Posts Tagged ‘cappuccino’

Black Mocha

August 19, 2017

Coffee shop in North Laine in Brighton.

I had noticed Black Mocha in North Laine on a previous visit to Brighton last year, a relatively newcomer to the Brighton coffee scene.

Chatting with a girl sat outside, I asked what was it like, she said good.

OK, I am on my way to Coffee at 33, maybe some other day.

OK, we will compare notes.

Passing by again, I was heading for the seafront, then changed my mind, as it was  a pleasant late afternoon, I decided I would stop and sit outside.

Black Mocha, which I had passed earlier, I tried a cappuccino. Not very good, not helped by chocolate dumped on top.

Staff very pleasant.

Interior pleasantly laid out.

I am not to sure of the ad hoc tampering of their espresso machine. The metal panels removed, replaced by glass, glass I am assured that  is shatter proof. Espresso machines have inside high pressure boilers.

Coffee from a local roastery, Cast Iron Coffee Roasters.

Black Mocha has potential, if employed skilled baristas.

Cappuccino at Lion and Lamb Cafe and Restaurant

August 12, 2017

Many many years ago,  on a sunny autumn afternoon, I used to enjoy sitting outside in the sun in Lion and Lamb Courtyard for afternoon tea.

These days,  I would usually take a coffee in Krema, where the coffee is consistently good, but nowhere pleasant outside therefore for a change, sit outside this little tea shop cum restaurant, and an opportunity to see what their claimed artisan coffee was like.

I had checked their website, and found they laid claim to artisan coffee. A couple of weeks ago, I asked, and learnt it was Union, which is good coffee.

I said next time passing, I would drop by.

I had intended to take a coffee sat outside Lion and Lamb Cafe and  Restaurant sat in the sun. My long walk afternoon walk around Bishop’s Meadow, meant the sun had gone.

I had checked their website, it said artisan coffee, but did not say what. A couple of weeks ago, I enquired, to learn Union. I decided to try, with no great expectations, as the food is not great, which possibly explains why  whenever I pass by, always empty. As it was this evening.

When ordering, asked no chocolate, to save the hassle of having to send back if served with chocolate dumped on top.  Which sadly too often happens.

Cappuccino was brought with a bowl of sugar cubes. These I sent back. A good coffee does not need coffee. Only the disgusting concoctions masquerading as coffee served by Costa, and tax-dodging Starbucks and Caffe Nero needs sugar.

Cappuccino was served scalding hot. A classic mistake. But it was better than what is served at Gail’s, and had the potential to be a good cup of coffee, if served not so hot.

I also had a shortbread cookie. It was not great, made all the worse coated with sugar both sides. There is no excuse for adding this extra sugar, especially as the toxic nature of sugar is now well known. I can buy better shortbread in Waitrose.

On passing by later, I popped in and told the one and only girl, still empty, but tough luck in the unlikely event of a rush, that she had served the coffee scalding hot, that it would have been better not so hot.

She thanked me for the helpful feedback.

She said customers complain if not hot. I gave her a tip, play steam over the lip of the cup to give the illusion the coffee is hot. Also explain, if you want your coffee hot, please ask, but do not then complain of poor quality of coffee.

Problem is lack of training.  Also not working with a  skilled barista.

Union coffee being served by people who are not baristas, does not bring out the best in quality coffee. Neither does it do the reputation of Union a lot of good.

Retro Coffee Shop

August 3, 2017

I have no idea why called the Retro Coffee Shop.

Is it due to the split and cracked seats? Or that you stick to the seats?

Maybe it is the undrinkable coffee, that somehow managed to be weak and bitter all at the same time? Retro coffee, regressing back to the heyday of undrinkable coffee. Though we can always drink undrinkable coffee in Costa or tax dodging Starbucks and Caffe Nero.

I asked to see the beans. Poor quality catering brand, commodity coffee.  No excuse when these days so many quality coffee roasteries to choose from.

The Tea Shop around the Corner does at least make an attempt to source quality beans, could do better, their coffee is not great, would be much better if employed a barista and sourced quality beans, but they do make the point they are a tea shop not a coffee shop.

Although called a coffee shop, in reality, an old-style greasy spoon cafe. If you are going to call yourself a coffee shop, then at least have the decency to make decent coffee.

Natter Cafe

July 25, 2017

There used to be on the platform at Farncome Station, a little coffee shop, Coffee Charisma. I have never found it open.

In Guildford, on the market in North Street, a stall selling coffee, Coffee Charisma.

Confused? Me too. Especially as both had identical logo.

Last time I passed through Farncombe Station, I noticed no longer Coffee Charisma, now Natter Cafe. And no, not open.

Two different businesses, both with identical names. Something had to give.

Natter Cafe also comes as two. There is also outside Farncombe Station, Natter Cafe, and that was where I was headed for a  cappuccino, break my journey on the way to Godalming for lunch, only it did not quite work out that way.

I was looking at the menu, and was then given some advice on the coffee. Try our filter coffee, V60, single origin from Uganda. I do not know why Uganda was chosen, other than a single origin. Possibly because no single origin from Brazil.

I had a look around, before settling down in the garden outside.

Very pleasantly done, both inside and out, inside art on the walls, which is periodically changed.

The V60 was not poured as I would have expected, a continuous pour, not pour to wet the coffee, pause, pour again, and repeat a couple of times.

Compare for example with a V60 Japanese iced filter coffee at Coffee Island in Covent Garden.

I also noticed, did not first cleanse the filter with hot water, which is very important.

I queried this later with the barista. He said they had done that first at the espresso machine.

I found the coffee to be too strong, possibly why I was brought milk. It would also have been better served in glass.

I requested a glass of water, used the glass

Why it was too strong I do not know. Could be the beans which I suspected were over roasted, poor quality beans, maybe too much coffee. It could even be the method by which it was poured.  Also could have been the grind, which would determine how fast or slow the hot water passed through, thus the extraction time.  A courser grind maybe would improve the coffee.

I compare with a Japanese syphon. First time, awful coffee, second time excellent, third time too strong. Why,  poor quality Indonesian coffee, speciality coffee coffee from Columbia, grind too fine, filter clogged, and over-brewed. Small differences make a difference.

Also compared unfavourably with a filter Kenyan at Karuna Coffee and the V60 Japanese iced coffee. And compared unfavourable with all twelve lots from Los Nogales Project during a cupping session at Taylor St Roasted.

But to be fair, though I would have expected the V60 filter to be better much better than it was, I am drawing a comparison with very high quality coffee.

I asked of the beans.

Natter Cafe have their own blend which is roasted for them, also single origin, which is also roasted for them.

All the single origins, maybe even the blend, all roasted to the same roast profile.

Not how any competent roastery would roast beans. Roasted to bring about the best from the beans, also depends upon how the beans are to be used, espresso or filter.

I decided to stay and have lunch, having been tempted by watercress soup and fish cakes served with salad. Both were excellent.

Followed by a cappuccino and a flapjack dipped in chocolate.

The cappuccino not great, large amount of froth and foam. The flapjack excellent.

On sale bags of beans and the little V60 used to make my filter coffee.

Nothing was priced. No roast date on the beans nor could I find the weight. Best by for coffee is meaningless.  A speciality coffee shop would have more information on the beans, though more than would find in a supermarket on brand coffee.

Staff very pleasant and helpful.

I was looking forward to a coffee and was gravely disappointed. On the other hand I was not expecting to eat and found the food to be excellent.

I would highly recommend for the food and ambience, but not somewhere I would go for a  coffee.

Cappuccino and granola bar in Gail’s

July 22, 2017

Not long after Gail’s opened last year, I had a cappuccino. It was not good.

I have been tempted to try again, to see if improved, on the other hand I hate throwing good money after bad.

Today, was one of those days.

Cappuccuno and  a granola bar.  Neither were good.

The granola bar was hard and dried up. Either made that way, or left out all day and had dried up. Not good for what claims to be an artisan bakery.

I think that claim is to try and justify the extortionate prices, rather than a measure of quality. £2-95 for a small wholemeal loaf.

The cappuccino did not look great, the taste was equally unappetising. It was bitter, far too hot.

There is no excuse, they have Union Hand-Roasted Coffee, an expensive La Marzocco espresso machine. The problem lies with the staff making the coffee, who are completely clueless on coffee.  I would hate to call them ‘baristas’ as it would be to insult baristas.  It is rare to ever see the same staff twice.

Bags of Union coffee are prominently displayed. It is not giving Union a good name.

I then visited Krema, the only coffee shop in Farnham capable of making coffee where at least I knew I would find a half-decent cappuccino.

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.

 

Coffee kiosk Hungerford Bridge

June 29, 2017

On the South Bank, at the foot of Hungerford Bridge, is a little coffee kiosk.

I asked where were the beans from, he told me the country of origin.

Who the suppliers, the roastery?

The Roasting Party.

The replay immediately told me, they must know what they are doing if sourcing from The Roasting Party,  as used by Coffee Lab and The Dispensary Kitchen.  They must serve good coffee

I ordered a cappuccino and  was not disappointed.  Excellent cappuccino.

The little kiosk is called Beany Green, part of a little chain called Daisy Green.

If not Friday, Saturday or Sunday (or Monday if a Bank Holiday), when I would head for Ethiopian Coffee Roasters on the South Bank Street Food Market, this would be where I would head for a coffee.

Then walk across Hungerford Bridge for one of the best views in London looking down river.  Then cut through Embankment Gardens and up into Covent Garden, if that was where I was heading.

Excellent coffee.

— to be continued —

Coffee Culture

May 5, 2017

I occasionally walk past Coffee Culture as I walk through the courtyard of The Angel Hotel. I have never popped in, as it is off putting the smokers hanging around outside.

Today I thought I would give it a try.

The decor is ok, but that is as good as it gets.

Everything they did, screamed they know nothing about coffee

I was offered coffee in normal size cup or an outlandishly large cup.

Never use a large cup.

I ordered a cappuccino.

It looked disgusting, and did not taste much better. But at least I was asked, did I want chocolate, it was not dumped on top.

Never use chocolate, use cocoa.

The coffee was a on a par with the free coffee out of the machine in Waitrose in Farnham.

A tad too hot, milky, watery, barely drinkable.

The best that could be said of my cappuccino, was served in an attractive cup, the same cups used by Harris + Hoole.

I walked out and left it.

Outside a board telling me an award winning coffee shop.

This once again emphasises the point, awards have become meaningless.

I do not know which award they are referring to, they are not one of the best coffee shops in Guildford, not by a long way, nor for that matter is Caracoli which has a board outside making that ridiculous claim.  It is like awarding Costa the nation’s favourite coffee shop brand, completely and utterly meaningless.

Whoever drew up the short list of coffee shops for Surrey, clueless on coffee.

The coffee beans used, catering supply for the trade, no roast date.

Why bother? There is no excuse these days for using poor quality coffee, other than cutting corners and do not care what you serve.

The notice also says, locally sourced. Since when has Scotland been local? There are plenty of coffee roasters locally or in London they could have used, could have used if they cared and knew anything about coffee.

And no, tea pigs is not quality tea.

Coffee Culture is not a coffee shop, it is a cafe that serves coffee masquerading as a coffee shop.

Cappuccino in Coffee Lab

May 3, 2017

Coffee Lab, if nothing else, I was glad of the warmth.

Did I wish to sit outside?

Normally yes, but not today, far too cold.

Can I please close the door?

Now a choice of two different blends, Einstein or Heisenberg.

I chose Einstein as I was familiar with it.

Excellent walnut cake, made by a local lady.

I sat in my second favourite place, by the window.

Lovely paper flowers.

Written on the mirror, courses they are running at Coffee Lab Academy in May.

I then popped around the corner to Coffee Lab Academy, for them to weigh me out a bag of Einstein beans.

As I was about to leave, in walked Dhan,

A  quick hi, sorry got to run, a bus to catch.

I just had time to suggest he checked out Standart, maybe stock it.

Cappuccino in Harris + Hoole

May 2, 2017

Shock horror, Harris + Hoole sold to tax dodging Caffè Nero.

Shock horror, Harris + Hoole no longer source their coffee beans from Union hand-roasted coffee, now source from tax dodging Caffè Nero.

Damning reviews on TripAdvisor.

Not good news.

Does this now mean, coffee in H+H no different to tax dodging Caffè Nero?

It was with trepidation I set foot in Harris + Hoole. Was I to be disappointed, never to cross the threshold again?

Same friendly staff. Always good sign.

Quiet downstairs, which was a big improvement.

Upstairs very busy, more like a working office, even a  couple holding a business meeting.

But first set the record straight.

Tax dodging Caffè Nero have not bought Harris + Hoole. They have bought the minority Tesco stake, which always was an anomaly.

Were Caffè Nero to buy the company, I can see they would find difficult to not resist the temptation to turn into Caffè Nero Plus.  At the moment Caffè Nero are operating at arms length, and let’s hope it remains that way.

Harris + Hoole have set up there own roastery in Neal Street in Covent Garden, the beans single origin, direct trade.  I was told today, the beans from Peru.

My cappuccino was excellent. I expect no less from the team at Harris + Hoole.

The damning reviews on TripAdvisor are complete and utter garbage.

Usually fake reviews are easily detected, no resemblance to reality, usually the only review. These are different, several reviews, which makes me curious.

The negative comments on the staff are not true. Nor on the quality of the coffee.

The staff are always friendly, time permitting, willing to inform the clientele about the coffee, but most importantly, they take huge pride in the coffee they serve.

The cakes are not the factory cakes found elsewhere.

Yes at times, dirty dishes are piling up on the tables. This is a management issue, too few staff. Two busy floors, only two staff, one taking orders, one serving the coffee, who clears the tables?

It merely serves to once again emphasise, reviews on TripAdvisor are worthless.

If you think they serve coffee in Costa, then do not review coffee shops, as you know nothing about coffee.

Similarity, if you eat in McDonald’s or KFC, then do not review restaurants.

As soon as they are able, H+H should get get rid of all their coffee shops in Tesco.

Wherever possible, transfer all the Caffè Nero coffee shops in Waterstone’s to Harris + Hoole.

Waterstone’s is kicking Costa out of their bookshops. In Lincoln, Costa has gone, to be replaced by W, their own in-house coffee shop. Same in Brighton, now W. In Lincoln, one bookshop has Caffè Nero. This could change to Harris + Hoole.

Maybe sell Standart. Though its sale may be restricted to indie coffee shops, certainly the top end of the coffee market.

I mentioned to the guys free coffee books and that James Hoffmann is crowdfunding his writings, to be published as The Best of Jim Seven.