Archive for the ‘NotoCosta’ Category

Cappuccino at Robustos

May 16, 2018

Following my visit to Robustos yesterday, I decided to revisit late afternoon today.

Today bearing gifts, copies of Caffeine, Cold Brew Coffee and guest coffees from Alchemy and The Barn.

George kindly brewed me a capuucino, one for him too, we then sat outside in conversation.

He surprised me when he said the espresso blend from Cup 10 contined a small percentage of Robusta, nevertheless the cappuccino was excellent.

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Robustos

May 15, 2018

I missed a bus to Paralimni. Which meant I missed a bus to Liopetri.

Then along came another bus. Maybe, but no.

An hour and fifteen minutes until the next bus.

In one of his books, Paulo Coelho is crossing a desert in search of The Valkeries.  Accompanied by his wife they have a guide. The guide forgets something and goes back to retrieve it. Wondering what is keeping him, Paulo searches out his guide, to find he is sat meditating.

When challenged,the guide explains, he was delayed for a reason, so rather than be impatient, pause and reflect.

That was me. What to do for an hour.

On past previous visit to Paralimni, I had beeen told of a coffee shop. I could not find. But, on a bus to Liopetri I had passed by.

I had also been told no good good coffee shops in Paralimini, or at least what to expect when I could find none.  Though as I was to learn, maybe not in the centre but at least one on the road leading out of the town centre.

I decided to to and find this coffee shop.

I asked in a  coffee shop. Where else? Only one problem, I had no idea of its name. Where was it?. I did not know. Oh, but the bus passed it by.

Helpful coffee shop pointed me in the right direction.

And that was how I happened upon Robustos aka Cava Robustos. A rather nondescript coffee shop cum wine bar cum deli.

I spoke with a helpful girl. Yes they had quality coffee. They did not roast as I thought or had been led to believe, but did have Cup 10 imported from Athens, not only espresso blend  but also several different single origins, also different brew methods, V60, Chemex, Japanese syphon, cold brew tower. I also noticed tucked away, member of SpecialityCoffee Association.

I was inroduced to the owner George.

He told me he had helped found Speciality Coffee Assocation Cyprus and was their coirdinator.

He kindly offered to brew me an Ethiopian using a V60.

As a hot day, I asked Japanese iced filter, which he kindly obliged when I explained how.

We brewed half the usual volume of water, half as ice into which the coffee drips to be istantly chilled.

The ratio could have been 2/1 rather  than 1/1.

Correction: V60 notot from Ethiopia, from Costa Rica.

I explained I would be back, and mabye a coffee cupping session in Nicosia.

Afternoon in Guildford

May 11, 2018

Cool but pleasant afternoon in Guildford.

Excellent cappuccino off FCB kiosk on Platform 2 Guildford Station. Soon they will have cold brew.

A world of difference fruit and vegetables on the market stalls in Guildford to what passes as a sorry spectacle in Lincoln. High quality, fresh, at reasonable price.

As always excellent lunch, honey crunch chicken and brown rice at Bamboo Shoots in Jeffries Passage.

The Thai restaurant which sadly closed many months ago is to re-open as an Indian restaurant. Am I impressed where the chef has worked, that he has met Jamie Oliver, that if will be Indian food aimed at Guildford folk? Absolutely no way, indeed it has the opposite effect.

A new coffee shop, Krema Artisan Coffee House has opened at the end of Tunsgate next to Ben’s Records. Not to be confused with Tunsgate Quarter.

It is long overdue for Guildford o have a top quality coffee shop. Now it has.

I am shocked work on Tungate still not finished. Excellent it will be a pedestrianised street. Let us hope Krema can have tables and chairs in the street.

 

I took a wander through Tunsgate Quarter. Incredible that today a developer opens a shopping centre with no guaranteed tenants. Must have either deep pockets or naive bank.

Does Guildford really need another grotty shopping centre with grotty chains draining money out of the local economy? No way.

Is it meant to be a joke? A Nespresso coffee shop.

I learnt from La Casita that several chain eateries have pulled out or will pull out of Guildford. No great loss.

I also learnt Surrey Hills Coffee to close when their lease expires. This comes as no surprise. When ever I pass by it is empty. They took over an excellent coffee shop and destroyed it.

Krema Artisan Coffee Shop

May 11, 2018

A few weeks ago, Krema opened a coffee shop at the end of Tunsgate next to Ben’s Record Shop.

Open and airy ambience.

Tables made from recycled wood, as is the counter, wood from old ships, topped with marble.

I was late in the afternoon, not too busy, and was worried I would find about to close.

Word is getting around, a coffee shop worth visiting.

An excellent cappuccino.

Coffee is sourced from Horsham Coffee Roasters, an espresso blend and a choice of single origin for pour over. For the summer there will be cold brew.

A large picture window overlooking the Castle grounds.

At the moment road works outside. Roadworks that are taking far too long, and little progress from six months ago. But to be fair, the work competed an excellent job and it will create a pedestrian street when complete.

Let us hope Guildford Council follow the example of North Laine in Brighton and allow seating in the street.

John the owner has done an excellent job of which he can be justifiably proud.

This is an example of what indie coffee shops should be like, high quality, professional and consistency in delivery and service.

Krema have jumped straight to No 1 coffee shop in Guildford. The only coffee outlet anywhere near is FCB kiosk on Guildford Station (but it depends on who is serving).

These two indie coffee shops are in another league to anything else in Guildford. They are setting the standard.

This is the second Krema, they opened their first coffee shop in Downing Street in Farnham a couple of years ago.

There is now absolutely no excuse for stallholders on the farmers market supping disgusting coffee from the chains when all they have to do is walk down Tunsgate and support a local indie coffee shop.

Krema is open until 5-30. The hours may be extended in the summer if the demand justifies it.

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.

Caffeinated

May 5, 2018

Trinity Square, with Hull Minster centre stage.  More strange fountains, this time squares in the square, water flows upwards, flows to the edge.

On one side, Trinity Market.

Trinity Market a recently refurbished Edwardian market, the oldest covered market in Hull. Stripped back exposing the iron columns and girders, open and airy. They have attempted to create something like Borough Market in London, artisan food and other independent traders.

It was within Trinity Market I found Caffeinated.

From Caffeinated excellent cappuccino. A very knowledgeable and helpful young couple running the stall.

A good selection of coffee.

A lady complained, flat white too small and too expensive at £2-20. No pleasing some folk. A long way to go to educate people.

As I found in York, The North and North Wales Independent Coffee Guide being sold off.  No surprise, everyone is becoming wise to this marketing scam. Pay £500, write your own entry, and the books do not sell.

If wish to find excellent coffee shops, find one excellent coffee shop, then ask.

It was suggested I tried Thieving Harry’s and Two Gingers. No time for Thieving Harry’s,  Two Gingers was on the way to the station therefore  Two Gingers it was.

Trinity Market

May 5, 2018

Trinity Square, with Hull Minster centre stage.  More strange fountains, this time squares in the square, water flows upwards, flows to the edge.

On one side, Trinity Market.

Trinity Market, a recently refurbished Edwardian market, 1902 the oldest covered market in Hull. Stripped back exposing the iron columns and girders, open and airy.

They have attempted to create something like Borough Market in London, artisan food and other independent traders.

Contrast with grim failing markets elsewhere, too often destroyed for redvelopement.

Contrast with Central Market off Sincil Street in Lincoln. Grim an understatement, Coop and the City Council have done their damnedest to destroy the market and the surrounding area. Empty stalls, trash, one of the few stalls worth visiting a spice stall, closed at the weekend.

Trinity Market shows what could be if local councils had vision.  Develop for local quality businesses, not as Lincoln, destroy an area, invite in chains.

It was in Trinity Market I found Caffeinated, as the name implies, a coffee stall.

One area of Trinity Market has bench seats. An area to sit and relax and enjoy the food on offer.

As I was leaving, a noticed a stage being set up, therefore I assume live music in the evening.

200 Degrees Flying Horse Walk

May 1, 2018

On previous visits to Nottingham, I have not been able to find 200 Degrees Flying Horse Walk, even though I know I have been in the vicinity.  Therefore my first port of call on leaving Nottingham Station was 200 Degrees Nottingham Station.

Too early to eat and I did not want a coffee. I called in to ask where their other coffee shop was, as I had not found on previous visits, also to check the roast date on their beans.

For a coffee roastery, I would expect not to find old coffee beans. There can be no excuse for this.

When I queried why, they said deliveries Tuesday, today being Tuesday, check back later.

Following their directions the coffee shop was more or less where I expected it to be, though could I find it, no.

I walked through Flying Horse Walk, a modern arcade, no luck.

I walked around the block, no luck, checked alleys, no luck.

Then found it, hidden by scaffolding.

Inside dark and gloomy. Full of people on laptops. No ambience. I much prefer 200 Degrees Nottingham Station to 200 Degrees Flying Horse Walk.

I checked the beans. As 200 Degrees Nottingham Station, too old.

I ordered falafel wrap. As 200 Degrees Nottingham Station, excellent. I learnt at both coffee shops they make their own food on site. Baffled though why vegan sausages.

I was going to return to 200 Degrees Nottingham Station for a cappuccino, though that had not been my original plan, but as it would have meant back tracking, I stayed and ordered a cappuccino, their guest blend.

I forgot they blend with chocolate. Very annoying as disguises the coffee. As with the house blend, ok, not great.

It was then to The Speciality Coffee Shop. I ordered a cappuccino. Alchemy Elixir, sadly not as good as previous visit.

Mayday in Nottingham

May 1, 2018

A day in Nottingham of coffee exploration, following the Nottingham Coffee Trail.

Awoke to a lovely sunny day, a light frost at dawn.

Train to Nottingham, clear blue sky, as train pulled into Nottingham Station, turned cloudy.

Alighting from the train and walking beside the station, quite cool, a cold wind blowing.

Day was variable, cool in the shade, hot in the sun.

First port of call, 200 Degrees Nottingham Station. Too early to eat, I did not want a coffee. Called in to ask where their other coffee shop was, as had not found on previous visits, also to check the roast date on their beans.

For a coffee roastery, I would expect not to find old coffee beans. There can be no excuse for this.

When I queried why, they said deliveries Tuesday, today being Tuesday, check back later.

The coffee shop was more or less where I expected it to be, could I find it, no.

I walked through Flying Horse Walk, a modern arcade, no luck.

I walked around the block, no luck, checked alleys, no luck.

Then found it, hidden by scaffolding.

Inside dark and gloomy. Full of people on laptops. No ambience. I much prefer 200 Degrees Nottingham Station to 200 Degrees Flying Horse Walk.

I checked the beans. As 200 Degrees Nottingham Station, too old.

I ordered falafel wrap. As 200 Degrees Nottingham Station, excellent. I learnt at both coffee shops, they make their own food on site. Baffled though why vegan sausages.

I was going to return to 200 Degrees Nottingham Station for a  cappuccino, though that had not been my original plan, but as it would have meant back tracking, I stayed and ordered a cappuccino, their guest blend.

I forgot they blend with chocolate. Very annoying as disguises the coffee. As with the house blend, ok, not great.

It was then to The Speciality Coffee Shop. I ordered a cappuccino. Alchemy Elixir, not as good as previous visit.

Feeling hungry I ordered tagliatelle. Very poor compared with Bedda, Sicilian guys with a stall on Winchester street food market. Pasta has to be fresh.

Since my last visit a change around in the coffee. Only two bags of the Gardelli left.

Three bags of coffee, Alchemy, Gardelli, The Barn.

Then to Wired. No time for a coffee. I checked what coffee they had, and said I would pop back. As with The Speciality Coffee Shop, different to my last visit.

Next stop Outpost Coffee.  I did not wish for yet another cappuccino, I start to feel sick after two, and had not enjoyed either.

Did I wish for a V60, did I have time? Yes and no, but decided on a V60.

Very, very unusual. If did not know was coffee, maybe tea, but not even tea, maybe a strange fruit not familiar with.

Two boxes of coffee, note boxes not bags.

I asked of the coffee scene in Lincoln. I said excellent, visit Coffee Aroma, Madame waffle and Makushi aka Base Camp on Steep Hill. Easy to find, from Lincoln Central Station, head to the High Street, to The Stonebow, then onward and upwards, The Strait, then Steep Hill.

This is how to find excellent coffee shops, follow your own instincts, go where your feet take you, ask.  Once one specialist coffee shop found they will advise on others, it may not be in the same town (though that helps), may not even be in the same country. On my last visit to Nottingham a couple of weeks ago, I was discussing with Michelangelo co-owner The Speciality Coffee Shop coffee shops in Athens.

Then back to Wired picked up Clifton Coffee Roasters coffee from China.

No time, but popped in 200 Degrees Nottingham Station to pick up a cake.

I would maybe have asked of their coffee deliveries, but so far not been impressed by their coffee and not time. Plus I had so far spent a small fortune on coffee and had an excellent selection.

Coffee Shop North

April 29, 2018

I want Coffee Shop North to be a platform not for me but for everyone involved in the north to discuss, explore and share their insights into the culture of coffee and its rising independent scene. — Dan Saul Pilgrim

Coffee Shop North was crowdfunded, a photo-essay of twenty-three indie coffee shops, seven cities and one town, across the North of England.

Inserted a booklet with portraits of coffee people.

Tamper in Sheffield, Spring in York, two of two dozen coffee shops featured.

Coupled with a collection of a dozen essays on coffee related themes.

Too many cafes, it would be stretching the point to call them coffee shops, are locked into the coffee scam, free machine, forced to buy poor quality overpriced coffee beans.

The norm for a speciality coffee shop, a house blend that does not change, a guest blend and maybe a few single origin speciality coffees for pour over. The only way to experience different coffees is to visit different coffee shops. Nothing of course wrong with that, part of the fun, different barista, different coffee, different techniques.

In ‘The Coffee Curators’ Lee Newell of Foundry in Sheffield questions why? Why not constantly change what is served, a challenge for the barista who then becomes a coffee curator, a challenge for the discerning clientele.

Two coffee shops that do just that, though not featured in Coffee Shop North, The Speciality Coffee Shop in Nottingham and Madame Waffle in Lincoln.

Too many of our towns have been destroyed by bad planning, corporate greed, and chains everywhere, an appalling sameness, then when a cursory glance at a remote spreadsheet does not show sufficient return, store closures leaving gaping holes in our town centres never to be filled.

Coffee shops offer something different, often a sensitive restoration of an old building, money is recycled within the local economy, a sense of place, something different, of character.

Coffee Shop North provides a sense of this sense of place.

Of limited edition, only on sale in indie coffee shops or indie bookshops. My copy was from Ideas on Paper, hidden in Cobden Chambers in Nottingham.

A few days later after picking up a copy of Coffee Shop North I was in York.  A few days after that flipping through Coffee Shop North I recognised the Synesso espresso machine, it was what I had spotted in Spring Espresso Lendal in York, the only one in the country.

I had thought, would it not be a clever idea to have Coffee Shop North signed in each coffee shop visited, or at least try and visit.

So far, only  Spring Espresso Lendal, though I did not have the book for signing.

Comparison would be Coffee Style, a hardback of stunning coffee related photos.  Or maybe Drift, coffee culture city by city.

If a guide to coffee shops in the North, then maybe The North and North Wales Independent Coffee Guide, not that Coffee Shop North claims to be a guide or even attempts to be comprehensive, it is a snapshot of time and place. But a word of caution,  The North and North Wales Independent Coffee Guide is not as it appears, it is not a guide or at least not as claimed, a guide loses all credibility when coffee shops are being charged £500 for an entry, write their own entry, coffee shops that should be featured are not, several that are should not.

The inspiration for Coffee Shop North was living and working coffee in the North.

My first experience with coffee goes hand in hand with my first experience away from home. I moved to Leeds in September 2010 to study graphic design. A thirty minute commute along the River Aire took me past a little espresso bar known as La Bottega Milanese. Opened not long before my arrival to the city, Alex the owner is Milan born and bred and had worked in coffee to support his graphic design studies not dissimilar to myself. La Bottega was a first of its kind — the first Milanese style espresso bar in Leeds. Given my inherent affection for Italian culture and the stylishly designed exterior, I was drawn to the shop and every day I would supplement my walk into university with a flat white. My dad had passed down his appreciation for coffee and also Italian food and wine due to family. (Yes, it’s more Kiwi than Italian but at the time I was none the wiser!).

The choice between a bus fare of the same price or a beautifully poured drink every morning was a no-brainer: the flat white became synchronous with my independence.

I respected Alex and his perseverance to establish this coffee culture in a northern English city. A year later I worked for him for a few months at the opening of his second shop (more a late night concept espresso bar) to aid my own studies and during that time met quite a few of the baristas intended to feature within the very pages of the book. My appreciation of the drink, the place and people grew and so to did my knowledge.

Four years later, I have spent countless hours in coffee shops in five cities particularly in the north of England. I’ve witnessed and been lucky enough to be part of a scene that has grown quickly in such a short space of time. Within the four (or more) walls of each shop there are stories to be told through image and word. I am but one person with an intimate story and appreciation that has stemmed from one drinkplace and person.

I want Coffee Shop: North to be a platform not for me but for everyone involved in the north to discuss, explore and share their insights into the culture of coffee and its rising independent scene.

A few minor criticisms of Coffee Shop North, the very large typeface at the beginning and irritating to be told what people are wearing as that only serves to regurgitate the myth coffee shops are for hipsters only ordinary folk not welcome, when nothing could be further from the truth.

It would have been useful to know where each coffee shop was, at the very least the town or city, and ideally, web address and twitter.

Dan Saul Pilgrim author of Coffee Shop North lived in the North, discovered specailty coffee and coffee shops, and for a while worked in a coffee shop.