Posts Tagged ‘cappuccino’

Coffee Lab Chichester

July 13, 2018

Chichester is an old Roman town, the pedestrianised centre still follows the Roman Street plan, a medieval buttercross Chichester Cross in the centre, medieval side streets, surrounded by the Roman wall.

A town I thought where I would be spoilt for choice for coffee shops.

I was to be gravely disappointed.

Corporate chains a plenty, the pedestrianised centre ruined by corporate chains. Plenty of what were little more than greasy spoon cafes masquerading as tea rooms and coffee shops. But nowhere serving speciality coffee.

Then at the end of East Street and beyond, Draper’s Yard, well worth a visit, and within Edge an old Citroen van serving Edgcumbea Coffee. I tried cold brew and a cappuccino. Neither were good.

It was then to St Martins Coffee House which I had stumbled across earlier in the medieval streets in the North East Quarter between between North Street and East street for late lunch. A restored town house, wonderful garden out the back, a restaurant and not as the name would imply a coffee house.

Commenting on this, I was directed to Coffee Lab.

A couple of years ago Coffee Lab was one tiny coffee shop in a side street in Winchester serving excellent coffee. In the following two years, two more making it three in Winchester, pus a few more in other towns. Together with Flat Whites van and Flat Whites coffee shop, Winchester has become a thriving coffee city.

I have had my reservations, grave reservations, Coffee Lab opening several coffee shops, but I was not disappointed. The guys knew their coffee.

I was served an excellent cappuccino. I also tried their cold brew. It put to shame what I had tried at Edge aka Edgcumbes Coffee earlier.

I also noticed guest coffee.

Guest coffee is new for Coffee Lab, as until now all they have had is their Einstein and Hesienberg blends from The Roasting Party.

Chichester now has one coffee shop serving excellent coffee.

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Cappuccino in Cosy Club

July 6, 2018

Cosy Club, not a place I would normally be seen dead in, a fake 1930s bar, a corporate chain. But I was curious they are sourcing coffee from Clifton Coffee.

How to get in? From the High Street, into Tunsgate, then into Tunsgate Quarter.

Tunsgate Quarter, a new shopping centre, artificial and sterile, boarded-up units, a few corporate chains, devoid of people. The glass ceiling turns it into a greenhouse, hotter than the street. The only positive, provides a useful short cut.

Nothing on this level other than a Nespresso stall. Did I want a Nespresso? No, I like coffee.

Down a spiral staircase. Again nothing. I find myself walking back into the High Street to find Cosy Club. Only you enter and climb the stairs.

I am surprised how large. Did I wish to be taken to a table? No, I will have a look around.

I decide on a seat by an open door leading onto a balcony, fresh air.

Cosy Club far worse than I expected, so fake it is a parody of fake.

At the bar, beers from industrial chemical factories. Only one real ale on a hand pump. No craft beers.

Has nothing been learnt from Wetherspoon? Apparently not.

I order a cappuccino. It is covered in chocolate. I send it back. A long wait for a second cappuccino, too large a mug, scalding hot, and yes, undrinkable.

The coffee is Clifton Village blend. Clifton are doing themselves no favours, not if they care for their reputation.

Do I wish to eat, do I wish to see the food menu? I decline.

It is then to Krema, where I have an excellent cold brew coffee.

Why is Guildford Tourist Information sending out tweets promoting Cosy Club? To date, I think nine, so many I am losing count. Yet another one today. Why did they tweet as a place for coffee? Is not the role of a tourist office to promote what is of interest locally, not as the PR office of a corporate chain? Is this an appropriate use of public money?

All the more ironic when on 4 July the launch of a month to celebrate independent businesses in Guildford.

Cappuccino at Robustos

May 16, 2018

Following my visit to Robustos yesterday, I decided to revisit late afternoon today.

Today bearing gifts, copies of Caffeine, Cold Brew Coffee and guest coffees from Alchemy and The Barn.

George kindly brewed me a capuucino, one for him too, we then sat outside in conversation.

He surprised me when he said the espresso blend from Cup 10 contined a small percentage of Robusta, nevertheless the cappuccino was excellent.

Angel Coffee House revisited

April 29, 2018

When I last visited Angel Coffee House a year or so ago, it was grim, a dreadful place, noisy, sofas black with ingrained dirt, cushions with stuffing falling out, and the coffee awful, the bags of coffee stacked on the shelves well past its best.

Not a place I would recommend to anyone.  I had been in better squats.

Shortly thereafter it closed, the place gutted.

I was told following refurbishment it had improved.

I would not usually return to somewhere this bad, but as I was passing by, I thought with much trepidation I would try.

The interior much improved, clean, very light and airy due to whitewashed walls.

The walls provide an excellent back drop to use as an art gallery, and many coffee shops are now doubling as art galleries.

I do not know for how long, an excellent exhibition of art by Charlotte Jane Kessler.

My eye was caught by kaffee form coffee cups. It looked like an exhibition of pottery.  I knew what it was, the first time though I have seen, let alone held and examined. Nor did smell of coffee as I expected. Nor as I expected a rough surface. No, smooth. The cups surprisingly light.

Kaffee form coffee cups are made of recycled coffee grounds. They are used for serving coffee. I asked could I have a coffee in one, was told no. If used, and if break, can be composted.

These coffee cups though are very expensive, espresso cup and saucer 15 euros, cappuccino cup and saucer 20 euros, which is why not likely to find in use in a coffee shop any time soon.  There is also a takeaway cup 15 euros, which puts in the same ballpark as KeepCup.

A coffee shop. How was the coffee?

It was better than before. It would have had to have been very bad to have been worse than before. OK, not great, not undrinkable, weak and insipid. And they did at least ask, did I wish for chocolate dumped on top. As mentioned in the current issue of Caffeine, chocolate is dumped on cappuccino to hid a multiplicity of barista sins. They need to examine their extraction and weigh the coffee not guess.  If I was to give a ballpark, I would say not quite as good as 200 Degrees house blend, and it is not great.

The coffee is sourced from Forge in Sheffield.

Forge have committed the cardinal sin of what no reputable roastery would do, try to poach business from other coffee shops, not when they are sourcing from one of the best coffee roasteries in the country.

Angel Coffee House still has a fair way to go, but at least is heading in the right direction.

If compare with coffee shops in Lincoln, not in the same league as Coffee AromaMadame Waffle or Makushi aka Base Camp on Steep Hill, but better than Coffee Bobbins which was recently awarded best tea or coffee shop in Lincolnshire by Good Taste Lincolnshire (which makes a farce of awards) and of course far better than any of the corporate chains, Costa, tax-dodging Caffé Nero or Starbucks.

Cappuccino on St George’s Day

April 23, 2018

What better way to celebrate St George’s Day than a cappuccino in Madame Waffle, brewed using Red Brick roasted by Square Mile?

Well ok I could have had a single origin V60 pour over. I could have had a bottle of red wine from Melissonas Hill Vineyard.

 

Spring Espresso Lendal

April 20, 2018

What a difference walking down a street can make.

Excellent brunch at Burr Coffee, the coffee awful.

Is my sense of taste awry? No, bad coffee.

Spring Espresso Lendal serves coffee from Square Mile, Red Brick espresso blend and single origin.

I have yet to have a bad Square Mile coffee and Spring Espresso Lendal was no exception.

Excellent cappuccino, restoring my faith that my sense of taste had not gone awry.

Did they have guest coffees? Occasionally, but very rarely as always a changing guest coffee from Square Mile.

I noticed a Synesso espresso machine. Showing an interest, I was told the only one in the country, at least of that model. Spring Espresso have a second coffee shop in York with a different Synesso.

On the counter a small cold brew tower. I have never seen one so small, though unusual to ever see one in the UK.  It was dripping at one drip every two seconds through the coffee and into a carafe below. Eight hours.  Odd though to serve with tonic.

Burr Coffee

April 20, 2018

Alighting at York Station the final stop, wandering through  the streets, over a bridge over the River Ouse and into the city centre.

Passed a couple of coffee shops, one of which was Brew and Brownie, but too hot to sit inside.  Ended at York Minster, back tracked to Lendal and found Burr Coffee.

Excellent brunch at Burr Coffee, the same cannot be said of the coffee. The cakes looked tempting, but I did not try.

Looking at the menu outside, brunch field mushrooms and halloumi cheese with pine nuts on toasted sourdough bread. Generous portion size and excellent.

North Star Coffee on sale, espresso blend and single origin, though no single origin served, no pour over.

I have had North Star before at Canopy Coffee, not good, therefore was curious.

Cappuccino ordered. It was terrible, chocolate dumped on top, scalding hot, undrinkable.

I kept taking a tentative sip whilst eating my lunch, but my opinion did not change, it was terrible coffee.

I had been tempted to buy a bag of North Star coffee was not sure which, though my decision had been made for me, as apart from The Docks an espresso blend, the single origin which I would have preferred, was all too old.  Having experienced an awful coffee, I decided not.

Further down the street, Spring Espresso Lendal serving Square Mile Coffee.  What a difference a few steps can make.

Sometimes I wonder, is my sense of taste awry. I then have a decent cup of coffee, and realise no, I have been served bad coffee.

Burr Coffee has on sale The North and North Wales Independent Coffee Guide in which they are listed.  The listing opens up a whole can of worms. If not serving quality coffee, why are they listed? How independent is this guide, what credibility, when coffee shops are paying £500 to be listed?

Burr Coffee, excellent for lunch, not somewhere for coffee.  A cafe serving coffee, not a coffee shop serving food.

 

Wired

April 6, 2018

We’re quirky, we’re truly independent, we’ve got a La Marzocco… and we’re not afraid to use it! — Wired

As I excited Cobden Chambers in Reading, I noticed opposite, I did not notice before, Wired.

Appearances can be very deceptive. Wired looks like a greasy spoon cafe and I wondered what I was doing there, until I noticed serving Allpress, on display Standart, Drift, and London Coffee as reading material.

I had not had Allpress since Jimmy Bean vanished from Winchester.

Good reasons to stay.

I found a window seat and ordered a cappuccino. A sprinkling of chocolate, not enough to bother me and send it back.

Excellent, far better than the house blend at 200 Degrees (I have yet to try their guest espresso).

Down below a basement, better described as a basement lounge, as completely different in character to the ground floor.

A handful of seats outside.

I could, if ordered a takeaway, returned to Cobden Chambers.

In addition to Allpress,  guest single origin coffee for pour over, Craft House Coffee (Colombia and Costa Rica) and Pharmacia.

Craft House Coffee is based in Sussex, though I have never come across them in Brighton.

All the coffee was available to buy as coffee beans.

I was kindly given a sample of CHC Burundi for coffee cupping.

Synchronicty: I opened Standart an early edition of which I had not seen before. It opened at an article about Martin Hudak, who I met last year at the Union Summer Carnival.

The Drift, was an early edition, volume 3 the Havana edition.

The very first time I have seen Drift in the UK, apart from Magazine Brighton.

I was advised, try Ideas on Paper, it is from where all the coffee books and magazines came, they may have a copy, they keep back copies.

I did and found the Havana edition. I did not think to inquire of earlier editions or of earlier editions of Standart.

Synchronicty:  Next day reading the Havana edition, a tweet of the strange yellow taxis featured in Drift.

Very knowledgeable, pleasant and helpful barista, the manager, not the owner, the owner I did not meet.

 

Bar Unico

February 20, 2018

A bar serving coffee, a coffee shop?

Actually neither, Italian concept, there is not the distinction between a bar and a coffee shop, a bar will serve coffee and food.

I had been recommended try.

Low expectations, Italian coffee is dark, over roasted, and even Italians are beginning to recognise they have  a problem when a cup of coffee is served at one euro.

There are exceptions, Bar Italia in Soho for example.

I tried a cappuccino. Not as I expected, dark and over roasted. Served too hot and somewhat weak and insipid

I noticed bags of beans on sale. Roast date listed, where beans sourced from but nothing on where or who roasted by. Accountability, transparency, traceability is important. Every bean has a story to tell.

The aroma from one of the bags of beans pleasant.

Occasional live music.

Cappuccino at International Bomber Command Centre

February 11, 2018

Last visits to the International Bomber Command Centre were a couple of weeks ago when not yet open to the public, press day and a preview for veterans, I was curious what it was like now open to the public, what better way to find out than to drop in for a cappuccino.

Sunday roast dinner at the Butcher and Beast at Heighington, then on to the International Bomber Command Centre for a cappuccino.

I was pleasantly surprised on arrival to find how many cars parked in the car park, almost full.

Shocked to find have to pay £3 to park. This was a planning condition imposed by the local council. The money will go to the centre, but only I assume after covering the cost of the parking machines.

How to access by public transport I do not know.

There needs to be access from South Common, otherwise quite a trek if on foot.

Speaking with the Director, previous weekend, the first weekend open to the public,  was even busier, I think she said 1100 visitors.

Excellent news, as they need visitor numbers to make the centre viable and provide cash flow.

On entering the open plan reception area, I noticed cabinets arranged corralling a central area, books on sale, souvenirs, including bags of coffee and tea.

The range of books quite limited. I assume not long open, hopefully a wider selection in the near future.

My cappuccino, too hot, weak and insipid. Classic mistake to serve piping hot.

The coffee served, Bomber Command blend, is a blend from Brazil, supplied by Stokes, exclusive to IBCC.

The Bomber Command beans are on sale, but already ground. For freshness, beans have to be whole, ground on demand. Also essential when supply beans, the roast date, best by or use by is meaningless.

Information on the bag about a Bomber Command pilot from Brazil, but nothing about the beans, where sourced from in Brazil, Q grade, not even if Arabica or heaven forbid Robusta.

Also on sale Bomber Command tea, again exclusive to IBCC supplied by Stokes. Disappointingly, in tea bags, not loose leaf tea.