Archive for the ‘Oxford’ Category

Jericho Coffee Traders

September 23, 2019

When a coffee shop slags off another coffee shop, we know there is something wrong.

On a visit to Oxford I was heading to Colombia Coffee Roasters in the Oxford Covered Market only to my annoyance I found closed.

I have passed by Jericho Coffee Traders in the past, but never found open. With Colombia Coffee Roasters not open, it afforded the opportunity to try.

I have had mixed reports on Jericho Coffee Traders, none of which were favourable. Time to see for myself.

An interesting building on the outside, quite small on the inside, roast their own coffee.

My cappuccino was ok, not great, nothing to go out of my way for, not on a par with the best coffee shops in Oxford.

I was somewhat surprised to be told Colombia Coffee Roasters do not know how to roast coffee. This I queried as I know not to be true. Not my experience nor that of anyone I know who knows good coffee. They roast excellent coffee.

My only criticism of Colombia Coffee Roasters is their failure to note roast date on their bags of coffee.

I queried, asked to explain the reasoning.

I was then fed bullshit. It was my opinion, it was their opinion. Lacked any understanding coffee.

Then followed by a diatribe of how bad Colombia Coffee Roasters treat their staff. Not my experience, indeed it has been quite the opposite.

Afternoon in Oxford

August 1, 2019

Coolish in the morning then turned hot.

GWR Gatwick to Reading train no water in the one and only toilet. Disgusting. This spreads disease throughout the train.

Why do we have to put up with these Third World Conditions when travelling by train?

CrossTrain was waiting at the platform. It was empty, by the time it left full.

Why a bull outside Oxford Station hidden down the side of the Said Business School.

Oxford is starting to experience the same problem as Berlin, rental cycles dumped everywhere.

Interesting wheel lock on the cycles. The cycles are very heavy. Cannot be pleasant to ride.

I spoke with a traffic warden. He said it was a major problem. He said the bikes are ridden slowly, the problem being the weight. He told a coach to turn off its engine.

The problem is an unregulated sector. Who is responsive if someone trips over an abandoned cycle? The rental company, the cyclist?

From Oxford Station, a pleasant walk along the Oxford Canal to Jericho.

Many of the houseboats are little more than barely floating wrecks.

Cross over the canal on the foot bridge, zigzag, and it brings out opposite 101 Coffee Espresso Bar.

Beyond the footbridge the paintwork on a boat being scoured. The water full of pollutants.

Note: Oxford City Council were notified of this major pollution incident, sent a reminder. They lacked the courtesy to reply.

I carried on until the next bridge, crossed the canal, more dumped cycles, then walked via the road to 101 Coffee Espresso Bar.

101 Coffee Espresso bar. Excellent coffee.

Coffee on the shelves a little old. They had been at a festival and surplus left over. I suggested the Colombian coffee from Coffee Gems was an absolute must to order.

Looked in Branca Food. A little deli, though not so little when walk in. I think I will try one day.

The local recommendation is, good place to eat, but avoid the coffee, for coffee 101 Coffee Espresso Bar.

Then back along the canal to main road, then to the street food market.

I could have carried on down the road past Branca Food, but the canal is a more scenic route and avoids the traffic.

The standards on the market are abysmally low. How many have hand washing facilities? Ice cream van with engine running. Too many using plastic.

I asked one stall why using polystyrene boxes. At least he was honest, would not make enough profit. No, it is not ok to externalise your costs. If your businesses is not viable, close down.

Looked in The Handle Bar. Downstairs empty, moronic music blasting out. Upstairs empty.

Quirky, worth looking in, The Handle Bar though is not somewhere I would recommend. Coffee mediocre, always noisy, service poor and the staff rude.

To Society Café. I was only looking in to see of they had issue 3 of Society. No. I picked up issue 2. No copies left of issue 1.

Commonsense has broken out. They have reverted back to accepting cash.

I stayed and had a V60. As it had now tuned hot, I would have preferred an iced filter coffee. Barista knew how to make, but too much trouble to make.

A brief chat with head barista. I suggested the Colombian coffee from Coffee Gems was an absolute must to order. Currently guest coffee from Origin and Round Hill Coffee.

I have been able to have a coffee in the past at Society Café but only because I was with a Chinese friend and she paid with her Chinese credit card. To her surprise it was accepted.

Filming by one of the colleges.

A new Endeavour? A lot of film crew.

Note: Radcliffe Camera not Ratcliffee Camera. Android not so helpfully auto-correcting.

On to Oxford Covered Market to Colombian Coffee Roasters.

I stopped off and had a 1/3 pint at the craft beer stall.

Excellent cappuccino at Colombian Coffee Roasters. Not so the smoothie. It sldudl be made from fresh fruit.

Indians taking coffee. Must have filled the cup of coffee half full with sugar.

A bag of Wush Wush coffee. Expensive, £25 per 250g bag.

A alk alng thev River Thanmes.

I watched a duck usher duckling across a path.

By now I was running late.

I psoke to an Ethioppain girl. I do not think I have eber met a girl from Ethipia. She was intetsred in the vcoffee shops. I took her ona tour and showed her Cafe Society.

Wer tenwlaked to the Oxford Canal sayt and had a chat.

Now I was going to be very lucky if aI cuaht a train at at nine. I was lucky, I caught, what I thought was a slwo train was no stop to Readin.

Shock horror. In time to miss a train. No trains for at least an hour.

For once I was gateful for a train being delayed. Otherwsie over an hour late fo the next train.

— to b e continued —

No trains Reading to Gatwick

July 10, 2019

I thought leaving Oxford at 7-30 I would catch the same time train as I did a couple of weeks ago leaving at 6-30. Either I was too late or no CrossCountry train, which I had assumed runs hourly. Wait until 2006 and catch train for Paddington which stops at Reading.

Train ran slow. I just missed a train from Reading.

Next train at 2235, no trains for two hours for what is a service of two trains an hour.

What of trains to Gatwick, planes to catch, what alternative transport has been arranged? Nothing, no information, no announcements.

I was told to find a Duty Manager.

A train to Basingstoke, leaving at 2107. I could go a very long way round. Guard and driver see me not looking very happy. Asked what’s up, I told them. I asked could I catch the Basingstoke train. They said yes.

At Basingstoke just missed a train. Have to cross to a central platform to see display for trains, then cross back again. A girl came in late from Salisbury, next rain to Reading cancelled.

She asked did the train I was waiting for go to Woking. I said yes, then told her she had just missed a Woking train.

On reflection I realised if she wanted Reading, she wanted Wokingham not Woking.

I caught the train to Woking, then bus. Arrived home 2220, 15 minuted before the train would have left Reading had I waited two hours.

Nightmare. Go out anywhere, never know if will get back home. Last week stranded at Alton, no trains, all trains cancelled, no information.

Situation is not helped by stations not manned, or at large stations like Reading, no staff to be, no announcements, no apology. And no one cares, at least the train companies do not care. The staff are almost begging for the trains to be taken into public ownership as they a see on a daily basis how bad the service has become.

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.

Carmina Burana rehearsal

June 22, 2019

Oxford University Church stayed a while for rehearsal of Carmina Burana thatt was to be performed at a concert that evening.

Sadly unable to stay for the evening performance.

— to be continued —

Oxford Covered Market revisited

June 22, 2019

Oxford Covered Market established in 1774.

A committee was formed in 1772, when it was decided to build a covered market to rid the town centre of untidy market stalls. Half the money was provided by the town half by the university.

Explored more than my previous visit to Oxford Covered Market when I walked through but still only small part of this amazing market.

Three stalls worth visiting, a craft beer stall, Colombia Coffee Roaster and a cheese stall.

I was reminded of the Spice Market of Istanbul, without the pungent smell of spices.

This is how markets should be, a veritable Aladdin’s Cave of wonders. It puts to shame the Central Market in Lincoln.

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

Society
Inclusive
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.

Oxford street food market

June 22, 2019

An excellent street food market, spoilt for choice.

I settled on souvlaki as I had already decided, but other stalls were very tempting.

Oxford City Council needs to set higher environmental standards, assuming set any.

A fruit juice stall with moronic music blasting out should be told to cease, as they are disturbing the peace and quiet of the square.

Food served in polystyrene boxes not acceptable.

There needs to be bench seats as n York for people to sit and enjoy the food.

The street food market comparable with a street food market I happened upon in Berlin. That in Berlin market better, but still excellent choice and variety. As a street food market should be.

Half the market is a traditional market at least it is on a Wednesday when bread, fruit and vegetables. Not so on a Saturday, second-hand books, art, Jewellery, music.

Oxford street food market puts to shame the travelling circuses hosted in Lincoln.

Saturday in Oxford

June 22, 2019

From an afternoon visit to Oxford a few days ago, I knew not to hop on the bus, not to head into the ugly city centre, but to take the left hand fork which leads straight into the old part of Oxford, bypassing the ugly city centre.

Half way along the road, a detour to excellent street food market where spoilt for choice.

I settled on souvlaki as I had already decided, but other stalls were very tempting.

It was then to The Handle Bar. A look in but did not stop. Far too noisy and the staff leave much to be desired but quirky and worth popping in.

A little further down St Michael’s Street from The Handle Bar, opposite Oxford Union, Society Café. I looked in a few days ago, but did not take a 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 the refusal to accept cash and they need to think again. Use of cards profits the banks and tracks people.

I had a cappuccino which was excellent. Picked up Society and down the cellar found an earlier issue. It stated as a 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.

It was then to the Oxford Covered Market. Explored more than before but still only small part of this amazing market. A 1/3 pint of craft beer off one stall. Beer served in 1/3 and 2/3 pint glass. Not something I have encountered before.

I asked where the cheese stall was. Behind the fruit and vegetable stall. Had I not been told where to find I would never have found.

Excellent cheese stall. I bought Comte and another cheese Cione which I have not tried before.

Further exploration of Oxford, on entering Oxford University Church found they were about to begin rehearsal of Carmina Burana. Almost sat wn with the performers.

Just time yo get back to Oxford Covered Market for a coffee at Colombia Coffee Roaster. Earlier it was too busy. It was still busy. I do not think I have ever seen a coffee shop so busy. Sad to learn their coffee roaster no longer in use. They have a Probat at another location in Oxford but not nearby.

I asked of chocolate. They have bean-to-bar from Colombia, but not in stock and do not know when next consignment.

Heading to Magdalen Bridge passed by what on both sides of the street was claimed to be site of oldest coffee shop in Oxford. One now a greasy spoon cafe serving Italian coffee, the other The Grand Café a tea room.

What a pity not open as speciality coffee to honour the origins of the location.

We walked past Magdalen College to Magdalen Bridge. Disappointed not possible to walk along the River Cherwell. Can descend to the river for a boat, but not footpath beside the river.

Magdalen College is reputed to be one of the richest Oxford colleges, even containing within its walls it own deer park.

A detour maybe a short cut which was like walking along a country lane, maybe once was. Brings out into Broad Street, which is then easy for Oxford Station.

Passed under the Bridge of Sighs, which appears to be modelled on bridge of same name in Venice, hence the name.

Then back to Oxford Station. Very lucky as last time, arrive as train pulling in.

Again lucky at Reading in time for train to Gatwick. But no working wifi.

— to be continued