Posts Tagged ‘Guildford Station’

FCB compostable takeaway coffee cups

November 2, 2018

Takeaway coffee cups are a major source of litter and plastic pollution. What appears to be paper cups are a composite structure with an inner plastic lining thus cannot be recycled.

Any move away from this throwaway culture, a  throwaway culture encouraged by the corporate coffee chains, is to be welcomed, be it compostable cups, reusable cups for example keepcup or best of all options encouraging relax in a  specialty coffee shop with coffee served in glass or ceramic.

I am pleased to see FCB kiosk now using compostable cups.

But begs the question, what to do with the cup? Unless facilities to compost the cups, will go straight into the general waste stream.  As I was going to the market in North Street, I saved mine for the compost heap.

Finca El Tormento

December 1, 2017

Tormento Colombia is a single origin coffee from Finca El Tormento in Colombia.

I passed by FCB kiosk on Guildford Station on my way to catch the train. No time to stop, other than say hi. Try our guest coffee next time you pass by.

This I did next time I passed by.

The Colombian coffee was excellent. One of the best coffees I have had at FCB kiosk.

Odd though, no information on the bag apart from an interesting drawing and the name, Colombia Tormento.

A little sleuthing and I learnt the guest coffee was supplied by Dark Woods Coffee.


Castillo, Colombia and Caturra.


Finca El Tormento located at a height of 1,750 – 1,850 metres above sea level in the mountains of Southwest Antioquia is owned by Oscar Montoya Vazques.

The hand-picked cherries are dry pulped, fermented and washed, then sun dried on raised beds (parihuelas).

FCB kiosk

Guest coffee at FCB kiosk on Platform 2 at Guildford Station.

tasting notes

Citrus flavours and nutty caramel.

Northern Coffee Adventure

One does not expect a rail company to take passengers on a tour of a a coffee roastery, and yet that is exactly what Northern Rail did, to a few specially invited passengers.

During their visit, a very very special treat. They had a taste of  lot #227 from an estate in Panama. This scored a Q grade of 97, and  was sold at auction for a mind boggling $5000 per kilogram.

Synchronicity. Taf serve Ninety Plus coffee, coffee with a Q grade in excess of 90. Whilst there I had the great honour of being introduced to World Barista champion Stefanos Domatiotis. He showed me some beans that he said was from their estate in Panama. He then made me a V60 using Geisha from their Panama estate. The same estate that produced  lot #227. Was I served the same coffee? I do not know.

Explosion at Guildford Station

July 7, 2017

Early afternoon, a  little after two, an explosion, followed by smoke billowing from a train.

Time stood still. It was as though a motion picture had frozen.

No one panicked. More, a look of concern, what next?

Police, station staff, security running to the train.

A couple of Chinese girls asked me what had happened. I said I did not know, other than state what I had heard and seen.

A station announcement, move away from the train. A technical problem with the train. Another announcement, no trains.

I guessed, maybe a massive electrical short, which in turn had taken out a sub-station.

I later learned I had been correct. I also learnt bits had blasted from the train, luckily no one injured.

Cappuccino from FCB Artisan Coffee at Guildford Station

August 2, 2015
FCB cappuccino

FCB cappuccino

A station kiosk, indeed any kiosk, is not somewhere one would at first glance think of being the best place for coffee.

And yet why should that be? One of the best places for a coffee, and certainly by the far the best in Winchester, is off Jimmy Bean, and his battered old Citroen van on the street food market in Winchester on a Wednesday. And not just coffee, he is one of the best places to eat in Winchester. There is not much Jimmy Bean does not know about coffee.

I often walk past FCB Artisan Coffee, into Guildford at a leisurely pace, leaving Guildford with more haste and seconds to spare to catch a train.

Today, with nearly an hour to kill (dysfunctional Sunday service even though many people travel on a Sunday) I chatted to Shaun.

Shaun is probably the best barista in Guildford, like Jimmy Bean not much he does not know about coffee. He was at Harris + Hoole, then Glutton & Glee (where he did wonders for their coffee reputation), now he is running the kiosk on platform 2.

Although it was a hot day, and I did not really fancy a coffee, I thought I would try a cappuccino.

I sometimes wonder, is my taste for coffee going awry, when I try coffees, ok, certainly not disgusting as Costa.

Today I had an internal calibration. No, my taste is not going awry, it is that the coffee is not as good as it could be, care is not taken in the making, for example grinding the coffee afresh for each coffee, and the barista is not up to the job. These factors are certainly true for Costa or tax dodging Caffe Nero and Starbucks.

I have to say the cappuccino served by Shaun was one of the best I have had in Guildford, even better than Harris + Hoole, where you are guaranteed an excellent coffee. It was up with the gold standard, think Stokes on High Bridge in Lincoln or Taylor St Baristas in Brighton.

It had an unusual creamy taste.

It was then hop on the train as my train pulled in for Haslemere, and I did not even have to change platforms, it was step onto the train from the kiosk.

I then noticed something, something I have never noticed before with a coffee, though this may be because I often have a cookie. I was left with a lovely after taste.

If you are passing through Guildford Station, forget Costa, and head straight for the FCB Artisan Coffee kiosk on Platform 2.

If you are drinking coffee from Costa, then there is something seriously wrong with your sense of taste. I once had a coffee from the station Costa. It looked disgusting and it tasted disgusting. My reflex reaction was to spit it out on the floor, and it took self-control not to. Or maybe if drinking at Costa, you have never had a decent coffee.

Do yourself a favour, try the coffee from the FCB Artisan Coffee kiosk on Platform 2.

One criticism, more a suggestion, have on display information about the coffee, for example the origin. I am sure Shaun would have been able to tell me had I asked.

My other query, which I did not follow up, can the cups, the lid, be composted? If not, they should be.

Vile disgusting coffee at Costa

March 14, 2014
WTF vile disgusting cappuccino (?) at Costa

WTF vile disgusting cappuccino (?) at Costa

Harris + Hoole really must get their act together. Upstairs closed, downstairs packed. Begrudgingly forced to take a coffee at Costa.

A big mistake.

No wifi. Toilet dirty, no toilet paper.

And the coffee?

WTF. It was supposed to be a cappuccino but it looked like no cappuccino I have ever seen or encountered.

First it was served in a cup far too big. This I rejected and was given a smaller cup. No refund offered.

And the taste was vile. A very unpleasant bitter taste, that left the same unpleasant bitter taste in the mouth. It was vile. It was undrinkable.

How can people drink such disgusting coffee?

But then how can people eat at McDonald’s or KFC?

It is not only the coffee that is far superior at Harris + Hoole, the staff give the impression they actually enjoy being there, and as a result, a far better ambience. And they have wifi.

Robbery at Guildford Station

October 24, 2013




Tuesday lunchtime, on Guildford Station, a youth in a grey hoodie, decided to order something from the little Xpress coffee kiosk and walk off without paying.

He probably thought he could get away with it. He did not take account of the oriental girl (Thai or Filipino) running the kiosk.

She shot out of the kiosk, chased him into the waiting room behind the kiosk.

Fearing for her safety, I followed on her heels, to find her haranguing the guy, demanding he pay her. He was swigging from a beer can, and ignored her.

I advised her to back off, and her and colleague to call the Police, and said I would go and talk to the station staff, and ask they called in station security and the British Transport Police.

We had ten minutes before a train pulled in, or at least before it left.

As I spoke with the station staff, I could see grey-hoodie was now out of the waiting room, on the platform, smoking and spitting on the platform.

As I headed back, I met the oriental girl heading my way. I said we needed to go back onto the platform, keep an eye on grey-hoodie.

Now there was a member of station staff on the platform. He ordered grey-hoodie to stop smoking (he had lit up another cigarette). I said, I was worried he would escape on the in-coming train, as no sign of police or security. He said no, if necessary, they would hold the train.

Photos taken of grey-hoodie, though I hope also recorded on CCTV.

Talking to the girl, who was slim and five foot in height at best, I said what she did was very brave and I was very impressed, but also maybe foolish as she had put herself at great risk.

Her response was, if I had let him get away with it, he would have tried it again.

The very least, she deserves a commendation for her action.

By the time the train pulled in, 1325 slow train Farncombe, Godalming then onto Haslemere and possibly Portsmouth, there was many people on the platform. Not a single one went to this plucky girl’s aid.

As the train pulled in, several police officers turned up. They spoke to me, I had boarded the train, as the doors were about to close and the train ready to leave. They asked to interview me. I said no, I said I had taken pictures, the girl had my contact details, please speak to her.

Lost item on a train

April 29, 2013

On the 1334 Reading-Gatwick train I bought a ticket.

Alighting at Guildford, I realised I had left railcard on the train, or maybe dropped it. I asked could I go back on the train to collect it, to be told no, speak to the station staff.

Station staff tell me nothing to do with them, they are Southwest Trains, I need to speak to First Great Western who operate the Reading-Gatwick train. They give me a number and I call First Great Western. Difficult to understand what she is telling me. She says I need to talk to Southern Trains, as they operate Gatwick which is the terminating station for the journey. And no, the driver cannot be contacted and the railcard dropped off as train passes back through Guildford, and if railcard is handed in at originating station, which is Reading, it will end up at Bristol.

Southern are equally unhelpful. Railcard would go to Victoria, but this would take up to six days.

My phone then runs out of credit. Both companies operate premium rate 0845 numbers, both have waffle to listen to, not content to rip passengers off with expensive rail fairs, they rip them off again on their phone charges.

I now find I am unable to get off the station because I have no ticket. No way am I going to pay again. Station manager is called. He lets me off the station, but says I will not be able to get back on a train as I have no ticket.

Later, one little bit of good news, I find I do have my tickets, but no railcard.

If anyone has any sense, they will see, if railcard is recovered, my name. All they have do do is look me up on their own records, and post me the railcard, but that would be far far to easy.

12:34 Reading-Gatwick Guildford toilet stop

April 8, 2013
Reading-Gatwick train toilet stop at Guildford

Reading-Gatwick train toilet stop at Guildford

Reading-Gatwick train was forced to stop several minutes at Guildford Station for a toilet break due to non-functioning toilets on the train.

First Great Western who run these trains are a disgrace. The toilets on the trains are dirty, no water, often out of action.

First Great Western lost the franchise to run the West Coast mainline. It is time they lost the Reading-Gatwick route.

‘Body’ alongside the tracks

November 9, 2012

As train pulled into Guildford today, out of the corner of my eye on the side of the track I noticed what could have been a body equally it could have been a rolled up carpet, but what it wasn’t was a pile of rubbish.

Could I be sure? No, but it needed checking out.

I did my civic duty, or tried.

I walked back down the train, to speak to the guard, but too late, the train was pulling out.

I thought talk to the man on the barrier or maybe his boss

The man on the barrier decided for me, he would call his supervisor.

No one turned up.

After nearly ten minutes wait, I had had enough.

Where is he? Apparently in a meeting.

Well tell him to get out of his meeting now, as I am walking out of the station and calling the press.

The supervisor and station manager could not get along the platform quick enough.

I explained to them what I wanted them to do. I explained what I had seen and where. I was not asking them to walk the tracks. I wished them to alert drivers and guards of incoming trains, to spot what I had seen, and hopefully determine what it was. If a body, then escalate and investigate further.

But what a bloody palaver to get them to do anything.

Ironic: All the time announcements on station, on trains, if you see anything suspicious, please report.

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