Archive for the ‘Winchester’ Category

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.

Afternoon in Winchester

November 14, 2018

Sunny all the way down to Winchester. Downside sun in my eyes most of the journey.

I alighted off the bus to walk down into Winchester, but instead of walking down the main road down Magdalen Hill, I followed the route of the Pilgrims Way, which passes by St John’s Church.

A plaque notes the route of the Pilgrims Way. On the plaque a scallop shell. I thought that was the symbol for El Camino de SantiagoEl Camino de Santiago. Maybe for all the routes taken by pilgrims.

The church has an unusual layout.

On the wall only noticed as leaving the church when eyes have adjusted to the light, medieval wall paintings, c 1280.

The Sicilian guys who last year had excellent pasta appear to have left the market. They were not there last Thursday, nor today. I asked another stall, and yes, they have left the market. No surprise. They had excellent pasta, then started doing junk food. Everyone told them huge mistake, but sadly they did not listen.

I thought the Cathedral Christmas Market would be up and running. No, it opens on Friday.

I looked in The Square. They are now doing lunch until three o’cocck, so I stayed and had a mushrooms on toast.

I said I would come back and have a cappuccino.

I looked in Flat Whites but they were closing early today, as short staffed.

Cappuccino in The Square. I was curious, coffee from The Roasting Party.In CUP by Reading Town Hall, cappuccino not good. At the Square, as always, well at least usual, excellent cappuccino.

Guest coffee in The Square Ethiopia Hunkute from Bailies in Northern Ireland. It had only come in yesterday, fresh, only roasted last week.

Coffee Lab once again ripping customers off on the price charged for guest coffee is not acceptable. Ethiopia Hunkute direct from Bailies £7 plus £1 shipping. In The Square £11.

I had intended to catch an earlier bus. I caught a later bus. Catch 1750.

Around 20 minutes wait at Alton Station for a train.

I pop in Waitrose. Bananas rotting on the shelves.

Train late.

Cappuccino at Flat White

November 8, 2018

With Coffee Lab closed, Coffee Lab Academy and The Square going down hill being destroyed by the greed of Vulture Capitalists, at least Winchester has Flat White.

It was to Flat White I went for a cappuccino.

There is always excellent guest coffee at Flat Whites. Today Steam Punk, coffee from Ethiopia and Colombia.

Steam Punk a strange name, unless associated with speampunks.

Steam Punk clueless on use of social media. Pictures post to tower via Instagram, which means a series of links, no pictures. Why is the coffee industry so clueless on the use of social media?

Afternoon in Winchester

November 8, 2018

A dull dreary afternoon.

Bus from Alton Station to Winchester, bus driver drives like a maniac. Slamming on brakes each time hits a speed restriction as travelling too fast.

I walk down Magdalen Hill into Winchester.

I arrive earlier than usual though would have wished to have arrived earlier, Coffee Lab shuts at three.

A rather tacky market. The only worthwhile stall, a girl with clothes and jewellery, a stall down a side street.

Sicilian guys used to excel with their pasta, then to the dismay of everyone stopped pasta and produced junk food. Come Thursday, they would say, Thursday we do pasta. Today Thursday. I walk up and down the market. I find they are not there.

I look in Coffee Lab Academy. I am surprised at the coffee on display. I ask, no longer The Roasting Party? Yes, Coffee Lab has closed.

I go round and take a look, even though they ssk I do not.

I am shocked and appalled that Coffee Lab has closed. It opened a little over two years ago. It was a lovely litte coffee shop that set a high standard. Next year Coffee Lab Academy, then this summer The Square, plus a number of coffee shops in other towns.

Closure of the original Coffee Lab is indicative of everything that is going wrong with Coffee Lab. Vulture Capitalists have been brought in to expand the chain, Vulture Capitalists motivated by one thing and one thing only, greed. They have managed to alienate staff alienate the customers.

Coffee Lab has grown rapidly and just as rapidly gone down hill. Coffee Lab closing at three, and now closed. The Square, dirty tables, poor service, poor quality coffee, kids who do not have a clue. Coffee Lab Academy closing on the dot, tables and chairs stacked around remaining customers. No atmosphere in ether.

And just when it cannot get worst, landlord of the little wholefood shop has been bought out by the greediest of the Vulture Capitalists, a fool who is a style-styled entrepreneur, putting at risk this lovely little shop when the lease runs out.

I did not have a coffee, I went to the little pizza stall, where had an excellent pizza.

Only the eating of was spoilt by a moron blowing smoke in my face whilst telling me he knew what was good coffee as he frequented Starbucks.

I had called on the way in Holland and Barrett to inquire when their penny sale ended. Buy one get one at a penny, only applies to a very limited range. Ends on Tuesday,

Near the entrance loose nuts, dried fruits, scoop up with a shovel into a bag, weigh, then pay. Cheaper than the prepacked stuff? No, a lot dearer.

It was then to Flat Whites where I had an excellent cappuccino served by one of the baristas who has left Coffee Lab. I thought he seemed vaguely familiar. He said he knew me from Coffee Lab Academy.

Guest coffee from Steam Punks, A strange name for coffee unless there is a Steam Punk connection.

1720 bus to Alton. For once, in time to catch a train but I decided to pop in Waitrose.

— to be continued —

The Other Sam

August 17, 2018

I came across these three kids playing in the High Street during a recent trip to Winchester.

They were amazingly good. A sense of music few posses.

A must for Staycation Live, which this year was dire.

Let us hope someone grants them free studio recording time as they deserve it.

V60 at Coffee Lab

August 16, 2018

After a not very good lunch at The Square by Coffee Lab it  was then head to Coffee Lab.

This was the first, the original Coffee Lab, that opened a couple of years ago in Winchester, now known as little Coffee Lab, the other two being Coffee Lab Academy (though the Academy was short lived and no more) and The Square by Coffee Lab.

It is unfortunate Coffee Lab now closes at three, as the only one that has V60 and cold brew, the only one that has guest coffee and coffee beans on sale.

A different guest coffee from Hundred House Coffee to last week, this time from Colombia.

I learnt why ripping people off, charging £10 for a bag of coffee that retails for less. If not, would have to charge more for coffee brewed with the guest coffee. The logic is perverse. No other coffee shop applies this perverse logic. Need to have a rethink.

V60 with the guest coffee which I sat outside with and enjoyed. The street very quiet.

Pour with swan-necked kettle with water just off boiling to clean the filter.

Pour for around 30 seconds, leave for around 30 seconds to allow the coffee to bloom.  This enables the release of CO2.

Continue to pour.

The swirling motion I have not seen before.

Afternoon in Winchester

August 15, 2018

A pleasant warm afternoon.

First to dentist, then hop on a bus to catch a train.

I missed the train I would have liked to have caught, but still early. I would still arrive Winchester lunchtime, earlier than I usually arrive, in time for lunch at The Square.

A steam train at Alton Station.

I inquired at Alton Station Cafe, what was the dinner tonight. Nothing, we are not cooking. Had I got the wrong day? No, it was Wednesday, Bikers Night.

Passing through Alton I see a new coffee shop that I had not noticed before about to open. Claimed to be an artisan coffee shop, claim is one thing, reality another, and artisan is meaningless. We will see.

I was very tempted to alight from the bus at Arlesford, then continue on to Winchester, but if I did, I would not make lunch or Coffee Lab before three.

Arlesford was busy but then so was Winchester. Maybe because lunchtime.

I made The Square, but lunch, mushrooms on sourdough bread was not very good, not as good as when I last had.

The Square busy and noisy. Not an environment in which to  relax and I was pleased to leave.

It was then head to Coffee Lab. A different guest coffee from Hundred House Coffee, this time from Colombia.

I learnt why ripping people off, charging £10 for a  bag of coffee that retails for less. If not, would have to charge more for coffee brewed with the guest coffee. The logic is perverse. No other coffee shop applies this perverse logic. Need to have a rethink.

V60 with the guest coffee which I sat outside with and enjoyed. The street very quiet.

Back in the High Street, three kids playing. They were amazingly good. A sense of music few posses.

To the cheese stall. Whilst sat outside Coffee Lab, an e-mail inviting me to a coffee and cheese event at Purfrock Coffee.  It was due to have taken place several weeks ago, but cancelled at very short notice.

Looked in Flat Whites coffee shop. Their new guest coffee not yet in. Maybe next week.

Cappuccino and peanut butter brownie at The Square.

1820 bus to Alton.

Fish n chip shop near the station appears to have closed, as second time I have passed by and seen it closed.

Chicken curry at Alton Station cafe, but as last week, nothing left.

Afternoon in Winchester

August 10, 2018

A cold wet day.

Before I set off heavy rain.

I miss train to Alton. Trains are switched platforms. If there was an announcement, I did not hear. I board wrong train and head off in the wrong direction.

At Alton, torrential rain. Bus fails to stop at bus shelter, stops further down the road. Passengers get soaked running to the bus, then cannot board the bus, bus driver has not opened the door whilst he is having a drink.

Torrential rain all the way down to Winchester.

I stay on the bus into the centre of Winchester.

I make Coffee Lab as closing. A girl who knows what she is doing. I raise they are overcharging for the Hundred House Coffee guest coffee, She says yes, ten pounds correct price, but shocked when she learns retails at six pounds. Says she will raise it. She realises Coffee Lab are not doing their reputation any good ripping people off.

A wood-fired pizza off the pizza van. Not as good as on Wednesday. Not long enough in the oven.

Today Friday market day in Winchester. Rows of stalls selling complete and utter crap. More food stalls than when street food market, but the extra stalls not what would wish to eat from.

The few quality stalls, wood-fired pizzas, Flat Whites coffee, bread stall, cheesemonger.

No surprise the market not busy, especially if compare with the vastly superior street market in Guildford on a Friday and Saturday.

Cappuccino and chocolate brownie in The Square. Tables not cleared, tables dirty. Coffee Lab once again not doing their reputation a lot of good.

Evensong in Winchester Cathedral.

Find grave of Jane Austen on leaving.

One of the ushers on leaving on locking up, shows the key for the main door.

Then just sufficient time to walk around the back streets.

Passed by the house where Jane Austen spent her last few days on earth and the bookshop where she bought her books.

Catch the 1920 bus from Winchester. A marked contrast to the journey down, a lovely sunny evening.

— to be continued —

The Wing Faced Earth Figs

August 9, 2018

I chanced upon The Wing Faced Earth Figs playing in the street on a recent trip to Winchester.

They were excellent and attracted a large crowd.

Avant garde folk.

They were scheduled to play at Boomtown.

If only this talent at Staycation Live.

I picked up a CD.  It is an absolute must they are on bandcamp.

I found The Wing Faced Earth Figs later packing up. People were still going up to them to thank them. One lady popped out of her shop to tell them how enjoyable it made her day.  An ice cream vendor gave then free ice cream.

Afternoon in Winchester

August 8, 2018


Today, much cooler. Yesterday over 30C, today barely above 20C.

Catching a bus to catch a train always risky, bus late, bus does not turn up, then miss the train. Luckily today, only couple of minutes wait for a  bus, catch train OK.  Maniac bus driver, pulls onto a roundabout in front of a  car, car narrowly avoids ploughing into the side of the bus.

At Alton Station, clapped out double-decker No 65 bus from Guildford sat for several minutes with engine running belching out pollution.

1315 No 64 bus to Winchester driven by a lunatic. At Four Marks and Ropely had to wait a couple of minutes as ahead of schedule. At Four Marks bus drove ogf as a girl was about to board the bus. Girl threw her hands up in horror.

Boomtown massive, runs 9-13 August. Watch towers on the security fence.

Sicilian guys still not serving pasta. No one likes their disgusting junk food, but they do not listen.

Chat with cheesemonger, tell him I now have Re-Inventing the Wheel. Also of my conversation with a cheese maker at Guildford farmers market, pasteurised milk, back and white cows, feed in one end, watery milk out the other, why produce farmhouse cheese if only to replicate industrial cheese production?

Playing in the street, The Wing Faced Earth Figs. They were excellent and attracted a large crowd.  If only this talent at Staycation Live.  They are scheduled to play at Boomtown. I pick up a CD.  It is an absolute must they are on bandcamp.

Last week, no guest coffee at Coffee Lab, shipped out, no new guest coffee. Today only one bag left of the new guest coffee, Hundred House Coffee. Kids running the coffee shop who don’t have a clue. Different staff each time I look in.

I am charged ten pounds for a bag of coffee by a girl who admits she does not know the price.  I query the price I am charged. Six pounds a bag on the Hundred House Coffee website.

I learn Dhan is in The Square. I make the mistake of ordering a cappuccino. I was so pleased to get there before they shut at three.  Though what I should have ordered was a V60.

Tables outside, dirty, cups and saucers and pots not cleared away, rubbish blowing off the tables down the street.  Not good.

I find Dhan in The Square. A big mistake having had a cappuccino as he would have made me a cappuccino. At least he has signed my book, Coffee Art.  I thank him for signing the book.

To the wood-fired pizza stall. Only a small wood-fired oven. I choose mushroom with truffle oil. At least one stall worth eating at.

I look in Flat Whites coffee shop as they are closing and drop off latest Caffeine. No new guest coffee maybe next week.

I find The Wing Faced Earth Figs packing up. People are still going up to them to thank them.

Back to The Square. A cappuccino and date slice.

I go for a wander down the River Itchen, along the back streets and around the back of Winchester Cathedral.

I look in the bookshop. Recommend they stock Re-Inventing the Wheel. They are pleased when I tell them that Paulo Coelho has a new book out in September, Hippie.

1820 No 64 bus, anther maniac driver. Crosses the white line in the middle of the road to overtake on a blind bend where thee road on approaching Arlesford goes under a railway bridge.

At The Alton Station Cafe, arrive to see the last of the night’s special vanish. I dd not really fancy meatballs.

Catch a train, then a bus.

Arrive home a little after half past eight, very very tired.