Posts Tagged ‘coffee shop’

Saw Grinders Union

February 6, 2020

Saw Grinders Union a coffee shop and bar located in Globe Works on Kelham Island.

A few minutes walk from Cutlery Works, if know the way.

Down a muddy alley running alongside the River Don, twists and turns down the deserted cobbled backstreets of Kelham Island.

On offer Extract Coffee. I have never been impressed with Extract, I chose one of the guest coffees, an espresso roast from Workshop as a cappuccino. The other guest coffee was Grumpy Mule.

My cappuccino not great somewhat weak and insipid.

Saw Grinders Union only been open a few months, still finding their way.

Knowledgeable barista, knew her coffee and coffee shops. Previously had worked in Australia and Upshot Coffee.

She asked of my favourite coffee shops in Sheffield. Marmadukes and Steam Yard, also Upshot Coffee.

I suggested she visit Coffee Aroma and Madame Waffle in Lincoln,  The Perky Peacock and Kiosk in York.  I could have added Cartwheel Coffee, Outpost Coffee and The Specialty Coffee Shop in Nottingham.

She then kindly walked outside with me and pointed me the way to catch the tram back into the city centre and to the train station.

Lincoln Pier Cafe revisited

January 27, 2020

One cannot develop taste from what is of average quality but only from the very best. — Goethe

It is not often I revisit a coffee shop where I have a bad experience, occasionally I do, maybe I am a glutton for punishment.

The last time I visited Lincoln Pier Cafe a month and half ago, it was not a good experience, it was like walking into a morgue and the coffee was not good.

Then it was early afternoon, today late morning.

It was still like walking into a morgue, today the sun shining through the windows improved the atmosphere a little.

And the coffee?

The coffee was worse than my previous visit, and then it was not good. A vile taste, and even worse it left a vile aftertaste.

I do not blame the baristas, far from it, it is the cheap catering supply coffee the baristas are being asked to work with. No matter how hard one tries, it is impossible to make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear.

The blame lies squarely with whoever is responsible for buying this cheap catering supply coffee. Either they are cutting corners and buying the cheapest coffee they can find or they have no sense of taste. Probably both.

There is absolutely no excuse these days for buying cheap catering supply coffee not when spoilt for choice with roasteries who deliver coffee to be proud of.

Dark Woods for example. I do not care for their basic blends, but even these are better than the rubbish currently buying, their singe origins are excellent. Then there is The Blending Room in Hull. Though do not even have to look that far, on their doorstep Seven Districts, support local businesses.

Ripping out the widescreen TVs would improve the ambience.

I would not wish to invite a guest to share a cup of coffee at Lincoln Pier Cafe as to do so would be to insult them.

For staff and students, venture off campus, take a walk to Coffee Aroma, it is not far, where you will be served excellent coffee, and they serve food.

Walk a little further, Madame Waffle. Also renowned locally for their Belgian waffles.

If wish to buy a bag of coffee beans, then either Coffee Aroma or Madame Waffle, Coffee Aroma has Has Bean, Madame Waffle Square Mile, two highly recommended coffee roasteries.

Staff, students and visitors deserve better, though compared with tax-dodging corporate chains serving vile disgusting undrinkable coffee a small step in the right direction. But need to try harder, showcase what good coffee should be like, have guest coffees, but please do not cut corners with cheap catering supply coffee from a food and drinks company.

What is depressing, is that this could be an excellent coffee shop, employ skilled baristas invested in quality equipment, then cut corners sourcing poor quality commodity coffee.

Blend

January 17, 2020

Blend coffee shop located in Steinton Market is the retail arm of coffee roastery Stewarts of Trent Bridge which is also located at Steinton Market.

And so it was to Steinton Market, an area of Nottingham I had never visited before.

Sneinton Market fairly easy to find, head off straight down the street from Wired. The further I walked down the street the seedier it became.

Google Maps says five minutes, more like ten minutes. Though I did pop in Bookwise on the way. Never miss up the opportunity to look in a second hand bookshop.

Steinton Market something of a disappointment. I was expecting a vibrant market like Trinity Market in Hull. I was also expecting fruit and vegetable stalls. But no, revamped units, now let to small businesses and start ups by the local council. A good idea. Though nearly everything appeared to be closed. And the area was dead, literally no one about.

I then happened upon Luisa’s bean-to-bar craft chocolate, the jewel in the crown of Sneinton Market.

I popped in, but at a delicate process. I am asked can I pop back? No problem. I am off to Blend coffee shop, I will return a little later.

Sneinton Market is three rows of long low outbuildings. In the second row I find a craft brewery. I pop in. Not open to visitors, but I walk in anyway. I buy a can of expensive IPA, only a choice of two. I don’t like cans, I prefer beer in bottles.

In the third row I find Stewarts of Trent Bridge, a coffee roastery. Again I pop in. I am kindly shown around, not that there is a lot to see apart from a Probat coffee roaster.

Then to Blend, a coffee shop, the retail outlet for the coffee roastery.

Open and airy, like a warehouse, but smell of frying bacon not so good, nor the loud unpleasant music, too loud. I was surprised how busy.

For an outlet for a coffee roastery not exactly showcasing their coffee, a single origin, not at all obvious, appears to be a blend that changes monthly and the house blend.

I asked for a cappuccino. As far as I could tell, no pour over on offer, or if there was not obvious as I did not see.

I was asked what size? Show me the cups. I asked for the correct size. Then a silly conservation ensues, told it is personal preference. No, there is only one size for a cappuccino, the correct size. It is always best to keep quiet than display ones ignorance. And if do not know, do not wish to know, then get out of coffee.

My coffee is brought blended with chocolate.

No, a cappuccino does not have chocolate, ether blended or dumped on top.

I take it back, ask for a cappuccino with no chocolate. I should not have to ask. I should be asked. And a good coffee shop would not ask as they would not dream of insulting clientele with chocolate.

What is brought is not good. OK, but not good. Lukewarm, mediocre at best. Marginally better than 200 Degrees, which is a very low bar to exceed.

It was then back to Luisa’s where an interesting conversation on chocolate ensued.

In essence Blend a greasy spoon cafe serving mediocre coffee. The food I did not try, and if I wished to eat from what I saw there are better places to eat Taste and Ugly Bread Bakery which are nearby heading back into the centre of Nottingham.

The coffee for a greasy spoon cafe better than would expect but not to the standard of a coffee shop, especially one showcasing what a roastery has to offer. Not in the same league as Outpost Coffee, Wired, Cartwheel Coffee or The Specialty Coffee Shop.

Cultivate

December 10, 2019

Hidden down a side street off the top of the High Street.

Not open, though according to a sign positioned for dogs to read was open.

Lincoln Pier Café

December 9, 2019

From St Mark’s, tried to find Lincoln Pier Café on Lincoln University campus. A helpful young lady in the Students Union kindly pointed me in right the direction of a thin sliver of land between the railway line and Brayford.

Good view of Lincoln Cathedral across the Brayford and of Azuma passing by as pulled into Lincoln Central.

Too many universities take the easy option, grant corporate chains concessions serving disgusting coffee on the campus.

Lincoln University has opened its own independent coffee shop Lincoln Pier Café, invested in the equipment, employed skilled baristas, then let the whole show down by sourcing poor quality coffee.

My coffee was made by one of the best baristas in Lincoln, but it was not great, on a par with what I would find in 200 Degrees.

94 Degrees roasted by Roastology, Sheffield based and yet I have never come across in Sheffield.

Lincoln Pier Café a classic example of

Don’t spoil the ship for a ha’porth of tar

The ambience was that of a morgue.

No takeaway coffee cups. Cuts down on litter, good for the environment. Bring own barista friendly cup or buy a takeaway cup. The cups are made from rice husks. Therein lies a potential problem. German research has shown ecoffee cups made from waste bamboo release toxins when filled with hot liquids and cannot be recycled. There needs to be a student research project to replicate the German research with ecoffee cups including these rice husk coffee cups.

In the meantime use glass KeepCup. But why in any case would the University wish to associate its name with an inferior product?

I would not buy a bag of coffee, not when excellent coffee available in the city centre from Coffee Aroma or Madame Waffle. Nor would I go out my way to the University for a coffee for the same reason.

Amazing what can get away with with a captive audience.

Absolutely no excuse these days for sourcing poor quality catering supply coffee from a food and drinks company when spoilt for choice of quality coffee roasteries. But this is what happens when outsource catering and corners are cut to maximise profit. Moot point if university outsourcing but typical of corner cutting when outsource catering or any facility that can be handled in house, for example cleaning.

No excuse when Seven Districts roast locally.

Staff, students and visitors deserve better, though compared with tax-dodging corporate chains serving vile disgusting undrinkable coffee a step in the right direction. But need to try harder, showcase what good coffee should be like, have guest coffees, but please do not cut corners with cheap catering supply coffee from a food  and drinks company.

TOMS

December 4, 2019

Passing through Mitropoleos Square I pop in TOMS overlooking the square.

TOMS a weird set up, a coffee shop that is sells shoes and glasses and claims to provide a week’s supply of water to third world need for each cup of coffee sold.

I am always wary of these claims. Far better to work with farmers, improve quality, fetch a higher price for the coffee beans.

The coffee shop, their flag ship store (not that I have encountered any others), was serving coffee in paper takeaway cups, thus damaging the environment of the very people they claim to be trying to help. Also on sale e-coffee cups.

E-coffee cups have recently been embroiled in scandal. Toxins released from the cups into hot liquids, thus best avoided.

A lovely black cat had bagged a seat. At first does not appear to be friendly from the warning meow, but was friendly. Lost in translation.

I have a brief conversation with a man sat outside, even though now I am running late. He says ask next time I pass by, UK still in EU. He makes the point EU makes impossible for countries to leave a one way system, Hotel California, can check out but cannot leave.

He tells me I am paying too much heed to Yanis Varoufakis. Interesting as until that point, neither of us had mentioned Yanis Varoufakis by name, though we were very much discussing his ideas.

Mokka coffee shop

December 4, 2019

Having looked in their retail shop next door, which is also where the coffee is roasted, it is to Mokka for a coffee.

I watch Greek coffee brewed on a hot bed of sand.

Excellent cappuccino.

It is a pity the coffee shop does not at least have the single origin coffee on sale.

The retail shop closes early at 3-30 in the afternoon. I asked why so early? No demand later.

Located on a busy main road outside Athens Central Market in Omonia.

Very professional staff who take a pride in their coffee.

How many coffee shops visit where grinders dismantled and cleaned every two days, coffee vacuumed out every night, coffee beans put to bed and sealed every night.

Mokka fourth generation founded in the mid-1920s.

Anana

December 3, 2019

I was headed to Peek a Bloom, but as passed by Anana decided to stop for a coffee.

Reasonable coffee.

Uncertain whether or not Cafeistas roast coffee for Anana or Anana use the Cafeistas facilities.

Books to read and buy. The only one of interest a guide to Greece a copy of which I had picked up from Foyer. Kennedy Greece, not a typical guide book, little vignettes of Greece.

Note: Photos of Anana poor quality, I had neglected to remove plastic film on the back of new phone.

Manor House

December 2, 2019

After visiting Mind the Cup and a little wander down the street, I head to Manor House opposite.

On my last visit, Manor House sourced their coffee from Tarreso but did tell me they hoped to roast their own coffee.

Now they are roasting their own coffee.

I am made a cappuccino.

Then head to Peristeri Metro Station. Luckily not raining.

Mind the Cup

December 2, 2019

A rainy day, head to Mind the Cup in Peristeri on the Metro.

As a few days ago, once in Mind the Cup it pours, though not as heavy as the week before when the streets awash with water.

I am in luck, I find who I am looking for before she finishes her shift. She greets me as soon as I walk in and thanks me for the coffee I dropped off for her.

She makes me a cappuccino. I would have picked up a bag of coffee, she is the coffee roaster, but do not like to carry coffee when it is raining.

After a wander down the street, I had to Manor House diagonally opposite Mind the Cup.