Posts Tagged ‘coffee’

Where to Drink Coffee

November 11, 2017

A guide to coffee shops of the world, somewhat ambitious and faintly ludicrous.

The description for each coffee shop is about the size of a large postage stamp, with text so small it needs a magnifying glass to read, and most of that is taken up with address and whether or not takes credit cards. Useful information is entirely missing, for example who roasts the coffee beans.

For UK, noticeable more for what is missing than what is included.

For Greece, all of two coffee shops, Tailor Made and The Underdog, and the entry on this page is shared with Serbia.  For Athens alone, I could add several other coffee shops worthy of note: Just Made 33, Taf, Mr BeanDuo Goulies & Duo Mpoukies aka Δυο γουλιές & δυο μπουκιέςTaressoLittle Tree Books and Coffee.

Who is going lug around this heavy book when it is devoid of information and maybe has all of two coffee shops for the country you are thinking of visiting?

Where to Drink Coffee is part of a series, Where Bartenders Drink and Where Chefs Eat, with the same format would be equally useless.

Where to Drink Coffee is is the one guide you do not need. It would be difficult to imagine a guide less useful.

It is always best to use your feet, wander around and find coffee shops yourself, you then have the pleasure of discovery. And once you find one good coffee shop, ask for recommendations of other places to try.

If you need a coffee shop guide for Northern England, which also covers roasteries, cannot go far wrong with The North and North Wales Independent Coffee Guide.

Standart has a guide in each issue to a town or city and coffee shops worth visiting.

Drift each issue is devoted to one city.

On-line The Little Bicycle Coffee Shop occasionally features coffee shops and coffee culture in towns and cities.

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The race to save coffee

November 8, 2017

Coffee can only adapt by moving higher up the mountain, and in doing so moves into an ever more inaccessible, fragile and hostile environment.

The Devil’s Cup documents that in Europe when coffee was first introduced, it was  the drink of the rich.  Coffee will revert to what it once was, the drink of the very rich, ironically the very people who are accruing wealth through destroying the planet.

Coffee resides on a very narrow genetic base.

One reason why the work by Kew Gardens and Union  in Yayu Forest is so important, not only important in helping to safeguard an important forest but help safeguard the wild coffee trees which are a vital genetic reservoir.

But if we are serious, we have to support coffee roasters like Union who engage in direct trade, money goes back to farmers, encouragement to protect the trees and work on reafforestation.

But even more important, we have to deal with climate chaos.

This year, not yet ended, is likely to be one of the warmest on record.

As I write, yet another round of climate talks, corrupt politicians fiddling whilst the planet burns.

Polar bears dying, polar caps melting, a succession of hurricanes devastating the Caribbean, bleaching and die back of coral reefs, projections of the near future of coastal cities under water, it all has no effect, there is a disconnection from our lifestyle.

Could it be denial of coffee, will be the jolt that makes us finally act?

Source

November 6, 2017

There has recently been a somewhat misguided campaign opposing Sainsbury’s dropping FairTrade (they actually have not as today I bought FairTrade tea).  Misguided, as FairTrade a scam to make middle class feel good.  The controversy has though opened up a conversation and made people question FairTrade.

Why buy from a supermarket when will have a better choice of quality coffee, direct trade not FairTrade in indie coffee shops, small retailers and direct from coffee roasters?

In Brighton spoilt for choice.

Grocer and Grain has a good selection of coffee on sale, then there are the many indie coffee shops, many of which roast their own coffee, for example Bond Street, Coffee at 33, Pelicano, Small Batch, to name but a few.

Looking in Infinity Foods, I was after bread not coffee, but I always check the coffee, I noticed a coffee I had not seen before. Source. What caught my attention was the claims they were making.

On the bag carbon credits.

Carbon credits a scam, simply a market for speculators and banks, you know the same people who brought us dodgy financial instruments and the banking crisis, an excuse to pollute and emit more carbon.

Kevin Anderson

Offsetting is worse than doing nothing. It is without scientific legitimacy, is dangerously misleading and almost certainly contributes to a net increase in the absolute rate of global emissions growth.

For an offset project to be genuinely low-carbon, it must guarantee that it does not stimulate further emissions over the subsequent century. Although standards and legislation around offsetting and the CDM sometimes consider ‘carbon leakage’ in the projects’ early years, it is impossible to quantify with any meaningful level of certainty over the timeframes that matter. To do so would presume powers of prediction that could have foreseen the Internet and low-cost airlines following from Marconi’s 1901 telegraph and the Wright brothers’ 1903 maiden flight.

Assume I broke my (self-imposed) seven-year refusal to fly, paid my £35 offset and boarded a plane from Manchester to London for the conference. In doing so, I add to the already severe congestion at airports, causing delays and allowing politicians to argue for greater airport capacity, arguments only reinforced by the rise in passengers turning to offsets. To meet increasing demand, airlines are encouraged to order new aircraft, which they promise will be more efficient. Feeling pressure, a future government approves new runways, but the extra flights and emissions swamp efficiency gains from the cleaner engines.

Meanwhile, in an Indian village where my offset money has helped to fund a wind turbine, the villagers now have the (low-carbon) electricity to watch television, which provides advertisers of a petrol-fuelled moped with more viewers, and customers. A fuel depot follows, to meet the new demand, and encourages others to invest in old trucks to transport goods between villages. Within 30 years, the village and surroundings have new roads and many more petrol-fuelled mopeds, cars and trucks. Meanwhile, the emissions from my original flight are still having a warming impact, and will do for another 100 years or so.

Where is the offset in that?

A qr code directs to a website, with a  link to their web site and a video.

The video marketing hype, more marketing hype if check out any of their coffee.

Every coffee bean has a story to tell. Only so much can write on a bag. A qr code is a means to tell that story by pulling up more information, only as used it does not.

They claim gourmet coffee.   There is no such thing as gourmet coffee. Meaningless marketing hype.

There is speciality coffee, any coffee with a Q grade higher than 80.  Union only buy 84 and higher, Taf 85 and higher.  Ninety Plus only if over 90.

From their webite for one of their coffees

Brimming with environmental, social and ecological benefits …

Contrast with Horsham or Union, information on the coffee, where sourced from, tasting notes, not marketing hype.

They also give their coffee strength numbers, something  only see in a supermarket for commodity coffee. Again meaningless.

Dark roast does not bring out the best in coffee, especially high quality Arabica coffee. It is used to hide the defects in cheap commodity coffee, coffee with Q rating below 80.

Their most ludicrous claims are that they are the only coffee company protecting the world’s forests.

Many in the industry would beg to differ.

Union are working with Kew to protect a forest in Ethiopia.

Ninety Plus has reforested overgrazed land in Panama, now growing Geisha under the shade of the trees.

Warehouse Speciality Blends

November 2, 2017

Quite a trek to find, and no it was not worth the effort.

More a trendy bar serving coffee than a coffee shop.

Service apalling.

A very long wait to be served. Had I not shouted at the waitress, I would still would be waiting.

I would have walked out. the only reason I did not was, it would have been an entirely wasted trek to find.

And was the coffee worth the wait when It finally came? Sadly not.

Something like a third to half foam. On the top cold.

I was asked by the barista how was it? I replied not good.

They used to use Sapid coffee, now from their own roastery Wisecup.

Cappuccino at Jamie’s 

November 2, 2017

OK,  but not great, drinkable.

Served too hot.

I wish Jamie Oliver would source quality beans not Italian catering supply beans for the catering trade.

There can be no excuse for using catering supply beans.

In London have Union and Square Mile.

In Sussex there is Horsham Coffee Roasters.

Down in Brighton there are several coffee roasters.

The flapjack was excellent. A pity the coffee not to the same high standard.

It took great self control to not eat all the flapjack and save half for a friend.

That was September.

I passed through again last night.

Coffee not good. Flapjack excellent. Half saved for breakfast this morning.

Kaya

October 31, 2017

If I had not seen this coffee shop mentioned in a magazine that also mentioned coffee shops worth visiting,  I would not have wasted time seeking it out.

Badly designed, lacking in any ambiance, character or atmosphere,  coffee supplied by different roasteries Taf, Red and Area 51.

The barista did not  level the coffee or apply sufficient pressure when tamping down.

The coffee undrinkable.

Little Tree Books and Coffee

October 31, 2017

Little Tree Books and Coffee is a lovely little bookshop behind the Acropolis Museum.

Excellent selection of books.

It is also a coffee shop.

They use coffee supplied by Taf, but unfortunately only their catering supply coffee. They would do better if they used their competition blend, and maybe a single origin for V60.

To make best advantage of a better coffee, assuming Taf would supply, they would need to upgrade their equipment and have skilled baristas.

I also tried their excellent pumpkin soup.

When I visited surprisingly busy, busy with locals.

It is run as a workers cooperative which may explain the delightful Bohemian atmosphere.

Athens needs more cooperatives and especially  open coops, which then as in Catalonia network and support each other, and act as a counter to the EU economic destruction of the country.

If visiting The Acropolis or Acropolis Museum, then a visit to this little bookshop cum coffee shop is recommended.

Cappuccino at Duo Goulies & Duo Mpoukies

October 30, 2017

 

Had I not been twice previous to Duo Goulies & Duo Mpoukies  I would not have found, even though I was in the vicinity.

There is a church. I should have looked inside as the door was open. It was closed later.

Coffee has not only to be good, it has to be consistently good.

My last visit my cappuccino made by Tania. Today made by a guy and it was not so good.

I had something to eat, not great.

My yogurt topped with nuts and cranberies and honey poured on top was excellent.

Cappuccino in The Underdog

October 30, 2017

I could not walk past The Underdog and not stop and have a coffee, especially as I did not on Sunday. I also thought maybe coffee roasting.

Yes, there was coffee roasting, though the guy roasting said he was learning and not appropriate person to answer questions.

As always excellent cappuccino.

Cappuccino at Just Made 33

October 28, 2017

Morning pleasant and sunny and warm.  Afternoon cool and cloudy. Evening rain and cold.

I made Just Made 33 as it started to rain. The temperature dropped. Even inside it turned cold.

For me a cappuccino and chocolate bar.

Cappuccino excellent.

I watched an Ibrik being brewed, Greek coffee.

I am used to a small copper pot. This a different shape.

And a different method.

Brought to the boil, rises to the top, then removed from the flame, but nor reatedly brought to the boil.

The coffee ground very fine, almost like powder.

Then green tea being made in a vessel I have only seen in Athens.

The tea allowed to brew, then dropped into a carafe below.

I knew Just Made 33 made excellent sandwiches and cakes, but not hot dishes, but then I have never looked at the menu, nor am I there lunchtime or in the evening.

Interesting conversation with barista and waitress, both knowledgeable on coffee.