Archive for the ‘NotoCosta’ Category

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.





Harlequin Cafe and The Attic

April 20, 2018

On leaving Spring Espresso Lendal and wandering around, arrived back at York Minster, then found Harlequin Cafe and The Attic overlooking a small square, King’s Square.  I was actually heading towards a market or at least following a sign to a market.

First Floor Harlequin Cafe (closed) and on the second floor The Attic.

Through a door and up narrow stairs.

I have lumped the two together, but strictly speaking I should not as two different one a tea shop the other a coffee shop cum drinking den in the evening.  The only reason I have is because Harlequin Cafe was closed. All I could do was peer though the door and carry on upwards to The Attic, quite literally the attic.

Why was Harlequin Cafe closed, I asked on reaching The Attic. Why was it closed, I inquired? I learnt it closed at 3-30 in the afternoon Looking perplexed, I was told it was a tea room.

Not wishing for yet another cappuccino I chose, or was chosen for me, pour over Kalita Wave using a single origin from Has bean, I think a Burundi.

A signed copy of Coffeeography occupying pride of place on the shelf. I suggested why not invite Stephen Leighton for an afternoon of conversation, such an event of  conversation with Stephen Leighton had taken place one afternoon at Coffee Aroma.

A choice of KeepCup or ecoffee reusable cups. The black with Attic, far more attractive than ecoffee in Oxfam.

A short walk to a local market but now no time to have a wander round.

I asked the way to the station as now in a more modern less attractive part of the city and lost.

Spring Espresso Lendal

April 20, 2018

What a difference walking down a street can make.

Excellent brunch at Burr Coffee, the coffee awful.

Is my sense of taste awry? No, bad coffee.

Spring Espresso Lendal serves coffee from Square Mile, Red Brick espresso blend and single origin.

I have yet to have a bad Square Mile coffee and Spring Espresso Lendal was no exception.

Excellent cappuccino, restoring my faith that my sense of taste had not gone awry.

Did they have guest coffees? Occasionally, but very rarely as always a changing guest coffee from Square Mile.

I noticed a Synesso espresso machine. Showing an interest, I was told the only one in the country, at least of that model. Spring Espresso have a second coffee shop in York with a different Synesso.

On the counter a small cold brew tower. I have never seen one so small, though unusual to ever see one in the UK.  It was dripping at one drip every two seconds through the coffee and into a carafe below. Eight hours.  Odd though to serve with tonic.

Burr Coffee

April 20, 2018

Alighting at York Station the final stop, wandering through  the streets, over a bridge over the River Ouse and into the city centre.

Passed a couple of coffee shops, one of which was Brew and Brownie, but too hot to sit inside.  Ended at York Minster, back tracked to Lendal and found Burr Coffee.

Excellent brunch at Burr Coffee, the same cannot be said of the coffee. The cakes looked tempting, but I did not try.

Looking at the menu outside, brunch field mushrooms and halloumi cheese with pine nuts on toasted sourdough bread. Generous portion size and excellent.

North Star Coffee on sale, espresso blend and single origin, though no single origin served, no pour over.

I have had North Star before at Canopy Coffee, not good, therefore was curious.

Cappuccino ordered. It was terrible, chocolate dumped on top, scalding hot, undrinkable.

I kept taking a tentative sip whilst eating my lunch, but my opinion did not change, it was terrible coffee.

I had been tempted to buy a bag of North Star coffee was not sure which, though my decision had been made for me, as apart from The Docks an espresso blend, the single origin which I would have preferred, was all too old.  Having experienced an awful coffee, I decided not.

Further down the street, Spring Espresso Lendal serving Square Mile Coffee.  What a difference a few steps can make.

Sometimes I wonder, is my sense of taste awry. I then have a decent cup of coffee, and realise no, I have been served bad coffee.

Burr Coffee has on sale The North and North Wales Independent Coffee Guide in which they are listed.  The listing opens up a whole can of worms. If not serving quality coffee, why are they listed? How independent is this guide, what credibility, when coffee shops are paying £500 to be listed?

Burr Coffee, excellent for lunch, not somewhere for coffee.  A cafe serving coffee, not a coffee shop serving food.


Outpost Coffee

April 17, 2018

Popping in Ideas on Paper to pick up their one and only copy of Coffee Shop North, I was asked could I pop back.

Asking of coffee shops, I was given the same advice as my last visit from Chocolate Studio, exit Cobden Chambers, turn left and head off down the street.

This I did, first saying hi to the barista in Wired.

I found nothing, turned on my heels, then spotted Outpost Coffee.

A small coffee shop, roast their own coffee.

The coffee on sale in a box, though I was informed, the coffee beans are in a bag inside the box.

A selection of cakes.

Limited outside seating.

Chatting with the barista, he said they source their coffee from different suppliers, and are now establishing relationship with growers and engaging in direct trade.

Coffee cups not compostable, costs too high.

I suggest, hike the price of takeaway to cover the extra costs, offer discount if customers bring in their own clean cups for a  refill. They currently offer a 50p discount.

My cappuccino excellent, served in a strange cup, no handle resembling an extra large egg cup.

It was then just time to pop back to Ideas on Paper, collect my copy of Coffee Shop North and head for Nottingham Station.


The Speciality Coffee Shop

April 17, 2018

Lunch at 200 Degrees Nottingham Station.

I skipped coffee. I do not find their house blend great.  I wished to try their guest blend, which I have yet to try, though at their other coffee shop.

I headed off in roughly the right direction.  At Market Square headed off down Friar Lane, which is not as the name suggests a pleasant lane, though maybe once was, about to turn around, I found The Speciality Coffee Shop,  where I was greeted by Michelangelo, head barista and co-owner.

It is a myth Italians know about coffee, serve great coffee.  They do not.  Michelangelo though is one of those rare exceptions, an artist whose palette is coffee.

The Speciality Coffee Shop lives up to its name, a wide range of speciality coffee, from Origin, Alchemy, Gardrlli.

Rubens Gardrlli coffee roaster and owner of Gardelli Coffees won the World Coffee Roaster Championship in China last year.

Something I noticed, which I have not seen since Athens, coffee on offer with a Q of 90+. Was it from Ninety Plus? No, and Michelangelo apologised that he had nothing 90+ to offer me.

Michelangelo full of enthusiasm, the type of enthusiasm that is infectious, offered me a coffee to try.

At first I thought he was offering me a batch brew. I declined, until he told me it was a V60 he had just brewed.

It was excellent.  A Burundi. At least I thought a Burundi, but on reflection maybe a Rwandan.

I then tried an Ethiopian from the batch brew. I preferred the V60.

Then a cappuccino. Again excellent.

The cappuccino, Alchemy Elixir, very much like the coffee roasted in-house at Makushi aka Base Camp on Steep Hill, a light roast bringing out the intrinsic flavours.

An unusual coffee menu on the wall. No listing  of cappuccino, flat white etc. Instead filter or espresso, milk or no milk.

Do not know your flavour notes? A large mural covering the back wall may help.

A selection of cakes and savouries.

A board outside indicated the lunchtime menu.

I ended up spending most of the afternoon there, chatting with barista James and a few of the customers.

James showed me something new. Everyone knows, cannot make a cappuccino with fake milk, it looks disgusting, tastes disgusting.  Why even try? James blended in the pouring jug.  A strange beige colour. I tried. Not great, but we both agreed better than what is usually served with fake milk.

Last year, only one year after it had opened, The Speciality Coffee Shop was awarded the best independent business in Nottingham.  There are these days so many awards being handed out they have become worthless. Not in this case, well deserved.

Noticing the time, I realised I had to walk back to Market Square, find Ideas on Paper to pick up a copy of Coffee Shop North and maybe back copies of Standart if they had (they had not).

On my way Cold Brew Coffee, now being remained at £2 a coppy. Last visit £4 a copy, though in Lincoln it was £3 a copy.  Less than the cost of a cappuccino.

I did not think I had time to try any more coffee shops.

Ideas on Paper gave the same advice as on my last visit by Chocolate Studio exit Cobden Chambers, turn left, head off down the street to find coffee shops. This I did, first saying hi in Wired. I found nothing, turning on my heels I found Outpost Coffee.

Afternoon in Nottingham

April 17, 2018

An hour later than I would have wished in Nottingham thanks to appalling bus service, now three weeks running late, missed my train, had to wait an hour for the next train.

On my last visit I only just made the train, but today no.

Lunch at 200 Degrees Nottingham Station overlooking Nottingham Canal.

I skipped coffee. I do not find their house blend great.  I wished to try their guest blend, which I have yet to try, though at their other coffee shop.

I headed off in roughly the right direction.  At Market Square headed off down Friar Lane, which is is not as a the name suggests a pleasant lane, though maybe once was, about to turn around, I found The Speciality Coffee Shop,  where I was greeted by Michelangelo, head barista and co-owner.

Time pressing, I headed back to Market Square to find Ideas on Paper, to pick up a copy of Coffee Shop North and inquire back copies of Standart.

He was popping out, pop back in a few minutes.

I inquired of coffee shops. I was given the same advice as the previous week, exit out of Cobden Chambers, turn left and head off down the street.

This I did, sticking my head in Wired to say hi.

I found nothing, turned on my heals and headed back.

It was then I spotted Outback Coffee.

Back to Ideas on Paper, picked up the only copy Coffee Shop North. No did not have Standart. Experiencing the same problems as everyone else, distribution issues.

Minutes to spare, a cake from 200 Degrees Nottingham Station and hopped on the overcrowded train as it was about to pull out.

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.






April 6, 2018

We’re quirky, we’re truly independent, we’ve got a La Marzocco… and we’re not afraid to use it! — Wired

As I excited Cobden Chambers in Reading, I noticed opposite, I did not notice before, Wired.

Appearances can be very deceptive. Wired looks like a greasy spoon cafe and I wondered what I was doing there, until I noticed serving Allpress, on display Standart, Drift, and London Coffee as reading material.

I had not had Allpress since Jimmy Bean vanished from Winchester.

Good reasons to stay.

I found a window seat and ordered a cappuccino. A sprinkling of chocolate, not enough to bother me and send it back.

Excellent, far better than the house blend at 200 Degrees (I have yet to try their guest espresso).

Down below a basement, better described as a basement lounge, as completely different in character to the ground floor.

A handful of seats outside.

I could, if ordered a takeaway, returned to Cobden Chambers.

In addition to Allpress,  guest single origin coffee for pour over, Craft House Coffee (Colombia and Costa Rica) and Pharmacia.

Craft House Coffee is based in Sussex, though I have never come across them in Brighton.

All the coffee was available to buy as coffee beans.

I was kindly given a sample of CHC Burundi for coffee cupping.

Synchronicty: I opened Standart an early edition of which I had not seen before. It opened at an article about Martin Hudak, who I met last year at the Union Summer Carnival.

The Drift, was an early edition, volume 3 the Havana edition.

The very first time I have seen Drift in the UK, apart from Magazine Brighton.

I was advised, try Ideas on Paper, it is from where all the coffee books and magazines came, they may have a copy, they keep back copies.

I did and found the Havana edition. I did not think to inquire of earlier editions or of earlier editions of Standart.

Synchronicty:  Next day reading the Havana edition, a tweet of the strange yellow taxis featured in Drift.

Very knowledgeable, pleasant and helpful barista, the manager, not the owner, the owner I did not meet.


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.