Posts Tagged ‘indie coffee shops’

Take back coffee culture

May 9, 2016
Jam of the Week

Jam of the Week

Adbusters Jam of the Week:  Take back coffee culture: Support indie coffee shops.

Despite years of backlash, Starbucks can still be found on every corner around the globe. Its efforts to create an ethical image have done little to hide its dominating nature.

For centuries, coffeehouses were meeting places for philosophers, artists and activists. That’s where big ideas percolated and revolutions were hatched. But who wants to talk politics at Starbucks? Despite their attempts to manufacture an atmosphere of creativity and community, Starbucks remains an invasive presence in any neighborhood.

This week let’s break the corporate chain. Take a stroll in your neighborhood and zero in on one independent coffee shop you really like. Get to know the owner and the baristas who work there. Make it the place where from now on you connect with your community and your friends.

A couple of blocks from Adbusters, here in the Fairview Slopes neighbourhood of Vancouver, is a wonderful little indie coffee shop called Wicked. We go there almost every day, often to strategize and cook up campaigns . . . there’s something truly wonderful about being plugged in like that.

This week let’s give the indie coffee movement a worldwide boost . . . let’s walk away from Starbucks and never go back.

This is the revolution of everyday life.

For the wild,

— Team Adbusters

Old Town Square in Prague, girl drinking from a Starbucks takeaway. Another girl approaches, ‘scuse me, can you tell me where I can find Starbucks?

One of those moments when you want to cringe.

Starbucks at Prague Castle

Starbucks at Prague Castle

Prague Castle, the location with the most stunning view over Prague, occupied by Starbucks. A grass terrace, a spiral stone staircase. They were even queuing.

Why do people drink this disgusting coffee? Do they have no self-respect? is there something wrong with their sense of taste?

And it is not only Starbucks, Caffe Nero, Costa, are no better.

Nor is there any excuse when there are quality indie coffee shops, with their own unique atmosphere, where the barista can tell you more than you ever wished to know about coffee, where the coffee actually tastes good, is usually sourced direct from the farms, where you meet interesting people, and they pay their fair share of tax.

If you find an indie coffee shop serving excellent coffee with atmosphere, tell your friends, make it your meeting place.

The very first coffee shops in London were where people went to read newspapers, to discuss the issues of the day.

Morning coffee in Stokes on High Bridge

January 17, 2013
Stokes on High Bridge

Stokes on High Bridge

latte and cappuccino

latte and cappuccino

It is not many coffee shops have been running for over 75 years, been in the coffee business for over a century, in a building dating from c 1540, on a mediaeval bridge, built on Norman foundations.

Stokes on High Bridge was plastered over as a Victorian ‘improvement’. It was restored in 1902 back to the original wooden beams. Now a Grade I listed building owned by English Heritage, leased to Stokes.

The fires on the first and second floors with their beautiful copper canopies, are not modern fakes. Originally fired by coal, then gas, now electric.

Last week, Stokes lovely and warm and cosy on first and second floors. Not today. The ground floor coffee bar cold. Each time the door was opened, a blast of Arctic air into the shop. The first and second floors cool. No insulation on the building, -5 C outside. earlier it had been -8 C.

Cappuccino and a Latte. Real coffee, not the rubbish that masquerades as coffee in Costa or tax dodging Starbucks.

I learnt something today. Serving coffee in soup bowl, is not the best way to serve coffee.

I also learnt one reason why people of no taste may drink what masquerades as coffee in Costa or Starbucks. Super-size the coffee into a soup bowl and people think they are getting a bargain. Quite why anyone would wish to drink a larger portion of something disgusting is still baffling. And still be ripped off, a coffee, a factory cake, and little change from a fiver.

I learnt that there was and maybe still is a loyalty card valid for all participating indie coffee shops in Lincoln. This is an excellent idea, and if it still exists, it needs a relaunch with publicity.

A variant of the Costa (dis)Loyalty Card

What also is needed is the Bailgate Pound, which can be stretched beyond The Strait, Steep Hill, and Bailgate to encompass other local businesses like indie coffee shops. The opportunity to launch a Bailgate Pound two years was lost because the business organisation that clams to represent local business proved to be clueless.

The local council fails to look after the local economy, does not even begin to comprehend a local economy, preferring instead to promote national chains (which drain money out of a local economy) not local businesses (which recycle money within the local economy).

A good example is Sincil Street. The only remaining heritage around the Central Market, which the council wishes to destroy.

The staff at Stokes are brilliant. You can tell they love their job, are proud of what they do, and are friendly with customers. Even though busy, they have time to chat. Only a couple of visits and you are acknowledged as a regular.

And of course they serve great coffee, delicious looking home made cakes.

Top Story in Make Mine Tea (Friday 18 January 2013)

Synchronicity: A lovely blonde who was in Stokes when I popped my head in a couple of weeks ago was not there. I asked where she was. To my surprise, Amazon. I mentioned Paulo Coelho, not known, but they were aware of The Alchemist. One of the two books I picked up from Readers Rest a couple of days ago (sadly closing down) was The Alchemist. Leaving Lincoln, I got a lift in during the morning, I did not fancy catching a bus in sub-zero temperature, I caught a taxi. Curious I asked the taxi driver where he was from. Brazil!

Café 44

December 27, 2012
Café 44

Café 44

Tea and bacon sandwich in Café 44. Lovely indie coffee bar with art by Phil Martin lining the walls.

Last week I popped my head into Café 44. It was packed.

I thought the same today. I was the only one there.

I ordered tea and a bacon sandwich. The bacon sandwich was a mistake. Not that there was anything wrong with it, just too much to eat for mid-morning, a scone or a biscuit would have sufficed.

Downstairs the walls were lined with paintings of Lincoln by Phil Martin. Upstairs, via some very narrow and steep stairs reflecting the age of the building, more art. By the entrance, a collection of photos of Lincoln.

Café 44 is worth a visit for the art alone, though polite to have at least a cup of coffee or tea.

Something I have noticed with indie coffee bars, something you will never find in Costa or tax dodging Starbucks, is a love of what they are doing. This was apparent at Café 44 as soon as I walked in the door.

I had chat with who I assumed was the owner and the staff. All were very pleasant and cheerful. What I noticed was they seemed to know their customers not only to greet by name but also by what they would require.

The coffee is Stokes, quality coffee, fair trade. Served in glass, not a mug or a soup bowl.

The cakes are sourced locally, from a coffee shop in Burton Road.

One thing Lincoln has, a lot of indie coffee shops and few chains like Costa or tax dodging Starbucks.

Why go in Starbucks or Costa for rubbish coffee and factory cakes and sit a a cloned corporate coffee shop, when you can be surrounded by real art, sip real coffee and eat home made cakes?

Café 44 is located in Sincil Street more or less opposite the main entrance to the Central Market.

It is tragic that Sincil Street is earmarked for demolition. It is all what remains of the heritage around the Central Market, and even it has been ruined and the market a shadow of its former self. It is heritage that provides opportunities for indie coffee shops like Café 44 and lends character to an area.

Where there is development, there is a lot of money sloshing around. Plus a council lacking in vision and failing to look after the best interests of a thriving local economy.

Contrast threatened destruction of Sincil Street with North Laine in Brighton. A thriving, vibrant local economy full of indie coffee shops like Café 44, a diverse range of small independent retailers, an area of character worth a visit.

Indie coffee shops in Lincoln

December 21, 2012
Café 44

Café 44

Olibers coffee shop

Oliver’s coffee shop

Modern Classics

Modern Classics

Bunty's Tea Room

Bunty’s Tea Room

I was pleasantly surprised at the number of new coffee shops in Lincoln.

What is good news is to see that indie coffee shops have got in first, rather than aggressive chains and peddlers of bad coffee like Costa and tax dodger Starbucks.

Café 44 in Sincil Street, art by Phil Martin on the walls, quality fairtrade coffee from Stokes.

Oliver’s coffee shop in The Strait, nicely done out, but not always open.

Modern Classics, a little further up The Strait than Olibers, an unfortunate garish sign outside, inside very retro, more of a traditional café than a coffee bar, fresh made cakes, locally sourced food, Stokes coffee.