Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Coffee cupping at Taylor St Roasted

July 18, 2017

Taylor St Baristas are half a dozen coffee shops in London. The gold standard.

They used to have a coffee shop in Brighton, which was excellent, but sadly it closed a couple of years ago. It was in the wrong location. It was a pity they did not relocate or let the staff and customers acquire as an open coop and run as an indie coffee shop.

Having had fingesr burnt with Harris + Hoole, focus is on Tayor St Baristas and organic growth.

The latest venture Taylor St Roasted, a coffee roastery, to supply the coffee shops, and to supply customers direct.

Taylor St Baristas were supplied by Union Hand-Roasted Coffee. A hard act to follow. Was it a wise move to open their own roastery? Too many are going into roasting beans who know not a thing about roasting coffee beans. A long chat with their master coffee roaster. He knows his stuff.

On walking in, I noticed one large roaster and a row of half a dozen Probat roasters for sample roasting.

A fascinating introductory talk by Henry Clifford, coffee trader from D R Wakefield green coffee bean merchants.

Coffee beans sourced from one producer, different varieties, different plots, different processing of the beans.  Plus from the same farms, two lots of beans from Horsham Coffee Roasters for comparison.

Horsham Coffee Roasters

We’re very excited to announce our new lots from the Los Nogales project in El Salvador. Located in the Apanaca Llamatepec region of El Salvador, Los Nogales is a very special farm. Launched by the farm’s owners, the Salaverria family, Project Nogales is a unique opportunity through which buyers are invited to chose their coffee by plot of land, process and variety. We have chosen two lots processed two different ways from the El Roble plot, which is planted with Red Bourbon. One lot has been processed using the Natural method and the other is fully washed and then soaked, a method that has become widely known as the Kenyan process. After pulping, fermentation and washing the coffee is then soaked in fresh water which allows proteins and amino acids to develop which is thought to result in higher levels of acidity and complexity in the cup profile.

Direct Trade: Taylor St Roasted go through an intermediary, who works in partnership with the growers, will offer highr price for quality.

The growers were interested in participating in the project, Los Nogales Project.

Now down to business, the cupping session.

Beans ground, smell the beans.

I had mugged up before on coffee cupping, Standart issue 6 and Real Fresh Coffee.

An aside. Coffee cupping is to coffee what wine tasting is to wine.

I did not know, would I notice a difference between the different coffees, I think a dozen.

Surprisingly yes.

What I also noticed was that one of the coffees from Horsham appeared identical to one of those from Taylor St Roasted.

Next add hot water, leave for four minutes to brew.

As the coffee is brewing, a crust forms on the surface of each cup of coffee.

Next break the crust. An aroma will erupt from the cup.

Now down to tasting.

Each time with a clean spoon, slurp the coffee.

Again I could notice the different tastes. One tasted over roasted and I did not like. A  few were very tea like.

Again I noticed identical with a coffee from Horsham, but, what was curious, it was not the same two coffees. as before

All the coffees from the same farm, identical roast profile (Horsham would have been different) and yet very noticeable different tastes.

Occasionally a coffee shop may have a cupping in the evening for example Madame Waffle. How they do this I do not know, but at a guess, different coffees, maybe a bag of coffee from a supermarket for contrast. Maybe also look at the beans first, note the defects in the supermarket coffee. Thus would expect to see differences in cupping.

What surprised me was how noticeable were the differences, for Los Nogales Project coffee beans all from the same farms, a difference in how the beans were processed, the varieties, the plot.

Note: Between picking the coffee cherries and shipping out the green beans, coffee beans are processed to remove the flesh of the coffee cherry.  On a bag of speciality coffee, in addition to information on origin, maybe variety, maybe Q grade, it may include notes on processing.

It was then beer. Bottled beer from a craft brewery.

— to be continued —-

V60 Japanese iced coffee

July 18, 2017

V60, as with Chemex, is a pour over filter coffee.

Pour hot water, just off boiling, over the ground coffee, collect below.

The difference with Japanese iced coffee, is that the hot coffee drips straight into a jug of ice to be immediately chilled.

Note: This is not cold brew coffee. Cold brew coffee is made with cold not hot water, made over a period of hours, not minutes.  For more on cold brew coffee see Cold Brew Coffee.

Pour hot water into the V60 filter, then discard. This cleans the filter and for a hot coffee warms the jug cf warming the tea pot.

Note: To appreciate why cleanse the filter. Fill two mugs with hot water, into one place a filter paper.  Leave for four minutes. Taste the water in both mugs.

Special thanks to the baristas at Coffee Island in Covent Garden for indulging me and making a Japanese iced coffee.

— to be continued —-

Bar Italia

July 18, 2017

In the back of Real Fresh Coffee are two pages, easily missed, of famous cafés, only five listed, of which Bar Italia in Soho is one.

Established  in 1949 by Lou and Caterina Polledri, Bar Italia in Soho is claimed to be the oldest coffee shop in London.

It was from here on 26 January 1926 at 22 Frith Street, though not then a coffee shop, John Logie Baird made his first TV broadcast, the first TV broadcast in the world.

It too me a while to find Frith Street in Soho then Bar Italia.

Italians are infamous for awful coffee, and were it not for the mention in Real Fresh Coffee, I would not have sought it out, and even then it was with trepidation, wondering was this to be another wasted journey when pushed for time.

Walking through the door, very much entering a time warp, 1950s, or maybe 1960s, then ruined by the large widescreen TV occupying most of the back wall.

Italian coffee is that awful coffee found in Costa and tax dodging Caffe Nero.

I ordered a cappuccino, expecting the worse, look awful, made with chocolate dumped on top to disguise how awful.

I was pleasantly surprised, a well crafted cappuccino.

A pleasant late afternoon, very warm, a helpful waitress escorted me to a table outside an Italian restaurant.

What did it taste like?

It was excellent. One of the best coffees in London.

Inside, a wide range of delicious looking cakes, and savoury food too.

Next time, maybe lunch here.

An ancient cash till, equally ancient espresso machine, maybe both original when the coffee shop opened.

On the back wall, a large signed poster from Rocky Marciano.

I asked of the coffee. Their own blend roasted for them.

Very much old Soho, much of which greed has destroyed in the last decade.

— to be continued —-

Day in London

July 18, 2017

A hot day, not even a coolish start.

As thunderstorm expected later, half an hour in the garden, long grass cut, grass seed sown.

Too hot for London, a day for sitting in the shade of a  tree in my garden.

But then, crossing Hungerford Bridge, with stunning view down river, I thought no different to being in a city in Europe, indeed surrounded by foreigners I could be in Europe.

On arrival, a detour to Love & Scandal.  A mistake, as the falafel was not good, but the fresh orange juice was excellent.

I  learnt from a helpful Australian  woman who preferred to sit in the coffee shop than her office, that there was another coffee shop further down Lower Marsh, roasted their own coffee, but closed at three.

I did check. And yes, closed at three. I asked why. They said they liked their afternoons.

I also learnt, street food market every day, not as I thought Thursdays and Fridays and that it too closes at three.

On my way to Love & Scandal I passed by a bookshop. The guy remembered me and said we have a coffee book in. It was outside on a table. I looked. Of no interest. A book of recipes using coffee.

I cut through Waterloo Station. Quicker than walking around.

Free cans of Lucozade, free tea.

I had intended to have a coffee off the kiosk at the foot of the steps for Hungerford Bridge but far too hot. The fresh lemonade was too tempting. It was excellent, though I wish would not fill with ice.

I sat and chatted with two girls from Latin America, one from Argentina, the other Venezuela. Conversation switched back and forth between English and Spanish.

Across Hungerford Bridge, through Embankment Gardens,  across The Strand, Covent Garden, then cut through China Town into Soho.

A Chinese lady invited me into her parlour fora massage. Sorry no time.

I was after Frith Street, which took me some time to find, in the end I had to ask.

What I was seeking, once Frift Street was found, was Bar Italia, claimed to be the oldest coffee shop in London.

Bar Italia, well worth the search. Excellent cappuccino. But, wonderful atmosphere ruined by widescreen TV.

Then to Coffee Island in Covent Garden.

I was after Standart issue 8. Third time lucky, they had in stock.

Not really time for a coffee, but I decided to try Japanese iced coffee using V60.

Then dash to Charing Cross Station, train to Lewisham, DLR to Depford Bridge, then find Taylor St Roasted for cupping session.

Interesting view from the train of route I usually walk. Front carriage of train from Charing Cross fairly empty. Packed when it pulled into London Bridge. When I alighted at Lewisham, I saw the carriages behind packed in like sardines.

This was the only reason I was in London on one of the hottest days of the year, and had treked out to Depford, a cupping session at Taylor St Roasted.

Well worth the visit.

Back the same way to Waterloo East. Something to eat in Lower Marsh. Missed train.

— to be continued —-

Coffee House at 62 Haydon Place

July 14, 2017

I had popped in Food for Thought, where I was recommended a new coffee shop further down the street. After a wasted journey to Oxfam Bookshop to see if they had any coffee books, they had not, I decided to check it out.

From North Street head off down the street passed Food for Thought, keep on going, past Waitrose, and there on the corner, opposite Waitrose car park, 62 Haydon Place.

Nicely laid out.  Outside seating.

Coffee is Square Mile. Also guest coffee.  During my visit two guest coffees from Glen Lyon Coffee Roasters, a blend and an Ethiopian coffee.

They tell me they wish to have guest coffees.

I suggest try Karuna Coffee.  Also Ethiopian Coffee Roasters.

I mention Caravan, which I had found in The Deli at 80 last week in Finsbury Park. I am told a very good coffee, which confirms my thoughts. If a competent barista, then would be very good.

I am offered the guest coffee., the Ethiopian single origin.  I find a little over roasted, and at the same time, a little weak. Maybe it was only one shot.  I would have preferred the Square Mile.  Ethiopian coffee from Ethiopian Coffee Roasters is better.

Whilst there, I notice a constant flow of people, more than I ever see at Surrey Hills Coffee, which when I pass by is always empty. 62 Haydon Place is out of the way, apart from opposite Waitrose, therefore must be spreading by word-of-mouth, which is how I learnt, as I would never have known of otherwise, which is good news.

They close at five. I suggested six, maybe even seven, for the summer.

The big problem with Guildford, the little coffee shops close at five which is far too early. They stand at the door turning customers away, which is bizarre.  Why does anyone turn away business? But I accept, long hours if open at eight in the morning to catch the morning trade. Winter is different close at five.

There are too many coffee shops opening that know nothing about coffee. Esquires Coffee is a good example. If wish for rubbish undrinkable coffee, we have Costa, Caffe Nero and tax-dodging Starbucks. It is therefore always good to find a coffee shop opening where they are passionate about coffee.

Definitely a coffee shop to visit in Guildford.

Now have four places for coffee, FCB coffee kiosk on Guildford Station, Harris + Hoole in North Street and Dylan’s ice cream at The Village.

I am calling 62 Haydon Place. I had to go back and ask, what is this coffee shop called? It is actually called Canopy, but I think 62 Haydon Place is a far better name, and as it is writ above the shop in gold lettering, I think that is what they should call it.

If 62 Haydon Place are regularly changing the guest coffee, meanwhile Food For Thought who recommended the coffee shop are looking for recommendations of quality coffee to stock, why not an informal arrangement whereby Food For Thought stock the guest coffee, direct to the Coffee House to taste, and vice a versa the Coffee House direct to Food for Thought to buy the beans.

I’ve got LD

July 8, 2017

A woman stood in the street watching fireworks, jangling a bunch of keys like a jailer, asks me have they finished?

I assume yes, end of a concert, ends with fireworks.

I’ve got LD.

Not knowing what is LD, I step back in case some infectious disease.

What is LD?

I have learning disability.

Oh, you are a but thick.

Yes, but only a little bit.

I am then told she is in charge even though one of the clients, as no staff in the building.

She has locked everyone in their rooms, hence the keys.

Are they dangerous.

No, just not very capable.

How long will it take to get from there to here?

Ten minutes, maybe half an hour as will have to get out.

My new found friend then tells me some of the clients are out socialising, that is why no staff, as they have to be with them.

Got to go, I should not be out, not allowed after ten, and I am in charge, got to do meds.


I got to give the clients their meds and their insulin, and off she goes.

Is this how social services or whatever agency it was functions, the lunatics in charge of the asylum?

Afternoon in Farnham

July 8, 2017

Another very warm day.

Alight from bus and walk along riverside walk, up through Gostrey Meadow.

I wanted a book on coffee, a specific book on coffee, Real Fresh Coffee. I looked in the second hand shops, including Oxfam bookshop, nothing on coffee.

Soup in Gail’s. Usually no soup, even though always says soup on the counter. I order soup, red pepper and basil, with bread. Usually a chunk of brown bread, but today two slices of white bread.  Also a small roll with smoked salmon. Quite generous portion of smoked salmon. The soup had an unpleasant bitter taste. So long since been able to get soup, I forget their soup has this unpleasant metallic bitter taste. I have raised this before, queried what it is, but no one knows.

Gail’s source their own blend of coffee from Union Hand-Roasted Coffee. Therefore should be excellent. It was so bad, never tried again.

Fresh smoothie in Krema. I also try again their nitro cold brew on tap. It is different to last time I tried. Slightly fruity notes. But still not good. Nowhere as good as when last year did cold brew coffee or the cold brew coffee off FCB kiosk at Guildford Station. I asked, no, now we have nitro cold brew, we will not be doing cold brew. Very depresssing, could serve quality cold brew, instead serve an expansive hyped fad.

Decided to take a walk around Bishop’s Meadow only find there is a garden party at the Old Vicarage, and my friends from Curries at Home doing the food. Unfortunate I was not aware of earlier, it started at three and I did not arrive until six. I would not have wasted time in Farnham. As always, excellent garden party, good food and live music.

Naomi Klein discussing No is not enough at Royal Festival Hall

July 4, 2017

How to resist Donald Trump’s Shock Doctrine.

Shock Doctrine is used to force through unwanted policies.

Shock Doctrine was used after the 2008 banking crisis to force through austerity, slash and burn of public services, cuts to welfare programmes, library closures.

The ugly face of neo-liberalism, Donald Trump, open cast mining, Keystone XL pipeline,  Standing Rock state brutality, Grenfell Tower, a burnt out blackened hulk where tenants were incinerated alive.

The contempt of poor people by the Royal Borough of Chelsea and Kensington, the richest borough in the country, if not richest municipality in Europe, is indicative of the contempt local councils across the country have for local communities.

To save a small amount of money they used cladding that failed fire safety tests, repeated warnings by Grenfell Tower tenants were ignored. In the aftermath, it has been volunteers who have helped the survivors, very much as we saw with Occupy Sandy.

Only last week, did the Cabinet meet for the first time, and even then they tried to bar the public attending and when the Court forced the meeting to be open, the leader of the council closed the meeting.

Haringey Council  a few days ago decided to sell off £2 billion of public assets to the private sector, including social housing,  against strong local opposition.

In London we have luxury apartments sitting empty. Bought with dirty laundered money.  A development at Battersea Power Station, luxury apartments, starting price £1.2 million.

There is no money we are told, the pay of fireman, nurses, and others within the public sector must be frozen. It is selfish to demand a pay increases says former Prime Minister David Cameron, we may need that money for the future.

What for, one may ask, a further extortion demand, another billion pounds to keep the DUP sweet and help dead woman walking Theresa May cling on to power?

Where does the money come from? Simple. Increase Corporation Tax, end subsidies to fossil fuel companies, deal with tax dodging.

UK Uncut:

The millionaire who destroyed our public services so that he could give his millionaire mates a tax cuts thinks we’re ‘selfish’ for wanting to end Austerity.

When he was PM he gave MPs a 10% pay rise, and gave his own speech writer a 24% pay rise. But he thinks asking for a 1% raise for nurses is ‘selfish’!

This guy is so out of touch. He spent £25,000 on a garden shed. That’s more than lots of nurses earn in a whole year!

The victims of Grenfell Tower fire must organise, hold open public meetings, select their own candidates to stand for local election. The same in Haringey,  the same in every local borough across the country.

Ordinary people must follow the example of Madrid, Barcelona, seize control of local Town Halls, then these citizen-controlled Town Halls must network across Europe.

Donald Trump won the election because the Democrats are rotten and corrupt to the core.

We see the same across Europe, corrupt and rotten Socialist Parties. The Labour Party is no exception.

We saw in Greece the Athens Spring, only to be crushed by the EU.

Labour Party is no different, corrupt and rotten to the core. But we see a glimmer of hope, Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell offering a radical, progressive agenda, backed by Momentum and grass roots activists. The reactionaries in the party are determined to destroy this ray of hope. Members of Parliament like Tom Watson, Chuka Umunna, Peter Kyle et al must be deselected.

EU is a democracy-free zone, established as a cartel for Big Businesses. Austerity and neo-liberalism writ in stone in EU treaties. The EU must be destroyed, replaced by a network of cooperating sovereign democratic countries. Support DiEM25.

We are seeing the end of austerity, neo-liberalism, a growing mass movement calling for change.

We must all do our bit. Often it can be little things. Do not buy Fairtrade then think you have done your bit. Support your local indie coffee shop, support direct trade where coffee growers are paid a higher price for quality, where there is a direct connection between your cup of coffee and the people who grow the coffee.

Coffee is the canary in the mine on climate change. High quality Arabica coffee grows in the shade of trees at high altitude.  In Yayu Forest in Ethiopia, Kew Gardens is mapping to establish the impact of climate change and mitigation measures. Union Hand-Roasted Coffee offering farmers higher price, long-term contracts, gives the forest value and helps to safeguard the forest, an important genetic reservoir for coffee.

Help establish collaborative commons, open coops.

We do not have to buy our electricity from the Big Six, and nationalisation is not the answer. We must create local community owned and controlled power networks into which renewables feed paid a  fair price, consumers pay a fair price, any surplus generation fed to other local networks via a publicly owned National Grid, any ‘profit’ ploughed back into the local grid or used to fund local community projects.

Dealing with climate change, time is not on our side. Thee has been massive loss of coral reefs with a 1C rise in sea temperature. What we delay today, means the action needed tomorrow will be ever more drastic.

Exxon was aware of climate change in the 1960s.

There are many things we can do almost immediately. Deal with tax dodging. Raise Corporation Tax. Abolish zero hours contracts.  Regulate out of existence companies like Uber and Deliveroo and through offering open source open coop alternatives. Raise minimum wage to £10 an hour. Abolish student tuition fees. Introduce a Universal Dividend, slowly slowly, first for those unemployed, then those on welfare, then the elderly on a pension.

Donald Trump may control the White House (for the moment), he does not yet control the courts, he does not control the states, does not control the cities, does not control our minds.

It will not be easy. The State and Big Business will use the brutality of state power to fight back. We saw it at Standing Rock, we are seeing it at fracking protests in Lancashire, the crackdown on G20 protests in Germany.

Donald Trump is an oligarch in the same mould as Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, al-Sisi, Vladimir Putin. Presidential office is simply a means to further his business interests. Charges of conflict of interest fail to register because all Trump sees is self-interest therefore there is no conflict.

Until Trump took office, corporations lobbied, bought politicians, now corporations have made a hostile takeover of the White House.

Trump is the Frankenstein’s monster, stitched together from corrupt politician, greedy banker,  rapacious corporation.

The fear is what will he do next. He has praised the Fascist dictator of the Philippines who has bragged going out at night and murdering political opponents.

Getting rid of Donald Trump is not enough. That is why no is not enough. He would be replaced by a clone or the corrupt Democrats or something even worse. We have to say no to everything Trump represents, the world of shallow brands. The opposition to Trump has to be channelled into creating something better, a world without hollow brands, a future not dictated by corrupt politicians, political parties, global corporations, a world where people and planet matter.

Naomi Klein usually takes five years research on a new book but not for her latest book No is not enough. Time is not on our side, we have seen what Donald Trump is capable of, we do not know what he would do if a crisis hit, therefore the resistance has to be built now, we have to be prepared for the worst.

Naomi Klein is author of No Logo, The Shock Doctrine, This Changes Everything.

— to be continued —-

The Deli at 80

July 4, 2017

A lovely little deli in Finsbury Park with a wonderful selection of drinks and food.

I passed by The Deli at 80 on my way back  to Finsbury Park Station, having had a not very good coffee in Boulangerie Bon Matin. On a whim I popped in. I was very much reminded of Grocer and Grain in Brighton.

I asked to look at their coffee. A blend from Caravan, roasted 20 June 2017, which the girl said had just been delivered.

Although pushed for time, I decided to try.

The cappuccino was very much better than what I had just had a wasted journey to try. Would be even better with a skilled barista. Though not an entirely wasted journey as I would not have discovered The Deli at 80.

The cakes and bread looked good, as did the cheese and peanut butter and wines. The bread delivered by bicycle.

I decided to try a floretine. Excellent.

I was somewhat perplexed by the coffee blend, as two entirely different blends under the same name.

Definitely somewhere worth frequenting and supporting if live or work

  • PHOTOS The Deli at 80

— to be continued —-

Boulangerie Bon Matin

July 4, 2017

A coffee shop  cum fancy cake shop in Finsbury Park.

What does it say of nitro cold brew coffee when have to add syrup?

What does it say when it needs a whole page ad in Caffeine to promote the ghastly stuff?

Matter of personal taste, come and visit us.

A trek on an awful jammed-in-like sardines Tube journey from Covent Garden, when I could have relaxed in Monmouth Coffee where guaranteed a decent coffee.

A pleasant job done on the interior, but sadly not coffee to match.

Stripped back bare  brick walls out the back, at a  guess a covered in yard. In many ways though a pity as no outside seating out the back.

Interesting art by David Bage on the walls, though only interesting because copies of original works, and it is difficult to see how an unknown artist can justify prices in excess of £200 for copies of originals.  A bit like being stopped in Puerto de la Cruz by illegal immigrants and being asked for twenty euros for a  fake Rolex (which they insist is the real thing).

A cappuccino ordered. Cappuccino with coffee dumped on top, immediately sent back.

What then came not a lot better.

No cookies. I ordered a chocolate brownie. It was not good. I asked was it vegan, as that often explains why not good. No.

Food looked decorative, though nothing to say what it was, or the price.

I asked to see the coffee they used.

Italian coffee, catering supply.

When are coffee shops going to learn? If you want to serve good coffee, source quality beans, employ a skilled barista. There is no excuse for importing rubbish coffee from Italy, when there are excellent coffee roasters in London.

Try The Deli at 60, far better coffee and cakes.