Posts Tagged ‘Lincoln’

Cappuccino at Makushi

February 20, 2017

I walked up Steep Hill, then on the way back down, cappuccino at Makushi.

Today different beans, today from Honduras.

Cappuccino and latte at Stokes on High Bridge

February 16, 2017

The third wave is, in many ways, a reaction. It is just as much a reply to bad coffee as it is a movement toward good coffee. – Trish R Skeie, Wrecking Ball Coffee Roasters

A cappuccino and latte plus a cookie at Stokes on High Bridge.

Cookie was excellent, but mixed feelings about the coffee.

We have third coffee wave, little indie coffee shops, small indie coffee roasters, coffee plantations, all working together to bring you the best in a cup of coffee.

The roasters go to the plantation, to ensure the best growing conditions, the best beans are then picked. Next stage is how the beans are extracted and washed. The coffee roaster attempt to bring out the best character of the beans. Finally the barista coaxes the best the beans can offer.

Get any part of the chain wrong, and you will have poor quality coffee.

Stokes, instead of moving forward embracing this third wave, are not standing still, they are regressing.

A latte should look good,  that is why it is served in glass. In Stokes, up until a couple of weeks ago, served an excellent latte, not any more.

A barista will take pride, not only in how the cappuccino is brewed but also in the art.

This used to be true of Stokes, not any more.

What is going wrong? Nothing like asking.

Orders from head office.  We have to serve the classic Italian cappuccino.  Repeated like an automaton with no great faith in what they were saying.

No, Italy does not serve great coffee. This is to go backwards.

It is a myth Italy is associated with good coffee. That myth has arisen because the Italians invented the espresso machine, though the French may beg to differ.

The myth that Italy is synonomous with quality coffee, is just that, a myth.

Italy invented the espresso machine, though the French may wish to dispute this.

It was the French who first applied steam to drive water under pressure through coffee.

In 1818, Mr Laurens of Paris used a percolator system to create coffee. Further refinements by Louis Bernard Rabaut in 1822.

It was not until the early 1900s Italians came on the scene.

antique espresso machine

antique espresso machine

In 1901, Luigi Bezzera created a primitive espresso machine.

It was not until post-WWII we had the forerunner of the modern espresso machine.

It was Italian Fascists who coined the term barista, to differentiate from the American barman.

The world has moved on from bad Italian coffee, leave that to the likes of Costa, with their over roasted coffee.

And speaking of Costa. Stokes has appointed a training manager, from er, Costa!

Stokes is a very old coffee business, dating from 1902, now a fourth generation family business.  The current location of Stokes on High Bridge, in a Tudor building on a Norman Bridge over the River Witham dates from 1937.

Stokes have recently acquired The Lawn, though begs the question when will it open? It will serve coffee, roast coffee, run coffee classes. Though why has the Joseph Banks Conservatory been relocated? A key feature of The Lawn.

The service of late in Stokes on High Bridge has been abyssal. Today service was much improved.

The River Witham, which runs beneath Stokes, was today running very fast and very muddy.

From Waterstone’s, four copies of The Spy. Strictly speaking, swapped four copies. Waterstone’s stick stickers on the front of their books, which damage the books.

Outside Waterstone’s, between Stokes and The Stonebow, a  man was playing a saxophone. He was quite good, but why oh why ghastly backing music? It would have been far better, a sax on its own.

A little further up the High Street, Richard Silvester playing violin. I suggested he recorded and released on bandcamp. He asked what would did I like? Paganini.

When is a pedestrianised street not a pedestrianised street?

February 13, 2017

It is a reasonable assumption, that a pedestrianised street is a pedestrianised street,  a safe area for pedestrians to stroll, free of cars, vans and lorries.

Not in the centre of Lincoln.

In the city centre, a pedestrianised area, where cars, vans and lorries drive through up until ten o’clock in the morning. That is the permitted time, they actually continue to drive through until at least 10-30.

Then a repeat after four o’clock.

Today the High Street was packed, and yet vans and lorries were driving through.

A lorry drove through, then turned right before the Stonebow.

Maybe the driver thought it ok, because he had his hazard lights flashing. Legally he could drive through as it was after four o’clock.

But earlier,  a car was driving up past The Stonebow up the High Street. Maybe the driver thought it was ok because he was  serf working for Hermes at less than the minimum wage and was delivering a parcel. Or maybe he thought it was ok because he or she had their hazard lights flashing.

Coffee Aroma have been ordered to remove their tables and chairs by four o’clock in the afternoon. And yet they are not the problem. The problems is crass planning policies that permit cars, vans and lorries to  drive through pedestrianised streets.

The week before, as I walked past Coffee Aroma at four o’clock with their tables and chairs stacked up, I was nearly run down by a white van.

Across Europe pedestrianised areas, vans and lorries park on the outskirts and deliver by handcart and trolley.

Why not in Lincoln?

It would be safer for pedestrians, minimise damage to the street surface, and improve the air quality with no diesel engines belching out their toxic fumes.

Sunset

February 2, 2017

Sunset,  Church Hill, Washingborough, near Lincoln

Yesterday, as I walked up Church Hill, I caught a magnificent sunset.

I am pleased the same today.

Coffee Aroma ordered to remove tables and chairs from the street

January 30, 2017

Coffee Aroma has been ordered by Lincolnshire County Council to remove by four o’clock in the afternoon the tables and chairs outside their coffee shop.

Walk from Coffee Aroma to Lincolnshire County Council around lunchtime and you will find en route vehicles illegally parked on the footpath, obstructing the footpath and forcing pedestrians out into the road into the path of lorries on a busy highway. Many jobsworth are walking to and fro, it is after all lunchtime. Report to local traffic wardens, the police or Lincolnshire County Council and what action is taken? Er, nothing.

This is the council headed by the Philistine Martin Hill, a man who shows arrogant contempt for the public. Who thought it ok to close two-thirds of the public libraries in the county, the remainder on limited hours. His latest crude power grab is to hold a referendum, at taxpayers expense, to have only one council for the whole of Lincolnshire. No guessing, it would be his council.

An edict issued by a worthless jobsworth with nothing better to do.

This is classic jobsworth, trying to justify their existence.

These are what David Graeber calls bullshit jobs,  jobs that exist to employ people who perform no useful function.

Classic bullshit jobs, half a dozen migrants with dirty rags and a bucket of water replacing an automatic car wash.

But why is there a need to remove the tables and chairs by four o’clock?

The tables and chairs are behind bollards defining what was once the footpath in a pedestrianised street.  Even if there was traffic flowing down the street,  they would not be obstructing the highway.

This is a pedestrianised street, as is the High Street, as is Sincil Street.

But before ten o’clock in the morning, large lorries drive up the High Street, often until at least sometime after 10-30. Then a repeat after four o’clock.

These are pedestrianised streets, there should be no motorised traffic.

In all these streets, the heavy lorries apart from danger to pedestrians, are destroying the road surface, more cost to local tax payers, more jobs bullshit jobs created.

These vehicles should be barred, a pedestrianised area, should be that, a pedestrianised area 24 hours a day, seven days a week. An area for people, an area where they are safe.

This is the norm in pedestrianised town centres across Europe.

Lorry deliveries to an offloading area on edge of the town centre, then delivered by barrow or hand cart.

This is the norm in Istanbul, Puerto de la Cruz, La Laguna, Santigo de Compostela, Athens, and many other towns and cities.

It is also the norm to see people sat outside, as for example outside El Café del Aguere in La Laguna, the only place in Tenerife that serves a decent cup of coffee.

Not only sat outside, but not hemmed in by a barrier.

Coffee Aroma is a very popular coffee shop, and even in winter, it is always busy, not only inside, but also people sat outside.

What we are seeing, apart from creation of bullshit jobs, is ethnic cleansing of small businesses.

Sincil Street, up until a couple of years ago, was busy, many indie business, more people on the street from ten o’clock to four o’clock than in the High Street. Now Sincil Street is dead, boarded up shops, rents unaffordable, thanks the the Coop acting in cahoots with the City Council.

The same is true of the Central Market. Dead.

A good market brings people into a town centre.

In the Central Market there is a fruit and vegetable stall. Once a month on a Saturday, they are denied their pitch. On that day, third Saturday of the month, a flea market. On what would be their busiest day the only day the Central Market is busy they are denied a pitch.

North Laine in Brighton, three streets and associated side streets, indie shops, not a single chain store, is always busy.

Small independent businesses circulate money within the local economy. Chains such as Costa and tax-dodging Starbucks suck that money straight out of the local economy.

Postcapitalism can go one of two ways.

Precarious, part-time, zero-hours, temporary, soul-destroying McShit jobs; bullshit jobs serving no useful purpose; serfs working for apps at often less than the minimum wage, Uber, Deliveroo, Wheelys.

Or we can have small businesses, open coops, sharing, collaborative commons, a basic income for all.

Which begs the question, is a  barista a bullshit job? Or meaningful work?

The answer depends upon where you work. If Costa or tax-dodging Starbucks, yes, a soul destroying McShit job. If somewhere like Coffee Aroma, no, a creative job where enjoy what you are doing taking pride in the work.

Cappuccino in Makushi Coffee Shop

January 24, 2017

I tried Makushi a couple of weeks ago.

Passing The Little Bicycle Coffee Shop, he suggested visit Makushi.

Good idea, I just had time to walk half way up Steep Hill and back.

Wonderful ambience inside.

From the outside, it does not look anything special, nor do you have the impression of how old.

Whitewashed walls, stonework projecting through, excellent use of off cuts of wood.

The wood off cuts also used for wonderful solid wooden tables.

Further in, another room, then beyond that an undercroft.

Upstairs leads to a terrace, though at the moment not open.

Dog friendly.

Excellent cappuccino, but …

When I had a cappuccino a couple of weeks ago, the cappuccino had an unpleasant taste, that left an unpleasant aftertaste.

Today, no unpleasant taste, but did have a strange taste.

Makushi roast beans and supply The Little Bicycle Coffee Shop.

Cappuccino from The Little Bicycle Coffee Shop lacks the strange taste, though their preparation of the coffee slightly different, also use a different machine, and one shot not two.

Something that needs further investigation.

Prices are a little on the high side, £2-80 for a cappuccino, £5 for a bowl of soup.

Makushi is located half way up Steep Hill. Below where once was the excellent Readers Rest, sadly no more. The two would have complimented each other.

The strange name? Apparently Makushi is the name of a tribe in the Amazon, who the owner, who I met and complimented for the work on the building,  had spent time with learning survival skills, and with had his first experience of coffee.

Flea Market in Central Market

January 21, 2017

Maybe a dozen stalls, plus The Little Bicycle Coffee Shop.

Busiest I have ever seen the Central Market, whether due to the Flea Market, or because it was a Saturday, I do not know. The High Street was much busier than in the week.

Central Market needs more effort to attract folk to the market, a reflection on the poor management by the City Council, and the local council in cahoots with the Coop destroying the area.

The Flea Market is held the third Saturday of the month.

The Little Bicycle Coffee Shop

January 20, 2017

The world’s smallest coffee shop.

Never wise to make a claim that may not be true, but certainly small.

I had a chat with the young lad running this little coffee shop earlier in the week, and promised him I would be back to try his coffee.

I have of late been trying out some of the indie coffee shops in Lincoln, but can end up having undrinkable coffee, as with The Angel Coffee House, so earlier in the week I played safe and had a coffee in Stokes on High Bridge, always a wise choice, and I was not disappointed, I had an excellent cappuccino.

Today it was the turn of The Little Bicycle Coffee Shop.

Strictly speaking a tricycle, to provide a platform upon which everything is mounted, in the tradition of ice cream vendors.

A grotty shopping centre is not where I would expect to find good coffee. Shopping centres are the haunt of chains like Costa and tax-dodging Starbucks. Were it not for the fact we had a chat earlier in the week and I knew from where he sourced his coffee, I would not have even tried.

But life is full of surprises.

A kiosk on Guildford Station, is an unlikely place for quality coffee.

The lad knows his stuff, and has a range of coffee methods, maybe too many for a little stall.

Pleasantly surprised, an excellent cappuccino. I would prefer not to have in a takeaway cup, as never does good coffee justice, but needs must.

It is always  pleasure to have a good coffee.  Not on a par with Stokes on High Bridge or Coffee Aroma, but nevertheless excellent. With improvement, a possible contender for inclusion in Northern England Independent Coffee Guide when the third edition is published.

My only criticism, a little weak, maybe use two shots not one, and £2-80 is far too expensive for a cappuccino off a stall, making it one of the most expensive coffees in Lincoln.

The beans are sourced from Makushi, and that was my other reason for wishing to try. I had a coffee from Makushi, an excellent cappuccino, but it had an unpleasant taste, that left an unpleasant aftertaste. Why I do not know. I doubt the barista or the machine which left the beans.  And yet, excellent cappuccino, curiouser and curiouser.  It could be different batch of beans.

Earlier I walked up Steep Hill as far as the Bookstop Cafe, but no time to go all the way to the top, otherwise no time for a coffee when I got back down.

I was shocked to hear that the lovely Olde Worlde bookshop was closing. Driven out by a hike in the rent.

After my coffee, a quick chat in Coffee Aroma.

On leaving, my bag broke, scattering shopping in the street.

Many thanks to the girl with the toddler in a buggie, who helped me gather it all up. And to the lady who insisted I must have her M&S bag to put in all my shopping.

Bailgate Independent

January 17, 2017

I picked up a copy of Bailgate Independent in Stokes.

A glossy magazine, primarily advertising, crammed with advertising and a handful of articles not worth reading.

I am surprised Stokes stock it.

I left my copy in the Park Street Eatery. Maybe someone will appreciate it.

A tragic waste of trees.

I contrast with the excellent Viva Brighton. Brighton has creative talent, maybe Lincoln does not.

Cappuccino in The Angel Coffee House

January 12, 2017
The Angel Coffee House

The Angel Coffee House

I wanted to have a cappuccino in Stokes on High Bridge or Coffee Aroma, but no, I would keep to my resolve, try a few of the indie coffee shops in Lincoln, even if it meant missing out on an excellent cappuccino and being forced to try something dire. But you never know, I may be in for a pleasant surprise.

Today was the turn of The Angel Coffee House in the centre of town.

From the outside it looks like a Victorian chapel, replete with gargoyles.

Actually it is the old church hall of St Swithin’s opposite. The grassy park with headstones acting as paving slabs the former graveyard.

I had looked in a few years ago, but never stopped for a coffee.

The promise of the exterior, is not met by the interior. Very shabby, the same photos on the walls. The chairs were a disgrace, shabby, threadbare and filthy. The cushions even worse.

Occasional events. One, I may have got the name wrong, 15 minute fiction, where aspiring writers could share ideas. But why charge an entrance fee?

Bookstop Cafe, would be an excellent location for these events, an undercroft of a Norman House, as they already support local writers.

It was very noisy.  Not a pleasant environment within which to relax and enjoy a coffee.

I ordered a cappuccino.

When a cappuccino looks disgusting, first impressions are usually not misleading. It was awful. If I wanted disgusting coffee, there is always Costa and tax-dodging Starbucks. I took a couple of sips and left it.

And no, you do not sprinkle chocolate on a cappuccino. Or at the very least, ask. And you do not use chocolate, you use cocoa. The only reason chocolate is added is to hide disgusting coffee.

The cup was too large. Not a soup bowl as Costa, but still too large for a cappuccino.

I asked from where they sourced their beans.

The Forge in Sheffield, or was it The Foundry in Sheffield.

Roast date of the beans they were using 9 December 2016. Borderline to say the least.

No quality indie coffee shop would use beans this long past the roast date, at least not if concerned about their reputation. Check with Stokes, Coffee Aroma or Makushi Coffee House, and you will find they would not dream of using beans this old.

The lady serving was quite pleasant.  Service was slow, though to be fair she was on her own and it was busy.

Coffee shops are not in competition, far from it, good coffee shops help each other. But these days if you open or run a coffee shop, you have to know about coffee, you have to be able to serve quality coffee, the only competition, is a pride in serving the the best.  I am used to baristas, where they serve me a coffee, and say no, not good enough, and pour it away. Or they bring me a second coffee. Why, I ask? What you have is not good enough.

Usually, if things are wrong, I will say. I may have mentioned the roast date, or at least hinted roast date too long ago, but so many things wrong and I was already running late.

That I left the coffee, should have said how awful it was, and one look at it, it should never have been served.

The Angel Coffee House is not any time soon if ever going to make it into Northern England Independent Coffee Guide.

Once again TripAdvisor shown as seriously flawed. The Angel Coffee House listed as No 2 for tea and coffee in Lincoln. I cannot comment on the tea, but coffee awful and undrinkable, with not a clue about coffee. On the other hand Pimento Tearooms No 4, Coffee Aroma No 5, Stokes High Bridge Cafe No 7,  Henry’s Tea Room No 8, Makushi Coffee Roasters & Coffee Shop No 12.

No way is The Angel Coffee House No 2, or better than those I have listed. I cannot comment on others on TripAdvisor, but unless dire, I would expect The Angel Coffee House to be somewhere near the bottom, with Coffee Aroma No 1, Stokes High Bridge Cafe No 2, or joint No 1, Makushi Coffee Roasters & Coffee Shop  No3,  Pimento Tearooms No 4, Henry’s Tea Room No 5.

It is laughable The Angel Coffee House is No 2 on TripAdvisor. It does little for their credibility, especially when they delete critical reviews and fail to deal with fake reviews.

Use the Northern England Independent Coffee Guide to decided where ‘s best, that is if you need a guide. On sale in Coffee Aroma. In Lincoln is featured Coffee Aroma, Stokes on High Bridge, Stokes at The Collection, Stokes Coffee Roasters and a mention of Stokes at The Lawn.

Stokes,  Coffee Aroma and Makushi are in a different league. If they are Premier League, Angel barely makes it into Division Four. Pimento and Henry’s are tea shops. Both have a lovely ambience, especially Pimento. Excellent tea in Pimento. Coffee not good in Henry’s, but potential to be much better as the girl who was waiting on the tables knew a lot about coffee and was keen to learn more, and it is a tea room not a coffee shop, I have not tried the tea.

I looked in W, new coffee shop in Waterstone’s. Not an indy coffee shop, they have one in Brighton, but great news to have kicked out Costa. Ambience pleasant. I will have to try their coffee. But no roast date, best by is meaningless. Beans roasted by Matthew Algie, a special blend for Waterstone’s.