Posts Tagged ‘No to Costa’

Freddo cappuccino in patisserie amelie

September 24, 2014
image

freddo cappuccino

Freddo cappuccino at patisserie amelie.

Cappuccino at Caffe Macchiato

August 16, 2013
Caffe Macchiato

Caffe Macchiato

Caffe Macchiato cappuccino

Caffe Macchiato cappuccino

I had a cappuccino a couple of days ago. It was good and I said I would pop back.

Tuesday, it was cold, today it was pleasant sitting outside.

Sitting outside, looking down the street, ignore the cars parked, ignore the tacky shop fronts, the plague of fast food joints, boarded-up shops, charity shops, and with a stretch of the imagination, could be sat outside in Athens, in a pleasant tree-lined street.

Caffe Macchiato has an attractive shop front. Why can the rest of the street not have similar shop fronts, or shop fronts in keeping with the Victorian buildings? There is no reason why we have to have an ugly street, full of tacky shops. Why not a street lined with quality independent shops? Something worth making a trip to Aldershot for?

The problem is brain-dead, pig-ignorant, arrogant councillors who lack vision and have not got a clue.

We recently had the imbecile leader of the council announcing exciting news for Farnborough. And what was that exciting news? Queensmead has new paving slabs, at £1 million an appalling waste of public money. And that Starbucks had made Farnborough its home. Er no, home for Starbucks is its corporate head office in Seattle. In Farnborough, tax-dodging Starbucks has opened a coffee shop.

Instead of welcoming chains, why not celebrate our local coffee shops?

With Caffe Macchiato serving quality coffee and being a pleasant place to sit outside, why do people visit Costa at the bottom of the street and drink what masquerades as coffee?

The attractive lady with a lovely smile running Caffe Macchiato is a very talented artist. Caffe Macchiato as well as serving excellent coffee, serves as an exhibition space for some of her art.

Caffe Macchiato has occasional live music in the evening.

Costa try to muscle their way into Bakewell

February 5, 2013
Bakewell

Bakewell

We see no reason why a Costa store could not fit [in Bakewell] comfortably … our offering is very different to the local independent coffee shops and bakeries. — Costa

Costa just do not seem to learn. They seem to feel they can bully their way into any small town, no matter how clear local folk make it they are not wanted.

Costa tried to muscle their way into Totnes. They were forced out with a very bloodied nose and their tail hanging between their corporate legs.

Now they are trying it on in Bakewell. The local council has granted planning consent, once again we have planners in the pocket of Big Business and not acting in the local interest.

The campaign against Costa has attracted more than 6,000 signatures in six weeks in a local and on-line petition.

I visited Bakewell many years ago. Then it was an unspoilt town nestling in the Derbyshire Hills. Talking to a couple from Nottingham yesterday they said it was still unspoilt, that was why chains like Costa were not wanted.

Lincoln is unusual, only one Costa, one tax dodging Starbucks, and lots of indie coffee shops.

Never a truer word has been said by Costa: our offering is very different to the local independent coffee shops and bakeries. Factory cakes, rubbish coffee, yes, Costa will be markedly different to quality tea and coffee shops serving their own freshly baked cakes.

In their arrogance, Costa cannot see they are not wanted, But then bullies never can.

Totnes made it clear, the Costa would be subject to a boycott, that visitors would be given information on why they were boycotting Costa, they would make sure it was a very costly mistake for Costa.

Bakewell need to do the same. Boycott Costa and ensure visitors take away the boycott Costa message.

Pimento Tea Rooms

February 4, 2013
Pimento Tea Rooms

Pimento Tea Rooms

Assam tea served in unusual glass spherical tea pot

Assam tea served in unusual glass spherical tea pot

Pimento Tea Rooms is located near the top of Steep Hill in Lincoln. Entry is unusual, you enter through a fashion shop. Well actually a choice of two fashion shops. You enter through the street door, then have a choice between two different fashion shops, each of which leads into the tea rooms.

I commented on this unusual arrangement to the pleasant girl serving. She said she was aware of something similar in Devon. I asked Totnes, but she was not sure.

A large choice of teas, which ironically come from Imperial Teas of Lincoln, which until they relocated across to the other side of the street, used to be located beneath the tea rooms.

I commented on the contrast with the rude old crone across the street. I was told she was actually quite pleasant, but they do not like photos being taken as they are paranoid, they think people are going to steal their business ideas!

The tea rooms consist of a parlour, and two rooms which are more or less one room, with a very tiny open kitchen at the end.

Pimento Tea Rooms was one of the places I had thought of having lunch but I did not want to climb all the way up the hill, only to find it was not to my taste.

The kitchen is vegetarian and vegan, with a few choices gluten free, home made, locally sourced, they can tell you what is in the food, as they make it. A baker comes in and makes their cakes. From what I saw, it looks worth visiting one day for lunch.

Newspapers to read, local newsletters.

On a nearby table, I got chatting to an attractive female who I thought was a waitress writing out menus. No, she was a regular who came in to relax and read a book. She was writing out 40 invites for a kids party. I suggested BookCrossing. Both her and the girl who was serving thought an excellent idea.

I ordered tea. Assam tea, a blend of three different teas. It was served in a very unusual tea pot, glass, almost spherical. I was given precise instructions, to operate a lever to withdrew the tea. I lost track of time and forget how long, but I think it was four minutes.

My new found friend on the adjacent table said she operates the lever after a minute, unless I like my tea strong. I do not, I prefer it weak, and so I operated the lever.

It was excellent tea.

I had intended to have a cake, but had a large lunch, and I noticed it was already 3-30am and I was not going to make the market down in town as everything in Sincil Street seemed to shut at four o’clock.

My new found friend suggested I tried The Shed in Bailgate. I not heard of or seen. She told me to walk through a shop and it was out the back. The Shed was my next port of call. I popped in the butcher first and he confirmed The Shed.

Pimento Tea Rooms is well worth the climb up The Strait and Steep Hill.

Synchronicity: My new found friend was from where I live!

Lunch at Oliver’s coffee shop

February 4, 2013
Olibers coffee shop

Olibers coffee shop

Olibers coffee shop

Olibers coffee shop

gammon steak

gammon steak

Usually when I walk past Olibers coffee shop it is empty. Today not so, it was busy.

I was on my way to lunch at the County Restaurant. I had excellent pea and mint soup, but did not fancy anything else on the menu. I decided to go to Stokes at The Collection.

Passing by Oliver’s on the way, I looked at the boards outside. No, change of mind, I would try their gammon streak. I like a good gammon steak.

It was a wise choice, the gammon steak with a slice of pineapple on top was served with a little salad, peas and chips. The gammon was excellent, but at 8oz, too much, I would happily have shared.

I commented on the boards outside, which I thought was a good idea as it would bring people in and that it was usually empty. The woman said it was her idea, and yes it did make a difference, as often sat there all day and no one came in.

I asked where was the attractive blonde? She was helping out, and now back at university.

From the front to the back maybe two or three well worn stone steps. That of stone, and well worn, gives some idea of the age of the building.

There are not many good places to eat. Plenty of good indie coffee bars and tea shops, home made soups, cakes, but not a meal. Olibers seems to be the exception. Far better than the Dambusters Inn at Scampton or the Butcher and Beast at Heighington. And at £6-50, reasonably priced.

They serve tea, coffee and cakes in Oliver’s, but make the mistake of not having the cakes on display. Nothing is more tempting than seeing a delicious looking cake on display.

On leaving, continue on up The Strait and Steep Hill, as I wished to try Pimento Tea Rooms and look in Imperial Teas of Lincoln, but very very slowly as a steep climb, as I was feeling very full.

Top Story in The Waverley Daily (Tuesday 5 February 2013).

Starbucks coffee truck hits town

January 12, 2013
Starbucks coffee truck

Starbucks coffee truck

Costa and Starbucks blitz a town with their rubbish coffee and factory cakes. Several coffee shops will be opened. Planning permission? Who needs planning permission? Just open up, then intimidate to remain open. Not wanted? Who the heck cares, we will steamroller our way into town. Taxes? Why bother paying taxes.

Tax dodging Starbucks have taken this to whole new level. Turn with a huge truck, park up outside an indie coffee shop, then give out free coffee. When you have put the little guy out of business, then move on and park up outside the next indie coffee shop.

Indie coffee shops can compete with Starbucks and Costa, on a level playing field, serve quality coffee and cakes and undercut them on price.

The Starbucks coffee truck is yet one more reason to boycott Starbucks.

No to Costa in Southwold

January 6, 2013

When Chris Rogers (who just happens to be the boss of Costa) visited the Suffolk seaside town of Southwold last month, his request for a coffee from a local cafe was refused because ‘it was 3.25pm and they were about to close’.

This does not mean Southwold needs a Costa coffee shop (as Chris Rogers would see it), what it does mean is that an indie coffee shop needs to get its act together or go out of businesses.

The only way independent businesses can compete with unwanted High Street chains and tax dodgers like Starbucks and Amazon is to offer better service.

For indie coffee and tea shops that means a quality coffee machine, someone who actually knows how to make coffee, quality fair trade tea and coffee, delicious temping cakes that if not baked on the premises are sourced locally from a local baker, atmosphere, and if someone comes in wanting a coffee and unless you have good reason to close and have cleaned your coffee machine you serve them.

Lincolnshire coastal resorts Mablethorpe and Skegness have been having their annual whine, no one visits any more. The weather gets the blame. It is not though the weather, it is the appalling service, the appalling food.

I remember when my nieces were only schoolgirls, they went to one of these seaside resorts, wanting a drink, nearly everywhere they tried was closed, even though only mid-afternoon, finally finding a place open, the tables were dirty. They contrasted what they found with Tenerife.

I have been in places where the tables are dirty, when I asked that the table be cleaned, I have been told to sit at another table.

Town centres are failing for many reasons, poor choice, lack of diversity, destruction of heritage, drunken yobs on the streets.

Bad planning is also a reason for town centres failing. One only has to look at Aldershot where local council rotten to the core has systematically destroyed the town, where planners fall over backwards to push through bad schemes on behalf of developers, where councillors rarely act in the local interest.

In Aldershot there has been an attempt to destroy The Arcade, with the full backing of the planners. A row of shops, around 250 years old, is threatened with destruction.

In Farnborough, an old coaching inn The Tumbledown Dick is threatened with demolition for an unwanted drive-in McDonald’s.

Gainsborough, an old industrial site was demolished to make way for a retail park, the same boring shops as to be found up and down the country. The town centre was gutted, money drained out of the local economy. The local council is now wasting half a million pounds of public money at a time of austerity and spending cuts to dig up the streets and tart up the town centre. Whilst the work is in progress it will deter visitors to the town with no guarantee it will attract a single visitor when completed. The councillors wasting public money are the same councillors who granted planning consent for the retail park.

Grantham, the cobbled market is being dug up to be replaced by coloured concrete. This has led to strong protest at the destruction of local heritage.

In Lincoln, Sincil Street, the only remaining heritage running alongside the Central market is threatened with demolition. A street of character, an oasis compared with the chains in the High Street, many individual quirky businesses, like Café 44, an indie coffee shop.

When are dimwitted councillors who push these unwanted schemes going to recognise people visit a town because of its character?

Contrast with North Laine in Brighton, three streets similar to Sincil Street in Lincoln, many individual shops, little coffee bars, packed on a Sunday. Unlike Skegness, a place that attracts visitors, be it for a stroll on Brighton Pier of the Promenade or a wander around the Lanes and North Laine.

Costa does nothing for a locality. It drains money out of an area, for each fiver spent on a rubbish coffee and factory cake, that is a fiver less a small amount of loose change drained out of the local economy.

Indie coffee shops serving quality coffee, locally made cakes, can easily see off a Costa coffee shop.

Southwold should take stock of Totnes, they said no to Costa and forced Costa out of town with their tail between their corporate legs.

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.

Lunch at Café Mila

November 13, 2012
an enticing spread of food

an enticing spread of food

coconut slice with blueberries

coconut slice with blueberries

It was a mild autumn afternoon, especially how cold it had been, though noticeably colder in Godalming. Very quiet, few people about.

Café Mila was quiet, though it did fill up for afternoon tea.

A lentil and sweet potato curry. I would usually have their scrumptious carrot cake, but as it looked good, I thought I would try their coconut slice with blueberries. It was delicious.

I mentioned to Steve (co-owner) about the grilling Starbucks got before the House of Commons Public Accounts Select Committee. Indie coffee shops like Café Mila pay their taxes and serve better coffee, why therefore should Starbucks get away with dodging tax?

Café Mila has a lot of interesting cookbooks on display for folks to look through, though not to take away.

Quiet Food had caught my eye on my last visit. I know what slow food is, what was quiet food?

It had been put together by a Bhudist retreat in South Africa. Recipes were there to be freely copied. On one page a thought to meditate upon, on the facing page, recipes from their kitchen.

Quiet food is food you reflect upon, eat in silence. A good idea, as I have noticed, if you eat with friends and chat, though you may be eating good food, you do not really appreciate it.

I suggested to Steve he might like to obtain a copy of NeverSeconds, due out tomorrow, to serve as an inspiration to others. He thought a good idea.

Costa pulls out of Totnes

October 25, 2012
When you want something ...

When you want something …

When you want something all the universe conspires in helping to achieve it. — Paulo Coelho

Fantastic. My town Totnes has seen off corporate coffee shop. Communities can win. — Jonathan Dimbleby

They had planning consent to move into an empty shop unit, a former wholefood shop, but such was the strength of feeling in Totnes against Costa muscling its unwanted way into Totnes, that Costa has been forced to pull out.

As I predicted when this story first broke, it has proved to be a very expensive mistake for Costa. The good folk of Totnes made it very clear, Costa was not wanted.

But the story was not only Totnes. Across the country people reacted, enough is enough, we do not wish to see the same coffee shops in every town.

5,700 signed a petition saying no to Costa, the local Mayor said no, the local member of parliament said no, the town council said no.

They were a bit slow getting the message, but finally the message has got through to Costa that they were not wanted.

A chain like Costa does nothing to enhance a town like Totnes, the same corporate brand, poor quality coffee, poor working conditions, factory cakes.

Unlike local shops, Costa does not recycle money within the local economy, it drains money out of the local economy.

It took a few months, but Costa finally listened to what local people were telling them.

This cannot be said of South Hams Council and their planning department who pushed the planning application through on behalf of Costa or the spinless local councillors who rubber-stamped what was put before them. They now have egg on their faces. Questions need to be asked why they failed to act in the best interest of Totnes.

If anyone wishes to see what happens when planning goes wrong, very wrong, then visit Aldershot. Once a proud Victorian town, Aldershot is now dying thanks to years of bad planning by a dysfunctional planning department that pushes whatever developers want.

The town centre is large bars and fast food outlets. End of this month a development opens on the edge of town centre. An eyesore that is out of keeping with the Victorian town. A development of national chains, fast food outlets.

Aldershot is a centre of deprivation, the last thing it needs is more money drained out of the town.

The Arcade is a former Victorian arcade in the centre of town. A developer has kicked out all the small retailers, to turn into one large bar (Wetherspoon) and one large retail unit (Poundland). The remaining retailers with their thoroughfare closed will die. Not good for a dead and dying town with drunken yobs on the streets at night.

The planning officials fell over backwards to try and force the scheme through. The councillors for once showed backbone and said no.

The Costa decision to pull out shows you do not have to have these national chains, you can, as Saxmundham did to Tesco, say no.

What is sickening is that no sooner do Costa announce their wise decision to pull out, than Pizza Express show an interest in moving in. What interest if any does Whitbread have in Pizza Express?

Most communities, once planning consent had been granted, would have given up. Not Totnes. They vowed to fight on and their tenacity has seen them through.

A clear message has gone out from Totnes. You do not have to be bullied, steamrollered. You do not have to accept decisions from dysfunctional local planners in the pocket of developers.

Had Costa not pulled out, they would have faced a massive boycott in Totnes, and as Totnes is a tourist destination, a boycott that would have spread across the country.