Lincoln coronavirus tier 4 day one

December 31, 2020

Last two nights minus 4, hard frost, this morning very hard frost, barely above zero if at all all day, misty.

Lincoln fairly deserted, as it should be.

Nearly all shops closed.

Sincil Street deserted, only butcher, coffee shop, baker open.

I looked in 200 Degrees. Why reusable cups on sale? If on sale customers will expect to be able to bring in reusable cups. I queried this, no one should be using reusable cups. If someone brings a reusable cup, they fill a takeaway cup, up to the customer to then fill their own reusable cup. Somewhat self-defeating. 200 Degrees should ban use of reusable cups, withdraw from sale.

Follow example of Coffee Aroma:

  • only one customer
  • contactless payment
  • takeaway cups
  • no reusable cups

Reusable coffee cups introduce an unnecessary disease vector putting staff and clientele at risk. Banned by reputable coffee shops where they take covid-19 seriously and do their best to protect everyone.

Only one stall open in Central Market, zero waste store

Wilkinsons open. Why? Even worse, promoting New Year Sale.

Stokes on High Bridge closed for renovation, has been for last couple of weeks if not longer, but I have seen no sign of renovation taking place.

I regret I did not pop up to Franklin to say goodbye. Their last day, 70 years in businesses.

I know when I walked through The Stonebow I had a reason to walk up the High Street but could not remeber what.

The top end of the High Street dominated by binge drinking bars.

Waterstones closed yesterday at a7-30. Were staff forced to stay late, as would have had very short notice. If reliant on public transport would not have got home as few buses run after seven.

Looking through The Stonebow down the High Street an almost Dickensian scene.

Coffee from Coffee Aroma. I spilled in the street outside. Cold fingers.

M&S Food Hall horrendous coronavirus death trap. Staff are understandably worried, some are frightened. No one should be subject to these unsafe working conditions. Union must act to reduce numbers.

Only tow of us on he bus.

— to be cointinued ====

Cold Moon

December 31, 2020

Last night, Eve of New Year’s Eve, Cold Moon, last full moon of the year, 13th full moon of the year.

Lincoln coronavirus tier 3 day twenty-eight

December 29, 2020

Very little traffic into the city centre, Central Bus Station deserted and yet far more people on the streets tan before Christmas, and too many idiots for who social distancing the ability to count is beyond them.

Lakeland relatively busy, I say relatively as usually empty. If the pair of espresso cups were reduced I may be tempted to buy.

Sincil Street many more people, the High Street also busy though no queues outside shops, maybe packed inside.

River Witham still muddy and flowing fast, but not like last week.

Walk to the top of the High Street.

Shocked to find Franklin closing down. Sadly all that will be left in top of the High Street charity shops and binge drinking bars, another one due to open soon.

See a sign for The Cheese Society. It was not open all summer. They tell me not worth opening as little footfall and most of their custom is on-line. They may not be open in the New Year. Usually busy when I look in. Today no busy, which makes their point.

The little tea shop open. I pop in and say hello. I mention an interesting tea making device I had recently seen. Aware of but too expansive to have on sale.

Walking back down, complete lack of social distancing at bankrupt Caffè Nero.

Cappuccino from Coffee Aroma.

Walking past Oxfam Bookshop, reusable coffee cups on sale in the window not good. No reputable coffee shop will accept. Introduces a disease vector putting staff and clientele at risk.

Today new coronavirus cases exceed 53,000, up 12,000 on the previous day. The country should have been in tier 4 at least a week ago. Should now be in lockdown.

Guide to coffee freshness Gwilym Davies

December 26, 2020

Excellent guide by Gwilym Davies to freshness of coffee, not old and stale nor too fresh.

Interesting point the age of the coffee depends upon whether used for espresso or filter coffee, different degrees of freshness suits different brewing methods. Use first for pour over then for espresso. Not a concept I have come across before.

  • filter 5-14 days
  • espresso 14-21 days

For brewing at home, always check the roast date when buying, buy the most recent roast date, we can always leave to rest when too fresh.

Which in turn implies, buy from a coffee shop where they know and care about coffee, or direct from the roastery.

In Coffee Aroma prominently displayed when the coffee served was roasted.

How we store our coffee is also important. Gwilym Davies has stored in the coffee bag in which the coffee was shipped. I would recommend squeeze the bag to ensure the air is squeezed out, then seal the bag.

When next in a coffee shop at the end of the day, when they are shutting down and cleaning their espresso machine, check if they empty the coffee beans from the grinders into airtight containers. If not, ask why not? Beans left overnight in the hopper will oxidise.

Do not buy the coffee beans from a zero waste shop where the beans are loose, as they will oxidise and have lost their aroma, equally likely absence of information on the beans, lack of roast date or where roasted, nothing on the provenance of the beans.

Sadly this was how I found the coffee beans on sale in Lincoln Eco Pantry, the beans loose in tins, shipped from the roastery in plastic boxes, then bagged in brown paper bags.

Christmas Eve Concert with Sangah Noona

December 25, 2020

Live streamed Christmas Eve Concert with Sangah Noona.

Early hours of Christmas Day, I stumbled across a live-streamed concert with Sangah Noona.

It was forty minutes into the concert.

I rewound to the beginning watched a little, then watched later on Christmas Day.

The Sound of Silence

December 25, 2020

Beautiful rendition of The Sound of Silence.

Each day a special mass is held in Catedral de Santiago in Santiago de Compostela for the pilgrims who have completed El Camino de Santiago.

Lincoln coronavirus tier 3 day twenty-three

December 24, 2020

Christmas Eve, very little traffic into the city, bus station deserted, many small shops closed.

River Witham running high, fast and muddy. Heavy rain last night, waterlogged ground, washes into the river.

Not too many people around, excellent.

Pepperdine’s closed, fishmonger closed, fruit and veg stall closed, Redhill farm shop closed, Christmas dinner screwed. But, luckily Curtis open, chicken, pork joint, cakes.

Coffee shop never found open in the summer, this afternoon with find open.

Coffee shops needs far better coffee, a decent coffee machine. Recommended
La Marzocco Linea Mini
, possibly the cheapest decent machine, will then need a decent grinder, a semi-professional domestic machine try Niiche Zero. And decent coffee, not LavAzza.


Look in Vine’s Bakery on my way down Steep Hill, only a few loaves left. At least I warm up.

Takeaway coffee from Coffee Aroma. Very cold waiting outside.

M&S again crowded, but not as bad as Tuesday. Back to usual piss-poor service, only one till manned. Onr young lady shows initiative, without being asked, mans a till

Catch a bus. Is it that cold, driver dresses as an Eskimo. She opens up, not quite Marylin Monroe.

Please do not take reusable coffee cups to a coffee shop during coronavirus pandemic

December 23, 2020

Reusable coffee cups address symptoms takeaway cups not the underlying problem of grab it and go wanton consumerism.

Would treat a good red wine this way, then why coffee?

The only way to enjoy coffee is to slow down, sit and relax in a coffee shop drinking coffee served in glass or ceramic, coffee brewed by a skilled barista.

The world has been turned upside down by coronavirus, drinking in a coffee shop no longer possible, where open, often takeaway only, and if can find open, takeaway cups to reduce cross infection.

During coronavirus pandemic using a reusable coffee cup is an absolute no no. It is to introduce an unnecessary disease vector putting staff and clientele at risk.

No reputable coffee shop should be accepting reusable cups.

Takeaway cappuccino from Coffee Aroma. A model of how it should be. Only one person allowed into the coffee shop at a time, contactless payment only, takeaway cups a necessary evil, no reusable cups. No reusable cups accepted, anyone who tries will not be served and if persist will be asked to leave.

At the other end of the spectrum,. Brian of Brian’s Coffee Spot going around coffee shops insisting they take his coffee cups, in one coffee shop he handed over two different coffee cups, then bragging on social media his cups accepted and encouraging others to do the same. Highly irresponsible behaviour.

Thermal efficiency irrelevant. If I order a coffee, it is to drink, not save for some time in the future.

If I were to use a reusable cup it would be a glass KeepCup or Huskee cup. The glass KeepCup has the bad habit of smashing to smithereens if dropped. Huskee cup is a well designed cup, the lid an optional extra.

Huskee cup is an iconic design, with eco credentials of finding a use for the discarded husks from coffee beans, but and it is a very big but, it combines the husk which can be composted with plastic which can possibly be recycled and turns into a product which can be neither composted nor recycled and will at the end of its life end up in landfill or incineration.

I have never understood why anyone wishes to drink through a hole in a lid.

Not addressed, reusable cups must be barista friendly, that is clean and not too tall will not fit the espresso machine.

If we wish to reduce the number of throwaway takeaway cups the answer is simple, sit in a coffee shop and relax with a cup of coffee, but whilst that is not possible during coronavirus pandemic, please do not take your reusable coffee cup to a coffee shop and introduce an unnecessary disease vector.

If wish to take ones own cup to a coffee shop to drink out of, then take an enamel mug.

Lincoln coronavirus tier 3 day twenty-one

December 22, 2020

Coronavirus out of control, a new mutation highly infectious spreading like wildfire, Lincoln new cases for the last week more than double the national average and it is all too easy to see why.

Too many idiots on the streets, idiots who are incapable of counting when there is a limit on the number in the shops, who seem incapable of comprehending what social distancing means, who for some perverse reason have to walk into a shop two people or more.

Queue outside the butcher, decide not to wait, on to the baker, another queue. It appears to be a day of queues.

One person outside the baker. I ask are they in a queue? No. Inside more idiots who cannot count.

To fishmonger, zero waste store, fruit and vegetable stall. At least no queues.

Everywhere well stocked, no shortages. A different story peddled by the media of shortages and shelves stripped bare, click bait scaremongering.

Takeaway cappuccino from Coffee Aroma. A model of how it should be. Only one person allowed into the coffee shop at a time, contactless payment only, takeaway cups a necessary evil, no reusable cups.

Passing by Hotel Chocolat, too many in the shop, no social distancing.

I was warned M&S was bad and it was. Far too many people packed into the Food Hall, a coronavirus death trap putting staff and customers at risk. At least all the tills were manned a novelty for M&S.

Contrast with visits to Waitrose over the last few weeks. Occasionally a queue, but wait no longer than a few minutes, stores not crowded.

I pop into the Oxfam Bookshop. A notice on the desk by the door, Wear Face Mask. Irony lost on the man sat at the desk not wearing a mask. When requested to wear a mask, refused to do so. I am on the phone. Told to go outside. Refused. Claims not near anyone. The bookshop was crowded, another coronavirus death trap. Volunteer or staff member he should be fired.

Before walking into Oxfam Bookshop chatted to an attractive young lady in queue for Lush. An orderly queue, restrictions on numbers an example to other shops.

Return to the butcher. Only one waiting in the queue. Inside seven people. Notice outside restricts to three people.

The country should be placed into tier 4, ten day Christmas lockdown extended beyond end of January if necessary. Why delay? Why are we waiting for more people to die?

Lincoln Eco Pantry

December 20, 2020

Passing through Lincoln Central Market I learnt of a zero waste shop uphill, ‘competition’. As I was en route to the Lincoln Christmas farmers market on Castle Hill, I decided to try and find it and check it out.

Lincoln Christmas farmers market a very sad and sorry affair.

Lincoln Eco Pantry in Bailgate opposite Redhill farm shop, not difficult to find. A queue outside, though everywhere had a queue outside.

Lincoln Eco Pantry a long time in opening. There was rumour of opening in the town at least two years ago, but a bad location, then at St Marks, another bad location. The current location, should have opened early November, finally opened on Friday.

Letting agents Banks and Co which means will be paying high rent or a surprise if not, Bailgate location would also be high rent, though in current dire circumstances maybe rents are starting to fall,

The location, apart from the high rent, excellent as compliments butcher, baker and greengrocer. All we now need is a specialty coffee shop, currently lacking in Bailgate.

Sympathetic restoration of an old building. How it has been fitted out creates a pleasant environment.

Ground floor, bulk refill for shampoo and laundry liquid. No names I recognised. For shampoo, Faith in Nature from the health food shop opposite Mary le Wigford Church just off the High Street, laundry liquid the zero waste shop in the Central Market.

The point was made, choose suppliers to compliment not compete with what already exists in Lincoln.

All the more baffling therefore a large amount of prime shelf space by the counter which encounter as enter the shop devoted to poor quality chocolate laced with additives, chocolate that can buy in any Oxfam shop and in most supermarkets, with not very environmentally friendly package. A definite negative.

Helpful young lady manning the till fed me nonsense additives were because vegan chocolate. Er no, emulsifiers substitute for cocoa butter because the emulsifiers are cheaper. Dark chocolate cocoa solids, cocoa butter, sugar, occasionally vanilla, nothing else. Only milk chocolate and white chocolate are not vegan due to addition of milk.

For quality chocolate visit Imperial Teas on Steep Hill. Excellent selection and knowledgeable about chocolate. The only place in Lincoln for quality chocolate.

Limits on numbers in the shop, limits on numbers on the first floor, a notice on the door, not that anyone took any notice of the notice on the door, nor was it enforced.

Upstairs on the first floor, loose nuts, cereals, dried fruits, tins of tea and coffee. All bagged and weighed by a helpful young lady.

But, this is not how to handle coffee beans, loose in the tins the beans will oxidise, they will already have oxidised in the plastic boxes shipped in, no information on the coffee beans, their provenance, where roasted when roasted roasted, their origin, country not sufficient.

I have recently been in discussion with a coffee shop and roastery, shipping of green beans, roasting, then supply to the coffee shop. I did consider supply in boxes, but dismissed, not good for the beans, they will oxidise.

DT Coffee Roastery supply roasted beans to Coffee Lab Academy and to The Square by Coffee Lab. The beans are supplied in bags even though located near each other in Winchester. Also true of coffee shops where the roastery is located within the coffee shop, the beans are bagged.

Beans popped in bags after roasted will outgas CO2 which creates a positive pressure in the bag, keeps out the air and stops the beans from oxidising. Roast, leave to rest for a week, then at their optimum for three weeks. Once the bags are opened, coffee beans go stale very quickly.

Coffee should have a wonderful aroma, a hint of things to come. I lifted the lid of the Brazil beans. Instead of a pleasant enticing aroma, I saw burnt over roasted beans with accompanying smell of burnt stale beans. Not pleasant.

And even if by happenchance bagged freshly roasted beans as they arrived in a brown paper bags, by the time arrived home, the beans would have oxidised,  not unless arrived prepared with vacuum storage jars.

If wish for coffee beans,  visit a reputable coffee shop where they care about coffee, Madame Waffle or Coffee Aroma, or try the zero waste shop in Lincoln Central Market.

Tea is fine in the tins, but for tea I would visit nearby Imperial Teas on Steep Hill.

Indy coffee shops and roasteries are always ahead of the game. Much work is being done on closing the loop with sustainable coffee bags. There are no easy answers, no quick fixes, packaging for shipping coffee beans keeping the beans fresh whilst at the same time reducing waste. [see Horsham Coffee Roaster – Recycling our coffee bags]

On sale reusable coffee cups during a coronavirus pandemic when coronavirus is out of control and a new strain is spreading like wildfire is an absolute no no. No responsible coffee shop will accept reusable cups for the simple reason it is to introduce an unnecessary  disease vector. They care about staff and customers and do not wish to place them at risk of infection.

The only reusable cup worth considering is a glass KeepCup, but if dropped, smashed to smithereens or consider a huskee cup. But why use reusable cups, why takeaway coffee, reusable cups addresses a symptom, not the underlying problem, stop using grab and go takeaway coffee.  During covid-19 crisis takeaway cups a necessary evil to reduce cross contamination.

Walk in Coffee Aroma, only one person at a time, strictly enforced a sign No Reusable Cups, and they will refuse to serve anyone who insists on using their reusable cup. Safety of staff and customers paramount.

Post-pandemic, relax and enjoy coffee in glass or ceramic served in an indy coffee shop.

In the natural world the concept of waste does not exist in space or time, the output of one process is the input to the next. Therefore we either use natural materials or we emulate a closed loop system with our manmade materials,  as we do with glass, steel or aluminium.

In Athens it is the norm, loose nuts and dried fruits, loose bars of chocolate, shops, stalls outside Athens Central Market, no special name as this is the norm.

Cashew takes it to another level, loose nuts, dried fruits, bars of chocolate jars of honey and peanut butter combined with a coffee shop serving speciality coffee. Coffee beans on sale are in bags.

The big difference to UK, far wider choice far higher quality. For example, more than one grade of dried apricots, pistachio nuts, peanuts.

I picked up muesli and chocolate-coated coffee beans, bagged, weighed and down to the till downstairs to pay. I may have lingered longer and bought more but it became unsafe, too many people allowed in.

The muesli, soft muesli, more like a muesli base, could have done with added fruits, but nevertheless excellent with the raw unpasteurised milk off the Christmas farmers market.  The chocolate-coated coffee beans reasonable but very poor quality when compared with chocolate-coated Brazil nuts from Athens or chocolate-coated coffee beans from Colombia.

The name Eco Pantry always wise to check if already in use. I found myself wondering why looked different to the shop I visited. I was looking at Eco Pantry in Sevenoaks.

Covid-19 biosecurity poor if not very poor. Ground floor door open thus ventilated, tiny crack window open first floor not sufficient ventilation, a girl on the first floor handled all the goods and bagged, but there were too many people in the store, this when we have a mutant highly infectious strain of covid-19  spreading like wildfire and Lincoln  recording double the national average of new covid-19 cases. Sale of reusable cups highly irresponsible. No one should be taking reusable cups to a coffee shop and no coffee shop should accept. The lax covid-19 biosecurity so poor Lincoln Eco Pantry should close until further notice until they address these issues.

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