Posts Tagged ‘Coffee Aroma’

Reclaim the Streets Lincoln

June 13, 2020

Saturday 13 June 2020 day eighty two of coronavirus lockdown in Lincoln. How many weeks has the city had to pedestrianise the city centre leading up to and including Bailgate, to enable independent coffee shops and restaurants to put their tables in the streets?

It is a tragedy the number of coffee shops and tea rooms either closed or eking out a meagre living on takeaways.

Sincil Street two coffee shops, Central Coffee House and 200 Degrees.

Central Coffee House closed, overlooks sterile open space. No indication of when or if it will open.

200 Degrees opened a few weeks ago for takeaway, overlooks a sterile open space.

Stokes on High Bridge, High Street, will open in a few days time for takeaway only.

Coffee Aroma closed. Will open sometime in the near future for takeaway only. They wished to open with tables in the street. They asked and received an emphatic no from County Hall.

Unfortunately we will not agree to you increasing the number of tables and chairs you use or the size of the area that you have at the current time (your enclosure needs to still be only outside the frontage of your premises).

Not even the courtesy of an explanation.

Angel Coffee House, closed, no indication if or when may open.

Madame Waffle closed. Not open in the foreseeable future. Will announce when open.

Margaret’s Tea Room. Open for tea and coffee takeaway. Overlooks a square where would love to place tables.

The Cheese Society currently closed, adjacent to the same square overlooked by Margaret’s Tea Room, where they too could place tables and chairs.

Many tea shops on Steep Hill, but not open, no indication if or when will open.

I talked to the owner of one tea shop. She thinks she may be able to open with restrictions on numbers but no idea when.

The one exception, Bookstop Cafe, located in a Norman croft below a Norman building which houses Imperials Teas, purveyors of fine tea, coffee and chocolate. They opened a few weeks ago for takeaway tea and coffee, tables outside. The tables removed by edict of  a Town Hall jobsworth acting like the Stasi on a tip off.

In Bailgate only Sanctuary in the Bail open for takeaway tea and coffee. Would love to see Bailgate pedestrianised and tables in the street.

There are several restaurants in Bailgate. Only Elite on the Bail open, serving takeaway fish n chips out the back. Elite on the Bail overlooks a square where tables could be placed.

We must reclaim the streets.

We hear the sound of birdsong, the streets are traffic free, the cities are pollution free. There can be no return to normal as normal was not normal.

We have been jolted into another now. We must maintain our city centres car and pollution free.

In Athens in the evening the streets turn into restaurants. Athens is expanding its network of pedestrianised streets.

Northern Ireland is looking at expanding the number of tables in the streets.

Sheffield has plans to expand pedestrianised streets.

Paragon Chambers in Hull, coffee shop encouraged to place tables outside.

North Laine in Brighton the restaurants, coffee shops and other shops are in the street. There are plans to expand the pedestrianised streets.

Soho has plans to pedestrianise the area, turn into one large open air coffee shop and restaurant. Currently awaiting approval from Westminster Council.

Unless indie coffee shops and restaurants are allowed to spread their tables into pedestrianised streets few will survive covid-19 pandemic.

Many coffee shops have no future. Too small to manage social distancing. A kiosk can survive on takeaway only, a coffee shop with higher overheads cannot.

We had sunniest May on record, Mediterranean climate. The tragedy indie coffee shops and restaurants were not able to spread their tables into the street.

Win win for everyone. Kick starts the local economy, maintains social distancing, helps local businesses back on their feet, improves city centre ambience.

It is not only coffee shops at risk it is the entire supply chain. There are the coffee roasteries that supply the coffee shops, the growers who supply the coffee beans.

We all have to act. If not, we lose our coffee shops.

Talk to local councils and councillors, change the mindset that allows traffic into city centres, pedestrianise the city centre, allow indie coffee shops and restaurants to spread their tables into the street, no chains no pubs No Smoking.

Government has to extend furlough for local businesses if they are unable to open. Reducing social distancing from two metres to one metre does not help as it greatly increases the risk for staff and customers.

Lincoln should follow the example of Soho, Soho Summer Street Festival, introduce with immediate effect temporary measures for the summer, Sincil Street, High Street, Cornhill, The Strait, Steep Hill, Castle Hill and Bailgate, pedestrianised, tables in the street, indie coffee shops and restaurants, no chains no pubs No Smoking. Then carry out consultation with the aim to make permanent.

Update: Excellent news from Soho. The area to be pedestrianised, roads closed to traffic, indie coffee shops and restaurants to spread their tables into the streets. And not only Soho, Covent Garden and other areas too. The excellent news from Soho only serves to Illustrate how backward Lincoln and lacking in vision. County Hall and City Hall have had weeks to implement a similar scheme in Lincoln, enable indie coffee shops and restaurants to spread their tables into the street, to help them get back into businesses. It revitalises the local economy, improves the ambience of the city centre.

Hasbean coffee cupping Coffee Aroma

March 4, 2019

Afternoon coffee cupping at Coffee Aroma with James Andrews of Hasbean.

Coffee cupping is to coffee what wine tasting is to wine.

Freshly ground coffee, hot boiling water, leave four minutes, remove the crust, sample each cup with a cupping spoon and a slurp, cleaning the spoon in water between cups.

A wide range of countries, different processing of the coffee beans, Brazil, Costa Rica, Yemen, Nicaragua.

Nicaragua is a country not often seen, Yemen very rare.

Coffee migrated from Ethiopia to Yemen, then spread across Arab countries, into Europe and then across the world.

Coffee was a valuable crop to Yemen, mansions on the waterfront built on coffee, smuggling out of coffee plants on the pain of death.

In recent years coffee terraces in Yemen have given over to a more profitable crop, a narcotic, the evil sister of coffee.

For more on Yemen read The Devil’s Cup and The Monk of Mokha.

A minor criticism of the coffee cupping, the participants should have sensed the aroma of the ground beans and each participant granted the opportunity to remove the surface crust and experience the aroma that erupts when the crust is removed.

Hasbean has recently been acquired by Ozone. The two operate as separate companies with a holding company. It has enabled more resources for Hasbean to work with estates when buying green beans.

Most of the coffees cupped are available at Coffee Aroma.

The coffee estates Stephen Leighton works with are featured in Coffeeography, on sale in Coffee Aroma.

V60 Japanese iced filter coffee at Coffee Aroma

May 8, 2018

Today a hot day, not as hot as Monday when it hit 28.7 C, but still a very hot day.

A cappuccino out of the question.

What I had in mind when I asked at Coffee Aroma was a V60 Japanese iced filter coffee brewed with a single origin supplied and roasted by Hasbean.

As a V60, with one big difference, half the hot water as usual, the other half as ice in a carafe.

As the hot coffee drips into the ice it is instantly chilled.

Not cold brew, nor the same as a V60, brewed with hot water then chilled.

Very refreshing on a hot day.

This was 50:50 hot water to ice. May wish to try a ratio of 3/2.

In conversation with Stephen Leighton

March 14, 2018

An afternoon of conversation and book signing with Stephen Leighton, head of Hasbean and author of Coffeeography.

Launch event for Lincoln Coffee Festival took place in the first floor lounge of Coffee Aroma.

A very interesting afternoon of conversation with one of the lead players in coffee.

Stephen Leighton talked about the people and farms he obtains his coffee from. Long term relationships, friends of the family.

From a very humble beginning, Stephen fell in love with coffee as a child passing by a coffee shop with coffee roasting, he started with green beans, roasting on a pan at home, selling his roasted coffee off a market stall.

It was then trips to origin, where has formed long term relationships with the growers.

One family will recommend another farm, often in a different country.

Oxfam were invited to the event, they may have actually learnt something.

Stephen Leighton engages in direct trade, the farms are paid a higher price for quality.

Contrast with FairTrade. Farms are paid a tiny premium over and above commodity price. Fine if low altitude, low quality commodity coffee, they get a tiny margin above what they would otherwise get for low quality coffee destined for instant coffee or the coffee chains.

Instant coffee. Beans are boiled to remove any resemblance to coffee, then chemically adulterated to provide a coffee flavour.

FairTrade there is no incentive to the growers to improve the quality of the coffee, coffee is coffee is coffee, a commodity, price determined by international coffee markets in London and New York, a price determined by speculators.

To improve the quality requires more care in all the stages. Only the red coffee cherries, this may require several passes to pick the best ripe cherries, it requires careful sorting. All of which adds to the cost to the grower. Only worth it if these extra costs are recuperated if can command a higher price for the coffee. This will happen with speciality coffee, where everyone in the chain wants higher quality and is willing to pay for it, the coffee roaster, the indie coffee shop, the discerning coffee drinker, it will not happen with commodity coffee.

Therefore when buying a bag of Hasbean coffee from Coffee Aroma, or a bag of Square Mile coffee from Madame Waffle, or a bag of coffee direct from Union Hand-Roasted, you will pay a higher price, in return, higher quality coffee, a better price to the grower.

FairTrade has degenerated into marketing hype for low quality coffee, a brand.

It is difficult to know, has the latte levy had an impact, or at least the proposed latte levy, which the government has refused to implement?

It may have made people think, and the clientele in specialty coffee shops tend to care more.

Do we discourage takeaway coffee, encourage sit and relax with speciality coffee served in glass or ceramic? If takeaway, encourage use of compostable cups or offer a discount if a customer brings in a clean KeepCup for a refill?

What are the life cycle costs?

What we do know, plastic is destroying the planet. At the very least we need a discussion between barista and customer, to explore the options.

Business as usual, plastic-lined disposable paper coffee cups, is not an option.

A 5p levy on flimsy plastic carrier bags has reduced their use by in excess of 80%. It has though had an unintended side effect.

People buy a cotton tote bag. Next time out shopping buy another, then another. There is now a world shortage of cotton and the price of cotton has soured.

Cotton is one of the worst environmentally damaging commercial crops grown. Big demand for water, toxic cocktail of chemicals sprayed on the plants, toxic chemicals used to process the cotton.

Apples in a supermarket are graded to give a uniform size. There is no rationale for this other than convenience for the supermarket. Those rejected as non-standard, perfectly good apples, go to waste.

The same happens with coffee. Kenyan AA, is no measure of quality, it is a measure of size.

The same bad habits in coffee, rejection of smaller beans. When cupped for flavour, found to be quality beans, beans that were being sold as commodity coffee, and thus commanding a low price.

Every bean has a story to tell. Coffeeography attempts to tell that story. Do we know that story when we drink our coffee? Coffee mats cf beer mats, postcards, information leaflets, a story on the bag of beans, a QR code to scan?

What is insufficient information, what is too much?

At the very least, farm where sourced from, Q rating, roast date.

What is a coffee shop, or at least an indie coffee shop?

Traditionally, from when coffee shops were first established as coffee spread from Yemen, across Arabia, through the Ottoman Empire and into Europe, places of discussion, discussion whilst drinking coffee.

A discussion with Stephen Leighton, over a coffee carefully brewed by Sarah hard at work downstairs, was to recreate if only for an afternoon those early days.

Coffee shops were also places where merchants met to discuss trade. And yes, trade was discussed.

Book signing for those who bought a book. For those who could not make it who wished to come, a few signed books have been kept back. Very limited numbers, first come first served. Please ask.

A couple of us were very lucky and given a presentation box of coffee samples.

As I write, a beautiful aroma is wafting across from the coffee samples.

The afternoon was the launch event for the Lincoln Coffee Festival. Check with Lincoln Coffee Collective for details of further events. Watch out for a coffee cupping session.

Special thanks to Stephen Leighton and those who paricipated for an interesting discussion, and to Coffee Aroma for hosting.

Last year Dale Harris Director of wholesale at Hasbean won the World Barista Championships.

Hasbean will be opening a pop up coffee shop in Brick Lane for the duration of the London Coffee Festival (12-15 April 2018).

Cappuccino in Coffee Aroma

April 4, 2017

An unpleasant cold wet afternoon.

Nothing for it, a cappuccino in Coffee Aroma. Not that I need an excuse.

As always, an excellent cappuccino.

Coffee Aroma is listed in Northern Independent Coffee Guide, where it can also be found on sale.

Cappuccino in Coffee Aroma

March 9, 2017

Lovely sunny spring day.

A few minutes stroll by South Common.

Today was the first day I have ever found St Swithin’s open. Only because a group was holding a meeting. When I passed by later, it was not open.

Deressing to see how the inside of the church has been ruined, and that they allow the malignancy of Alpha to enter the church.

Quick chat at The Little Bicycle Coffee Shop.

Followed by an excellent cappuccino at Coffee Aroma.

Coffee Aroma has been ordered to remove its tables and chairs by four in the afternoon. A pedestrianised street through which motorised traffic is allowed after that time.

So concerned are useless jobsworth at Lincolnshire County Council, who lack the common courtesy to put a name to e-mails, with public safety, they have ordered Coffee Aroma to remove their tables and chairs by four in the afternoon, but not so concerned to actually stop motorised vehicles, cars,  vans, huge lorries, to drive through the pedestrianised city centre.

As I was drinking my coffee, sometime between 1215 and 1220, white van man drove through, with Chub Community written down the side of the van, but ok, he had his hazard lights flashing.

Coffee Aroma ordered to remove tables and chairs from the street

January 30, 2017

Coffee Aroma has been ordered by Lincolnshire County Council to remove by four o’clock in the afternoon the tables and chairs outside their coffee shop.

Walk from Coffee Aroma to Lincolnshire County Council around lunchtime and you will find en route vehicles illegally parked on the footpath, obstructing the footpath and forcing pedestrians out into the road into the path of lorries on a busy highway. Many jobsworth are walking to and fro, it is after all lunchtime. Report to local traffic wardens, the police or Lincolnshire County Council and what action is taken? Er, nothing.

This is the council headed by the Philistine Martin Hill, a man who shows arrogant contempt for the public. Who thought it ok to close two-thirds of the public libraries in the county, the remainder on limited hours. His latest crude power grab is to hold a referendum, at taxpayers expense, to have only one council for the whole of Lincolnshire. No guessing, it would be his council.

An edict issued by a worthless jobsworth with nothing better to do.

This is classic jobsworth, trying to justify their existence.

These are what David Graeber calls bullshit jobs,  jobs that exist to employ people who perform no useful function.

Classic bullshit jobs, half a dozen migrants with dirty rags and a bucket of water replacing an automatic car wash.

But why is there a need to remove the tables and chairs by four o’clock?

The tables and chairs are behind bollards defining what was once the footpath in a pedestrianised street.  Even if there was traffic flowing down the street,  they would not be obstructing the highway.

This is a pedestrianised street, as is the High Street, as is Sincil Street.

But before ten o’clock in the morning, large lorries drive up the High Street, often until at least sometime after 10-30. Then a repeat after four o’clock.

These are pedestrianised streets, there should be no motorised traffic.

In all these streets, the heavy lorries apart from danger to pedestrians, are destroying the road surface, more cost to local tax payers, more jobs bullshit jobs created.

These vehicles should be barred, a pedestrianised area, should be that, a pedestrianised area 24 hours a day, seven days a week. An area for people, an area where they are safe.

This is the norm in pedestrianised town centres across Europe.

Lorry deliveries to an offloading area on edge of the town centre, then delivered by barrow or hand cart.

This is the norm in Istanbul, Puerto de la Cruz, La Laguna, Santigo de Compostela, Athens, and many other towns and cities.

It is also the norm to see people sat outside, as for example outside El Café del Aguere in La Laguna, the only place in Tenerife that serves a decent cup of coffee.

Not only sat outside, but not hemmed in by a barrier.

Coffee Aroma is a very popular coffee shop, and even in winter, it is always busy, not only inside, but also people sat outside.

What we are seeing, apart from creation of bullshit jobs, is ethnic cleansing of small businesses.

Sincil Street, up until a couple of years ago, was busy, many indie business, more people on the street from ten o’clock to four o’clock than in the High Street. Now Sincil Street is dead, boarded up shops, rents unaffordable, thanks the the Coop acting in cahoots with the City Council.

The same is true of the Central Market. Dead.

A good market brings people into a town centre.

In the Central Market there is a fruit and vegetable stall. Once a month on a Saturday, they are denied their pitch. On that day, third Saturday of the month, a flea market. On what would be their busiest day the only day the Central Market is busy they are denied a pitch.

North Laine in Brighton, three streets and associated side streets, indie shops, not a single chain store, is always busy.

Small independent businesses circulate money within the local economy. Chains such as Costa and tax-dodging Starbucks suck that money straight out of the local economy.

Postcapitalism can go one of two ways.

Precarious, part-time, zero-hours, temporary, soul-destroying McShit jobs; bullshit jobs serving no useful purpose; serfs working for apps at often less than the minimum wage, Uber, Deliveroo, Wheelys.

Or we can have small businesses, open coops, sharing, collaborative commons, a basic income for all.

Which begs the question, is a  barista a bullshit job? Or meaningful work?

The answer depends upon where you work. If Costa or tax-dodging Starbucks, yes, a soul destroying McShit job. If somewhere like Coffee Aroma, no, a creative job where enjoy what you are doing taking pride in the work.

Cappuccino at Coffee Aroma

December 23, 2016

Yesterday an excellent cappuccino at Coffee Aroma.

Lincoln High Street was packed with Christmas shoppers, Stokes on High Bridge was empty, Coffee Aroma was packed.

Roast date of the coffee beans was prominently displayed.

My cappuccino was marginally better than earlier in the week. But without a direct comparison, hard to say. A different barista. But probably more important, the beans were possibly used a little too soon after the roast date.

Roast date is very important. One week, let the beans  rest, the aromatic oils adjust, followed by a three week period when beans are at their optimum.

It is then for the barista to exercise their skill and extract the best from the beans.

All quality coffee shops will tell you the roast date if asked.

If they do not know, do not even understand why important, then they know nothing about coffee.

La Cafeína in La Laguna has around 50 varieties of coffee beans stored in plastic jars. Roast date is an alien concept. They do not even use a quality espresso machine. They have relocated since the spring, an improvement in their coffee. Was allowed to sample their coffee beans, to decide which I would prefer. Most were over roasted and should have been binned. I chose the least worse.

Caracoli in Guildford, store manager not a clue on coffee. When I visited in July, could not see what was wrong with beans roasted October last year!

Coffee Aroma source their beans from Has Bean.

Stokes around the corner in the High Street, roast their own beans. A criticism of their beans on sale no roast date. And Stokes should know better.

Coffee Aroma is featured in Northern England Independent Coffee Guide, which they have on sale.

Coffee Aroma  is located off the High Street, before passing through The Stonebow, turn left at the corner where is located HSBC.

Cappuccino in Coffee Aroma

December 19, 2016

Excellent cappuccino in Coffee Aroma.

Maybe that is why these days Stokes on High Bridge empty, whereas Coffee Aroma packed.

Coffee Aroma is the only coffee shop I know that displays the roast date of their coffee beans.

Many will tell you if you ask. Too many do not know, do not even comprehend why it is important.

Coffee Aroma is featured in Northern Independent Coffee Guide (now in second edition).

Cappuccino at Coffee Aroma Coffee Shop

February 4, 2016
cappuccino

cappuccino

Excellent cappuccino at Coffee Aroma Coffee Shop.  Served as a couple of days ago, water, cappuccino and a cup of espresso. I should have said, I did not wish for the espresso. As before, a division of labour, one brews the coffee, the other pours and does the artwork.

Interesting conversation with the man who squeezed in behind me. Not much room downstairs. I said try upstairs. He said he had, and was packed out.  Whilst I was there, a queue for coffee.

One of the signs of a good coffee shop, not only excellent coffee, but interesting conversation.

Has Bean Coffee

Has Bean Coffee

I noticed they also sell the beans, will grind if asked. No do not ask, grind as and when required, and seek advice on how to grind.

Beans are sourced from Has Bean Coffee. Not a very good choice of name.

Northern Independent Coffee Guide

Northern Independent Coffee Guide

I picked up a copy of Northern Independent Coffee Guide.  I assume on sale as mentions Coffee Aroma Coffee House, though no mention of Stokes, either as a coffee shop or as coffee roasters, which is a noticeable omission.

Coffee drinkers in Lincoln are very fortunate, a wide range of indie coffee shops and tea shops, serving quality coffees and teas, Stokes on High Bridge, Coffee Aroma and many others.  Begs the question, why anyone drinks the disgusting coffee-in-name-only served by Costa, Caffe Nero and tax-dodging Starbucks?

Big question mark on Tripdvisor. I would expect Stokes on High Bridge and Coffee Aroma to share the top two positions, Pimento Tea Rooms third (top place for tea), but they do not.

A few years ago, TripAdvisor was useful, but when you have people who drink at Costa, eat at McDonald’s, then it becomes meaningless.

Coffee Aroma Coffee House is located off the High Street below The Stonebow in the centre of Lincoln.