Posts Tagged ‘Stokes at The Lawn’

Ichamara washed Kenyan

September 11, 2019

Three bags of coffee. An excellent espresso blend roasted for Refinery by Bonanza, single origin Kenyan roasted by Coffee Gems, and a Costa Rican roasted by Red Roaster.

Of the three, which to choose? The aroma was excellent. Not my choice, that of Mike head barista at Stokes at The Lawn.

No contest, he chose the Kenyan from Coffee Gems.

He made himself a black Americano, for me a V60. Although Mike chose an Americano for himself, an espresso based coffee, he said would not work as a cappuccino, wrong flavour profile.

He thought the Americano excellent, even I was impressed.

For me the real test was the V60. I had tried a Colombian brewed as V60 at Blackbird and it was excellent, a hard act to follow.

Wonderful colour, as was the Americano. And the taste? At first I thought not in the same league as the Colombian. But as it cooled, and every V60 improves as it cools, it was probably on a par with the Colombian.

Mike commented it was like red wine.

His comment was most apt, I agreed, we both agreed mulled red wine without the spices.

Worth noting coffee has more flavour notes than red wine. Something coffee drinkers are unaware of when are so used to the crap served by coffee chains, over-roasted coffee, over-roasted to hide the defects of cheap coffee, then the vile taste masked with sugar and syrups. Coffee does not should not taste like this, but so used are people used to drinking crap coffee that they identify it as the taste of coffee. Sadly nothing could be further from the truth.

What coffee drinkers also forget, the care to bring us quality coffee, that of the coffee pickers, the processing of the beans, the roasting, and finally the skill of the barista.

Ichamara fully washed Kenyan, var Batian, Rairu 11, SL28, SL 34, red volcanic soil, taste notes grapefruit, lime, creamy and sweet, roasted by head roaster Ricardo.

Tanzanian Arusha Natural

September 5, 2019

Three bags of coffee, Brazilian, Indian and Tanzanian from DT Coffee Roastery.

I have tried before an Ethiopian from DT Coffee Roastery, brewed as a V60 at Blackbird. It was good, but a disappointment compared with a Colombian from Coffee Gems we tried the week before which was excellent.

Of the three, which to choose? The aroma was excellent. Not my choice, that of Mike head barista at Stokes at The Lawn.

No contest, he chose the Tanzanian.

I would have brewed as V60, thus surprised when he chose espresso.

Espresso for Mike, cappuccino for me.

I was pleasantly surprised, it made an excellent cappuccino, interesting flavour profile.

Arusha Natural Burka State Tanzania, var Kent, N39, Blue Mountain, alt 1350m, tasting notes stone fruit, red berries, bright citrus, roasted by either UK latte art champion Dhan Tamang or head of coffee Don Altizo.

Asobu Stokes at The Lawn

April 16, 2019

An unusual coffee brewer, a mix of pour over immersion, also functions for immersion cold brew.

Unlike V60, no skill required, grind the coffee, pour in hot water, top up as necessary, leave for a couple of minutes, press red button to release the brew into the lower chamber.

The brewed coffee will be slightly cloudy due to a fine metal mesh filter not a paper filter.

A minimum volume of water due to part filter part immersion.

The resultant brew using a Rwandan coffee was good.

For the coffee shop, if no batch brew, an easy way to make a few cups of filter coffee.

For the home brewer, why waste money on a Nespresso? Set up your Asobu, whilst brewing, pour out the cereals, then coffee is ready. Not only that, the lower chamber has a screw on lid, take with you on your outing. Though if on way to work, maybe better to pour into s reusable cup, which can then used later in s coffee shop.

Ideally, a V60 at home, but Asobu a good start.

Many thanks to Mike, barista at Stokes st The Lawn for the demonstration.

Canadiano Stokes at The Lawn

March 26, 2019

Stokes at The Lawn is the only coffee shop where I have come across a Canadiano.

A novel way of pour over, a block of wood with a fine metal sieve in the centre.

Canadiano has to be used several times to season the wood.

Main difference to V60, do not pause to enable the coffee to bloom, a different grind size, and shorter brew time.

Compared with V60, pore size larger and allows sediment through to the final brewed coffee resulting in a cloudy coffee.

How does it compare with V60?

Only way to discover, brew a V60.

Also tried a cappuccino.

Coffee used single origin Panama Kotowa Don K Estate roasted by Dark Woods.

Special thanks to Mike barista at Stokes at The Lawn.

A couple of days later a repeat exercise at Madame Waffle, a cappuccino and a V60.

The cappuccino was good, though not as good as Red Brick from Square Mile.

The V60 excellent.

The improvement on the V60, at a guess down to grind size.

Stokes at The Lawn, flagship coffee shop of Stokes, a fourth generation coffee business.

Madame Waffle, specialty coffee shop in High Street, also serves waffles.

Meet Lulu

January 8, 2018

Lulu was a whale, an Orca, she was washed ashore dead on a beach in Scotland in 2016. She was a member of the last remaining Orca pod in UK waters.The pod is in danger of being wiped out.

Lulu was found to have high levels of PCB in her system. PCBs were banned decades ago, but are still prevalent in the oceans, are concentrated in the fat of mammals.

Lulu is sculpture suspended from the ceiling at Stokes at The Lawn.

Designed by Ptolemy Elrington,  Lulu is made from bits of plastic and parts from old coffee machines.  She serves as a stark reminder the damage plastic is doing to the planet.

Plastic pollution is killing the planet.

8 tonnes of plastic are discarded into the oceans every year. The plastic accumulates. By 2050 the amount of plastic in the oceans will outweigh the fish.  It is hazardous to sea life.

Ten rivers account for 95% of the plastic in the oceans.

The UK was shipping 5000,000 tonnes of plastic to China every year. It was called recycling. This is not recycling, it is dumping waste onto another country.

Plastic is not recycled, it is down-cycling. Glass, steel, aluminium is recycled.

Wood can be reused.

Makushi is an excellent example of wood reused as tables.

The Underdog has reused railway sleepers as tables.

Something every single one of us can do is stop using disposable coffee cups. In the UK, we throw away 2.5 billion disposable coffee cups every year. These are not made of paper as they first appear.  They are paper with a plastic liner, cannot be recycled, go to landfill or incineration, or are thrown in the street.

Stokes are investigating replacing the plastic-lined cups with compostable paper cups.

A step in the right direction, but, what to do with the paper cup once empty of coffee? Unless a compost heap is to hand will go in the waste stream.

Stokes at The Lawn have on sale Frank Green Smart Cup. Ugly, expensive and no one can recall one ever being sold. It lacks the elegance of a  KeepCup.  And is made of plastic.

Unless targeting office workers with a substantial discount, reusable cups of limited value in reducing waste.

What we have to do is discourage the grab it and go consumer culture that is encouraged by the coffee chains and  instead encourage  sit and relax with a cup of coffee at the coffee shop. After all what is the hurry? Coffee is a drink, or for that matter tea, to relax
with.

The clientele at Stokes do tend to be sit and relax with a coffee or afternoon tea.

Pret a Manger offering filter coffee at 49p a cup if bring own cup for a refill has to be seen in the absence of in-store information and no reusable cups on sale as little more than a clever publicity stunt.

House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee has called for a 25p levy on all disposable coffee cups, the so-called latte levy. This should be implemented at the next Budget, but already the chains are lobbying for the levy not to be introduced.

Please sign the petition calling on Michael Gove to introduce the 25p levy.

As always, it is the indie coffee shops who are leading the way.

What we have to do is discourage the takeaway culture. Compostable paper cups, reusable cups, is merely tackling the symptoms.

We have to encourage relaxing with a cup of coffee at a coffee shop in ceramic or glass. There is then no requirement for a takeaway cup.

If art has nothing to say, it is not art.

Frank Green Smart Cup

December 31, 2017

It is difficult to see anything positive about this reusabale coffee cup.

Ugly, bulky, plastic, expensive.

I am reminded of the cheap and tacky plastic cups on sale in Waitrose.  The main difference, those from Waitrose retail at £3.

What are the whole life cycle costs of a product made of plastic? It is claimed to be recyclable, but no information how.

I would not wish to drink out of plastic.

I first came across the Frank Green Smart Cup in Stokes at The Lawn. I asked how much? No one knew, no one could ever recall one being sold, let alone used.  They thought a tenner, maybe  a little more.

Did they give a discount if used? Yes, but no one knew. They said you scan the cup.

I checked on the Stokes website.  Price range £12-50 to £14-50, which puts it mid-range between a plastic and glass KeepCup.  On Amazon the price much higher, £26.15 plus £9.05 delivery charge. 

20p discount if bring the Frank Green cup back to Stokes for a refill.

I give Stokes as an example not as a criticism of Stokes.  What it illustrates is a more fundamental problem, the lack of take up of let alone use of reusable cups, be they Frank Green or the more desirable KeepCup.

20p discount is not going to encourage use of reusable cups. Even where coffee shops have been offering a substantial discount the take up has been minimal.

In the New Year, Pret a Manger are going to be offering takeaway organic filter coffee at 49p a cup, if you bring your own cup to fill. That is 50p discount. With no information in store, no reusable cups on sale in store, no launch on their twitter account, it remains to be seen what will be the take up of this offer. Assuming it is not a clever PR stunt, nothing more.

Reusable cups have to be carried around. In Stokes would have to use in excess of 50 times to recover initial investment in the cup.

What is a smart cup? What makes it smart? What differentiates a smart cup from a dumb cup?

A chip in the lid that present to pay for your coffee.  The chip communicates with an app on a smart phone.

I would agree with Brian writing in Brian’s Coffee Spot:

The lid contains Frank Green’s other major selling point. It has a chip in it, which supports both loyalty cards and payment methods. Called CaféPay, this means you can actually pay with your cup and, for example, automatically get a discount since your using a reusable cup. Obviously how useful this becomes will depend on how many retailers support it. It’s clearly a neat feature, but I can’t help feeling it’s a solution looking for a problem. Perhaps I’m wrong, but I’ve never found myself in a coffee shop thinking how great it would be if I could pay with my cup.

 
Brian also says it is bulky.

I agree, a solution looking for a problem. I have never been in a coffee shop thinking, now if only I could pay for my coffee with a coffee cup lid. What is wrong with cash?  About as useless as bitcoin for payment in the real world.

And if I were to buy a smart cup in Stokes can I use this dumb system to pay for coffee in other coffee shops?

I can find no information on the Frank Green website on why the cup is smart or how it is used.

There was no information in Stokes. My attention was drawn after reading about Lulu. A stranded whale that died, and the sculpture hanging from the ceiling. I had wondered why, when they opened in the summer, why a whale suspended from the ceiling. It is made of recycled plastic, to highlight plastic pollution.

I asked, were their takeaway cups compostable paper? No, but they are looking into it.  I suggested talk to Makushi, who are now using compostable paper cups.

Compostable cups are a step in the right direction.

What appear to be paper cups are not, they have a plastic liner. They cannot be recycled.

Plastic pollution is destroying the planet.

Compostable coffee cups are better than the throwaway disposable takeaway cups. The UK throws away 2.5 billion every year which go to landfill or incineration.

But …. and it is a big but …. it does not solve the waste problem.

Let us assume I have been shopping at the market or the fruit and vegetable shop in Bailgate, have a bag of fresh produce, am on my way home, I can then pop my cup in with the fruit and vegetables, when I get home throw on the compost heap.

So far so good.

But what if not? What do I do with my compostable cup? Throw it in the bushes, over the wall in a garden, in the river?

That is the dilemma.

What in reality will happen it will join the waste stream.

Something like a KeepCup on sale, bring back for a refill. Disadvantage, expensive, have to cart around. Only really works if popping out from the office for a coffee to take back to the office.  And that is the market Stokes should target, office workers popping out for a coffee to take back to the office, and with a larger discount, and KeepCup not a Frank Green Smart Cup.

What we have to do is discourage the grab and go, mindless consumption culture.

Encourage people to sit and relax with a coffee out of a ceramic cup.

And to be fair to Stokes at The Lawn, their clientele is people wishing to relax with a coffee or afternoon tea.  And if you sit in the back room, can watch their coffee roasting operation.

If I were to advise Stokes, it would be get shot of the Frank Green cups, replace with KeepCup, which can have the Stokes brand, target office workers with a  substantial discount, encourage relax in the coffee shop with a  coffee.

How not to, a flyer I picked up from Coffee Aroma. I thought it was offering 50% discount on a cup of coffee. Sadly not. It is offering 50% on a takeaway. Please no. We should not be encouraging takeaway, we should be discouraging. Scrap the offer, reverse it, and instead, issue a flyer offering 50% discount if sit in and relax with a cup of coffee.  By all means a discount of 50% if bring own cup for a refill.

Disposable cups are not the only waste coffee shops generate, the coffee grounds, milk making cappuccino.

Best use of coffee grounds, put out for gardeners to take away. The milk, already warm, can be used for making yogurt.

Speciality coffee shops have focused on the supply chain, direct trade, sustainable trade. They now need to look at what happens after they have brewed an excellent cup of coffee.

Cappuccino in Stokes Lawn Cafe

August 28, 2017

Friday, I had tried a cappuccino in Stokes Lawn Café.

It was awful, undrinkable.

Why I do not know, and not what I would expect from Stokes on High Bridge.

They suggested come back and try our Guatemalan single origin.

This I did, and a huge difference.

Not only coffee, they also serve tea.

It was then try V60 Martin Hudak Signature Geisha from Panama which I have brought along as a guest coffee to try. Excellent.

What I have yet to try is a filter using a carved wooden block.