Posts Tagged ‘coffee shop’


December 9, 2018

I looked in Balance on my way to Four Corners.

Chatting to Jessica Moscrop by her stall JesSpoke, her own designs, I noticed Balance, a new coffee shop across the street.

Mushroom and chestnut soup in Balance had sounded good when I looked in earlier. I double checked it was still available and that it was mushroom and chestnut, not chestnut mushrooms. Sounds good.

Sadly when served weak and watery and lukewarm almost cold. The toasted bread soggy, as they had already put the butter on the toast.

I ordered a cappuccino. Served too hot.

The menu says we do not serve coffee hot, thus absolutely no excuse.

The salad looked enticing except it looked no different to when I looked in much earlier. Not therefore so enticing.

Moronic music playing in the background, fortunately not too loud.

A coffee shop trying to be trendy and failing miserably.

Four Corners

December 9, 2018

Lower Marsh, hidden behind Waterloo Station, is one of those up and coming places that has not yet arrived, but well worth exploring.

Lower Marsh has a street food market in the week, Saturday a craft market.

In London a couple of weeks ago on a cold misty day in London, I encountered Four Corners serving coffee from a van outside Waterloo Station. Or at least they were serving coffee, when I found them they were packing up. They suggested I try their coffee shop in Lower Marsh.

It was on my way to find their coffee shop in Lower Marsh that I came across Jessica Moscrop with her stall JesSpoke, her own designs.

At the far end of Lower Marsh I found Four Corners.

I order a cappuccino. Blended with cocoa. Why, why use Ozone coffee, then ruin with cocoa? I cannot be bothered sending back.

On the way I encountered drunken idiots in Santa costumes, more and more and kept turning up. Hundreds and hundreds of them. Impossible walk down the street. Eventually coffee shop door is locked to prevent then walking in to use the toilet. Not a singe one buys a coffee, not even a takeaway coffee. They are also sitting on the coffee shops seats outside, leaning on the window. When they finally leave the street is covered in rubbish. They have managed to kill trade for the day or the street market. Whoever was responsible for this charade should be made to pay to clean up the street.

In indie coffee shops it quite common to find books on coffee. In Four Corners a long bookshelf lined with travel books hence the name. They also supply Four Corners passports, mugs, little notebooks and sweatshirts.

Amazing poster hidden in the toilet.

Finally the drunken idiots depart leaving a trail of rubbish.

Four Corners were giving away free books. No idea why and I did not see any. Maybe publisher is nearby and have surplus stock to dump and what better way to obtain free publicity? But why promote a book on trash? Pulp fiction?

Cappuccino at CUP

November 19, 2018

I would have had a V60 at CUP, but owner suggested I had a cappuccino as her barista had come seventh in recent UK latte art championships.

CUP is a Greek coffee shop hidden behind Reading Minster.

Cappuccino at Broad Street Bar and Kitchen

November 13, 2018

I had visited Broad Street Bar and Kitchen last week and was not impressed. A chain, one coffee shop sold on, name change, revamped and all the worst for it. But the coffee Assembly.

Broad Street Bar and Kitchen. It used to be Artigiano. Coffee is Assembly. At least someone knows about coffee.

Today two people. Downstairs dead, upstairs half a dozen people working on laptops, again dirty coffee cups on tables.

On a bar a couple of rolls wrapped in paper, at least that is what I assume to be. Not possible to see what they are.

I ask of the non-existent kitchen. Closed. I do not inquire why but last year I was told could not get the staff. Could nor get, or not prepared to pay?

My cappuccino reasonable, far better than Workhouse, but a tad too hot. A skilled barista would have made an excellent cappuccino with the coffee they are using.

Coffee Cherry Artisan Coffee Shop

November 1, 2018

Weirdest experience ever in a coffee shop.

New coffee shop in Alton which I had passed some weeks ago with a sign promising artisan coffee.

Fancying a decent coffee I decided to pay a visit, even though out of my way on a cold wet November afternoon.

Coffee sourced from Union.

What was the coffee like?

I do not know.

Chatting with who I took to be the owner, she refused to serve me a cappuccino on the grounds I appeared to know a lot about coffee and she would not wish to disappoint me.

I then asked for a V60.

Again refused as on a high shelf and too much trouble to get down.

To say the least, her behaviour was bizarre.

Equally bizarre, her claim that the owner of Krema had helped her to establish the coffee shop, as he had not and it was news to him that he had.

The cafe, I would not call a coffee shop, screams fake. Fake plastic marble counter and table tops, wallpaper fake exposed brick wall. I was sat adjacent to a fake log fire giving out no heat.

Why bother? Why not use wood? But do not fake something that is not as will look cheap,

The day before, in Coviar white marble from Tinas, also green marble, maybe a darker marble too. In the restroom, a long marble wash basin.

No surprise the coffee shop empty.

It is not located in the centre of Alton, just outside, where footfall is not great, not that a lot better in the centre, Alton has all but died

It could be serves great coffee, but I was not permitted to discover.

The reviews on TripAdvisor all singing from the same hymn sheet, written by people who by their own admission frequent Caffe Nero or Costa.

What I did notice was the coffee was served in cups too large and the row of syrups on the shelf.  Both are a sign of bad coffee, or at least do not care about the coffee being served. It is what to expect in a cafe serving bad coffee, not in what is claimed to be an artisan coffee shop. Though sadly artisan has no meaning, as neither does gourmet, when  applied to coffee

80% of new businesses fail within the first 18 months. With a coffee shop, have a couple of weeks, maybe a month, to get it right, if not will fail. People will try. If good will return bring their friends, If not good, will not return will tell their friends not good,

I have spent several weeks with the elite of the coffee world, everyone knows everyone. What I find is openness, a desire to innovate, open minds, willingness to share. No one will say I do not wish you to try my coffee. Quite the opposite, try this, what do you think?

A speciality coffee shop is a welcome addition in any town, especially a dying town like Alton where there is no decent coffee, and once one arrives, others follow. The only way Alton will recover is by way of quality indie businesses, from the bottom up.

Foyer espresso bar

October 30, 2018

Were it not for my walking into a shop selling dried fruit and nuts I would have walked past Foyer espresso bar without giving a second glance. One of many coffee shops. Had I given more than a second glance, I would have noticed a board offering guest coffee from one of the top roasteries in Europe.

The owner suggested, if I wished for a coffee, pop next door. I said no, I was on my way to Taf.

He agreed, Taf excellent coffee. Then I do not know who was the more surprised, me when he wrote out a list of coffee shops worth visiting, or he when I said I already had and added to his list.

He said he owned the coffee shop next door.

I said I would look in, but that was all I was gong to do as I was on my way to Taf, until I saw what they were serving, Standart on sale (the only place I have seen Standart on sale). The guest coffee they were sourcing from some of the best coffee roasteries in Europe.

I stayed and had a coffee. An excellent cappuccino.

I was then offered a V60 to try. A single origin from Ethiopia. Again excellent.

On leaving, a visit to second floor toilet, I passed through a lounge on the first floor, with boards on the stairs giving more information on the guest coffee.

Not in a pleasant location, on a very busy main road. On the other hand, for the coffee shop a good location for passing trade with university nearby.

On leaving, I popped back into the little shop and thanked the owner for his recommendation and for excellent coffee.

As I was leaving, a customer with Coffee Island takeaway in her hand. A suggestion. If pour down the drain, we will offer you a free coffee. If like, please come back, bring your friends.

Cappuccino at The Brew Dog

October 27, 2018

After much deliberation, I settled on a cappuccino. It was to have been a V60, but where I wished to sit by the window was taken after I walked in. Also no V60, clever dripper.

A choice of coffee from Guatemala or Brazil, I let the barista choose, he chose Brazil. For filter, from Ethiopia or Kenya.

The bags of coffee beans on the shelves, bottom row for espresso, top row for filter.

Excellent cappuccino.

I sat and watched the drinks being made.

I was curious why was the freddo cappuccino different to that in Cyprus. different glass, only two not three layers. The coffee not frothed, the milk is frothed.

Another dink, espresso poured on ice, milk to be added later to suit,  freddo latte.

I counted twenty one crafts beers. Better chance of getting a craft beer in Greek coffee shop than a failing English pub.

Had  I stayed, as a hot day, though cool once sun drops,  I would have had a Japanese iced filter. Different name, iced dripped coffee or cold dripped coffee, not to be confused with cold drip coffee.

I have previously had excellent cold brew coffee. I thought, brewed in Chemex then stored in the fridge. I was wrong. Immersion, the Chemex simply used as  a carafe before being decanted into bottles. Served from the bottles which are stored in a fridge.



Manor House

October 25, 2018

I looked in Manor House a couple of days ago. Today I returned.

A bar, outside seating, and to the rear coffee. There is a roof garden, but this I had no time to look at. On a shelf at the back, awards.

Music with a DJ from around eight. Open until three in the morning.

Whilst I was there, in walked Michalis Karagiannis, Greek latte art champion, No 2 world latte art champion, with a little dog. I asked and he kindly made me a cappuccino.

Coffee is sourced from Taresso, but soon they will be roasting their own coffee.

What I noticed, use of Aeropress, and used for tea not coffee.

Roasting and cappuccino at Coviar

October 22, 2018

Through the National Garden, passed Taresso and on to Coviar.

A wild tortoise wandering in the National Garden. I found one in Hadrian’s Library yesterday.

It was fortunate I did not linger at Taresso, as caught Christos on his last roast of the day.

Watching, carefully sample the beans, then when satisfied, dropped to be rapidly cooled. If not rapidly cooled the beans will continue to roast as hot.

I was surprised to learn only rest the roasted beans for a day, as perceived wisdom is to leave to rest for a week.

A cappuccino for me.

A demonstration of latte art.

I then headed of to find Mokka. I had tried Saturday only t find closed. I headed off in the wrong direction, to arrive as they were closing.

On the way a bookshop with Hippie in window display, even a poster for Hippie on bookshop door.

I then headed to Taf.

Lazaris Bakery Bar

October 13, 2018

En route to Larnaca, storm clouds gathering thunderstorm forecast.

On arrival I find Nick’s Coffee Bike packed up and about to depart. He feared the weather. No coffee. Lemonade? I tried the lemonade. Excellent lemonade, but probably not a wise choice when not feeling well. Within minutes, stomach pains.

I walk to the Medieval Castle, then head to Church of St Lazarus.

Once behind the seafront shops of corporate chains, a slum.

Poked my head in Church of St Lazarus but did not explore the tomb of St Lazarus. He was brought to life, then when died a second time, was entombed in Cyprus.

In the Square surrounding the Church, three coffee shops, at least two of which are bakeries.

Silo I did not like, lacking in ambience, awful music playing.

The Secret Garden, unfriendly signs, not a pleasant reception, walked out.

The third, Lazaris Bakery Bar, in an old building. Pleasant ambience, but sadly not good coffee. Caffeine did not seem wise, did not ask for a coffee. I settled for water. I then asked for tea. Only herb tea. It was ok, but I did not dare drink.

I sat outside, but had to retreat indoors, traffic pollution and smoke from smokers.

Why is Cyprus so backwards? Why are these street not pedestrianised?

Millions to redevelop Mackenzie Beach, a gravy train for contractors and an appalling waste of public money. Instead, an electric shuttle bus Larnaca Marina to Mackenzie Beach and pedestrianise the sea front and the back streets around St Lazarus Church.

Water available to drink, the norm in coffee shops in Athens, a rareity in Cyprus.

At first, not feeling well, I helped myself to water and sat outside. I was not harassed to purchase anything.

Too many chains, too many indie coffee shops made to look like chains serving bad coffee.

Lazaris Bakery Bar has character, an excellent renovation of an old building.

Potentially Lazaris Bakery Bar could be an excellent indie coffee shop serving specialty coffee. The emphasis, from the breads, cakes and tea, and from conversation, appear to be on quality.

Now need to source quality specialty coffee, either from England or Athens.