Posts Tagged ‘Nottingham’

Afternoon in Nottingham

March 9, 2019

Gale blowing this morning, nearly blown off my feet, but luckily not raining and bus and train running on time.

1140 two-coach East Midlands Trains overcrowded train Lincoln to Nottingham, but the rail companies do not care. Do not even have the courtesy to respond to tweets.

Talking to three guys from Holland over for a weekend of football, they commented how all the towns were the same, the same crap corporate chains. That in Holland they had learnt, quality indie businesses in town centres, the crap sold in chains can buy on-line.

A lesson the idiots in Town Halls in bed with greedy developers and corporate chains have yet to learn.

In contrast to 200 Degrees Lincoln newly opened this week amidst overblown hype, 200 Degrees Nottingham Station almost empty, though did start to fill up whilst I was there, but this was lunchtime.

Contrary to what 200 Degrees claim, the clientele not commuters, though this may be true in the morning and evening. What I always see is people with friends, meeting friends or people on their own.

Food good, coffee mediocre. Not acceptable old coffee on sale. I would expect better when 200 Degrees roast their own coffee. Not somewhere I would recommend for coffee when far better places for coffee in Nottingham.

One of which is Cartwheel Coffee where I headed for a coffee.

Unlike most towns on a Saturday, Nottingham never seems busy, though walking to the centre through a dismal shopping centre, never seen so packed, not the shopping centre itself which is always deserted but people using as a short cut.

It is strange how Nottingham Station is isolated from the city centre and have to walk through a dingy dismal deserted shopping centre and then along a street lined with crap corporate chains find anywhere.

Cartwheel Coffee packed. Outside a guy on saxophone.

I luckily found a seat by the window. More people than were in Cartwheel, looked in, saw full and walked away.

I ordered a cappuccino. A couple walked in, luckily found a seat. As they walked in, asked me what the coffee was like? I said excellent. I mentioned other places worth visiting, then later as I left wrote them a list – The Specialty Coffee Shop, Wired and Outpost Coffee. I also suggested check out Cobden Chambers opposite Wired, especially Ideas on Paper where I was headed next.

I asked where they were from? Sheffield. I suggested try Tamper Sellers Wheel of which I have heard good things, though not personally visited. Featured in Coffee Shop North.

I mentioned an article in The Guardian on the decline of Sheffield and the ludicrous response from the local council, the same council responsible for destruction of street trees, we have chains.

Once again an example of Town Halls lacking any understanding why people visit. Why visit Sheffield from Nottingham or Lincoln, or vice a versa to find the same crap chains?

Two weekends previous, two Chinese girls, visitors to Lincoln, complimented Madame Waffle on the quality of their tea and asked could they buy loose leaf tea. Two other visitors complimented on the coffee and how much they liked it was an independent coffee shop.

And what does Visit Lincoln promote and hype, 200 Degrees, a chain serving at best mediocre coffee.

Interesting conversation with a group of Muslims, ironically with a stall outside St Peter’s Church. They said it was rare to talk with a non-Muslim who knew anything about Islam and The Koran.

Why outside St Peter’s Church and in the Market Square ice cream vans with engines running in pedestrianised streets?

Chocolatier in Cobden Chambers, knows nothing about chocolate. Chocolate bar clones of Hotel Chocolat, wrapped in plastic, soy emulsifier.

Today, first time, I found the Zero Waste Shop in Cobden Chambers open. But no time other than for a cursory glance. What though I did see, not acceptable to pay 5p for a paper bag or have to weigh in 20g increments.

Nor much time in Ideas on Paper, picked up Caboodle and Ambrosia.

Sadly no time for Wired, on to Outpost Coffee where my second cappuccino, even better than the first. An Ethiopian single origin.

Always excellent reading material in Outpost Coffee. All to be found on sale in Ideas on Paper.

Sitting on the shelf Drift Melbourne edition. Sorry, not for sale.

I learnt I was a member of an elite group. Blocked from all 200 Degrees social media accounts.

1621 two-coach train Nottingham to Lincoln standing room only.

At Lincoln, five minutes from train arrival to leaving the station due to the barricades. A guard patrols the train, checks tickets, sells tickets, but hassle at the barrier. Yet another example of the contempt East Midland Trains has for passengers.

 

Cold afternoon in Nottingham

January 30, 2019

A spur of the moment decision, a trip to Nottingham.

Today it was zig-zag back and forth.

I would usually stop off first 200 Degrees Nottingham Station and grab something to eat. And yes I was hungry, but it was packed and I had first to visit Cartwheel Coffee.

On my last visit, I had spotted Drift issue 4 Stockholm edition, impossible to find. I wished to see if would sell to me or swap for a later edition of Drift.

The owner kindly gave it to me. I thanked him, and said I would later drop off a copy of Ambrosia, sister magazine of Drift, with which he was not familiar.

They were in the middle of a coffee cupping session. I asked could I join them. I was welcomed and interesting conversation ensued.

I could have stayed for lunch, but very busy.

Back to 200 Degrees for lunch. Still very busy but this time I managed to find a table, the only unoccupied table.

Looked in Hotel Chocolat. Smoke and mirrors, appalling level of overpackaging, obscene use of plastic.

It was then to Ideas on Paper in Cobden Court.

I was shocked what had been done to Wired. Garish and ugly. Make it look cheap and tacky, like a disgusting junk food outlet. A big mistake.

I looked in where I had been told a zero waste shop. Not open today.

Luckily Ideas on Paper open.

I picked up two issues of Ambrosia. No idea why I picked up the latest, as I already have. Not thinking straight.

I did that last time I found Ideas on Paper open, latest issue of Ambrosia, only to find I already had.

I would have liked to have popped in the chocolate shop, but no time.

Back to Cartwheel Coffee. Dropped off a copy of Ambrosia, picked up Drift.

Excellent cappuccino.

Caught 1529 train. An earlier train thain I would have wished, but turning very very cold.

Afternoon in Nottingham

January 15, 2019

Two-coach East Midlands train Lincoln-Nottingham-Leicester.

It could have been worse, it could have been a clapped out single coach train. At least this train was refurbished and had usb charging points. Though few use as hidden below the seats.

I took the opportunity to charge a power bank. I did not think it needed charging, other than maybe a top up. To my surprise took the entire journey to charge. Failing power bank?

A new stall outside Nottingham Station selling dosa. Too cold for street food but not impressed. Appeared to have been already made, did not look appetising, was then popped in a frying pan, hotted up, ingredients tossed on top.

I was not impressed. Not the way to make a dosa. Nothing like the quality or professionalism of Ollo Foods with a stall on Guildford farmers market.

Lunch at 200 Degrees Nottingham Station overlooking Nottingham Canal.

Tomato soup was something of a disappointment, tasted like tinned soup, but the falafal was was excellent.

200 Degrees is a small chain. Coffee mediocre at best.

Excellent cappuccino at Cartwheel Coffee.

An organic single origin from Honduras.

On sale Frank Green reusable cups. These, together with rCup, are the worst reusable cups on the market.

I suggested get shot of, stock KeepCup or ecoffee bamboo cups. But ideally encourage relax with specialty coffee served in glass or ceramic, discourage takeaway.

I looked in Wired, but who I wished to see was not there.

Their own branded glass KeepCup. Large. I have never seen large before.

Guest coffee Girls Who Grind.

On my last visit I had been told by Outpost Coffee of a nearby zero waste store. I asked of the vegan stall. Cobden Chambers, but not today. I checked, no, not today. A pity, as I wanted muesli, which I had hoped to find.

Ideas on Paper not open. No information to say when open. Annoying as was the reason for my visit.

V60 from Outpost Coffee. They were busy.

I looked again Ideas on Paper. Not open.

Nottingham Station. Long walk down a long platform to waiting train.

V60 and Om Nom at Outpost Coffee

December 27, 2018

In indie coffee shops, not only excellent coffee very often interesting reading material.

I came across Om Nom in Magazine Brighton. Then when I came across again later in the day in Infinity Foods I decided to pick up a copy, On Nom issue 3.

Issue no 2, long sold out.

The day after the longest day, the Saturday before Christmas, I decided to try my luck in Ideas on Paper in Nottingham, as always keeps back issues. I was out of luck, issue 3 but no earlier issues.

They did though have latest issue of Standart and Ambrosia.

Then another idea, Outpost Coffee. I had seen Om Nom on display on a previous visit. I may be in luck. And I would have as always an excellent V60 from one of their single origin coffees.

At first I thought I was out of luck, not on display, then I noticed more reading material tucked away on a shelf. I was in luck, not only a copy, they kindly gave me their copy.

As always an excellent V60 served in ceramic.

The ceramic cup, Åoomi dust ceramic coffee mug, is on sale at Outpost Coffee.

Day after shortest day in Nottingham

December 22, 2018

Sunny morning, tempted to go to York, but thought trains will be busy, people heading for Christmas Holidays, had not checked train times. Luckily I did not as Northern Fail were on strike, as were Southern Railways.

Was not sure if would even make the train, as yesterday Lincoln grid-locked.

1140 two-coach East Midlands train Lincoln to Nottingham, packed, standing room only, drunken yobs. More people pile on at Newark.

I usually avoid town centres on a Saturday, as seem to attract every idiot around. What was I doing travelling to Nottingham on a Saturday a couple of days before Christmas?

I looked in H Hopkinson next to the station. Amazing building full of junk.

Hops Coffee House and Bar appear to have upped their game since my last visit. Now using sunset espresso Stewarts of Trent Bridge but whether any good I do not know. They now need to up their game still further, employ a barista, someone who knows coffee, cappuccino served in too large a cup with chocolate dumped in top. They also need to ditch the output of chemical factories on tap and serve only craft beer.

Hops Coffee House and Bar appear to have expanded since my last visit, and were busy. Live train times displayed on the wall a good idea. But has this been at the expense of The Wonderland Cafe, a surreal, Alice in Wonderland tea shop which was hidden in the basement which sadly is no more?

To 200 Degrees around the corner from Nottingham Station overlooking Nottingham Canal for lunch.

Parsnip and honey soup a strange combination. Parsnip already sweet, why add honey? I could not though detect honey had been added.

200 Degrees was unusually quiet for lunchtime, maybe because weekend, though did fill up as I was leaving.

200 Degrees is excellent for lunch, but not for coffee, the coffee at best mediocre. The coffee on sale last few visits has always been old coffee, today they had upped their game and recent roast date. The espresso blend has robusta.

In the town centre, an ice skating rink and Christmas sheds selling tat and disgusting junk food.

An insult to cheesemakers, cheese claiming to be Great British Cheese, the smell was off putting.

To Ideas on Paper, my only reason for visiting Nottingham. I had hoped he had Om Nom issue 2, as he always keeps back copies of everything. Sadly not.

Outside I found a lady. I know not why I dragged her in. To my surprise, Ideas on Paper busy. I am usually the only visitor. The owner looked out of his depth.

As the lady had asked me about coffee shops, I recommended Cartwheel Coffee, The Speciality Coffee Shop, Wired and Outpost Coffee, I mentioned Standart and Drift. I also found for her Om Nom and Ambrosia. She was suitably impressed and thanked me especially as at a stroke I had solved Christmas presents for her.

I picked up latest Ambrosia and latest Standart.

Before Ideas on Paper I had looked in Think in Cobden Chambers. Pop up shops, or at least a few tables. Better quality tat than in the Christmas sheds.

Every time I pass by Wired, I pop in to say hello. Today, I decided to have a coffee. As on my last visit who I wished to see not there.

Cappuccuno ok, but not great.

Second good deed of the day. I helped someone looking for coffee.

I noticed James Hoffman has second edition of The World Atlas of Coffee.

To Outpost Coffee for V60.

My other reason for visiting Outpost Coffee, Om Nom issue No 2. Not on display. More hidden on a shelf. Could I buy? Had it been Drift or Standart, the answer would have been no. They kindly gave it to me.

It was then time to catch 1621 train, earlier than I usually leave, which I just made.

Luckily, train not crowded.

At Lincoln, gridlock at the barriers.

Coffee at McDonald’s looks and tastes disgusting

November 24, 2018

This what is classed as news in Nottingham, takeaway coffee looks and tastes disgusting from McDonald’s.

For some perverse reason Nottingham Post decided to send one of their hacks out to taste the coffee at McDonald’s.

Column inch filling drivel which illustrates why our local papers are failing.

What did they expect to find, quality coffee?

Apart from being column inch filling drivel, this is little more than promotion for McDonald’s but without the obligatory warning at the top.

When a coffee shop adds syrups, it is to mask the taste of their awful coffee. When see a row of syrups, it is like flying a warning flag, we serve crap coffee.

Yuk: a large shot of delicious Arabica bean espresso, blended with a caramel biscuit flavour syrup and steamed organic milk from UK dairies. Topped with a swirl of chocolate cream and a caramel drizzle.

McDonald’s peddles junk food, we have an obesity crisis, which is why junk food adverts have been banned by London Mayor Sadiq Khan from the London Transport network. Nottingham should follow suit.

I would no more wish to eat at McDonald’s, let alone drink coffee. Nor would I wish to drink coffee in any of the corporate coffee chains. Nor would I wish to drink coffee out of a takeaway coffee cup.

What makes this article all the worse, is that it is possible to obtain great coffee in Nottingham from independent specialty coffee shops, local businesses that care about coffee, make a visit to Nottingham worth while, that give character and a sense of place, that recycle money within the local economy.

200 Degrees near Nottingham Station, roast their own coffee. Excellent for lunch. Coffee not great, but better than the corporate chains.

200 Degrees at Flying Horse Walk, dark and gloomy, lacking in ambience.

Cartwheel Coffee, roast their own coffee. Excellent cakes and coffee.

The Specialty Coffee Shop, excellent coffee, constantly rotating guest coffee.

Wired, excellent coffee and cakes, a wide ever changing selection of guest coffee.

Also visit Cobden Chambers opposite Wired, several independent businesses in a courtyard. A must visit Ideas on Paper.

Outpost Coffee, roast their own coffee. Excellent coffee and cakes.

V60 Japanese iced filter shaken not stirred

September 12, 2018

James Bond likes his martini shaken not stirred, that was my V60 Japanese iced filter coffee at Outpost Coffee.

A V60, no, I changed my mind a V60 Japanese iced coffee. But with an added twist, as James Bond would say, shaken not stirred, shaken in a cocktail shaker. Even though I observed how it was made,I queried what was served, as noticeable difference, a different taste.

V60 made as a V60, but half the water as ice, which instantly chills the coffee as drips through.

I say half, I am assuming the ratio was 1:1.

The coffee was a very expensive Kenyan, sold only by the bottle at £10 per bottle.

I had tried on my last visit. The taste was different, very fruity. Though the only real comparison would be to try both methods, not rely on memory.

I think the agitation, introduction of air, has made a difference. Think Champagne.

It was though an excellent drink of coffee.

Bartek Dabrowski

September 12, 2018

I encountered Bartek Dabrowski playing Spanish guitar in the street.

A rarity, he displayed he was on bandcamp.

I picked up two albums, Balance and Escape to the Happiness.

Although I did not recall Bartek Dabrowski I recognised one of his albums, Balance. We had met before in Lincoln about 18 months ago.

Cartwheel Coffee

September 12, 2018

Following directions given by Nelo’s coffee kiosk, I this time easily found Cartwheel Coffee. A lovely building, next door a cobbler and shoe shop, out the back a courtyard and tea shop, all within the same building, Enfield Chambers.

Cartwheel Coffee roast their own coffee. Looking at the coffee, freshly roasted and very high Q grade, high 80s if not over 90.

I ordered a cappuccino and flapjack. The flapjack contained beetroot, yuk. Maybe I struck lucky, no beetroot, or maybe, a tiny amount for flavour without the vile taste of beetroot. The flapjack excellent.

Cartwheel Coffee is listed in The Great Food Club Handbook 2018, only it is not listed. Confused, so were they. Listed on-line but not in the book. Does one have to pay for a listing in the book, if yes, then the guide lacks all credibility. I was less impressed by The Great Food Club Handbook 2018 compared with The Great Food Club Handbook 2017. Places omitted I would list, places listed I would omit.

Hops Coffee House and Bar

September 12, 2018

A depressing lost opportunity.

Nelo’s. Last visit had advised of a coffee shop that I could not find. I asked again.

I noticed a lot more tables outside Hopkinson. Was this my imagination? No, I was assured there was a lot more tables.

Hopkinson is an amazing building, at the moment shrouded in scaffolding and netting. Inside a veritable rabbit warren.

Inside where there was when I last looked, a little kiosk selling tea and coffee. I asked, and what was there now, Hops Coffee House and Bar was new, only been open a month. The tables outside they had been given from an Octoberfest. But what a depressing lost opportunity, beer from corporate chemical factory coffee LavAzza.

And no, I would not want a shrink wrapped roll, when excellent food around the corner at 200 Degrees overlooking Nottingham Canal. The coffee at 200 Degrees not great, but far better than over roasted cheap corporate brand coffee Italian coffee.

Not now pleasant walking into the building and eardrums offended by moronic music blasting out.

When every failing pub is serving crap beer, when we have chains serving crap coffee, it is on a hiding to nothing to open an indie coffee shop and bar serving the same crap. There is absolutely no point to open an indie coffee shops serving undrinkable coffee coffee when the chains are already doing an excellent job. They need to have a massive rethink. Be different. serve quality craft beer, speciality coffee.