Posts Tagged ‘Stokes on High Bridge’

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.

Cappuccino in Stokes on High Bridge

February 2, 2017

Service in Stokes is deteriorating. It was not good a couple of weeks ago when  I had a coffee, today even worse.

Long wait until my my order was taken, then another long wait. Even the lady at the adjacent table commented how slow, that at least twenty minutes had passed by.

No explanation, no apology for the piss-poor service. And not even excuse that it was busy. Stokes is never busy these days. It used to be very busy, if not there before ten in the morning, would be waiting for a table.

And was it worth the long wait?

The latte was nowhere near what it would usually look like.

And my cappuccino, looked as though someone who did not know what they were doing, or did not care, or it was rushed.

No coffee shops I frequent, would not serve a cappuccino looking like this. I have had far better cappuccinos served, then taken back, with an apologetic barista saying not good enough.

Taste wise, it was good.

Pleasant chat with the lady at the next table. We were discussing local coffee shops.

I suggested try Coffee Aroma around the corner. She knew of but had never tried.

I also said try Makushi, the new coffee shop half way up Steep Hill.

The one place I said do not try, The Angel Coffee House, the place lacks any ambience, the chairs are threadbare and filthy, the coffee looks disgusting and tastes disgusting.

As she was interested in coffee I suggested check out No to Costa.

On leaving I saw Stokes now has on sale Northern Independent Coffee Guide.

Stokes did not make the first edition. Which I thought was a major omission. They are in the second edition, but if they let their standards slip, I cannot see them making the third edition.

On my way, I passed the guy with The Little Bicycle Coffee Shop in the grotty shopping Arcade opposite Stokes. Another location for good coffee, The Little Bicycle Coffee Shop that is not the grotty shopping arcade.

Cappuccino at Stokes on High Bridge

January 17, 2017

The last couple of occasions I have avoided Stokes and Coffee Aroma and decided to try a couple of the indie coffee shops in Lincoln.

A risky endeavour, as I can end up in somewhere like The Angel Coffee House, as I did last week, shabby, lack of ambience, filthy threadbare chairs and awful coffee.

Today I decided to play safe and visit Stokes on High Bridge.

As always, excellent cappuccino.

I picked up a copy of Bailgate Independent. A glossy magazine full of advertising, articles not worth reading. Tragic waste of trees. I am surprised Stokes stock it.

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

On my way I passed through the grotty shopping centre opposite Stokes on High Bridge.

Not where would expect quality coffee. I stopped and had a brief chat with a guy with a little coffee stall. I said I would pop by one day and try his coffee. Several brewing methods, maybe too many for a little one man stall. Wrong location, a grotty shopping centre is not where would expect quality coffee. Central Market would be ideal location, except for one problem, thanks to the destruction Coop and the local council have wrought down on the area, footfall is low. Beans sourced from Makushi.

From Stokes, roast dinner at Park Street Eatery. It tasted better than it looked, but not great.

Cappuccino in Stokes on High Bridge

January 3, 2017
Stokes on High Bridge

Stokes on High Bridge

Excellent cappuccino in Stokes on High Bridge but easy to see why these days when I pass by, not busy.

Two lads who I have not seen before, standing by to guide to a table.

Then at least a five minutes wait if not longer, to take my order.

I popped back later, as I walked in, I asked for a cappuccino.

No, we have table service.

I contrast with Coffee Aroma, prompt service and the coffee better.

And I am not one of those who wishes rapid coffee. I am quite happy for a barista to take their time so long as I get excellent coffee.

Nor am I saying cappuccino not good in Stokes. Cappuccino excellent, but Coffee Aroma has the edge.

On the counter Guatemala coffee beans organic and FairTrade, though no logo for either.

But no roast date.

I checked other coffee beans. No roast date.

Best by is absolutely meaningless.

I asked the girl, and she told me they had been roasted the week before.

I asked how did she know?

Either she or or colleague had roasted in-store.

Fair enough, but they should write the roast date on the bags.

And she had no idea why roast date was important.

Stokes are expert coffee roasters and should know better.

Their staff are usually well informed on coffee.

The high standards which set Stokes apart are slipping.

Any coffee connoisseur seeing no roast date and not knowing Stokes, would simply assume, unless they made further inquiries, that they know nothing about coffee.

Stokes have two coffee shops in Lincoln, plus a warehouse where they roast coffee. They are featured in the second edition of Northern England Independent Coffee Guide, which surprisingly they do not  have on sale.

Stokes on High Bridge, a long established family business, in an Elizabethan building, on a Norman Bridge over the River Witham flowing through the centre of Lincoln, is one of the top coffee shops in the country. But Stokes need to up their game, as whereas  others are innovating  Stokes appears to be going backwards.

Cappuccino in Stokes on High Bridge

January 13, 2016
Stokes on High Bridge

Stokes on High Bridge

cookie jars

cookie jars

teas

teas

counter

counter

cappuccino

cappuccino

Excellent cappuccino in Stokes on High Bridge. But then I would expect no less, from one of the best coffee shops in the country.

The cookie was excellent too.

It begs the question why anyone would wish to drink the disgusting brew that is claimed to be coffee in Costa or tax-dodging Starbucks, sit in their corporate atmosphere or eat their factory cakes?

Lunch at Stokes was temping, roast lamb or pork chop.

Stokes on High Bridge, a long established family business, in an Elizabethan building, on a Norman Bridge over the River Witham flowing through the centre of Lincoln, is one of the top coffee shops in the country.

Cappuccino at Stokes on High Bridge

December 22, 2015
coffee beans and china cup

coffee beans and china cup and saucer

coffee shop

coffee shop

coffee beans

coffee beans

cappuccino

cappuccino

Lucky to even get in, as if not before ten in the morning, full until gone four in the afternoon.

It was around eleven in the morning, but fortunately  table was vacated as I walked in.  And it was a window seat.

No cookies.

Stokes on High Bridge is a long established coffee shop on High Bridge in Lincoln.

Cappuccino at Stokes on High Bridge

February 5, 2015
cappuccino

cappuccino

cookie jars

cookie jars

brew bar

brew bar

making coffee

making coffee

tea

tea

first floor restaurant

first floor restaurant

Excellent cappuccino and cookie at Stokes on High Bridge.

But then I expect no less from Stokes, the gold standard by which lesser coffees are judged.

Which begs the question why is lunch so bad, from an establishment that prides itself on quality?

A fourth generation family business, Stokes on High Bridge has been of the coffee and tea business since 1902, at their present location in a beautiful Tudor building on High Bridge, a Medieval Bridge with Norman foundations, since 1937.

Stokes not only serve excellent coffee, they are coffee roasters, supplying local indy coffee shops.

Lunch at Stokes on High Bridge

February 5, 2015
mushroom soup

mushroom soup

roast lunch

roast lunch

Stokes is excellent for coffee, indeed the gold standard by which lesser coffees are judged. A pity the same cannot be said of lunch.

Last week I missed roast lunch by a few minutes. Scampi and chips was not good. I did consider lunch at the County Restaurant, but as I missed out on roast lunch last week, I thought I would give it a try. A big mistake.

For starters mushroom soup. It was ok, but I have had far better.

It came with an enormous bap. Too enormous.

Portion size meagre.

The roast dinner was beef. Indeed every time I have looked it has been beef. I would have preferred roast pork.

When served, it looked singularly unappetising.

Initial impressions proved correct. It was pretty awful.

Yorkshire pudding was dried up and burnt. Mashed potatoes were not very nice. Something which I think was red cabbage, but why was it sweet?

Last week I had breakfast, not the full English. Bacon in a bap. A lovely piece of bacon, but I did not think much of the fluffy white bap. The same bap that gets served with the soup.

Stokes on High Bridge is an establishment that prides itself on quality, excellent coffee, skilled baristas, charming waitresses in its coffee shop, knowledgeable on coffee, quality ingredients, and yet lunch is awful.

I suggest a new chef, as something is going very wrong in the kitchen.

I would not hesitate to recommend Stokes on High Bridge for coffee. I cannot recommend for lunch.

Cappuccino at Stokes on High Bridge

February 2, 2015
Stokes on High Bridge

Stokes on High Bridge

cappuccino

cappuccino

A cold afternoon in Lincoln.

Always a warm welcome in Stokes, and excellent cappuccino.

Coffee and cookie in Stokes, the gold standard by which lesser coffees are judged.

Baffled why anyone drinks the disgusting coffee or what masquerades as coffee in Costa or tax dodgers Starbucks and Caffe Nero.

If you feel the need to wear the t-shirt then you ain’t a barista.

I have suggested Stokes book Jewelia for Stokes at The Collection, or maybe host an album launch for her next release.

A fourth generation family business, Stokes on High Bridge has been of the coffee and tea business since 1902, at their present location in a beautiful Tudor building on High Bridge, a Medieval Bridge with Norman foundations, since 1937.

Stokes not only serve excellent coffee, they are coffee roasters, supplying local indy coffee shops.

Lunch at Stokes on High Bridge

January 29, 2015
lunch at Stokes on High Bridge

lunch at Stokes on High Bridge

Stokes on High Bridge is known for its coffee.

They also serve lunch in their first and second floor restaurants.

Lunch finishes at two o’clock. I was there before two, looking forward to roast dinner. By the time the waitress asked for my order, it was gone two.

Sorry, we stop serving lunch at two. She offered an alternative menu. I should have walked out and gone elsewhere.

I chose scampi and chips. It was awful. The chips appeared to be hotted up, peas were ok. I have had better in Morrisons Cafe.

I would have expected a far higher standard for Stokes.

I probably should have gone to Stokes at The Collection. Chicken supreme with rice, pea and mint soup.

Oh yes, beetroot soup. That was disgusting.