Posts Tagged ‘coffee’

Lincoln Pier Café

December 9, 2019

From St Mark’s, tried to find Lincoln Pier Café on Lincoln University campus. The Students Union pointed me in 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.

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.

Seven Districts

December 8, 2019

I happened upon Seven Districts, a stall in the grounds of Lincoln Castle on the first day of the Lincoln Christmas Market. A rare example of a quality stall on a very tacky Christmas market. I stopped by and had a chat.

Seven Districts, a coffee roastery based in Lincolnshire, one of the few local traders on the Lincoln Christmas Market.

The coffee is in eye catching bags, but, and it is a very big but.

A classic example of capture by a marketing company and falling hook, line and sinker for their bullshit.

We’re proud to be from Lincolnshire, where we sipped our first coffee, burnt our first bean and celebrated our first roast, perfecting our craft as we grew; naturally we wanted our own coffee to be inspired by our home.

Many-a-great tale have been shared over a cup of the ‘dark brew’ and doubtless many more will still be told; to carry the heart of our homeland to the world, we want you to enjoy yourself a cup inspired by the folk-lores woven throughout these Seven Districts of Lincolnshire.

Lincolnshire has seven districts, filled with ancient history, beautiful heritage and age-old folklores. We wanted to take some of these to the world and share their passion through the stories woven throughout our seven districts.

We’ve named each of our single origins after a folklore of the seven districts. We’ve then taken the uniqueness of each district and matched it with the profiles of the coffee roasts we produce.

For example Tiddy Mun is a fairy king  who used to inhabit the marshland around Boston until Charles I engaged Dutch civil engineers to drain the marshes. Which begs the question what has this to do with high altitude coffee grown in Rwanda? The simple answer is absolutely nothing. On the other hand could be one of the many tales associated with coffee in Ethiopia.

Gullible American tourists in a touristy shop on Steep Hill may fall for this bullshit but it is not doing the coffee any favours. Good coffee speaks for itself.

Ethically sourced meaningless. Fair Trade long past sell by date, marketing ploy to make Middle Class feel good. Fair Trade pays a tiny premium above commodity price, coffee is coffee, maintains farmers in poverty as no incentive to improve. Direct trade, coffee roasteries form long term partnerships with growers, help to improve quality quality, willing to pay a premium for quality. With Direct Trade everyone benefits, the farmers, the roastery, the coffee shop, the coffee drinker.

The bags Roman numerals, I to VII, seven districts of Lincolnshire. Each bag also has a name, and a little bit of local history. At least I thought each bag had a different Roman numeral, logical, but no, all VII, only the name is different.

Yes, well designed packaging, but if to be taken seriously the coffee has to have details of the coffee, not local history no matter how interesting that may be.

Coffee is seasonal. It does not help, different single origin packaged under the same name.

Every coffee bean has a story to tell, if telling a story, tell the story of the farm the coffee beans come from. This means a lot to the farmer.

Within the coffee industry have often discussed how much information to put on a bag, too much and turns people off, too little and not sufficient.

But as a bare  minimum, where sourced from. altitude, processing of beans, tasting notes and roast date. Maybe a little summary of where sourced from. More information may be provided via a qr code.

I can think of several coffee shops that regularly have in stock and serve guest coffee. Would they stock this coffee? No. The reason why, there is not the information on the bags their discerning customers expect to find.

A coffee shop where Seven Districts tried to peddle their wares was singularly unimpressed by their lack of knowledge of coffee.

Excellent advice in Businesses for Punks, do not waste money on marketing, do not engage marketing consultants, invest the money in your product.

Seven Districts have ably demonstrated why that advice is so valuable. They have poured money down the drain.

An artistically designed booklet. Try reading in anything other than strong daylight.

Marketing bullshit to one side, what of the beans, the roasting?

A Q grade in excess of 85. The roaster no previous experience in coffee roasting.

On the stall it was possible in not ideal conditions to try a not very well poured V60. It was ok, not great, nothing to get excited about. I do not know which of the seven coffees on display I was served.

I took away two bags of coffee, an Ethiopian and a Rwandan.

I await an expert brewing.

As I write a beautiful aroma from the Ethiopian, nothing from the Rwandan.

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.

Cold brew in The Underdog

December 3, 2019

Cold brew in The Underdog, only not cold brew, a filter coffee put in the fridge.

Why? Better consistency than using a cold drip tower.

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.

Just Made 33

December 1, 2019

I had looked in Just Made 33 on my way to Exarchia Square.

I was pleased to find open and had a brief chat with the owner.

I had passed by several times and not found open. Closed as I suspected, digging up the street outside, Sunday a respite.

On my return from Exarchia Square I managed to find Just Made 33, but owner not there.

Staff have always been pleasant and friendly, service good. Not today. Miserable to the point of being rude, service poor, a not very pleasant atmosphere.

I watched the barista. Not a clue on pouring a V60, though no problem with my cappuccino.

Late afternoon, even before sun has set turning cold.

Tailor House

December 1, 2019

On my way to Exarchia Square I passed the church of Agia Eirini on Agias Eirinis Square, the square in which Tailor Made was located now sadly Tailor House.

Taylor Made no more, lost roasters, baristas, where once served excellent coffee, now known for bad coffee. Neverthless always busy.

I looked inside and was shocked to see had been gutted and destroyed.

Tailor Made was a pioneering coffee shop and mirco-roastery, one of the first ultra-trendy coffee shops serving specialty coffee.

When it opened over a decade ago in Aghias Irinis Square facing the church, it was located in what was then a derelict square. The sqquare it now very lively thanks to Tailor Made.

It is depressing to see a once great coffee shop destroyed.

The Underdog

November 30, 2019

After visting The Acropolis and Areopagus I walked to The Underdog, had a cappuccino.

I now notice Nespresso capsules with Brazilian coffee, 20 euros for 18 capsules.