Archive for the ‘Winchester’ Category

Lunch and cappuccino Caracoli Alresford

September 25, 2019

After a wander around Alresford and missing the next bus to Winchester, I decided to take lunch and a coffee in Caracoli.

Caracoli was a small chain of half a dozen coffee shops. It came as little surprise when they went bust. Poor quality coffee and did not know what they were, a coffee shop or a deli. Now only two coffee shops, Alresford and Haslemere. Guildford closed, Farnham a greasy spoon cafe serving coffee.

Lunch was fine, the coffee ok, they need to source better quality coffee. But the best coffee in Alresdford, and would be better if sourced quality coffee beans.

I have suggested Coffee Gems, DT Roastery as two excellent coffee roasteries from which to source their coffee beans.

A few doors up the street a strange setup, DIY Coffee. Insult customers with Cupsmith coffee served from a coffee machine. No surprise empty.

Coffee #1, undrinkable coffee, poor service, poor quality food. A chain of masquerading as independent, owned by Caffe Nero.

Alresford

September 25, 2019

Alresford a small Georgian market town of Georgian town houses. I wandered down as far as Old Alresford Pond.

No time to catch next bus, stayed at Caracoli for lunch and a coffee.

Caracoli was a small chain of half a dozen coffee shops. It came as little surprise when they went bust. Poor quality coffee and did not know what they were, a coffee shop or a deli. Now only two coffee shops, Alresford and Haslemere. Guildford closed, Farnham a greasy spoon cafe serving coffee.

Lunch was fine, the coffee ok, they need to source better quality coffee. But the best coffee in Alresdford, and would be better if sourced quality coffee beans.

A few doors up the street a strange setup, DIY Coffee. Insult customers with Cupsmith coffee served from a coffee machine. No surprise empty.

Coffee #1, undrinkable coffee, poor service, poor quality food. A chain of masquerading as independent, owned by Caffe Nero.

Afternoon in Winchester

September 25, 2019

I set off earlier than usual, I would have arrived lunchtime. As I was early, I alighted at Alresford to explore Alresford and stayed and had lunch and a coffee at Carocoli.

Day started off sunny, once early morning rain had cleared. Dark clouds from Alton, then heavy torrential rain, then sunny at Alresford.

Bus set off late from Alton, driver stood outside bus having a phone conversation. He then drove far too fast through the torrential rain to make up lost time.

Rain ceased as Alresford reached.

Alresford a small Georgian market town of Georgian town houses. I wandered down as far as Old Alresford Pond.

No time to catch next bus, stayed at Caracoli for lunch and a coffee.

Caracoli was a small chain of half a dozen coffee shops. It came as little surprise when they went bust. Poor quality coffee and did not know what they were, a coffee shop or a deli. Now only two coffee shops, Alresford and Haslemere. Guildford closed, Farnham a greasy spoon cafe serving coffee.

Lunch was fine, the coffee ok, they need to source better quality coffee. But the best coffee in Alresdford, and would be better if sourced quality coffee beans.

A few doors up the street a strange setup, DIY Coffee. Insult customers with Cupsmith coffee served from a coffee machine. No surprise empty.

Coffee #1, undrinkable coffee, poor service, poor quality food. A chain of masquerading as independent, owned by Caffe Nero.

I would normally alight off the bus, walk down the hill into Winchester. I alighted off the bus but instead of walking down the hill I headed to an industrial estate at Winnall to DT Roastery. No one there I knew, a wasted journey.

Head back down into Winchester down an unpleasant busy polluted road, then back streets along the River Itchen into Winchester.

River Itchen flowing very fast.

Excellent coffee at The Square. Not so the cake.

Time for a walk in the gathering dusk, around the back streets and along the River Itchen to catch the bus to Alton.

The bee on Winchester Cathedral to herald Green Hampshire Harvest Weekend .

No food left at Alton Station Cafe, no sign of any bikers.

— to be continued —

DT Coffee Roastery Coffee Lab espresso blend

September 7, 2019

Three bags of coffee, Brazilian, Indian and Tanzanian from DT Coffee Roastery.

What was the Coffee Lab blend like as a cappuccino?

Three choices, today the espresso blend for Coffee Lab brewed as cappuccino at Madame Waffle.

In one word, excellent.

Coffee Lab espresso blend, a blend of Brazilian pulp natural and Colombian washed, var Catuai and Caturra, taste notes dark chocolate, nutmeg, ginger and green apple, roasted by either Dhan Tamang or head of coffee Don Altizo.

Indian Balanoor washed coffee

September 6, 2019

Three bags of coffee, Brazilian, Indian and Tanzanian from DT Coffee Roastery.

Which to try today?

A couple of days ago Tanzanian Arusha Natural brewed as cappuccino at Stokes at The Lawn. Today an Indian brewed as V60 at Madame Waffle.

This was the first time either of us had tried an Indian coffee.

It was excellent as cooled, brought out the fruitiness of the coffee.

V60 always improves as cools, until turns cold. Balanoor was excellent even when cold.

Balanoor single origin Indian washed, var Kent, altitude 1300m, taste notes red grape, pecan and raisins, roasted by either Dhan Tamang or head of coffee Don Altizo.

Tanzanian Arusha Natural

September 5, 2019

Three bags of coffee, Brazilian, Indian and Tanzanian from DT Coffee Roastery.

I have tried before an Ethiopian from DT Coffee Roastery, brewed as a V60 at Blackbird. It was good, but a disappointment compared with a Colombian from Coffee Gems we tried the week before which was excellent.

Of the three, which to choose? The aroma was excellent. Not my choice, that of Mike head barista at Stokes at The Lawn.

No contest, he chose the Tanzanian.

I would have brewed as V60, thus surprised when he chose espresso.

Espresso for Mike, cappuccino for me.

I was pleasantly surprised, it made an excellent cappuccino, interesting flavour profile.

Arusha Natural Burka State Tanzania, var Kent, N39, Blue Mountain, alt 1350m, tasting notes stone fruit, red berries, bright citrus, roasted by either UK latte art champion Dhan Tamang or head of coffee Don Altizo.

Coffee #1

August 14, 2019

Alresford has two coffee shops, Carocoli and Coffee #1.

Carocoli never knew what they were, a coffee shop, a deli, the coffee was not good and they went bust. Now under new owners.

Coffee #1 new, only open a few weeks in Alresford.

I decided to alight from the bus passing through to Winchester, a quick look around, try a coffee at Coffee #1, then carry on down to Winchester.

It is easy to tell when a coffee shop not good, a row of syrups and asked what size cup for a cappuccino.

A row of syrups on the back wall, I was asked what size cappuccino.

If asked what size, I always ask to see the cups. Regular and large.

There is only one size, the correct size, no other size will suffice.

Feeling hungry having not eaten since late breakfast I also asked for a bap with bacon.

A long wait to be served, though there was an apology, an even longer wait to be brought my bacon bap, longer still before my cappuccino arrived.

The bap was brought with no serviette. I had to go in search of. It was ok, not great.

The cappuccino when it finally arrived appeared to have been carpet bombed with chocolate. I sent it back. The next to arrive looked disgusting, tasted disgusting scalding hot, deep layer of froth and foam, of which I scooped out a large glop with my teaspoon.

Bags of coffee on display. I picked up an espresso blend and a Costa Rican.

Nothing to say where the espresso blend sourced, the Costa Rican commodity coffee, no mention of farm.

No roast date, only a meaningless best be date. Actually worse then useless. Old stale coffee, no aroma.

Ambience pleasant.

Service took so long I missed the next bus and had to wait a further half an hour.

Young girl making the coffee treated very badly by young man who seemed to be in charge. Shouted at her in a very unpleasant manner Come Here. Further shouting at her. Then the shouting became worse, she walked away, clearly distressed and upset, walked into a room marked Private, and did not emerge until some time later as I was leaving.

Had I not been about to leave I would have spoken to her as a very bad example of bullying in the workplace. A report was filed to Coffee #1. They lacked the courtesy to respond, which shows the importance they attach to workplace bullying.

Note: Workplace bullying is a breach of employment legislation.

Coffee +#1 is a a large chain of around 100 coffee shops owned by Caffe Nero and it shows.

Harris + Hoole is also owned by Caffe Nero, and since bought by Caffe Nero has experienced death by a thousand cuts, but they at least attempt to make decent coffee. Coffee #1 do not even go through the motions.

The only good thing I could find to say, bags of coffee grounds to take away for the garden, though from the number of bags piled on the floor the take up appeared to be low.

It was then pick up the bus, head into Winchester, to have a decent coffee at The Square.

The Vegan Hot Dog Man

June 26, 2019

I have never understood why anyone who wishes to eat vegan or vegetarian food wishes to eat fake meat.

Winchester street food markets gets smaller each time I visit Winchester, what is on offer worse.

The Sicilian guys guys with their excellent pasta have gone, the guy doing pizzas from a horse box has gone.

The only stalls worth knowing about, cheese stall which is exceptional, French stall which is only once a month, and the bread stall which is ok.

I was too late to eat at The Square.

Signs of desperation a vegan hot dog off The Vegan Hot Dog Man. I would not wish to eat a real hot dog and there I was ordering a fake hot dog. Excellent Lincoln sausages yes, hot dogs no.

To say the vegan hot dog was disgusting would be an understatement. It was unbelievably disgusting. I hate to think what processed crap went into the vegan hot dog.

I asked the guy why serve vegan hot dogs?

That’s what people expect on a market.

Not true, a good street food market has excellent food.

Why not have quality vegetarian food, not fake meat? If this was meant to showcase vegan food then an abysmal failure.

But is is not only this vegan hot dog stall that has completely lost the plot, at Lincoln Vegan Festival disgusting looking hot dogs served with equally disgusting looking French-fries that would expects to find on a best avoided roadside kebab stall. It goes without saying I did not try.

Years ago in Covent Garden I used to enjoy bean burgers made from different beans not processed crap, not trying to emulate crap from McDonald’s.

Vegan food can be a delicious mix of fruit, nuts, grains, cereals and vegetables, added oils, ideally olive oil not highly processed so-called vegetable oils.

The push for fake-meat is coming from Big Business.

Always support local.

On Guildford farmers market, delicious dosa off the the India stall Ollo Foods.

Afternoon in Winchester

June 26, 2019

Morning coolish, sky milky white, but later sun broke through and turned very warm.

Passing through Alton, a circus with big top, though the big top looked quite small.

I was surprised to see rail bridge had gone. I think it was a brick bridge.

Bus to Winchester took a detour, direct onto the A31. This ought to be the normal route.

Same at Alresford, straight to Winchester not around the houses.

Alighted off the bus and walked down Magdalen Hill into Winchester. Always a pleasant walk.

The street food market gets smaller and worse each time I visit. The stalls are peddling crap.

The only stalls worth knowing about, cheese stall which is exceptional, French stall which is only once a month, and the bread stall which is ok.

I was too late to eat anything at City Square and so back to the market.

Signs of desperation vegan hot dog off The Vegan Hot Dog Man. To say it was disgusting would be an understatement. It was unbelievably disgusting. I hate to think what processed crap went into the vegan hot dog.

I asked the guy why serve vegan hot dogs? That’s what people expect on a market. Not true, a good street food market has excellent food. Why not have quality vegetarian food, not fake meat? If this was meant to showcase vegan food then an abysmal failure.

The guy with the horsebox and wood-fired pizzas has gone.

I though of going the Flat Whites.

No longer there, I learnt from the cheese stall.

Depressing news, it has gone, driven out of businesses by landlord. Another excellent local business destroyed by a greedy grasping landlord.

He suggested I try The Winchester Orangery and let him know what I thought of their coffee.

I found The Winchester Orangery, coffee roasted by River Coffee Roaster, a local roastery I had not heard of.

My cappuccino was excellent.

I quick look in Coffee Lab Academy. Dhan Tamang now roasts the coffee, coffee roastery which includes coffee shop and training school branded as DT. I have yet to try the coffee, too late for a coffee at City Square as now closes at six.

I will try next time, visit Dan at his roastery.

As a pleasant evening, walk along the river and around Winchester Cathedral.

Too late to  eat at Alton Station Cafe, all the food gone.

— to be continued —

V60 at Flat Whites

December 13, 2018

Flat Whites since it opened a little over a year ago has very rapidly acquired a reputation both for serving excellent coffee and for acting as a coffee curator with their guest coffee.

Flat Whites was already familiar to many as a little van, strictly speaking a pod, in the High Street in Winchester. It took over the spot once occupied by Jimmy Bean.

It was to Flat Whites I headed on a cold wintry December afternoon. As much to get warm as for a coffee.

I was too late for a coffee. I stayed and had a chat in the warm whilst closing.

Then someone calls in and has a V60. I too get a V60.

Guest coffee this month Assembly.

Assembly won coffee roasting championship this year in the UK. I have tried their excellent coffee before at Kiosk in York.

The elite in the coffee world is a small world.

At The Speciality Coffee Shop I found Gardelli as guest. Last year they won the world coffee roasting.

In October, The Underdog, winners of Greek coffee roasting championship.

In October I met at Manor House No 2 world latte art champion  Michalis Karagiannis who kindly served me a cappuccino.

The barista who served me at Flat Whites knew Michalis Karagiannis. He told me when Michalis was in London on holiday, he kindly stepped in and judged a latte art competition.

Flat Whites is located in a courtyard in Parchment Street. Easy to find, walk up Winchester High Street, past the Flat Whites van, turn right at the corner where located WHSmith.

If in Winchester on a Wednesday, a street food market in the High Street, and close by the Flat Whites kiosk an excellent cheeses stall.