Posts Tagged ‘coffee’

Cappuccino in Krema

September 23, 2017

Krema is one of those coffee coffee shops where guaranteed a consistently good cappuccino.

Today, no exception. Indeed one of the best cappuccinos I have had in Krema.

Horsham Pioneer v 5.0.

A new espresso blend from Horsham, which may in part explain why my cappuccino was so good today.

Advertisements

Cappuccino in Madame Waffle

September 19, 2017

Having been offered at Stokes on High Bridge Ethiopian coffee beans roasted in April, which I wisely declined, it was to Madame Waffle to buy coffee and a cappuccino.

Cappuccino in Madame Waffle is always excellent, consistently so, no matter who brews it, all that more curious as different depending on who brews it.

I also picked up a bag of single origin Kayon Mountain beans from Ethiopia roasted by Square Mile on 24 August 2017.

Madame Waffle has on sale The North and North Wales Independent Coffee Guide (in which they are featured), Standart, and Caffeine available free.

They also serve waffles.

On leaving, a chat with a girl from Lithuania who had been served a waffle with strawberries. It looked delicious, though I am not into waffles. She wanted to know what was the cream.

I suggested she explored all three floors and tried the coffee, and suggested other coffee shops she may wish to try.

Coffee beans from Stokes on High Bridge

September 19, 2017

Last week I had been recommended at The Lawn, try our Ethiopian beans.

Unfortunately, and somewhat perversely, roasted at The Lawn, but not on sale at The Lawn, have to trek down to Stokes on High Bridge which is a coffee shop in both senses of the word.

I looked through what was on offer, maybe half a dozen coffee beans.

I settled on Ethiopian Hunda Oli, which I think is what I had been recommended.

I asked of the roast date. The girl serving apologised and said she did not know, as she was only a trainee.

Not a problem, and I offered to explain why roast date was important.

We were rudely interrupted by a lady who said she does the training here.

She checked and told me April, I cannot recall was it 24 or 28 April.

I was astounded, especially when the lady who was in charge of training told me  that it was not a problem.

I could not be bothered arguing with her level of ignorance on coffee, and asked of a different Ethiopian coffee, not what I wanted, but on the other hand, I did not want old beans ether.

I settled for roasted in August, 18 August 2017, which the helpful trainee kindly wrote on the bag. Not ideal, but better than April.

I noticed they still had on sale the second edition of The Northern Independent Coffee Guide, not the latest third edition with the new title  The North and North Wales Independent Coffee Guide, as now includes Wales.

I did not ask why they did not have the latest edition, when other coffee shops in Lincoln have the latest edition, but at a guess, Stokes is featured in the second edition, have been relegated to footnotes in the third edition.

Sadly it is all to easy to see why. Lack of knowledge of importance of roast date, best by is meaningless, does not bode well. Nor that the last time I had  cappuccino from their house blend it was undrinkable.

It was then to Madame Waffle where an excellent cappuccino and a bag of Keyon Mountain  beans from Square Mile Coffee roasted 28 August 2017.

In a supermarket you will not see roast date. The reason why, old beans.  Which is why always buy coffee from either the roaster or a reputable indie coffee shop

Waitrose is the rare exception, beans from Union have a roast date, but all too often past their best.

A coffee shop may have old beans, they may miscalculate their turnover, though they should rotate to avoid selling old beans.

There is no excuse for a coffee roaster to have old beans either in stock or on sale.

As I write, the coffee is on the table, aroma wafting by, both bags are in a brown paper bag, the Stokes also wrapped in a plastic bag.

With the Square Mile, a heirloom variety, I am getting a subtle aroma of chocolate, toffee or fudge, maybe vanilla.

With the Stokes, an overpowering aroma of roast coffee, no subtly.

I would though hasten to add, aroma is no indication of taste, as I learnt a few weeks ago at a cupping session at Taylor St Roasted.

I will learn more when brewed over the next few weeks.

To put the roast dates in context.  Last week, from Madame Waffle a Red Brick espresso blend from Square Mile roasted 10 August, from Coffee Aroma Has Bean espresso blend roasted 5 September, from Makushi a single origin from Costa Rica roasted 9 September, from The Little Tractor Coffee Shop a Kenyan single origin roasted 7 August.

When coffee is roasted, leave for about a week for the oils to adjust, then at its optimum for the next three weeks. 

A reputable coffee roaster will generally roast to order, then ship either that day or the next. 

A reputable coffee shop will order to demand, try to rotate the stock in order that no old beans are sitting on the shelves. 

There can be absolutely no excuse for a coffee roaster to have old beans on the shelves for sale to customers. 

Old beans, lack of understanding of the importance of roast date, undrinkable house blend, it comes as no surprise to see Stokes relegated in the latest indie coffee guide to more good cups and more good roasters. 

Stokes are a fourth generation coffee business that has unfortunately lost its way. Are they suppliers of catering supply coffee in a race to the bottom with Lincoln Tea and Coffee (suppliers of bagged low grade commodity coffee)? Or are they suppliers of speciality coffee?

At the very least, Stokes need to form a separate speciality coffee division, Stokes Speciality Coffee, have on sale at The Lawn with its own unique branding, the coffee shop as their flagship coffee shop. They have the skilled baristas, have invested in top of the range equipment, a pleasant environment, pleasant staff, all they now need are quality beans, hand-roasted, with a Q-grade of at least 84.

The North and North Wales Independent Coffee Guide

September 18, 2017

I had popped into Madame Waffle and noticed that not only Standart on sale, they also had The North and North Wales Independent Coffee Guide on sale.

Now in it third edition, what was the The Northern Independent Coffee Guide  now includes Wales, hence the change in  tittle.

Inclusion of Wales  a huge mistake. North Wales is not the North of England. Why not a guide for Wales?

A new editor, and I guess to justify her existence the format has changed.

Moot point whether for the better or not.

The maps are now associated  with their relevant entries, which is an improvement.

Gone the information about coffee, which is a great loss.  Instead, a brief sketch of key coffee people.

Noticeable by his absence, Bruce Whetton at Madame Waffle,  like Monmouth Coffee in Covent Garden, a pioneer of speciality coffee before it became trendy. Hopefully an omission to be corrected in the fourth edition.

A noticeable increase in the thickness. Whether due to an increase in the speciality coffee scene or being padded out with North Wales, I do not know.

Several entries, light text on a  dark background, not a good idea, as nigh unreadable.

A noticeable absence from the first edition, was Stokes, included in the second edition, now relegated to the footnotes, and deservedly so.

From Christmas to New Year, a noticeable loss of quality. Several months later their house blend undrinkable.

Stokes need to decide what they are.

Are they a supplier of catering supply coffee to greasy spoon cafes, bars and hotels, in a race to the bottom with local supplier Lincoln Tea and Coffee, that bag from bulk roasters low quality commodity coffee, over-roasted, defective beans with an unpleasant aroma? Or are they a supplier of speciality coffee? At the very least, form a separate and distinct division, Stokes Speciality Coffee, with its own distinct packaging, and show case at The Lawn.

A shame to see a fourth generation family coffee business fall by the wayside.

Stokes have recently relocated their roastery and offices to The Lawn, and opened Stokes Lawn Cafe at The Lawn, though Stokes at The Lawn would have been a better name. At The Lawn they have three excellent baristas, have invested in top quality equipment, the ambience is pleasant, as are the staff,  then let themselves down with poor quality beans.

I am pleased to see Madame Waffle has now been included, a noticeable omission from previous editions.

But why no inclusion of Makushi, a coffee shop and roastery half way up Steep Hill?

Another addition I would recommend The Little Tractor Coffee Shop, hidden within Bird’s Yard, a junk shop at the bottom of Steep Hill.

Coffee trails are new for this edition.

My suggestion for a Lincoln Coffee Trail (starting in the High Street where the River Witham flows through the town centre): Stokes on High Bridge,  Coffee Aroma, Madame Waffle,  Stokes at The Collection, The Little Tractor Coffee Shop, Makushi, Stokes Lawn Cafe. [see Coffee culture in Lincoln]

Personally I would not use a guide, I prefer to see where my feet take me, wander around, discover for myself. I did though find interesting, the various coffee shops and if I was in one of these towns, then yes, I may be tempted to pop in.

The downside  of taking me where my feet take, may have the advantage of discovery, but too many bad coffee shops, too much bad coffee.

I have never understood why anyone opens a coffee shop to serve bad coffee, though too many do. If I wanted bad coffee I would frequent the chains.

There can though be no excuse for drinking that undrinkable yuk in Costa or tax-dodging Starbucks or Caffè Nero, when armed with a copy of The North and North Wales Independent Coffee Guide it is easy to find somewhere that serves coffee worthy of the name, and once tried, you will never go back.

Cappuccino in Makushi

September 17, 2017

In between the very heavy showers, with water running down Steep Hill, I made it to Makushi without getting wet.

As always, an excellent cappuccino.

Two baristas have left, I was therefore wary. I was pleased to see, still high quality coffee.

Having just picked up The North and North Wales Independent Coffee Guide on sale in Madame Waffle, I was surprised to find Makushi not listed. A major omission by the contributors. Something they need to correct for the next edition.

Lincoln Coop hates coffee drinkers

September 14, 2017

It would appear from the coffee machines being installed and the ugly eyesore signs installed recently outside their stores, that Lincoln Coop hates coffee drinkers.

Why else install Costa inside their stores?

This is to insult coffee drinkers.

It also exposes the crass hypocrisy of the Coop when they claim they support local communities.

Look at Sincil Street, many businesses driven out by the Coop.

Green Dragon closed thanks to Cooop.

In Washingborough, local businesses forced out of business by the Coop.

Latest is a newsagent. The newsagent wishes to sell his business and retire. Buyers were lined up, Coop is blocking the sale of alcohol.

Should not the Coop be supporting and encouraging local businesses?

Should they not be supporting indy coffee shops in Lincoln?

But no they support Costa, force the closure of local businesses.

Cappuccino in Caffè Portico

September 12, 2017

Until today, I had walked by Caffè Portico but never looked in, let alone had a coffee.

Today, I decided to look in.

I was not going to stay, but decided to have  a cappuccino.

It was not good, too hot with chocolate dumped on top.

Pleasant interior and ambience, pleasant and helpful staff, occasional live music,  spoilt by lousy coffee.

Lack of skill of ‘barisita’.

The coffee an espresso blend Tonto from Roost Coffee.

The coffee did at least have roast date and when at its optimum.

On the website, the information would expect from a coffee roaster who cares about coffee.  But, and a big but, a dark roast, and no one who wishes to bring out the best does a dark roast.

Starbucks closed

September 9, 2017

The good news, Starbucks closed.

The bad news, Starbucks only closed for renovation.

Seize the opportunity, use the opportunity to explore good coffee shops, see what good coffee actually tastes like, then do not return.

Follow the Lincoln Coffee Trail, Stokes on High Bridge, Coffee Aroma, Madame Waffle, Stokes at The Collection,  The Little Tractor Coffee Shop (within Bird’s Yard at the foot of Steep Hill), Makushi, Pimeneto tea rooms (for tea), Stokes Lawn Cafe [see Coffee Culture in Lincoln]

Cappuccino at Madame Waffle

September 8, 2017

Excellent cappuccino at Madame Waffle.

Cappuccino is consistently good at Madame Waffle.

Puts to shame the undrinkable house blend at Stokes.

Cappuccino and cake in Bailgate Deli

September 7, 2017

Having walked around Lincoln Cathedral and into Bailgate I  popped in Bailgate Deli.

I decided to have a cappuccino and a cake.

The coffee was drinkable, but not great. The best I could say of it was that it was better than the undrinkable house blend in Stokes.

I looked at the coffee beans. Poor quality beans, many defects, over-roasted, the aroma disgusting, that of burnt coffee.

No self-respecting roaster would supply such poor quality beans.

The coffee supplied by Lincoln Tea and Coffee, a catering supply outfit.

Bailgate Deli need to find a better supplier, as with poor quality catering supply beans never going to be able to make decent coffee.

There are many good coffee roasters not too far away. Pick up a copy of Northern Independent Coffee Guide, now its second edition, which lists coffee roasters as well as coffee shops.

Would not go far wrong trying North Star based in Leeds.

Many things being done wrong, too large coffee cups (and not nice cups at that), served too hot, coffee not ground fresh for each cup, lack of skills of ‘barista’.

If wish to make a decent cup of coffee, false economy to cut corners, and that starts with not buying poor quality coffee beans.

The cake, chocolate and coconut, was excellent. The first time I have had a vegan cake that was edible.

The mistake that is always made, take a cake made with dairy products then substitute. It does not work.

Bailgate Deli told me they had after much experimentation developed the cakes from scratch.

Pleasant staff serving.