a hot spot for dangerous microbes to flourish.

Raw milk is excellent with muesli.

I was pleased to find the strawberry guy. I first came across him two years ago. Excellent strawberries. I picked three boxes of strawberries.

Loaf of bread off the bread stall, off a different stall, a date slice, again excellent.

Redhill farm have a stall. Though I cannot quite see the point when they have a shop in Bailgate.

As I was leaving, two bottles of craft beer. One I saved for later, one I opened and enjoyed.