Archive for the ‘NotoCosta’ Category

Coffee #1

August 14, 2019

Alresford has two coffee shops, Carocoli and Coffee #1.

Carocoli never knew what they were, a coffee shop, a deli, the coffee was not good and they went bust. Now under new owners.

Coffee #1 new, only open a few weeks in Alresford.

I decided to alight from the bus passing through to Winchester, a quick look around, try a coffee at Coffee #1, then carry on down to Winchester.

It is easy to tell when a coffee shop not good, a row of syrups and asked what size cup for a cappuccino.

A row of syrups on the back wall, I was asked what size cappuccino.

If asked what size, I always ask to see the cups. Regular and large.

There is only one size, the correct size, no other size will suffice.

Feeling hungry having not eaten since late breakfast I also asked for a bap with bacon.

A long wait to be served, though there was an apology, an even longer wait to be brought my bacon bap, longer still before my cappuccino arrived.

The bap was brought with no serviette. I had to go in search of. It was ok, not great.

The cappuccino when it finally arrived appeared to have been carpet bombed with chocolate. I sent it back. The next to arrive looked disgusting, tasted disgusting scalding hot, deep layer of froth and foam, of which I scooped out a large glop with my teaspoon.

Bags of coffee on display. I picked up an espresso blend and a Costa Rican.

Nothing to say where the espresso blend sourced, the Costa Rican commodity coffee, no mention of farm.

No roast date, only a meaningless best be date. Actually worse then useless. Old stale coffee, no aroma.

Ambience pleasant.

Service took so long I missed the next bus and had to wait a further half an hour.

Young girl making the coffee treated very badly by young man who seemed to be in charge. Shouted at her in a very unpleasant manner Come Here. Further shouting at her. Then the shouting became worse, she walked away, clearly distressed and upset, walked into a room marked Private, and did not emerge until some time later as I was leaving.

Had I not been about to leave I would have spoken to her as a very bad example of bullying in the workplace. A report was filed to Coffee #1. They lacked the courtesy to respond, which shows the importance they attach to workplace bullying.

Note: Workplace bullying is a breach of employment legislation.

Coffee +#1 is a a large chain of around 100 coffee shops owned by Caffe Nero and it shows.

Harris + Hoole is also owned by Caffe Nero, and since bought by Caffe Nero has experienced death by a thousand cuts, but they at least attempt to make decent coffee. Coffee #1 do not even go through the motions.

The only good thing I could find to say, bags of coffee grounds to take away for the garden, though from the number of bags piled on the floor the take up appeared to be low.

It was then pick up the bus, head into Winchester, to have a decent coffee at The Square.

Brighton Coffee Festival

August 11, 2019

Brighton Coffee Festival was hosted in Brighton Open Market, along London Road., only a few minutes walk from Brighton Staiton, downa steep flight of steeps,and along …. A part of Brighton i was not aware of let alone visited before.

I lacked a ticket. Nightmare trying to book on-line using a phone, little better on a laptop.

Book on-line charged £7 a further £1 booking fee. On the gate £10.

A mix of coffee roasters, many of which were local coffee shops or Sussex coffee roasters plus London coffee roasters, a couple of food stalls, interspersed with talks and a latte art competition.

It was basically wander around try the coffee. Most were serving V60, a few espresso and V60.

A few talks. The sound systems so bad impossible to hear the lady from Pharmacie. A Colombian guy Eduardo Florez from a The Colombian Coffee Company in Borough Market was comprehensible, maybe I was stood in the right spot.

Awful moronic music blasting out. It was overloading the system and clipping. It made it nigh impossible to hold conversation.

Colombian guy Eduardo Florez interesting. Why do we buy coffee? We do not buy wine.

Well actually we doe, we buy red or whit or fizzy, sweet or dry, the cheapest we can find, but basically is is we buy wine.

Similarly we buy coffee, or at least drink coffee.

The discerning coffee drinker seeks out quality, wishes to know the origin, the provenance of the coffee, the variety, when it was roasted, by who was it roasted.

Coffee farmers who focus on quality, are able to command a higher price for their benas, everyone is happy, the grower gets more money. the coffee drinker better quality coffee. Constart with the fair trade scam whi pays a tiny margin above commodity price, mainaytsn gafmers in poverty as no incentive to improve quality.

The rubbish coffee relies on marketing.

WE as coffee drinkers by seeking out the best coffee, frequeting indie coffee shops, avoiding the corpaoarte chains and coffee shops serving bad coffee are helping the coffee farers improve their lilehood.

It wa s apity he did not have astall to enable visitos to try and buy his coffee.

Intetetsing converaation with .. a coffee farmer in Rwanda. Sge told me a little of the etstae, taht processings atkes packe on the farm, a schoo has bene built for the children.

Red Roaster roast her coffee beans.

On walking in, greeted by Small Batch, and unfortunately an unpleasant cacophony of noise.

I am not a fan of takeaway coffee, the only way to enjoy coffee is to sit and relax with a coffee glass or ceramic but one of those rare exception where I will stop time permitting and have a coffee is the Small Batch kiosk outside Brighton Station. The coffee served always consistently good.

Small Batch had receptacles for coffee cups, liquid, and lids. The only stall, though others may have had hidden, as took cup if handed over.

Everyone was using compostable cups.

I then wandered around clockwise.

First coffee off Horsham Coffee Roasters.

A Kenyan V60, it was excellent. The first and best coffee of the day.

I later returned and tried a Rwandan. It too was good.

It will be interesting to see how compares in Krema.

By contrast, a coffee off Roasted was disappointing.

A table with The Independent Brighton & Hove Coffee Guide. Now in its second edition, a useful guide to have, but a case of feel the width never mind the quality. Too many coffee shops which if the idea is to highlight the best in Brighton I would not include.

How is it financed?

Redemption roast coffee at Aylesbury Prison, where also teach coffee skills to young offenders. They also have four coffee shops in London.

Excellent cappuccino off Caravan with their espresso blend. Very interesting flavour profile.

Pelicano had an impressive stand. There coffee shop in North Laine is one of my favourite coffee shops. Not only for coffee, always an impressive display of cakes. One of the few places places can obtain Drift and Standart.

Passing by the Pelicao coffee shop later they told me they had had a very good day at the coffee festival.

I have never been to the London Coffee Festival, and frlom what I learn, each yaer it gets worse.

The ogaisners of the Brighton Coffee Festiva were helpful, responded very promtly to my queries.

The ticetin on-line a nightmare. I would suggets fir future use Event Brite, as never had problems.

Please please ditch the music. It made convesraion nigh impossibe.

I was pleased toge chains and corpaorate coffee suplliers ddid not get a look in. The ficus was onspecialty coffee and local.

I would have liked to have seen Square Mile, Alchemy, Kiss the Hippo, Coffee Gems, Columbia Coffee Roasters, DT Coffee Roasters.

How to fit them all in, if space cannot be extended? Omit the food stalls, food was avalibes o no need for food stalsl. And that included The Flour Pot, who are a cake shop.

Consider a fringe or alternative coffee festival, events sprad overf a week or longer, hosted in different coffee shops across Brighton.

Brighton Coffee Festival was hosted in Brighton Open Market, along London Road., only a few minutes walk from Brighton Staiton, downa steep flight of steeps,and along …. A part of Brighton i was not aware of let alone visited before.

The central are lined with shops. Unfortunate less tahn half were open, and most of yhsoe taht weee open closed before four. I would have liked to ahve looked in the zero waste shop.

I found a Turksih lady wih a stall making food I have never come across before. She made it look simple, bust she told me not as simple as seh made it look.

A ball of doughm which she dropped into a machine resmabeleling a minute version of an od fashioned mangle,s he then rolled witha tiny rolling pin. Droppped nto whatever you wished for, vegan vegeatian meat. I chose lamb. Fold in half,, thne poppped ona hot palte for five minutes. Delicious. I nacan olny decsribe as almsot like a thin pizza base, bust then folded to resemble a Cornish pasyty.

On leaving via the London Road entance I aspoke witha man packing up a bookstall. He said wjen evenst were onm it was varied but today he did quite well.

— to be continued —

Free Coffee

August 11, 2019

On my way to Brighton Coffee Festival at The Open Market I encountered outside Costa on London Road a small van giving away free coffee.

No idea why.

I think it was to promote the hemp milk they were using, though it could have been a protest against Costa.

The coffee was undrinkable, though probably still better than Costa.

If drinking undrinkable coffee may at least drink free undrinkable coffee, though I would prefer to have neither and pay for good coffee, or failing that a beer or water or fruit juice or tea.

I did not try until I reached The Open Market, a little further up the road. It was scaling hot. I have never had coffee this hot.

I poured it down the drain and the cup I dropped in a bin.

— to be continued —


July 31, 2019

I came across Roost when I was last in Godalming for the street food festival. Today I thought I would pay a visit, have lunch, then later a coffee.

Roost is nicely laid out inside, a rustic appearance, the street frontage belies the interior, which is much larger than would expect, with a garden beyond.

I chose to sit in the garden as too hot indoors, but a tad too cool in the garden. Though if the sun was shining the garden would be too hot as lacks shade.

Food once ordered, a long time coming. Quality though of the soup, tomato and red pepper and what followed, avocado on lightly toasted bread, good, nicely presented too.

The menu to say the least quirky, and a tad too pretentious. What is a vegan Cobb salad, what indeed is a traditional Cobb salad? Menu does not say.

Cobb vegan salad with shredded chicken. Better not let the vegan quasi-religious fundamentalists know.

Note: According to Jamie Oliver, Cobb salad: lettuce, avocado, blue cheese, roast chicken, bacon. Vegan most definitely not.

A little deli, well actually a couple of shelves.

Chocolate on sale was quality chocolate, no emulsifier. Why therefore adulterate by adding mint?

I asked when closed. Four. I had an hour to have a quick wander and get back for a coffee. Four seems a little early to close, but this is Godalming.

Headed to the basket shop, a friend hailed me. She was surprised to see me, what are you doing here, and not sure of she believed me when I said |I was heading too the basket shop.

She appreciates coffee, I suggested as I was headed back to Roost she joined me for a coffee.

We queried one of the coffees on offer, another quirkiness of the menu, espresso with MCT oil and butter. She did not know what was MCT oil.

Nor did she know what the coffee was. We checked the bag. No information on the bag. There was a qr code, but this should be for additional information, not for basic information that should be on the bag.

Note: I later checked the website. It was singularly unhelpful.

We also noted all the coffee on sale was old coffee. Yes, the fault of Roost, but also the fault of Chimney Fire Coffee, as they should not be supplying more than can be used within optimum operation, not that is if they care about the reputation of their coffee.

Our coffee was not good. We both agreed the coffee was not good. Better than anything will find in Godalming, at least drinkable, but that is the best that could be said of it.

Everything that could be wrong was wrong, lack of skill of barista, poor quality machine, was the coffee weighed, I think not but cannot be sure and poor quality coffee.

Godalming lasks good coffee. Corporate chains, independents serving poor quality coffee. Roots has marginally upped the game. I could suggest far better locally roasted coffee, but I doubt they would supply, not unless Roost improves its side, as would only give their coffee a bad name.

V60 how not to Harris + Hoole Guildford

July 19, 2019

I have not visited Harris + Hoole for over a year. I stopped going when they were taken over by Caffe Nero.

It was then death by a thousand cuts, cost cutting, insufficient staff, lost all their good baristas, coffee no longer supplied by Union, now Caffe Nero.

Today popped in Harris + Hoole with a friend. Only place open after six.

Not been in for at least a year, not since acquired by Caffe Nero. It has got far far worse.

I asked for a pour over. Surprised to find on offer, V60. I wish I had not.

Beans at least a month old (beans this old should be used for training), barista is forced to use a pouring jug, no swan-necked kettle. Penny pinching cost cutting tax-dodging profiteering Caffe Nero refuse to supply the correct gear.

It goes without saying the V60 was not good. I should have had a cappuccino.

I would hasten to add, no fault of the barista, who was clearly embarrassed by the poor quality beans and lack of a swan-necked kettle.

Coffee Gems

July 11, 2019

I had learnt of Coffee Gems from two different sources. Time to pay a visit.

Head roaster Ricardo. Background in coffee, had grown up on the family coffee farm in Colombia, had worked across Latin America as an agricultural adviser to farms helping to improve their coffee to enable them to secure a better price, direct trade not the FairTrade scam that maintains farmers in poverty. Now he was at the other end, roasting high quality coffee beans, nothing less than Q grade 94.

Whilst we were chatting he made me a cappuccino. Excellent.

I would have stayed and had a V60, but time was not on our side and he still had an order to process and deliver.

He gave me a bag of coffee he had literally just roasted, I could smell the roasting as I arrived, and invited me to return.

Highly tempting when I learnt he has Cup of Excellence from Colombia and Panama.

I made a number of suggestions:

  • Follow the example of Pharmacie in Brighton, open on a Saturday as a pop up coffee shop.
  • Hold coffee cupping.
  • In the summer have a stall on the Guildford farmers market.

I also suggested a number of outlets for his coffee.

Note: I revisited the following week. I left with a bag of freshly roasted Colombian coffee. This I tried a few days later at Blackbird in Brighton. We agreed it was excellent.

101 Coffee Espresso Bar

July 10, 2019

101 Coffee Espresso Bar could not be easier to find.

On a summer’s day, a pleasant walk along the Oxford Canal, after the first lock, cross the canal over a footbridge to Jericho, a zigzag, out of Juxon Street, opposite the other side of the street, 101 Coffee Espresso Bar.

Only no sign, nothing to indicate 101 Coffee Espresso Bar. Only on walking in, thinking this looks interesting, did I see on the counter 101 Coffee.

I was the only one there, or at least I was, a steady stream of customers.

Pleasant ambience, natural wood tables with an impressive polish. Excellent varnish. No, it is resin.

Coffee I have not come across before, Quarter Horse Coffee. Apparently they were in Oxford, a coffee shop and roastery, then upped sticks to Birmingham, closed their Oxford coffee shop.

101 Coffee Espresso Bar an unusual set up, a tiny coffee shop, up narrow stairs on the first floor a tiny barber shop. The only indication of this, as walk into 101 Coffee Espresso Bar a barber’s chair. I commented on this, asking had I walked into barber shop or a coffee shop?

Excellent cappuccino.

Copies of Standart, to read not for sale.

Something I had never seen before, water in a can not a plastic bottle. From what I could make out the can was in itself unusual in that it was resealable.

Cappuccino at Blend & Brew

June 30, 2019

Blend and Brew used to have a tiny little coffee shop on a corner, more a counter than a coffee shop. Only once ever found open as not open on a Sunday, at I guess their clientele is commuters.

When I did find open, they were opening a coffee shop on the opposite corner. Corner coffee shop now open.

I was not going to have a coffee as their coffee crap, but thought ok I would try, maybe it has improved.

It is still crap, over-roasted cheap crap Italian coffee. Worse still, I was first served a cappuccino with chocolate, which I sent back.

Why does no one know how to serve a cappuccino?

I do not know which is worse, being served with chocolate or being asked if I want chocolate? At least the latter I do not have to send the coffee back. But I should not even be asked, cappuccino is not served with chocolate. It ruins a good coffee. Though for bad coffee it does at least take away the taste of the bad coffee.

I did not have to ask, I could tell from the taste, black over-roasted coffee beans.

A pity as they have done an excellent job on the coffee shop and the food and cakes looked good.

Staff pleasant and friendly.

I picked up latest copy of The Independent Brighton & Hove Coffee Guide which was useful as I could not find my copy. The number of coffee shops has doubled since the guide was published last year, though I would question the inclusion of some of the entries.

The coffee shop was empty. Maybe because Sunday they used to be closed or maybe because their coffee is crap and far better coffee at Coffee at 33 further down the street.

Society Café revisited

June 22, 2019


A little further down St Michael’s Street from The Handle Bar, opposite Oxford Union, Society Café.

I looked in Society Café a few days ago, but no coffee as do not take cash. Today I tried credit card, but did not work. A friend tried her Chinese card, surprisingly it worked. I think because of one of the card readers which bypasses the banks. I am still though not happy their refusal to accept cash and they need to think again. Use of cards profits the banks and tracks people.

From Society newspaper

A place for everyone

Not exclusive
All welcome
Cant’t wait to meet you

But not if wish to use cash or for what ever reason lack the credit rating  to obtain a card.

I had a cappuccino which was excellent.

Espresso from Origin, guest coffee for V60 from Round Hill Roastery.

Staff very professional.

Picked up Society and down the cellar found an earlier issue. It started as newspaper, now a magazine. Next edition due soon.

They also had latest edition of Standart. My friend paid with her Chinese credit card and I gave her the cash.

The Handle Bar revisited

June 22, 2019

Looked in The Handle Bar but did not stop, upstairs too noisy and the coffee bar downstairs no time for a coffee.