Posts Tagged ‘Stokes’

Cappuccino and latte at Stokes on High Bridge

April 25, 2017

Stokes used to set the standard for coffee.  Either they are going downhill or my taste is improving, not sure which.

A cappuccino that looked yuk, the taste was not great either.

I checked the beans on sale in jars, none had a pleasant aroma.

I was told the light roast not suited for espresso.

Not true. Try telling that to Makushi, single source, traced back to farm, light roast.

The least worst was beans from Nicaragua.  Medium roast

I was told roast earlier in the week or last week.

Then when they were weighed out, I checked again, told roast 17 February.

No way.

I settled for a blend, that is meant to emulate Blue Mountain.

They offered to grind.

No way.

As I write,  the aroma fills the room.

My cappuccino, and I assume the latte too, was from an espresso blend.

I headed up Steep Hill to Makushi, looking in Madame Waffle on the way where they source beans from Square Mile Coffee Roasters.

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 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 Henry’s

January 9, 2017

Henry’s is a relatively new tea shop, situated on the first floor of Ruddocks.

It has been there a couple of years or more, I had looked in when first opened, but never sampled the coffee.

Habit of always taking a coffee in Stokes and not venturing further afield.

Last year I tried Coffee Aroma, and this year decided to try a few more of the indie coffee shops in Lincoln. Last week I tried Makushi Coffee House, halfway up Steep Hill.

As I passed by Stokes, very tempting, even more temping to visit Coffee Aroma, but no must keep my resolve, and so Henry’s it was.

Ruddocks is not where you’d expect to find a tea shop, a stationers cum bookshop cum art supplies. Or at least was once a bookshop, now sells newspapers and magazines, a very retrograde step. There used to be a very up-market art shop top end of the High Street, Gadsby’s, but sadly no more. Strange as Lincoln has an art college, or did. Ruddocks is also a printer and publisher.

Ambience in Henry’s very agreeable, a 1930’s feel, almost expect to look out the window and see the Brown Shirts marching past. Or maybe they simply opened it as it was. Music from the period playing.

Sadly my cappuccino did not live up to the promise of the ambience or the price.

At £2-90 I expect quality. It was undrinkable. When a cappuccino does not look good appearance usually not deceptive, it was not good. Not the disgusting undrinkable yuk they serve in Costa, Caffe Nero or tax-dodging Starbucks, but undrinkable nevertheless.

No, you do not add chocolate to a cappuccino. You ask, and even then, use high quality cocoa powder.

The only reason chocolate added, is to hide the fact disgusting coffee.

To be fair it is a tea shop, and to be fair the barista was not there. Whoever prepared the food prepared the coffee.

I inquired as to the coffee beans. Stokes espresso blend. Unless Stokes is supplying rubbish for cafes, then they should be worried the damage this does to their reputation. They should periodically visit places sourcing their coffee, exercise quality control.

The young lady serving made up for the poor quality coffee. She had been doing a coffee course at Stokes and was keen to learn more. But training only takes you so far. She needs to work alongside top quality baristas.

Henry’s is not any time soon going to make it into Northern England Independent Coffee Guide.

On leaving Ruddocks, I found Stokes coffee beans on sale. How old, and the last place would think of looking for coffee beans. Obvious place to sell would be on the counter in Henry’s. And to be sure of freshly roasted, buy from Stokes. Though Stokes fail to put the roast date, a major omission, and Stokes should know better.

Passing by Stokes on may way up, not busy. Passing by Coffee Aroma on my way back down, packed.

Passing through The Stonebow, a young guy playing an acoustic guitar. Not bad, especially compared with the rubbish usually found on the street in Lincoln. I picked up a free CD.

Popped into Waterstone’s High Street. When last week, I went to pick up a copy of The Spy I had ordered, I actually did not, I asked for two copies, which they collected from upstairs. Was it still there? No, but I showed then the reference code, they checked, and yes, should have been collected. I picked up two at £6-50, full price £12-99, thus getting two copies for one pence better than half price.

A sticker ‘Just 12-99’ is deliberately misleading, as that is the price, but gives the false impression getting a reduction.

To download the e-book is a blatant rip-off Kobo £9-49, Amazon Kindle £9-49 and Google Play £9-49.

I picked up another free CD off Sam Harrison busking in The Stonebow. Gave him my small change. I said put on bandcamp. He said people find him on spotify. Yes, only because you send people there. Do not encourage people to use a platform like spotify that screws musicians big time. Send to bandcamp where everyone gets a good deal. He agreed, sound advice, especially if people had picked up a free CD, they may then pay him some money.

I picked up a copies of Rain & Voices from the Sky by Sam Harrison and the Society of Strange Living. Not yet found its way onto bandcamp.

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

January 29, 2015
cappuccino

cappuccino

tea

tea

brew bar

brew bar

preparing coffee

preparing coffee

Cappuccino and cookie at Stokes on High Bridge.

As always excellent, but then I expect no less from Stokes, the gold standard by which lesser coffees are judged.

A fourth generation family business, Stokes 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.

Christmas Eve Cappuccino and Latte in Stokes

December 24, 2014
cappuccino and latte

cappuccino and latte

Before ten o’clock, and room in Stokes on High Bridge, after that packed.

Cappuccino and cookie in Stokes on High Bridge

January 14, 2014
cookie jars

cookie jars

cappuccino and cookie

cappuccino and cookie

coffee jars

coffee jars

Cappuccino and cookie in Stokes on High Bridge. I was glad to get out of the cold, as very cold morning in Lincoln.

It is difficult to understand why anyone visits Starbucks or Costa when there are many excellent indie coffee shops in Lincoln, including Stokes, serving quality coffee in a pleasant not corporate environment.

Top Story in Yum Coffee (Wednesday 15 January 2014).