Archive for the ‘Nottingham’ Category

Coffee at McDonald’s looks and tastes disgusting

November 24, 2018

This what is classed as news in Nottingham, takeaway coffee looks and tastes disgusting from McDonald’s.

For some perverse reason Nottingham Post decided to send one of their hacks out to taste the coffee at McDonald’s.

Column inch filling drivel which illustrates why our local papers are failing.

What did they expect to find, quality coffee?

Apart from being column inch filling drivel, this is little more than promotion for McDonald’s but without the obligatory warning at the top.

When a coffee shop adds syrups, it is to mask the taste of their awful coffee. When see a row of syrups, it is like flying a warning flag, we serve crap coffee.

Yuk: a large shot of delicious Arabica bean espresso, blended with a caramel biscuit flavour syrup and steamed organic milk from UK dairies. Topped with a swirl of chocolate cream and a caramel drizzle.

McDonald’s peddles junk food, we have an obesity crisis, which is why junk food adverts have been banned by London Mayor Sadiq Khan from the London Transport network. Nottingham should follow suit.

I would no more wish to eat at McDonald’s, let alone drink coffee. Nor would I wish to drink coffee in any of the corporate coffee chains. Nor would I wish to drink coffee out of a takeaway coffee cup.

What makes this article all the worse, is that it is possible to obtain great coffee in Nottingham from independent specialty coffee shops, local businesses that care about coffee, make a visit to Nottingham worth while, that give character and a sense of place, that recycle money within the local economy.

200 Degrees near Nottingham Station, roast their own coffee. Excellent for lunch. Coffee not great, but better than the corporate chains.

200 Degrees at Flying Horse Walk, dark and gloomy, lacking in ambience.

Cartwheel Coffee, roast their own coffee. Excellent cakes and coffee.

The Specialty Coffee Shop, excellent coffee, constantly rotating guest coffee.

Wired, excellent coffee and cakes, a wide ever changing selection of guest coffee.

Also visit Cobden Chambers opposite Wired, several independent businesses in a courtyard. A must visit Ideas on Paper.

Outpost Coffee, roast their own coffee. Excellent coffee and cakes.

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V60 Japanese iced filter shaken not stirred

September 12, 2018

James Bond likes his martini shaken not stirred, that was my V60 Japanese iced filter coffee at Outpost Coffee.

A V60, no, I changed my mind a V60 Japanese iced coffee. But with an added twist, as James Bond would say, shaken not stirred, shaken in a cocktail shaker. Even though I observed how it was made,I queried what was served, as noticeable difference, a different taste.

V60 made as a V60, but half the water as ice, which instantly chills the coffee as drips through.

I say half, I am assuming the ratio was 1:1.

The coffee was a very expensive Kenyan, sold only by the bottle at £10 per bottle.

I had tried on my last visit. The taste was different, very fruity. Though the only real comparison would be to try both methods, not rely on memory.

I think the agitation, introduction of air, has made a difference. Think Champagne.

It was though an excellent drink of coffee.

Bartek Dabrowski

September 12, 2018

I encountered Bartek Dabrowski playing Spanish guitar in the street.

A rarity, he displayed he was on bandcamp.

I picked up two albums, Balance and Escape to the Happiness.

Although I did not recall Bartek Dabrowski I recognised one of his albums, Balance. We had met before in Lincoln about 18 months ago.

Cartwheel Coffee

September 12, 2018

Following directions given by Nelo’s coffee kiosk, I this time easily found Cartwheel Coffee. A lovely building, next door a cobbler and shoe shop, out the back a courtyard and tea shop, all within the same building, Enfield Chambers.

Cartwheel Coffee roast their own coffee. Looking at the coffee, freshly roasted and very high Q grade, high 80s if not over 90.

I ordered a cappuccino and flapjack. The flapjack contained beetroot, yuk. Maybe I struck lucky, no beetroot, or maybe, a tiny amount for flavour without the vile taste of beetroot. The flapjack excellent.

Cartwheel Coffee is listed in The Great Food Club Handbook 2018, only it is not listed. Confused, so were they. Listed on-line but not in the book. Does one have to pay for a listing in the book, if yes, then the guide lacks all credibility. I was less impressed by The Great Food Club Handbook 2018 compared with The Great Food Club Handbook 2017. Places omitted I would list, places listed I would omit.

Afternoon in Nottingham

September 12, 2018

A train an hour later to Nottingham. I could have caught a train an hour earlier, but as previous visit to Nottingham two weeks ago, with unreliable bus service, would probably have missed, as situation made worse by barriers at the station with station staff refusing to allow passengers to pass through without a ticket even though as soon as the train departs, a guard comes through and will sell a ticket. Train companies hate passengers, they are a bloody inconvenience for whom they have to provide a reliable train service.

Outside Nottingham Station, a coffee kiosk, Nelo’s. Last visit had advised of a coffee shop that I could not find. I asked again.

I noticed a lot more tables outside Hopkinson. Was this my imagination? No, I was assured there was a lot more tables.

Hopkinson is an amazing building, at the moment shrouded in scaffolding and netting. Inside a veritable rabbit warren.

Inside where there was when I last looked, a counter selling tea and coffee. I asked, and what was there now, Hops Coffee House and Bar was new, only been open a month. The tables outside they had been given from an Octoberfest. But what a depressing lost opportunity, beer from corporate chemical factory coffee LavAzza.

Lunch at 200 Degrees, sat overlooking Nottingham Canal.

Lunch at 200 Degrees is excellent, the coffee at best mediocre.

Every town these days has one if not more free glossy magazines. They are always rubbish. The one rare exception Viva Brighton. I have never though seen anything as bad as In Nottingham, which was piled on the shelf where I ate my lunch.

A couple of years ago, Guildford had cows, Brighton snodogs, Lincoln Barons, last year Lincoln Knights, this year tail fins.

Dotted around Nottingham, fat robins, which go under the name of Hoodwinked. Why Hoodwinked I have absolutely no idea.

Following directions given by Nelo’s coffee kiosk, I this time easily found Cartwheel Coffee. A lovely building, next door a cobbler and shoe shop, out the back a courtyard and tea shop, all within the same building, Enfield Chambers.

Cartwheel Coffee roast their own coffee. Looking at the coffee, freshly roasted and very high Q grade, high 80s if not over 90.

I ordered a cappuccino and flapjack. The flapjack contained beetroot, yuk. Maybe I struck lucky, no beetroot, or maybe, a tiny amount for flavour without the vile taste of beetroot. The flapjack excellent.

Cartwheel Coffee is listed in The Great Food Club Handbook 2018, only it is not listed. Confused, so were they. Listed on-line but not in the book. Does one have to pay for a listing in the book, if yes, then the guide lacks all credibility. I was less impressed by 2018 compared with 2017. Places omitted I would list, places listed I would omit.

A quick visit to The Speciality Coffee Shop to see what guest coffee in stock. No time for a coffee.

On my way to Wired I encountered Bartek Dabrowski playing Spanish guitar in the street.

A quick look in Ideas on Paper in Cobden Chambers.

Then to Wired. Sadly who I wished to see not there. I left her a copy of the indie guide to Brighton coffee shops, as she had recently visited Brighton.

They made me a takeaway. Not what I ordered. Before they threw it away, I took it outside to a homeless guy selling Big Issue. He was very grateful.

Then to Outpost Coffee. A V60, no, I changed my mind a V60 Japanese iced coffee. But with an added twist, as James Bond would say, shaken not stirred, shaken in a cocktail shaker. Even though I observed how it was made,I queried what was served, as noticeable difference a different taste.

I just made the train leaving Nottingham at 1721, luckily it was running a couple of minutes late, else I would have missed the train. Not so lucky packed in like sardines. The train service at peak times a disgrace, only two coaches. It should have been at least three coaches.

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.

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 Specialty 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 Specialty 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.

Lunch at 200 Degrees Nottingham Station

April 17, 2018

As my last visit to Nottingham, excellent lunch at 200 Degrees Nottingham Station.

As my last visit, I skipped coffee. Their house blend is not great. I wished to try their guest blend, but wished to try at their other coffee shop, which I have yet to find.

I headed off in what I thought was the correct direction, did not find, but did find The Speciality Coffee Shop where I spent the a large part of the afternoon.