Archive for the ‘NotoCosta’ Category

Love & Scandal

June 22, 2017

A detour to Lower Marsh to investigate a street food market I happened upon Love & Scandal.

 

Would I like to try a coffee?

Yes, but sorry no time, I am on my way to a coffee festival, Union Summer Carnival at Union Hand-Roasted Coffee, somewhere in Docklands, one of the top coffee roasters in the country.

Maybe later, If I have time.

On leaving Union Hand-Roasted Coffee, I decided I would return.

Too hot to sit outside, we sat outside discussing Cyprus, Turkey, the divided island and the Middle East. It turned out my host was a Turkish-Cypriot. Interesting to hear from the other side.

Eventually I got around to ordering falafel wrap, hummus and salad. Followed by a cappuccino.

The coffee used, a blend form Alchemy, Opus Espresso v 12.  Like Pioneer from Horsham Coffee Roasters, the blend is seasonally adjusted to attempt to retain a similar flavour profile, cocoa, hazelnut, orange.

I had not heard of Alchemy, but speaking to a  Greek barista at Union Summer Carnival, he said it was a highly regarded coffee roaster.

Only for the last couple of weeks, Love & Alchemy has been opening in the evening as a bistro.

Sadly I was the only one there.

On leaving sometime after ten o’clock, I was surprised to find a man with a van from Grimsby selling fresh fish.

 

 

The Dispensary Kitchen

June 3, 2017

Although I was earlier than usual in Winchester, I was too late to have a coffee at Coffee Lab due to time spent at the street food market.

This though proved to be a mixed blessing, as I found The Dispensary Kitchen.

Earlier I had been recommended to try by the bank manger in Santander. Coffee Lab also recommended I try.

Banks managers used to flog dodgy financial products, for which a few years down the line the bank would be hit with multi-million pound fines. Now they play safe and recommend coffee shops.

A Victorian building, which has been sympathetically restored, stark modern furniture which provides a pleasant contrast.

A long chat with the owner, who also made me a cappuccino.

He actually apologised, was not the barista, but no reason to apologise, it was an excellent coffee.

Beans a blend, Elixir 22, sourced from The Roasting Party, the same roastery that supplies Einstein and Heisenberg blends to Coffee Lab.

Named 22, as use 22 grams of coffee, the norm is 18.

A light roast, though not as light as the single origin roasts by Makusihi, which I am starting to think may be too light.

A fresh bag was opened for me. Not much of a aroma.

I kept the bag for reference. Journey home, wonderful aroma of the coffee wafting by.

Currently 1 kg bags. They may have smaller for retail sale.

Later in the evening The Dispensary Kitchen  turns into a restaurant.

A good idea, as makes better use of resources.

I have never understood the coffee shops in Guildford that close at five o’clock, turning away customers.

It is always a pleasure to visit a new coffee shop and be served excellent coffee.

Very new, had only opened the week before.

Winchester needs more quality businesses like this that take a pride in the quality of service and what they serve. Local businesses that recycle money within the local economy, not chains that serve rubbish and drain the local economy.

Winchester is starting to develop its own coffee culture: Flat Whites, Coffee Lab, Coffee Lab Academy, and now The Dispensary Kitchen. It was only a year ago that Coffee Lab opened.

Coffee at Gatwick Airport

June 2, 2017

What is the point of serving coffee if you cannot make the effort to serve a decent cup of coffee?

Costa

My instinctive reaction to spit it out, undrinkable.

Jamie Oliver

Jamie’s Coffee Lounge is variable from poor to just about acceptable.

But why source a rubbish Italian brand for catering supplies when there are excellent coffee roasters to choose from in London?

Joes Coffee House

Joes Coffee House clams to be a coffee shop, but not a clue on coffee.

No idea of roast date, coffee not ground fresh for each cup, cappuccino made far too hot.

The porridge was ok and certainly better than the disgusting English breakfast served at Wetherspoon opposite.

They serve excellent fresh orange juice.

Coffee Berry coffee shop in Zorbas bakery

May 26, 2017

An interesting concept, a coffee shop within a bakery.

Also very odd, if not outright weird. A lot of thought gone into the equipment, the look, wasted on what is in essence a takeaway counter in a bakery.

The beans. Flavour or Premier? Er?

One stronger than the other. Why not simply say, a darker roast?

Roast date. Not a clue. Did not even understand the concept.

The beans were at least freshly ground.

The cappuccino was drinkable, one shot of the lighter roast. Better than Costa or Coffee Island, which is not saying a lot.

Freddo cappuccino not a clue how to make. Crushed ice, the milk poured in to mix with the coffee. Undrinkable. I had to spit it out in a nearby flower pot. If nothing else, indicted the poor quality of the coffee beans.

The girl serving, I would hesitate to call her a barista, tried her best, and was helpful, but lacked the necessary skills. Compounded by her lack of English. She apologised for her poor English. I apologised for my poor Greek.

In addition to two espresso machines, several different brew methods. But apart from show, what is the point when lack the necessary skills?

Served only in takeaway cups and for the freddo cappuccino even worse, plastic.

Need ceramic cups and glass.

Coffee Culture

May 5, 2017

I occasionally walk past Coffee Culture as I walk through the courtyard of The Angel Hotel. I have never popped in, as it is off putting the smokers hanging around outside.

Today I thought I would give it a try.

The decor is ok, but that is as good as it gets.

Everything they did, screamed they know nothing about coffee

I was offered coffee in normal size cup or an outlandishly large cup.

Never use a large cup.

I ordered a cappuccino.

It looked disgusting, and did not taste much better. But at least I was asked, did I want chocolate, it was not dumped on top.

Never use chocolate, use cocoa.

The coffee was a on a par with the free coffee out of the machine in Waitrose in Farnham.

A tad too hot, milky, watery, barely drinkable.

The best that could be said of my cappuccino, was served in an attractive cup, the same cups used by Harris + Hoole.

I walked out and left it.

Outside a board telling me an award winning coffee shop.

This once again emphasises the point, awards have become meaningless.

I do not know which award they are referring to, they are not one of the best coffee shops in Guildford, not by a long way, nor for that matter is Caracoli which has a board outside making that ridiculous claim.  It is like awarding Costa the nation’s favourite coffee shop brand, completely and utterly meaningless.

Whoever drew up the short list of coffee shops for Surrey, clueless on coffee.

The coffee beans used, catering supply for the trade, no roast date.

Why bother? There is no excuse these days for using poor quality coffee, other than cutting corners and do not care what you serve.

The notice also says, locally sourced. Since when has Scotland been local? There are plenty of coffee roasters locally or in London they could have used, could have used if they cared and knew anything about coffee.

And no, tea pigs is not quality tea.

Coffee Culture is not a coffee shop, it is a cafe that serves coffee masquerading as a coffee shop.

Cappuccino in Coffee Lab

May 3, 2017

Coffee Lab, if nothing else, I was glad of the warmth.

Did I wish to sit outside?

Normally yes, but not today, far too cold.

Can I please close the door?

Now a choice of two different blends, Einstein or Heisenberg.

I chose Einstein as I was familiar with it.

Excellent walnut cake, made by a local lady.

I sat in my second favourite place, by the window.

Lovely paper flowers.

Written on the mirror, courses they are running at Coffee Lab Academy in May.

I then popped around the corner to Coffee Lab Academy, for them to weigh me out a bag of Einstein beans.

As I was about to leave, in walked Dhan,

A  quick hi, sorry got to run, a bus to catch.

I just had time to suggest he checked out Standart, maybe stock it.

Cappuccino in Harris + Hoole

May 2, 2017

Shock horror, Harris + Hoole sold to tax dodging Caffè Nero.

Shock horror, Harris + Hoole no longer source their coffee beans from Union hand-roasted coffee, now source from tax dodging Caffè Nero.

Damning reviews on TripAdvisor.

Not good news.

Does this now mean, coffee in H+H no different to tax dodging Caffè Nero?

It was with trepidation I set foot in Harris + Hoole. Was I to be disappointed, never to cross the threshold again?

Same friendly staff. Always good sign.

Quiet downstairs, which was a big improvement.

Upstairs very busy, more like a working office, even a  couple holding a business meeting.

But first set the record straight.

Tax dodging Caffè Nero have not bought Harris + Hoole. They have bought the minority Tesco stake, which always was an anomaly.

Were Caffè Nero to buy the company, I can see they would find difficult to not resist the temptation to turn into Caffè Nero Plus.  At the moment Caffè Nero are operating at arms length, and let’s hope it remains that way.

Harris + Hoole have set up there own roastery in Neal Street in Covent Garden, the beans single origin, direct trade.  I was told today, the beans from Peru.

My cappuccino was excellent. I expect no less from the team at Harris + Hoole.

The damning reviews on TripAdvisor are complete and utter garbage.

Usually fake reviews are easily detected, no resemblance to reality, usually the only review. These are different, several reviews, which makes me curious.

The negative comments on the staff are not true. Nor on the quality of the coffee.

The staff are always friendly, time permitting, willing to inform the clientele about the coffee, but most importantly, they take huge pride in the coffee they serve.

The cakes are not the factory cakes found elsewhere.

Yes at times, dirty dishes are piling up on the tables. This is a management issue, too few staff. Two busy floors, only two staff, one taking orders, one serving the coffee, who clears the tables?

It merely serves to once again emphasise, reviews on TripAdvisor are worthless.

If you think they serve coffee in Costa, then do not review coffee shops, as you know nothing about coffee.

Similarity, if you eat in McDonald’s or KFC, then do not review restaurants.

As soon as they are able, H+H should get get rid of all their coffee shops in Tesco.

Wherever possible, transfer all the Caffè Nero coffee shops in Waterstone’s to Harris + Hoole.

Waterstone’s is kicking Costa out of their bookshops. In Lincoln, Costa has gone, to be replaced by W, their own in-house coffee shop. Same in Brighton, now W. In Lincoln, one bookshop has Caffè Nero. This could change to Harris + Hoole.

Maybe sell Standart. Though its sale may be restricted to indie coffee shops, certainly the top end of the coffee market.

I mentioned to the guys free coffee books and that James Hoffmann is crowdfunding his writings, to be published as The Best of Jim Seven.

 

Benita Bakery

May 1, 2017

Opposite Union Chapel, alongside Costa and tax-dodging Starbucks.

The decor excellent, but the same cannot be said of either the coffee or the pastries.

Sadly not a clue. The coffee not ground fresh for each cup, I checked what they use, a freshly opened bag, it smelt disgusting, no roast date, basically rubbish for catering supplies.  Pastries and stuff to be hotted up. No flapjacks or cookies.

The best to be said of the coffee, drinkable.

But why bother?

There can be no excuse for sourcing cheap rubbish coffee when in  London have Monmouth Coffee, Union hand-roasted, Square Mile.

Ethiopian Coffee Roasters

May 1, 2017

The London South Bank Street Food Market is held Friday, Saturday and Sunday, and a Monday if a Bank Holiday.

On this market there are two coffee stalls, one a battered old Citroen van, the other .

When a coffee stall adulterates its coffee with syrups, cannot be bothered to grind coffee fresh for each cup because it is too much trouble, then it is best avoided.

Which is why I had a coffee off . The other reason because I know they will serve me excellent  coffee.  I had actually been looking forward to this coffee since the day before.

Coffee off this stall is probably the best coffee in London.

I had a chat with the guy about their beans, but a girl from Brazil also was asking questions. I said would pop back. Sadly when I did, he had gone home.

But before the girl interrupted, as you are one of our regulars, would you like to come on a coffee trip to Ethiopia?

I had to say, no I am not a regular. I have chatted to the guy twice before, and once had a coffee, and that was over a year ago. But each time he recognises me, hence the regular.

The beans available on the stall: Yirgacheffe,  Sidamo and Harrar.

My cappuccino was excellent, a blend of two of their beans, Harrar and Sidamo Guji.

I took away a bag of coffee beans, Sidamo.

I then had hoped to visit Monmouth Coffee in Covent Garden, but found they were closed for the Bank Holiday.

 

Cappuccino in Krema

April 29, 2017

Krema, for a decent coffee.

For some perverse reason, everything came in reverse order, first a cappuccino, followed by a sausage roll, followed by soup.

Maybe my fault, as I ordered in reverse order.

I also bought a bag of coffee beans, Pioneer v4.0 from Horsham Coffee Roasters.