Thursday, 28 April 2011

The Real Patisserie - Kemp Town

Although their website does not say it the wonderful cake and bread emporium of The Real Patisserie has opened a new store and bakery in Kemp Town. I've reviewed the Trafalgar street store before, how does this new place fair? 

Situated next to the excellent Pizza Face which itself sits next to the truly awesome Ground the new site for The Real Patisserie is a good one. The store is large and light and is focused on selling rather than sitting and eating or drinking. It has one large wooden table with benches. The rest of the store is handed over to the display counter and the open baking area and bread shelf. I liked the style of the place and the sight and smell of all that freshly baked bread really got my juices flowing.

I went in with my old man who was in Brighton for a medical thingy for a spot of breakfast. We were a bit early but they kindly let us in and served us, we were then treated to tray upon tray of freshly baked produce pouring out of their ovens. We both had black coffees, he had the cinnamon swirl, I had the Croque Monsieur. These in turn were lovely and fresh and the latter a bit heavy on the bechamel but perfectly pleasant.

The coffee was made quickly with no pretension. Like all The Real Patisserie stores they use Red Roaster beans. 

It came in a small cup and I was struck my a very pleasant aroma. On tasting it was strong, sweet and smooth. I have to say I was surprised, it was a great cup off coffee, I expected it just to be pretty good. I don't have much else to say as it was a quality brew.

  • Double shot black Americano
  • Strong
  • Sweet flavour
  • Little crema
  • Small size 
  • £1.25

It had all the 3 S's (strength, sweetness, smoothness) with no negatives. At £1.25 this is one of the cheapest quality coffees you can get in Brighton.

Monday, 18 April 2011

Small Batch Coffee Company – station stall, Brighton, UK

As promised I returned to check out the spanking new stall at Brighton station and I am happy to say I was not left disappointed.

The new cart looks great; very clean, neat and smart. They still have a good selection of high quality pastries and fruit available alongside all the standard coffees. From the stall I have found ordering the single (small cup) with an extra shot gets me the right size and strength for me, give it a go.

The baristas have a fast pipeline in place but without sacrificing the quality of the brew. The team (of 2-3) work well together with one taking the order, money and prepping the cup and the other one or two pumping out the joe. This demonstrates how vital well trained baristas are to producing a great cup of coffee, even under high pressure conditions they are doing it cup after cup. Alongside those fresh and clearly well roasted beans from the Small Batch roastery you have all the ingredients to make something brilliant.

..and what was the coffee like? Fresh, bright and repleat with flavour. It had good strength and was well balanced with some lovely sweet notes coming through. There was a single minor issue, a hint off fuzz left on the tongue but it was slight and only at the very end. 

All round a top cup off coffee.

  • Single black Americano - with extra shot, take away.
  • Strong
  • Full of flavour
  • Medium crema
  • Small size 
  • 1.80

An excellent and swiftly brewed coffee. There is no other choice when at the station if you like quality coffee. 

Great beans, well used.

                                                                                    All Gone.


Friday, 15 April 2011

Spinelli Coffee, Brighton, UK

I had spied Spinelli's coffee shop as I cycled up through Kemp Town and it was on the hit list of must taste places. Big thanks to Jan (who reads the blog) to spur me on and get me down there to give it a shot.

Picking the worst day to cross the  street (see photos) I eventually got in and found a seat in the comfortable, light surroundings. I ordered and took my seat with the little one who has become quite the Bambinochino expert in recent weeks. Within minutes our drinks arrived and so the review begins.

I asked for a double but did not specify size so was lumbered with a large mug and so it was inevitably a bit weak. In recent reviews I've been less critical about this habit of over watering as size can be tailored if you ask in time but in my mind a double should be about strength and not size. This was one of those huge cappuccino beast mugs. 

Putting aside that first hurdle the coffee looked good with a nice level of crema and as that started to clear a good thick oily sheen. The aroma and flavour were good and broad and this should not be under sold. The taste was let down by the strength (due to size) and a muddy fuzziness of an after note but other than that it was a smooth drink.

The babychino was nicely presented without skimping on the chocolate which is always a bonus.

  • Black Americano - Double, drink in.
  • Medium strength
  • Great flavour but muddy after taste
  • Medium Crema
  • Large size
  • £2.50

Not bad Joe, with high quality oily beans and a smooth flavour but let down by a muddy finish left on the palette.

Monday, 11 April 2011

Competition: Win beans and a free cup of coffee

Yes we are doing our first competition on Damn Fine Joe.

All you need to do is to go on twitter and them Retweet the competition tweet and follow Damn Fine Joe's tweets.

What can you win? A bag of house blend beans and a free coffee from those master roasters/ lovely people at the Small Batch Coffee Company. See the previous post for news about this great Brighton/ Hove company.

Friday, 8 April 2011

News - Small Batch take over 9bar coffee stalls and starts cafe

One of the top 5 places (2010) listed at the start of the year were the coffee stalls at Brighton and Hove Station. You may have noticed (at Brighton station at the time of researching) that they have a new look and a new name.

Yes both these stalls have now been taken over by the  Small Batch Coffee Company. Small Batch used to supply these stalls with their beans so the source remains the same as do the well trained and friendly Baristas. 
So what does this mean for your commute coffee? I spoke to Nick Barlow who informed me that they had cleaned up the carts and added a second machine to increase the speed of service and maintain the carts water pressure. So why is that second machine important? 

Nick explained "as we use traditional, single-boiler espresso machines.  They make excellent coffee but if you use too much hot water making americanos or teas there is a resultant loss of pressure affecting espresso/steam. Therefore, we mainly use the second machine as a source of hot water, maintaining good pressure levels on the main machine."  
and of course they now have a back up if one goes down. Imagine the trip to London without? A nightmare! 

The carts are open from 6-12 Monday-Saturday. The best place to buy coffee at Brighton station just got better.

The Small Batch Coffee Company are a Hove-based speciality coffee roaster. They have been in business for several years and supply a number of the coffee houses in Brighton and Hove. 

(Image taken from

Small Batch's domination continues as they also have opened a new coffee shop in Hove on the corner of Wilbury Road & Church Road. If the quality remains as high as the stalls then this will be well worth checking out.  

The cafe boasts plenty of seating, a sun terrace and a wide selection of cakes, pastries and topped focaccia. The most exciting news is that they are also doing filter coffees (Hario V60 brewed) so I have to go and get one this weekend.

The previous stall owner, the 9bar cafe in Hove is still in business but now under new ownership.

A fresh review for the fresh stalls and a review of the cafe will be coming soon.

Tuesday, 5 April 2011

Damn Fine Joe News

Hello readers,

Sorry for not posted for a month. I've been releasing my latest game and it has taken up a fair bit of my time but things are getting a little easier.

During this time I have not been idle, in fact I am happy to inform you that we will be expanding the remit of Damn Fine Joe to cover a few more items which you will get to see over the next few months:

  • NEWS

If you know of anything that you think should get posted then please post a comment or drop me a line.

Remember you can show your support and get the latest news by following on twitter @damnfinejoe
or liking the facebook page