Posts Tagged ‘coffee shops’

Coffee House at 62 Haydon Place

July 14, 2017

I had popped in Food for Thought, where I was recommended a new coffee shop further down the street. After a wasted journey to Oxfam Bookshop to see if they had any coffee books, they had not, I decided to check it out.

From North Street head off down the street passed Food for Thought, keep on going, past Waitrose, and there on the corner, opposite Waitrose car park, 62 Haydon Place.

Nicely laid out.  Outside seating.

Coffee is Square Mile. Also guest coffee.  During my visit two guest coffees from Glen Lyon Coffee Roasters, a blend and an Ethiopian coffee.

They tell me they wish to have guest coffees.

I suggest try Karuna Coffee.  Also Ethiopian Coffee Roasters.

I mention Caravan, which I had found in The Deli at 80 last week in Finsbury Park. I am told a very good coffee, which confirms my thoughts. If a competent barista, then would be very good.

I am offered the guest coffee., the Ethiopian single origin.  I find a little over roasted, and at the same time, a little weak. Maybe it was only one shot.  I would have preferred the Square Mile.  Ethiopian coffee from Ethiopian Coffee Roasters is better.

Whilst there, I notice a constant flow of people, more than I ever see at Surrey Hills Coffee, which when I pass by is always empty. 62 Haydon Place is out of the way, apart from opposite Waitrose, therefore must be spreading by word-of-mouth, which is how I learnt, as I would never have known of otherwise, which is good news.

They close at five. I suggested six, maybe even seven, for the summer.

The big problem with Guildford, the little coffee shops close at five which is far too early. They stand at the door turning customers away, which is bizarre.  Why does anyone turn away business? But I accept, long hours if open at eight in the morning to catch the morning trade. Winter is different close at five.

There are too many coffee shops opening that know nothing about coffee. Esquires Coffee is a good example. If wish for rubbish undrinkable coffee, we have Costa, Caffe Nero and tax-dodging Starbucks. It is therefore always good to find a coffee shop opening where they are passionate about coffee.

Definitely a coffee shop to visit in Guildford.

Now have four places for coffee, FCB coffee kiosk on Guildford Station, Harris + Hoole in North Street and Dylan’s ice cream at The Village.

I am calling 62 Haydon Place. I had to go back and ask, what is this coffee shop called? It is actually called Canopy, but I think 62 Haydon Place is a far better name, and as it is writ above the shop in gold lettering, I think that is what they should call it.

If 62 Haydon Place are regularly changing the guest coffee, meanwhile Food For Thought who recommended the coffee shop are looking for recommendations of quality coffee to stock, why not an informal arrangement whereby Food For Thought stock the guest coffee, direct to the Coffee House to taste, and vice a versa the Coffee House direct to Food for Thought to buy the beans.

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Cappuccino in The Angel Coffee House

January 12, 2017
The Angel Coffee House

The Angel Coffee House

I wanted to have a cappuccino in Stokes on High Bridge or Coffee Aroma, but no, I would keep to my resolve, try a few of the indie coffee shops in Lincoln, even if it meant missing out on an excellent cappuccino and being forced to try something dire. But you never know, I may be in for a pleasant surprise.

Today was the turn of The Angel Coffee House in the centre of town.

From the outside it looks like a Victorian chapel, replete with gargoyles.

Actually it is the old church hall of St Swithin’s opposite. The grassy park with headstones acting as paving slabs the former graveyard.

I had looked in a few years ago, but never stopped for a coffee.

The promise of the exterior, is not met by the interior. Very shabby, the same photos on the walls. The chairs were a disgrace, shabby, threadbare and filthy. The cushions even worse.

Occasional events. One, I may have got the name wrong, 15 minute fiction, where aspiring writers could share ideas. But why charge an entrance fee?

Bookstop Cafe, would be an excellent location for these events, an undercroft of a Norman House, as they already support local writers.

It was very noisy.  Not a pleasant environment within which to relax and enjoy a coffee.

I ordered a cappuccino.

When a cappuccino looks disgusting, first impressions are usually not misleading. It was awful. If I wanted disgusting coffee, there is always Costa and tax-dodging Starbucks. I took a couple of sips and left it.

And no, you do not sprinkle chocolate on a cappuccino. Or at the very least, ask. And you do not use chocolate, you use cocoa. The only reason chocolate is added is to hide disgusting coffee.

The cup was too large. Not a soup bowl as Costa, but still too large for a cappuccino.

I asked from where they sourced their beans.

The Forge in Sheffield, or was it The Foundry in Sheffield.

Roast date of the beans they were using 9 December 2016. Borderline to say the least.

No quality indie coffee shop would use beans this long past the roast date, at least not if concerned about their reputation. Check with Stokes, Coffee Aroma or Makushi Coffee House, and you will find they would not dream of using beans this old.

The lady serving was quite pleasant.  Service was slow, though to be fair she was on her own and it was busy.

Coffee shops are not in competition, far from it, good coffee shops help each other. But these days if you open or run a coffee shop, you have to know about coffee, you have to be able to serve quality coffee, the only competition, is a pride in serving the the best.  I am used to baristas, where they serve me a coffee, and say no, not good enough, and pour it away. Or they bring me a second coffee. Why, I ask? What you have is not good enough.

Usually, if things are wrong, I will say. I may have mentioned the roast date, or at least hinted roast date too long ago, but so many things wrong and I was already running late.

That I left the coffee, should have said how awful it was, and one look at it, it should never have been served.

The Angel Coffee House is not any time soon if ever going to make it into Northern England Independent Coffee Guide.

Once again TripAdvisor shown as seriously flawed. The Angel Coffee House listed as No 2 for tea and coffee in Lincoln. I cannot comment on the tea, but coffee awful and undrinkable, with not a clue about coffee. On the other hand Pimento Tearooms No 4, Coffee Aroma No 5, Stokes High Bridge Cafe No 7,  Henry’s Tea Room No 8, Makushi Coffee Roasters & Coffee Shop No 12.

No way is The Angel Coffee House No 2, or better than those I have listed. I cannot comment on others on TripAdvisor, but unless dire, I would expect The Angel Coffee House to be somewhere near the bottom, with Coffee Aroma No 1, Stokes High Bridge Cafe No 2, or joint No 1, Makushi Coffee Roasters & Coffee Shop  No3,  Pimento Tearooms No 4, Henry’s Tea Room No 5.

It is laughable The Angel Coffee House is No 2 on TripAdvisor. It does little for their credibility, especially when they delete critical reviews and fail to deal with fake reviews.

Use the Northern England Independent Coffee Guide to decided where ‘s best, that is if you need a guide. On sale in Coffee Aroma. In Lincoln is featured Coffee Aroma, Stokes on High Bridge, Stokes at The Collection, Stokes Coffee Roasters and a mention of Stokes at The Lawn.

Stokes,  Coffee Aroma and Makushi are in a different league. If they are Premier League, Angel barely makes it into Division Four. Pimento and Henry’s are tea shops. Both have a lovely ambience, especially Pimento. Excellent tea in Pimento. Coffee not good in Henry’s, but potential to be much better as the girl who was waiting on the tables knew a lot about coffee and was keen to learn more, and it is a tea room not a coffee shop, I have not tried the tea.

I looked in W, new coffee shop in Waterstone’s. Not an indy coffee shop, they have one in Brighton, but great news to have kicked out Costa. Ambience pleasant. I will have to try their coffee. But no roast date, best by is meaningless. Beans roasted by Matthew Algie, a special blend for Waterstone’s.

Coffee in Protaras

May 27, 2014

Three years ago, there were no coffee shops in Protaras.

Last year it was strongly recommended that indie coffee shops opened, if not, the likes of Costa and Starbucks would muscle their way in. And sadly there is already a Costa.

The advice has been heeded, several coffee shops are opening, but not indie coffee shops, Cypriot attempts to form local chains (a big mistake).

Cypriots are opening coffee shops knowing little if anything about coffee.

patisserie amelie

patisserie amelie

patisserie amelie

This lovely little coffee shop opened two seasons ago, cakes, ice cream, waffles.

The season it opened, they had an excellent Greek barista called George. Why was he not retained? Pleasant enough staff now, but not in the same class as George.

The coffee is LavAzza. Ok as a brand coffee, but not really good enough. It is now time to up the game, and use local hand roasted coffee beans.

The Coffee Club

The Coffee Club

The Coffee Club

New this season and only opened last week.

Coffee and fast food, coffee served in plastic! You got to be joking!

The fast food needs to be ditched, glass and decent cups.

The coffee is imported specialist coffee.

A Hungarian who knows about coffee is doing his best.

Sex & Beans

A rather brash, too brash, mix of coffee and cocktails. Do the two go together? Not really.

Cold brewed coffee.

Open maybe this week, maybe next week. The date keeps being pushed back.

Coffee Island

Ludicrous, raised platforms.

Little is known, maybe opens next week.

Costa

Overpriced, poor quality coffee, factory cakes, lacks ambience, screams corporate.

Popular with local Cypriots who have no taste, equally popular with English who also are lacking in taste.

Sirena Bay

Sirena Bay

Sirena Bay

Not actually in Protaras, not even in Pernera.

Disgusting nescafe, it could not get worse.

But, and a big but, if they get a decent espresso machine, quality coffee beans, a competent barista, then worth a visit for the location.

Hop on the Protaras-Paralimni bus, pass through Pernera, and hop off at Crystal Springs. Head down the road alongside Crystal Springs to the sea, walk along the coast towards Pernera. This is by far the best way to approach. Pick up the bus on the main road.

Epodi

A lovely taverna overlooking the main square in Paralimni.

They know how to make freddo cappuccino.

Need better glasses, slightly tapered.

Coffee is LavAzza. Ok as a brand coffee. Hand roasted coffee from local roaster would be even better.

Not Protaras. Hop on the Protaras-Paralimni bus to Paralimni. Alight in Paralimini. Epodi is across the square.

Lunch at Oliver’s coffee shop

February 4, 2013
Olibers coffee shop

Olibers coffee shop

Olibers coffee shop

Olibers coffee shop

gammon steak

gammon steak

Usually when I walk past Olibers coffee shop it is empty. Today not so, it was busy.

I was on my way to lunch at the County Restaurant. I had excellent pea and mint soup, but did not fancy anything else on the menu. I decided to go to Stokes at The Collection.

Passing by Oliver’s on the way, I looked at the boards outside. No, change of mind, I would try their gammon streak. I like a good gammon steak.

It was a wise choice, the gammon steak with a slice of pineapple on top was served with a little salad, peas and chips. The gammon was excellent, but at 8oz, too much, I would happily have shared.

I commented on the boards outside, which I thought was a good idea as it would bring people in and that it was usually empty. The woman said it was her idea, and yes it did make a difference, as often sat there all day and no one came in.

I asked where was the attractive blonde? She was helping out, and now back at university.

From the front to the back maybe two or three well worn stone steps. That of stone, and well worn, gives some idea of the age of the building.

There are not many good places to eat. Plenty of good indie coffee bars and tea shops, home made soups, cakes, but not a meal. Olibers seems to be the exception. Far better than the Dambusters Inn at Scampton or the Butcher and Beast at Heighington. And at £6-50, reasonably priced.

They serve tea, coffee and cakes in Oliver’s, but make the mistake of not having the cakes on display. Nothing is more tempting than seeing a delicious looking cake on display.

On leaving, continue on up The Strait and Steep Hill, as I wished to try Pimento Tea Rooms and look in Imperial Teas of Lincoln, but very very slowly as a steep climb, as I was feeling very full.

Top Story in The Waverley Daily (Tuesday 5 February 2013).

Café 44

December 27, 2012
Café 44

Café 44

Tea and bacon sandwich in Café 44. Lovely indie coffee bar with art by Phil Martin lining the walls.

Last week I popped my head into Café 44. It was packed.

I thought the same today. I was the only one there.

I ordered tea and a bacon sandwich. The bacon sandwich was a mistake. Not that there was anything wrong with it, just too much to eat for mid-morning, a scone or a biscuit would have sufficed.

Downstairs the walls were lined with paintings of Lincoln by Phil Martin. Upstairs, via some very narrow and steep stairs reflecting the age of the building, more art. By the entrance, a collection of photos of Lincoln.

Café 44 is worth a visit for the art alone, though polite to have at least a cup of coffee or tea.

Something I have noticed with indie coffee bars, something you will never find in Costa or tax dodging Starbucks, is a love of what they are doing. This was apparent at Café 44 as soon as I walked in the door.

I had chat with who I assumed was the owner and the staff. All were very pleasant and cheerful. What I noticed was they seemed to know their customers not only to greet by name but also by what they would require.

The coffee is Stokes, quality coffee, fair trade. Served in glass, not a mug or a soup bowl.

The cakes are sourced locally, from a coffee shop in Burton Road.

One thing Lincoln has, a lot of indie coffee shops and few chains like Costa or tax dodging Starbucks.

Why go in Starbucks or Costa for rubbish coffee and factory cakes and sit a a cloned corporate coffee shop, when you can be surrounded by real art, sip real coffee and eat home made cakes?

Café 44 is located in Sincil Street more or less opposite the main entrance to the Central Market.

It is tragic that Sincil Street is earmarked for demolition. It is all what remains of the heritage around the Central Market, and even it has been ruined and the market a shadow of its former self. It is heritage that provides opportunities for indie coffee shops like Café 44 and lends character to an area.

Where there is development, there is a lot of money sloshing around. Plus a council lacking in vision and failing to look after the best interests of a thriving local economy.

Contrast threatened destruction of Sincil Street with North Laine in Brighton. A thriving, vibrant local economy full of indie coffee shops like Café 44, a diverse range of small independent retailers, an area of character worth a visit.

Indie coffee shops in Lincoln

December 21, 2012
Café 44

Café 44

Olibers coffee shop

Oliver’s coffee shop

Modern Classics

Modern Classics

Bunty's Tea Room

Bunty’s Tea Room

I was pleasantly surprised at the number of new coffee shops in Lincoln.

What is good news is to see that indie coffee shops have got in first, rather than aggressive chains and peddlers of bad coffee like Costa and tax dodger Starbucks.

Café 44 in Sincil Street, art by Phil Martin on the walls, quality fairtrade coffee from Stokes.

Oliver’s coffee shop in The Strait, nicely done out, but not always open.

Modern Classics, a little further up The Strait than Olibers, an unfortunate garish sign outside, inside very retro, more of a traditional café than a coffee bar, fresh made cakes, locally sourced food, Stokes coffee.

Cold wet miserable afternoon in Farnham

October 13, 2012
church yard

church yard

Farnham Parish Church

Farnham Parish Church

Farnham Parish Church

Farnham Parish Church

The day started pleasant enough. Sunny, though with a bitter cold north wind. It then rapidly deteriorated, dark clouds, heavy rain.

I had plenty of time to catch a train to Farnham, to get there early afternoon. That is until one bus sailed past early. I would still have made the train, had the next bus turned up, only it did not. Then two buses following each other.

I would have made the station in time to see the train departing with a half hour wait for the next train. I decided to hop off the bus and try to catch a bus to Farnham. Ten minutes wait for the bus. No bus. It turns up ten minutes late.

I make it to Farnham, maybe five minutes earlier than if I had waited half an hour for the next train.

Now mid-afternoon. Very cold.

I have a chat with the Big Issue seller. Then walk to Morello’s, a little Italian coffee shop in Downing Street.

They have little left, a couple of rolls, pea and ham soup has gone.

They close early, no time for a tea and a cake. Pop across the road to Kiara’s, which is surprisingly full, as it is normally empty.

Tea and carrot cake in Kiara’s.

I am now thinking of going back home.

Look in Waterstone’s. They have never heard of Manuscript in Accra, latest book by Paulo Coelho. But then it is Waterstone’s.

Look in The Barn. Attempt to make a freddo cappuccino. It does not quite work out.

By now turning very cold.

Catch the bus outside The Barn. Luckily only a few minutes to wait as bus on time. Then only ten minutes to wait for the next bus.

Previously I have taken the train, which I prefer, but there is then almost a half hour wait for the bus (no fun when cold and damp).

A day going from one coffee bar to the next. But too cold and wet to do much else.

I did though on arrival in Farnham pick up two books by Paulo Coelho. I hasten to add, not from Waterstone’s.

Farnham is a lovely little market town on the banks of the River Wey. It is spoilt by the traffic through the town.

Afternoon coffee in Coffee Mi

August 30, 2012
Coffee Mi

Coffee Mi

Sometimes all is not as one would expect.

Godalming is an attractive little market town on the banks of the River Wey. A place one would expect to find little coffee shops and tea shops. And yet there is not single one.

Aldershot is an ugly run down town, the local council in bed with developers having done its best to destroy the town, roughs hanging about on the streets, were it not for the little ethnic shops serving its large immigrant population it would be dead, its only attraction an excellent fruit and vegetable stall on market days (Thursday). And yet, Aldershot has two little coffee shops.

Aldershot used to have three coffee shops. One was in The Arcade, the plastic replica of a Victorian arcade which the council allowed to be destroyed. The Arcade has recently changed hands and the greedy developer is driving out all the small businesses to turn it into a large bar (rumoured to be J D Wetherspoon) and a large store (rumoured to be Poundland). The last thing Aldershot needs is yet another large bar pouring drunken scum onto the streets. The last thing Aldershot needs is money drained out of the local economy. Loss to Aldershot one lovely little coffee shop of which any town would be proud.

One of the two remaining coffee shops is Coffee Mi in Victoria Street (almost opposite the Co-op).

Over the last few months Victoria Road has had new paving slabs laid. It looked quite nice for a couple of days. It was though an opportunity missed. Victoria Road could have been pedestrianised, closed to traffic, creating a pleasant environment, but the council jobsworth are not known for vision.

Coffee Mi lacks outside seating. Had Victoria Road been pedestrianised and closed to traffic, this would have been possible.

From the outside, Coffee Mi looks enticing. As you walk in it is quite pleasant, it looks like a coffee shop, but as the counter is approached, it changes into yet another snack bar cum transport café.

I asked did they do coffee and cake. The man serving said yes. All I could see was a trio of unappetising cakes that had seen better days. I asked did they have anything else. No.

I find when people take a pride in their work, if you take an interest, they are only too happy to talk to you. Not this man. Why are you asking, who are you, who do you work for? I do not know who he thought I was. Maybe he thought I was the Mafia doing a shakedown.

I managed to glean the cakes came from an Italian bakery in London, and that was it. His lips were tightly sealed.

Fair Trade tea and coffee? I saw nothing to indicate Fair Trade. From the look of the place I doubt it.

There was only one customer, and she left as I walked in. To put in context, Costa as I passed by was quite busy.

A transport café masquerading as a coffee shop.

The owner does own a transport café nearby, Frankies Cafe. I ate there last year. Never again, the service was very poor, rude and ignorant serving staff, and the food matched the service.

Aldershot has one Costa Coffee shop. One too many. It occupies the prime location in the town centre, on the corner where the two pedestrianised streets intersect, and at the centre of the Thursday market. The council turns a blind eye to its board in the middle of the street acting as an obstacle.

The two independent coffee shops are on the fringes, many people are probably not even aware of their existence as they get little passing trade.

Costa Coffee’s digital PR journey

August 21, 2012
One of five Costa Coffee shops in Guildford

One of five Costa Coffee shops in Guildford

Appears @CostaCoffee not interested in replying to democratically elected MPs. — Sarah Wollaston MP

Should be renamed how to ignore key stakeholders. — NotoCosta in Totnes

This has to rank as one of the most boring presentations I have ever seen, I was a ready to give up after a minute, but thought no, I will endure, and it was endure, until the end. I thought something interesting may occur. It never did. I was left wondering what was this guy on, as he droned on and on and on.

The one thing he did not have a clue about was how to engage with an audience, or how to make effective use of social media. I was never quite sure whether or not he was simply taking the piss.

Costa engage? Really? Try telling that to the people of Totnes or even their Member of Parliament Sarah Wollaston.

Costa did respond to Mary Portas, but that was only to refer her to their blog, and what was written there was a load of bollocks.

The blog is called coffee lovers. Having a laugh are we?

tweetlevel

– keithpp – 69

– notocosta – 67.9

– costacoffee – 70.1

No a lot in it is there? So much for the high digital profile of Costa.

The only publicity Costa has been getting lately is extremely bad publicity.

Guildford has five Costa Coffee shops, three Starbucks, one Caffè Nero. Somewhat overkill!

Note: I originally wrote there are four Costa Coffee shops in Guildford. My mistake, there are five.

Those in the know in Guildford, that is those who appreciate a decent cup of tea or coffee and freshly made lunches, delicious cakes and afternoon tea and scones, know to avoid the High Street chains who churn out muck that may have some passing resemblance to coffee, instead they go to Guildford House, a listed building, an art gallery and tourist information centre (always helpful), located top of the High Street, more or less opposite Sainsbury’s. Walk through, down the stairs and there you will find a delightful tea shop, one of the best kept secrets in Guildford.

Southwold says no to Costa, local council says yes

August 14, 2012
Southwold notocosta

Southwold notocosta

Dear twitter. Despite all the support objecting to Costa Coffee in Southwold, their application was passed tonight. — Emma Freud

Once again we have a local council sticking two fingers up to local residents and acting in the interest of Big Business, not the locality, not the local economy.

Advice from useless planning officials: Councillors must rubber-stamp application as will cost the Council money if it goes to appeal.

It only costs money if you lose. You only lose because the planning officials are not up to the job. They are capable of deciding where a garden shed may be sited, and often not that, anything else is way beyond their pay grade and competence.

Residents of Southwold said they did not want a Costa Coffee Shop in their town. A previous application was refused on the grounds that it could harm the town’s “unique character”. If that was true before, what has changed?

There may be grounds for a Judicial Review, though these are granted not on the merits or otherwise of the application but on whether or not correct procedures are followed.

Questions have to be raised against the planning officials who pushed on behalf of Costa. They claimed it would not detrimentally affect the “vitality and viability” of the town centre.

This is simply not true. Clone shops, the same in every town centre up and down the country are destroying our towns, turning them into clone towns. Those towns and town centres that are vibrant and full of vitality are those which lack clone shops, North Laines in Brighton is a good example. One of the pleasures of a day trip to Brighton is North Laines, three streets with individual quirky shops. Clone shops are draining money out of an area, thus are a detriment to the vitality and viability of an area. A Costa Coffee Shop is not going to draw people in when you can drink their disgusting coffee anywhere in the country.

Shame on those councillors who failed to act on behalf of local people, on behalf of the local economy. The very people they are elected to serve.

One pathetic councillor left in tears after being heckled. She has only herself to blame.

The public gallery was then cleared. The public should have refused to leave, and only left if the police were called and asked them to leave. The Town Hall belongs to the people.

What we have seen is a repeat of what happened in Bristol and Totnes: Costa like a bunch of corporate thugs muscling their way into a town where they are not wanted and lily-livered councillors kowtowing to Costa.

The good folk of Southwold now need to organise a boycott of Costa.