Posts Tagged ‘200 Degrees’

Cappuccino at 200 Degrees Lincoln

August 22, 2019

Size in coffee matters.

When offered a choice of size it shows no understanding of coffee.

When offered a size that is big, it is not offering value for money, it is offering bad coffee.

To have a sign outside a coffee shop offering big, is simply embarrassing.

And no, never serve a cappuccino with chocolate.

There is only one size for a cup of coffee. The correct size.

At 200 Degrees, a flat white is served in a cup for a cappuccino. The cappuccino is served in a size that is too large.

Not the fault of the baristas, it is the company that is clueless on coffee. Instructing the baristas how not to serve coffee.

Nor does one add Robusta to coffee. A cheap nasty species of coffee that tastes disgusting and has none of the subtlety of Arabica. The best coffee is always Arabica, not cheap commodity Arabica, high quality Arabica.

Since opened in the spring, tables have been added in the street. Kudos to 200 Degrees for making these tables No Smoking. Other coffee shops please take note.

200 Degrees Lincoln exclusive launch party

March 1, 2019

200 Degrees, two coffee shops in Nottingham, a small chain of a little over half a dozen coffee shops. 200 Degrees Lincoln when open brings the tally to eight coffee shops.

The degree to which coffee is hyped is inversely proportional to its quality. The degree to which 200 Degrees Lincoln has been hyped bodes ill and actually does them no favours.

According to Jennie Holland PR their hype has reached over eight million people. Knock off two zeros and it would still be a greatly exaggerated figure. I doubt a reach of 8,000. And reach is not engagement. If we look at engagement, comments on social media, re-posts, re-tweets, we are down another two orders of magnitude.

Maybe PR agencies believe their own bullshit. Someone has to. It would be interesting to see the evidence to support their ludicrous claim of eight million, how it was measured. If you make ridiculous claims, which no doubt looks good to clients, then be prepared to back with hard data.

The PR agency lacks any understanding of social media algorithms. I receive at least once a day unsolicited tweets from Nespresso, maybe every few days on facebook.

How many times for 200 Degrees? Zero.

Neither as their infamous tweet shows have they any understanding of how to effectively use hashtags.

And the PR agency missed a trick by not making use of the large screen at the bus station or the screen at the train station. Though the screen at the train station badly positioned, not seen as walk in and exit via a different route.

How to pour money down the drain without really trying.

The irony is, apart from not doing 200 Degrees any favours, all 200 Degrees had to do was release a corporate press release to the local hacks and the scribblers would have regurgitated the press release as news.

The irony is open a new coffee shop, people will try, if they like will return with their friends, if not tell their friends the coffee is bad. A window of opportunity of maybe a couple of weeks. Word of mouth.

The launch party was claimed to be an exclusive event. Exclusivity is measured by those excluded, not by those invited. The infamous tweet from the PR agency implicitly invited the world. So much for an exclusive event. More PR bullshit.

Around three o’clock I was surprised to find a barrier in Sincil Street outside 200 Degrees Lincoln and the windows covered, the door closed.

The door opened to let a couple of people out and I was welcomed in.

Not many people. Whether busy during the day I do not know.

A large number of staff. But that was everyone, not as the coffee shop will be when open.

I have watched the coffee shop change over the last couple of weeks.

Two weeks ago an empty shell. I did not think it would be finished in time, but the shopfitters assured me it would be.

Early this week it was starting to take shape.

Today, still not quite finished, not all the gear in place, no tables and chairs out in the back yard.

But due credit to the designers for an excellent job.

Contrary to what Brian of Brian’s Coffee Spot writes, all their coffee shops are not the same and nothing worse than trying to create a corporate image.

What struck me was the open space, a mezzanine floor.

It was very much as I am used to in the best coffee shops in Athens.

The main difference the layout of where the coffee is brewed. In Athens, the barista is central, open to the coffee drinkers to watch their coffee being prepared, and better for engagement between barista and coffee drinker.

The serving area a lateral inversion that is mirror image of 200 Degrees Nottingham Station. The other difference on the left as walk in not on the right.

No long row of upholstered seats as 200 Degrees Nottingham Station. Instead tables and chairs, higher tables and stools, and a long table in the middle which for the launch party was used to display their food.

What I missed was the raised seating area of 200 Degrees Nottingham Station, light and airy, overlooking Nottingham Canal.

The one thing I did not like was the display panel for courses covering the first window on the right as walk in and thus cutting down the natural light. The one mistake in an otherwise excellent design. The display panel should be on a wall

I ordered a V60. I was asked which coffee I would like. I let them choose and an Ethiopian single origin was chosen.

I then had a wander upstairs and was invited into their training room. I think three training machines. Pay for a course and for their own staff to not only train on but use for practice.

Note: Four training machines.

For the punters courses in use of French press, V60 and aeropress. I would like to see Japanese syphon added.

This is excellent as shows people how to make coffee at home, and that not too difficult, skill and practice, and far better coffee than will ever achieve with a Nespresso machine. All for an initial outlay of V60, digital scales, swan-neck kettle and a hand grinder. And of course a bag of high quality single origin coffee beans.

The mezzanine floor if not used for training would make an excellent seating area.

My V60 was cooling down as we were looking at what was available, but that was ok, V60 improves as it cools (though not once cold).

I popped out as everything closes in Sincil Street at four, then popped back and had a cappuccino.

The person who served it to me, spilt down the side apologised and a second cappuccino was made. How it should be. Never serve a coffee that is not at its best.

I would recommend always choose the guest coffee, but ask that roasted to suit espresso.

The coffee is ethically sourced.

Interesting conversation with different staff. Their head coffee roaster was there but had left when I popped back. A pity as I would have liked to have discussed their roast profiles.

There will be seating out in their back yard and out the front in Sincil Street. Hopefully these areas will be No Smoking.

The back yard is work in progress. It needs greenery, plants in pots, trellis with trailing flowers on the walls.

Any coffee shop that opens serving good coffee is to be welcome as it shows people what is possible, that coffee is not an unpleasant bitter drink that has to be dosed with sugar and syrups and dowsed in chocolate to make palatable, nor is coffee served scalding hot.

Anyone who drinks in the corporate chains serving undrinkable coffee will be in for a pleasant surprise.

A comparison locally would be Stokes at The Lawn.

Not in the same league as Coffee Aroma or Madame Waffle, but better than other indie coffee shops in Lincoln. These days if going to open a coffee shop serving bad coffee on a hiding to nothing as already have the corporate chains serving bad coffee.

My V60 and cappuccino was brewed by their head of training. Whether they will be able to achieve this level of quality consistently is the real measure.

The food and cakes as 200 Degrees Nottingham, freshly prepared on site.

I would hope though they will give their kitchen leeway to develop their own dishes with locally sourced ingredients. For example Lincolnshire sausages sourced from the farm shop in Bailgate or the butcher at Heighington, bread from a local bakery, cheese from The Cheese Society, seasonal vegetables for soups from the local market stalls.

Apologies few pictures of what it looks like. 200 Degrees asked that I did not take pictures to allow it to be a surprise for visitors on Monday. I respected their wishes. An embargo the hacks at The Lincolnite and City X failed to respect or were not subject to.

Opening times will be until eight on weekdays. Sincil Street is deserted after six, no bus after seven. It is also not very safe once dark.

200 Degrees Lincoln officially opens on Monday 4 March 2019.

Coffee Cupping with Hasbean at Coffee Aroma 1400 Monday 4 March 2019.

200 Degrees coffee kiosk

February 24, 2019

The degree to which coffee is hyped is inversely proportional to its quality. For 200 Degrees a chain of nigh identical cookie cutter coffee shops serving at best mediocre coffee bodes ill for its soon to open coffee shop in Lincoln.

Hyped by the hacks at Lincolnite and Lincolnshire Echo who think that regurgitating corporate press releases constitutes news, hyped by quasi PR agency  Visit Lincoln who should be promoting local culture and events not hyping a coffee chain.

Part of the hype, a horse box serving as a coffee kiosk by the side of the river in Lincoln to promote their new coffee shop in Sincil Street not yet open, part of the trashing of Sincil Street, destruction of local businesses by local Coop in cahoots with the local Council to then bring in chains.

Pot luck if you encountered this coffee kiosk, more by luck if passing by, as whoever handles the 200 Degrees twitter account clueless on the use of social media, failure to say when or where made worse by lack of courtesy to reply to queries.

And even for their yet to open coffee shop in Sincil Street, list of opening hours but not when it actually opens.

  • broadcast —> one to many
  • social —> interaction
  • network —> many to many

Social media is not broadcast, the clue is in the name, social networks.

And the coffee?

Served by a guy with a bullshit job title Brand Manager, who is based in their roastery, not the head coffee roaster, handles their training.

The coffee is bulked our with robusta, a cheap nasty coffee that no reputable coffee roastery or specialty coffee shop would touch with a barge pole. I was fed some bullshit that addition of robusta improves the coffee. It does not.

The cappuccino was better than expected, but then this was a guy who claimed to be in charge of training.

The latte art not great. But then I am used to being served by world class baristas thus a hard act to follow.

On the plus side, the cappuccino was better than I expected and have had in Nottingham, which is why when in Nottingham I do not have a coffee in 200 Degrees, there are far better coffee shops, The Specialty Coffee Shop, Cartwheel Coffee, Wired and Outpost Coffee.

Compared with the corporate chains then yes, as their coffee is undrinkable.

Compared with local coffee shops Coffee Aroma or Madame Waffle, no, they are in another league.

I then after walking up Steep Hill and back visited Madame Waffle where I was served an excellent V60 brewed by an expert with coffee from Square Mile.

Whilst in Madame Waffle I was chatting to a couple of Chinese visitors who were very complimentary about the tea and asked could they buy loose leaf tea. It was measured out for them.

Other visitors to Lincoln said how much they enjoyed the coffee and that it was an independent coffee shop.

Which brings us back to Visit Lincoln, why are they promoting a coffee chain when Lincoln has two excellent indie coffee shops, Coffee Aroma and Madame Waffle, something Lincoln can be proud of and should be showcasing? Visitors want what is unique to Lincoln, that makes a visit to Lincoln worthwhile, not what can be found elsewhere, else why make the effort to visit?

But when Lydia Rusling  head of Visit Lincoln brags she took a visitor to Lincoln Cathedral, Lincoln Castle and Cosy Club, a fake 1930s bar, so fake a Monty Python parody of fake, there is something clearly very very wrong.

Visit Lincoln a quasi PR company masquerading as a quasi-tourism body.

200 Degrees will open in Sincil Street on Monday 4 March 2019. They have made themselves very unpopular by trying to poach staff from local coffee shops. Very odd as the Sincil Street coffee shop will also host a training school on a mezzanine floor. What does this say of their training school if they need to poach staff from local coffee shops?

They are also attempting to poach customers from nearby coffee shops. Angel Coffee House, not one of Lincoln’s best coffee shops, has been very cleverly manipulated into promoting 200 Degrees on social media.

Afternoon in Nottingham

January 15, 2019

Two-coach East Midlands train Lincoln-Nottingham-Leicester.

It could have been worse, it could have been a clapped out single coach train. At least this train was refurbished and had usb charging points. Though few use as hidden below the seats.

I took the opportunity to charge a power bank. I did not think it needed charging, other than maybe a top up. To my surprise took the entire journey to charge. Failing power bank?

A new stall outside Nottingham Station selling dosa. Too cold for street food but not impressed. Appeared to have been already made, did not look appetising, was then popped in a frying pan, hotted up, ingredients tossed on top.

I was not impressed. Not the way to make a dosa. Nothing like the quality or professionalism of Ollo Foods with a stall on Guildford farmers market.

Lunch at 200 Degrees Nottingham Station overlooking Nottingham Canal.

Tomato soup was something of a disappointment, tasted like tinned soup, but the falafal was was excellent.

200 Degrees is a small chain. Coffee mediocre at best.

Excellent cappuccino at Cartwheel Coffee.

An organic single origin from Honduras.

On sale Frank Green reusable cups. These, together with rCup, are the worst reusable cups on the market.

I suggested get shot of, stock KeepCup or ecoffee bamboo cups. But ideally encourage relax with specialty coffee served in glass or ceramic, discourage takeaway.

I looked in Wired, but who I wished to see was not there.

Their own branded glass KeepCup. Large. I have never seen large before.

Guest coffee Girls Who Grind.

On my last visit I had been told by Outpost Coffee of a nearby zero waste store. I asked of the vegan stall. Cobden Chambers, but not today. I checked, no, not today. A pity, as I wanted muesli, which I had hoped to find.

Ideas on Paper not open. No information to say when open. Annoying as was the reason for my visit.

V60 from Outpost Coffee. They were busy.

I looked again Ideas on Paper. Not open.

Nottingham Station. Long walk down a long platform to waiting train.

Afternoon in Nottingham

August 29, 2018

It would have been a day in Nottingham, arrive late morning, but thanks to dysfunctional bus service running at least 12 minutes late, I missed the train, and had to catch the next train an hour later.

The train had usb charging points hidden beneath the seats.

Not seen before, a coffee kiosk outside Nottingham Station, Nelo’s. Cappuccino OK, not great. It would improve if the coffee was ground fresh for each cup. The guy was knowledgeable about coffee, but it needs more than a piece of paper from 200 Degrees to make a barista.

The biscotti biscuit was excellent.

Lunch at 200 Degres near Nottingham Station, but no coffee. Their coffee is not great, though I like the ambience of the coffee shop and the food and cakes are excellent.

I tried to find Cartwright Coffee that the little coffee kiosk and one of his customers had recommended. I could not find nor Jamie Oliver that I was told was nearby.

I asked a passing Black girl but she did not know. I knew Nottingham better tan her, even though she was a local.

She suggested I took a coffee in Pret a Manger. Ha, ha.

It was therefore The Speciality Coffee Shop.

Michelangelo said both his guest coffees even though single origin, were suited to espresso, not filter.

I tried Rwanda from Maude Coffee Roasters. Excellent cappuccino. I asked was a light roast, as was reminded of coffee from Base Camp? I was told yes.

I picked up two bags of coffee.

I looked in Ideas on Paper in Hebden Court. Picked up a copy of Ambrosia San Francisco edition.

I looked in Wired, said hello. I would have liked to have had a cappuccino, but no time. Next time.

On to Outpost Coffee. A V60. I let them choose. A Kenyan coffee, a bit too acidic. Very expensive beans, so expensive, sold in small glass jars. I did not inquire the cost.

On the shelf a Gina cold brew tower which I had not seen before. They brought down onto the counter for me to have a closer look.

V60 emptied into a takeaway cup. A sacrilege I know. But I had a train to catch.

A couple of years ago Guildford had cows dotted around the town, Brighton snowdogs, Lincoln Barons, then last year Knights. Nottingham has Robins. Why Hoodwinked I do not know.

Train 1721. I was very lucky to catch. Were it not for cramming the passengers in like sardines and the time it took to board I would have missed the train.

200 Degrees Flying Horse Walk

May 1, 2018

On previous visits to Nottingham, I have not been able to find 200 Degrees Flying Horse Walk, even though I know I have been in the vicinity.  Therefore my first port of call on leaving Nottingham Station was 200 Degrees Nottingham Station.

Too early to eat and I did not want a coffee. I called in to ask where their other coffee shop was, as I had not found on previous visits, also to check the roast date on their beans.

For a coffee roastery, I would expect not to find old coffee beans. There can be no excuse for this.

When I queried why, they said deliveries Tuesday, today being Tuesday, check back later.

Following their directions the coffee shop was more or less where I expected it to be, though could I find it, no.

I walked through Flying Horse Walk, a modern arcade, no luck.

I walked around the block, no luck, checked alleys, no luck.

Then found it, hidden by scaffolding.

Inside dark and gloomy. Full of people on laptops. No ambience. I much prefer 200 Degrees Nottingham Station to 200 Degrees Flying Horse Walk.

I checked the beans. As 200 Degrees Nottingham Station, too old.

I ordered falafel wrap. As 200 Degrees Nottingham Station, excellent. I learnt at both coffee shops they make their own food on site. Baffled though why vegan sausages.

I was going to return to 200 Degrees Nottingham Station for a cappuccino, though that had not been my original plan, but as it would have meant back tracking, I stayed and ordered a cappuccino, their guest blend.

I forgot they blend with chocolate. Very annoying as disguises the coffee. As with the house blend, ok, not great.

It was then to The Speciality Coffee Shop. I ordered a cappuccino. Alchemy Elixir, sadly not as good as previous visit.

Mayday in Nottingham

May 1, 2018

A day in Nottingham of coffee exploration, following the Nottingham Coffee Trail.

Awoke to a lovely sunny day, a light frost at dawn.

Train to Nottingham, clear blue sky, as train pulled into Nottingham Station, turned cloudy.

Alighting from the train and walking beside the station, quite cool, a cold wind blowing.

Day was variable, cool in the shade, hot in the sun.

First port of call, 200 Degrees Nottingham Station. Too early to eat, I did not want a coffee. Called in to ask where their other coffee shop was, as had not found on previous visits, also to check the roast date on their beans.

For a coffee roastery, I would expect not to find old coffee beans. There can be no excuse for this.

When I queried why, they said deliveries Tuesday, today being Tuesday, check back later.

The coffee shop was more or less where I expected it to be, could I find it, no.

I walked through Flying Horse Walk, a modern arcade, no luck.

I walked around the block, no luck, checked alleys, no luck.

Then found it, hidden by scaffolding.

Inside dark and gloomy. Full of people on laptops. No ambience. I much prefer 200 Degrees Nottingham Station to 200 Degrees Flying Horse Walk.

I checked the beans. As 200 Degrees Nottingham Station, too old.

I ordered falafel wrap. As 200 Degrees Nottingham Station, excellent. I learnt at both coffee shops, they make their own food on site. Baffled though why vegan sausages.

I was going to return to 200 Degrees Nottingham Station for a  cappuccino, though that had not been my original plan, but as it would have meant back tracking, I stayed and ordered a cappuccino, their guest blend.

I forgot they blend with chocolate. Very annoying as disguises the coffee. As with the house blend, ok, not great.

It was then to The Speciality Coffee Shop. I ordered a cappuccino. Alchemy Elixir, not as good as previous visit.

Feeling hungry I ordered tagliatelle. Very poor compared with Bedda, Sicilian guys with a stall on Winchester street food market. Pasta has to be fresh.

Since my last visit a change around in the coffee. Only two bags of the Gardelli left.

Three bags of coffee, Alchemy, Gardelli, The Barn.

Then to Wired. No time for a coffee. I checked what coffee they had, and said I would pop back. As with The Speciality Coffee Shop, different to my last visit.

Next stop Outpost Coffee.  I did not wish for yet another cappuccino, I start to feel sick after two, and had not enjoyed either.

Did I wish for a V60, did I have time? Yes and no, but decided on a V60.

Very, very unusual. If did not know was coffee, maybe tea, but not even tea, maybe a strange fruit not familiar with.

Two boxes of coffee, note boxes not bags.

I asked of the coffee scene in Lincoln. I said excellent, visit Coffee Aroma, Madame waffle and Makushi aka Base Camp on Steep Hill. Easy to find, from Lincoln Central Station, head to the High Street, to The Stonebow, then onward and upwards, The Strait, then Steep Hill.

This is how to find excellent coffee shops, follow your own instincts, go where your feet take you, ask.  Once one specialist coffee shop found they will advise on others, it may not be in the same town (though that helps), may not even be in the same country. On my last visit to Nottingham a couple of weeks ago, I was discussing with Michelangelo co-owner The Speciality Coffee Shop coffee shops in Athens.

Then back to Wired picked up Clifton Coffee Roasters coffee from China.

No time, but popped in 200 Degrees Nottingham Station to pick up a cake.

I would maybe have asked of their coffee deliveries, but so far not been impressed by their coffee and not time. Plus I had so far spent a small fortune on coffee and had an excellent selection.

Lunch at 200 Degrees Nottingham Station

April 17, 2018

As my last visit to Nottingham, excellent lunch at 200 Degrees Nottingham Station.

As my last visit, I skipped coffee. Their house blend is not great. I wished to try their guest blend, but wished to try at their other coffee shop, which I have yet to find.

I headed off in what I thought was the correct direction, did not find, but did find The Speciality Coffee Shop where I spent the a large part of the afternoon.

200 Degrees Nottingham Station

March 31, 2018

A very fleeting visit to Nottingham.

Alighting at Nottingham Station, I was surprised at the size of the station.

I exited via a side exit, which was also the exit for the tram into the city centre.

I did not take the tram, as no idea how far to the city centre or how frequent the trams, and preferred to walk.

I followed the sign for city centre at least there was a sign, and found myself at the main entrance.

I could not find what I was looking for 200 Degrees. A Costa and a Gourmet Coffee stall serving Union Hand-Roasted.

I left the station forecourt, passed by tax dodging Starbucks, and there on a corner by a bridge overlooking the Nottingham Canal was 200 Degrees. Not quite the station, but near enough.

A wonderful ambience within, interior much larger than the exterior would suggest. Divided into three zones, a serving area, an open airy light space and a darker brick-lined interior. Exposed riveted steel columns. Wood panelled walls.

I was reminded of speciality coffee shops in Athens.

An enticing array of cakes. Leftovers of lunch. I would imagine lunchtime a wider choice.

There was a reason I was looking for 200 Degrees. I had tried their espresso blend Brazilian Love Affair a few days earlier at The Bean and Vine in Newark. Wonderful aroma, but not so great coffee.

Brazilian Love Affair. Strange I thought, espresso blend from Brazil, one country, though as Stephen Leighton quotes in Coffeeography, there is an awful lot of coffee in Brazil. On closer inspection, Brazilian (unknown), Colombian (Arabica), Vietnamese (Robusta).

What self-respecting roastery uses Robusta? Vietnam is infamous for dumping rubbish coffee onto the world market.

Vietnam, to the surprise of many, is world No 2 coffee producer after Brazil.  The country was conned by the World Bank into growing coffee as a cash crop. Guaranteed prices, they were promised. Guaranteed prices that never materialised.  A large volume of cheap inferior coffee was dumped on the world market. The price for coffee collapsed and has never recovered.

I was curious, what was it like when brewed by 200 Degrees in their own coffee shop, and why do they bizarrely include Vietnamese Robusta in their espresso blend, Brazilian Love Affair, Brazilian (unknown), Colombian (Arabica), Vietnamese (Robusta)?

Only one way to find out.

I had time for a cappuccino. A cake for tea.

The cappuccino though was blended with chocolate.  Not what I wished for, as I wished to see what the coffee was like.  I was offered another coffee. I said thanks, declined the offer, then changed my mind, I would take a takeaway and have on the train, much as I dislike takeaway coffee. Nothing beats sitting and relaxing with a coffee in glass or ceramic.

The coffee would have been brought to me table,  I carried it, as I had stayed chatting with the baristas. Very helpful, pleasant and knowledgeable baristas.

Coffee beans were on sale, as was tea.

Adjacent to the coffee beans, a grinder. Moot point, have the coffee professional ground but not fresh coffee or grind at home, fresh but not the best grind.

I raised my query, why Robusta? They were as perplexed as myself, and they too would like to know why the roastery includes Robusta?

Three grinders offering a choice.

The coffee menu, quite a choice, including cold brew.

Cold brew, if get the method right and if a quality single origin, is excellent. But not today. Excellent way to drink coffee in the summer.

I was though surprised to see nitro cold brew on offer. A disgusting gimmick, nothing more.

An interesting flask on the counter, klean kanteen, I say flask rather than refillable cup, as not exactly barista friendly. Stylish design, shale black, looks expensive, looks more suitable to carry around trekking, than everyday to and from the office via a coffee shop.

A busy coffee shop, being nearby a railway station, takeaway trade too.

True to their word, a takeaway coffee as I left. Were the takeaway cups compostable? Not known and does not say on the cups, therefore I assume not.

I should have tried at least a taste, but did not until several minutes after my train pulled out. A little weak and insipid I hate to admit, but improved with the addition of the coca maybe that is why they add. With Robusta, I would have expected strong and bitter.

It raises yet more questions on why Robusta?

The takeaway cup has an account of a coffee shop from 1642. It does not though say where. For that have to go on-line. If nothing else, a clever way to direct to their blog. I did, and could not find.

Being so close to the station, why does anyone frequent Costa or Starbucks? And if in the station forecourt why Costa when there is a guy with a stall serving Union-Hand Roasted Coffee.

A very fleeting visit, forty minutes.