Posts Tagged ‘Coffee Lab’

Afternoon in Winchester

December 15, 2017

A very cold day, only a few degrees above zero, wind chill making feel much colder.

I missed the train to Alton thanks to dysfuncytional Stagecoach bus service. I missed a bus, half an hour wait for the next bus, a bus service that is supposed to be every ten minutes.

At Alton, popped in The Station Cafe, wished them Merry Christmas. Next Bikers night will be last week in February.

On the way to Winchester, charged power bank. It was fully charged last trip a week ago, only used as occasional flash light, It showed fully charged, half way through journey, fully charged.

I was tempted to alight from bus and walk down into Winchester, too cold.

I would usually visit Winchester on a Wednesday, when they have a street food market, albeit a very small street food market that is getting smaller. Today market day, many more stalls.

Pasta off the Sicilian stall. Far too cold for street food. The High Street seems to focus the wind.

I learnt last week, Flat Whites have opened a coffee shop. I decided to find it, take a look, but not stay.

It is down Parchment Street. I have never before walked down Parchment Street. Lined wth interesting shops, far better than find in the High Street.

Flat Whites towards the end of the shops, in a little courtyard.

Abby who owns it has done an excellent job, guest coffee, coffee beans for sale, on display Standart latest issue and Drift the Melbourne issue.

It was then to Coffee Lab Academy, now nearly five o’clock.

I asked what time were they closing, there are a lot of people in the High Street, I added, hopefully.

Seven o’clock.

I decided to take a walk to the Cathedral Christmas Market, then come back.

Winchester Cathedral Market is far more impressive at night than during the day. In the daytime it lacks atmosphere. Plenty of people enjoying the ice skating. Contrast with the pathetic ice rink at The Village in Guildford, which has now closed, and The Village will also close Christmas Eve, having cost the local taxpayer £1.2 million.

Back to Coffee Lab Academy. No Dhan, but luckily, he has signed copies of Coffee Art for me.

Cappuccino and date slice.

I find there is not a bus at 1850. I am sure there used to be. Now hourly from 1820. Lucky for me Coffee Lab Academy not closing until seven.

Train from Alton, intersting conversataion with an American economist from New York, he had studied at LSE.

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Afternoon in Winchester

December 6, 2017

A cold damp dull afternoon in Winchester. Temperature was 10C, but it did did not feel as 10C, due to cold wind and wind chill.

I pop into Alton Station Cafe. Confirm I will be at Christmas dinner this evening. Had I booked? No, but was invited. OK, we will fit you in.

Rain all the way down from Alton to Winchester.

Charged power bank on the way down. 75% full, though only used occasionally as flashlight since last charged on the bus two weeks ago.

Still charging on arrival in Winchester, journey of 50 minutes.

The output from the usb ports on the No 64 bus must be very low. Maybe deliberately low, as not to burn out any device being charged. There is no warning, use at own risk, thus bus company would be liable.

I would usually alight and walk down the hill, but cold and miserable day.

Very cold when I alight from the bus.

Concrete barriers in the street. No one knows why. Is Winchester expecting a terrorist attack?

Fewer stalls. And will get worse. Stallhlolders worried Council wish to reduce the number of stalls.

No consultation. The usual contempt for the people.

No consultation with stall holders, no consultation with people in the street. Usual dicktat.

A good street market, which sadly Winchester has not, pulls people in.

No one visits Clone Town, a town with the same crap chains as in every other town, selling the same sweatshop labour goods from the same Third World sweatshops

Ttagliatelle  off Sicilian stall.

I learn Flat White, the coffee stall, had opened a coffee shop. No one knew where. Odd no sign on their coffee stall proclaiming they have opened a coffee shop.

On checking, I find Stonemasons Court Parchment Street. I walked down Parchment Street, but where Stonemasons Court?  Press report wrong. Says no plans to open in other towns.  Not true,  Flat White opened a coffee shop in Southampton several months ago.

It was then to Coffee Lab Academy. Too cold to wander to the Christmas market.

Cappuccino and date slice.

No Dahn. I leave Coffee Art for him to sign.

Walking to catch the bus, I notice the grey concrete barriers merge into the background, no lights. Normally a barrier in the street has lights. An accident waiting to happen.

Power bank fully charged as reach Alton.

A table has been reserved for me at the Bikers Night Christmas dinner.

The full works, turkey and all the trimmings. Followed by a small slice of Christmas pudding served with brandy sauce.

National Cappuccino Day in Coffee Lab

November 8, 2017

Where better to have a cappuccino on National Cappuccino Day than in Coffee Lab?

On my way down to Winchester I learn from Guildford Tourist Information that today is National Cappuccino Day. No one is aware of this, and neither was I.

The coffee shop they show is not somewhere I would recommend. Not unless you enjoy bad coffee and cigarette smoke blown in your face.  A cafe serving coffee masquerading as coffee shop.

If I were in Guildford there are better places for coffee.

Lucky for me, cappuccino in Coffee Lab Academy , though sadly no Dhan.

I had hoped to find Dhan, but he was nowhere to be found, I looked in both Coffee Lab and Coffee Lab Academy, but no Dhan. I returned to Coffee Lab Academy where it was warmer.

Both Coffee Lab and Coffee lab Academy have had a makeover, forced by change of logo. I like the new look.

Charming lady who I often chat with is pleased to see me.

I am surprised when she makes my coffee. I did not know she was a barista. She is very good.

I have a brief look at Coffee Art, a book by Dhan released a month ago. It looks worth having. None are signed.

A flapjack as well. I learn made in the Salisbury coffee shop.  Excellent.

If you wondered what really happens when a cappuccino is made, a clip from the BBC Archive.

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 at Coffee Lab Academy

November 2, 2016
Coffee Lab Academy

Coffee Lab Academy

barista champion Dan

barista champion Dan

barista champion Dan

barista champion Dan

cappuccino

cappuccino

I would have had a cappuccino at Coffee Lab, but too cold on a cold November afternoon  in Winchester with door open, instead Coffee Lab Academy.

Served by Dan, UK barista champion several years running, as always, excellent cappuccino.

I also bought coffee beans, Einstein blend.

Cappuccino in Coffee Lab

October 26, 2016
cappuccino in Coffee Lab

cappuccino in Coffee Lab

Last week I had a cappuccino in coffee Lab Academy served by Dan, champion barista.

Whilst I liked the cappuccino, I did not much like the ambience, too noisy.

This afternoon in Winchester, after a wander around, it was Coffee Lab.

I was was pleased that no sooner had I walked in, than in walked my Spanish friend Emilio, then a few minutes later in walked Dan.

I asked Dan, would he please make me a cappuccino.

Two weeks running, the privilege of a champion barista making me a coffee. This time I did not observe him.

My cappuccino was better than last week. Why, I do not know.  To date, the best cappuccino I have had at Coffee Lab.

Coffee Lab is the gold standard by which others are judged.

It is a mystery why anyone drinks the disgusting coffee from Costa or tax-dodging Starbucks, when such excellent coffee is avaible in Winchester. On the other hand at least I get served.

Cappuccino at Coffee Lab

September 14, 2016
cappuccino and date slice

cappuccino and date slice

Excellent cappuccino and date slice at Coffee Lab. Poor choice of cakes, but what they do have is excellent.

Beans. Did they have any later than 8 September 2016? In Coffee Lab Academy they had 12 September. They checked. Found 1kg sacks of 12 September roast date. They kindly slit open a bag, and bagged for me two bags of 200 g.

I sat outside and was joined by a guy whose name I sadly cannot recall, owner of Kyoto Kitchen, a Japanese restaurant in Winchester.

matcha latte

matcha latte

He ordered a matcha latte. A strange green looking coffee. No, not coffee, a green tea.  He offered me a taste. I said no, I would order, but now past closing time. Something to try on my next visit.

I tried cascara Again not heard of. made with tonic water and the husk of a  coffee bean. Fruity, nothing like coffee, very refreshing.

Excellent baristas innovate, try out new ideas.

I am hoping they will stock South West Independent Coffee Guide. But they said there was soon to be published South East Independent Coffee Guide, and that they would hopefully stock.

Coffee Lab

August 17, 2016
Coffee Lab

Coffee Lab

Coffee Lab is hidden down a side street off the High Street in what was Ginger Gelato, opposite what was Ginger Two.

I had noticed Coffee Lab on my last visit to Winchester a couple of months ago. A promise of high quality coffee. Many promise, few deliver. I was pleasantly surprised, excellent cappuccino.

An argument often put, with which I strongly disagree, no point in attempting to serve high quality coffee as it will not be appreciated. If true, then we would not have seen the rise of quality coffee shops in London, slowly slowly spreading beyond London.

Coffee Lab has a top of the range espresso machine and coffee grinder, they buy their milk from a dairy in Wiltshire, buy top quality beans, employ top class baristas. And it shows.

cappuccino at Coffee Lab in Winchester

cappuccino at Coffee Lab in Winchester

My cappuccino was excellent, gold standard by which other coffees are judged.

It is always a pleasure to visit a quality coffee shop, where they take a pride in their coffee.

Sometimes I think, is it my sense of taste, then I am delighted by an excellent coffee and I am assured.

I queried had they added chocolate, a sin, but try telling that to the imbecile manager in Caracoli Guildford.

They had not, it was the quality of the beans, the milk and the skill of the barista.

The quality of the cappuccino was that of Shaun when he was running the FCB coffee kiosk on Platform 2 at Guildford Station.

A suggestion, remove the sugar, has to be requested. Let customers try first with no sugar. I think they will be pleasantly surprised.

Coffees are named after scientists, or at least the beans. When I visited it was the turn of Einstein.

With my coffee I had a date slice. It was excellent. Although ideally I prefer a cookie. A date slice or cake, is somewhat rich and better with tea.

When I looked in June, towards five o’clock, they were empty. This time they were full. I sat outside. I did not mind as it was a warm afternoon. And one of my minor criticisms, loud music, which was not pleasant.

I thought they closed at five, must be wrong, as I was sat outside undisturbed at 5-30.

I queried their closing time. Yes, it was five, but they did not chase people away.

Contrast with the indie coffee shops in Guildford, where they are turning people away before five with ‘we are closed’. By all means close at five in the winter, cold and dark and people wish to go home, but not in the summer.

For Coffee Lab a very long day, preparing to open from six in the morning.

On my visit, staff were Heidi and Ben. Very pleasant and helpful, answered all my questions which for them was at the end of a long tiring day.

They had opened in March, and word of mouth spread that a top quality coffee shop had opened.

For a fee, I think it was £25, whether one off or for a year, I do not know, can join their coffee club. This entitles to reduced price on coffee during off peak mid-afternoon and invites to special evening events to learn more about coffee.

Grouts are available to take away for free. Excellent slug repellent I am told.

Beans, roasted by The Roasting Party, are bagged and available for sale. But why 125g, would it not be better 250g? Details of the beans on the bags, and of course the roast date.

Contrast with Caracoli Guildford, where the manger could not understand the importance of roast date, or why I was appalled to learn the set of digits so tiny almost needed a magnifying glass to read showed roast date of October last year.

If I was to level any criticism, it is that a little pricey. My cappuccino and date slice was over a fiver. I always recommend charge less than Costa or Starbucks, but serve much higher standard.

On TripAdvisor, a couple of reviewers have compared with Monmouth Coffee Company. There is no comparison, at least not with Monmouth Coffee in Covent Garden. I have tried a couple of times and been a little disappointed. Monmouth Coffee in Borough Market may be better I have not tried.

If I was to make a comparison, it would be with The Ethiopian Coffee Company Coffee Roasters on the South Bank street food market or Curio Cabal in Dalston.

TripAdvisor needs to have a separate category for coffee shops and tea shops. It is ridiculous that they are lumped together with restaurants, which they are not.

With such a high quality coffee shop, and Flat White on the street food market, it begs the question why anyone drinks the disgusting stuff masquerading as coffee in Costa, Caffe Nero or tax-dodging Starbucks?  Although I am pleased they do not all turn up, as the likes of myself would not get a decent coffee.

Coffee Lab is not only the top coffee spot in Winchester by a long way, it is one of the best in the country.

Gold standard by which other coffees are judged.