Posts Tagged ‘coffee’

Ethiopia Arsosala WS

September 1, 2020

A pleasantly warm afternoon. I walk around Lincoln Castle to Stokes at The Lawn, but too late, to catch the sun on the terrace.

Mike too busy to try a coffee. I have a cappuccino.

As I am leaving, he wishes to try Ethiopia Arsosala WS, an Ethiopian coffee I had picked up from Cartwheel Coffee.

I would have suggested V60, Mike says no, an espresso. He is impressed the bag lists brew ratio for espresso and filter, which gives a good starting point. Something more coffee roasteries should list.

We try espresso, or at least Mike tries espresso, for me he adds hot water a sort of Americano, though I would have preferred to try espresso. We are both impressed. Very fruity.

— to be continued —

Opening the box

August 17, 2020

A delivery from Coffeelink, a Suffolk based roastery.

Inside the box

Wonderful aroma from the Ethiopian coffee within well designed packaging. Freshly roasted the previous week.

Contents currently at reduced prices from Coffeelink and with free delivery.

Over the next few days unpacking of the box and an exploration of its contents.

Madame Waffle re-opens

July 24, 2020

Madame Waffle has been open a week or so. Not open Monday and Tuesday.

My first coffee since lockdown began.

I sat outside with a cappuccino. I would not wish to sit inside.

Looking inside I see the tables are partitioned off. I understand why, but I would feel less safe, enclosed space within enclosed space.

Staff and customers for their own protection, download and install and share Corona-Warn-App the German track and trace app.

Madame Waffle is on limited opening hours, not open on Monday and Tuesday.

Auction House

July 22, 2020

On my last visit to Louth a year ago I noticed Auction House, it had not long closed. A pity, it would be an ideal coffee shop, was my thought at the time.

Today, one year on market day I noticed it was open. New owners. A coffee shop of sorts, also serves food.

I asked of their coffee.

Alvingham Coffee Roasters, who I had never heard of. A local roastery.

I said I would pop back after a wander around.

I popped back, did not fancy sitting upstairs, an enclosed space, downstairs, no one seemed in any hurry to leave.

Eventually what I had ordered arrived. Did I wish to eat outside? I did not know they had outside seating.

Outside seating  was located across the street in the market square. But only on market days.

Gammon and chips and garden peas and a duck egg. I did not wish for the egg. Gammon was reasonable and a good-sized portion, maybe could have been cooked a tad more. Chips excellent. Garden peas? Grown in their garden? Not fresh podded peas that was for sure.

I then ordered a cappuccino. I had noticed earlier one carpet bombed with chocolate. I said no chocolate.

Served in a cup size too large, poor quality coffee.

Depressing they are sourcing poor quality coffee, as with the right equipment, competent baristas and sourcing high quality coffee, could be an excellent little coffee shop in a prime location overlooking the square.  Commendable to source local, but not if poor quality coffee. I would suggest they check out Seven Districts, Outpost Coffee, Cartwheel Coffee,  The Blending Room and Dark Woods.

On the window coffee cocktails, or maybe it is either or. No way could make coffee cocktails with the poor quality coffee they are sourcing. For cocktails would need top quality single origin coffee.

They need outside seating. Today was market day.

Why is the street not pedestrianised?

They need to apply for outside seating. Once legalisation passed, currently on its Third Reading, apply to local district council, for Louth East Lindsey, the council has to respond within 15 days. If the council fails to respond, have requested seating by default.

As with other coffee shops and tea shops on limited hours. People will not feel safe until they can be served outside, and even that may not be sufficient to entice people out.

Coffee by the Arch 20 minutes queue for bad takeaway coffee

June 27, 2020

Stokes at The Lawn closed at three, Misto not open never appears to be open, twenty minute queue at Coffee at the Arch for bad coffee.

 

It actually seemed like half an hour, but maybe no more than twenty minutes.

Are people in a queue because they see a queue?

I hate queues, I will usually walk away and go elsewhere or go without than stand in a queue, especially stand in a queue for bad coffee.

But beggars cannot be choosers, neither Stokes or Misto open, thus no choice but to stand in the queue.

I knew it would be bad coffee, I had a coffee when they changed hands early this spring, but glutton for punishment and you never know, maybe they have improved, got their act together, sourced quality beans, employed baristas.

Sadly not, the beans badged with their own name, but still poor quality beans.

And was the coffee bad? Unfortunately yes.

I walked through Newport Arch back into Bailgate, sat on a wall and took a sip. It burnt my tongue. It was scalding hot.

A cappuccino should not be scalding hot. I was at least asked did I want chocolate? I should not be asked. That is not to suggest it should have chocolate dumped on top. A cappuccino does not have chocolate. Why do cafes masquerading as coffee shops not understand, a cappuccino is not served scalding hot, the milk is burnt, chocolate is not dumped on top. Although the row of syrups is at least a warning sign the coffee we serve is not good.

There was a hint, the coffee may have been bitter, if made by a barista would have been an improvement. But better still, source quality beans and employ baristas.

I walked to a little square and poured on a garden.

And no, Coffee by the Arch has not improved since I had a coffee early spring.

Why do people open a coffee shop or buy a coffee shop if they know nothing about coffee?

Stokes on High Bridge re-opens takeaway only

June 17, 2020

Day eighty five of lockdown, first day Stokes on High Bridge open.

Being their first day after closed for several weeks I expected a very long queue. No queue.

Hand sanitiser outside the store for customers to use.

Serving coffee and toasties. Only one lady serving, brewing coffee, making toasties.

I thought have a coffee, maybe a cheese and ham toasty. Not possible, card only.

Stokes need to think again card only. Everywhere else preference for contactless card, but accepting cash. They are going to lose many of their elderly customers. Maybe that explains no queue.

A large empty sterile space in front of Stokes on High Bridge, more than sufficient space for Stokes to spread their tables in the street. This is being blocked by intransigence of local councils.

The local councils have had weeks during lockdown to have in place plans for indie coffee shops, tea shops and restaurants to park their tables in the street, to enable them to open whilst maintaining two metres social distancing. Win win for everyone. It could have happened in May. Revitalises the High Street, helps local businesses back on their feet, improves the city centre ambience.

Without tables in the street many local businesses will die. They are too small to meet social distancing rules. Takeaway coffee is not a viable option. OK for a kiosk, but not for a coffee shop or restaurant with higher overheads. They  are surviving currently with staff on furlough, rent deferred. But what then when these schemes end?

Stokes at the Lawn currently not open.

Coffee Aroma will open on the first of July, takeaway only. They asked to put tables in the street. An emphatic no from County Hall, not even the courtesy of an explanation.

Madame Waffle not open any time soon.

Bookstop Cafe open, had tables outside, ordered by City Council to remove.

 

Covid-19 indie coffee shops

June 12, 2020

Will indie coffee shops survive covid-19 pandemic?

I will roughly divide thoughts, observations and conversations before lockdown, during lockdown and what will happen next.

Maybe ten days before lockdown, a visit to Nottingham a large city, not deserted but few people about. One coffee shop closing early few customers. Next coffee shop, few customers, less than half their usual number of customers,  numbers dropping daily.

A couple of days before lockdown, visiting Sheffield a large city, station deserted, a kiosk on my way into the city centre told me I would find the city centre deserted, few people about, little open, restaurants I passed by, the few that were open, the few that had customers maybe a couple of diners. I ate and had coffee at Marmadukes, a coffee shop usually very busy, I was the only person there. Business down by at least 80%. Coffee shops were closing at three. In part no customers, in part to let staff home before rush hour, not that there was a rush hour. Talking to the owner of another coffee shop, the question on his mind, how was he to survive?

Before lockdown, measures were already in place, hand sanitiser by the entrance, compostable coffee cups, contactless cards, no reusable cups.

The kiosk in Sheffield I passed by earlier, after I talked to them, a sign no reusable cups.

Lockdown a mixed blessing, at least cost of staff covered by furlough, rents deferred.

Lincoln a city during lockdown. The chains stayed open for a few days then closed. Indie coffee shops closed immediately. A few weeks ago, one large coffee shop a small chain opened for takeaway. A slow trickle of customers but I doubt it will cover the cost of two staff. The only advantage, they are open before the corporate chains, maybe they will attract and retain some of their clientele.

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. The large coffee shop, once rents and business rates kick back in, would not survive.

We had sunniest May on record, Mediterranean climate. The tragedy indie coffee shops and restaurants 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.

One coffee shop asked. They received an emphatic no. They currently employ eight staff on furlough. When furlough ends six will lose their jobs leaving two for takeaway coffee, but not a viable businesses.

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.

Looking at Guildford, the corporate coffee chains that litter our town centres, cafes pretending to be coffee shops, three coffee shops. Of the three I cannot see Canopy Coffee or Surrey Hills surviving as they do not have the option to expand into the street. Krema yes, if allowed to expand into Tunsgate, if not no. When first open, Krema did have its tables in the street and was ordered to remove them.

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 can hear bird song, streets are traffic free, cities pollution free. We have been jolted into another now. There can be no going back to normal as normal was not normal.

We have to reclaim the streets.

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

Sheffield has plans to expand pedestrianised streets.

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.

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.

Find and locate your local indie coffee shops. Support them.

If anyone wishes to follow me on social media, I will try and post every day indie coffee shops worth visiting and supporting. No guarantee they are open or when they will open.

Buy coffee. If not from a local coffee shop, from a coffee roastery.

Buy bean-to-bar craft chocolate.

Support local businesses.

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.

Cappuccino Stokes at The lawn

March 3, 2020

Usually I take coffee in for Mike to try, but today raining, I let Mike select a coffee.

Try this Colombian.

Aroma was that of chocolate, milk chocolate, Cadbury’s Dairy Milk.

OK I know it is not chocolate, fat and sugar. Read the label if do not believe me. Cadbury’s do not claim it to be chocolate.

A moot point Stokes at The Lawn. Please stock quality bean-to-bar chocolate.

Bullion and Luisa’s would be good starting point, maybe add Bare Bones.

I digress.

Mike brewed a cappuccino.

Fruity, very different to the aroma.

And not usual for a cappuccino, improved as it cooled, more akin to behaviour of a V60.

The roast less a light roast, though was a light roast, but instead of lowering roast temperature reduced the length of roast.

Happy Coffee Bike

February 22, 2020

Spend fours hours travelling up from Kent, pay £400 for a pitch to stand in the cold to serve LavAzza coffee at a junk food travelling circus in Lincoln.

Masochistic.

To say the least I felt very sorry for the young Romanian lady whose stall it was, her very first outing with her coffee trike.

I doubt she covered her travel costs, let alone cost of the pitch, cost of overnight stay.

Who conned her into this ridiculous venture?

She had not worked in coffee, knew nothing about coffee.

Why serve LavAzza when High Street lined with coffee shops serving bad coffee?

She was frozen. I offered to take her for a coffee to have the chance to warm up and drink a decent coffee.  But she could not leave her stall.

I advised she checked out coffee roasteries in Sussex, and to attend the Brighton Coffee Festival in August.

Coffee by the Arch revisited

February 19, 2020

Since my last visit some time ago, Coffee by the Arch has changed owners. It had been for sale for some time. New owners took over 20 days ago.

On my last visit, service was so bad, I gave up waiting and walked out. And what I saw of coffee served not worth waiting. The coffee sourced not good.

Very little has changed, and not improved.

Service still bad, clueless on coffee.

Long wait before served with a cappuccino carpet bombed with chocolate.

I took it back. Second attempt not much better. All I can say in its favour is that I have had worse.

The coffee supplied by Limini, suppliers of catering supply coffee to the trade. Says all need to know about Limini when they supply syrups.

There is no excuse for sourcing cheap low quality coffee, or for not employing skilled baristas.

Local try Seven Districts. But would need to employ a barista to get the best out of their coffee.

I have never understood why anyone opens or buys a coffee shop when knows nothing about coffee.

Depressing, in a good location and could be an excellent little coffee shop.


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