Friday, 28 October 2011

Hackney City Farm, Hackney, London, UK

A random visit to Hackney City Farm occurred whilst out hunting for other coffee's with the now Blog regular Rex. As I had the little one and we were getting hungry the City Farm seemed a perfect place to visit.

Here you are promised the delight of being able to see the animals and then eat their relatives. A lovely concept that I was more than happy to get on board with it. On the animal front alongside your normal farm yard fair there were some fantastic gigantic pigs, very impressive specimens. 

Do note that the farm is a charity and it is free to enter so please donate to support this great enterprise. 

The cafe is large and has quite a relaxed lowfi vibe about it. The menu looked pretty yummy all round. It was £7.50 for a big old farm house breakfast made with quality ingredients. The girlie had scrambled eggs. All was excellent although she ate by Bacon but then I ate Rex's so it balanced out.

It would have been rude to not sample the coffee so we did. It was a pretty good cup of joe all in all. It tasted nice, was very smooth and with no unwanted bitterness. It was wanting for a little more strength so I would ask for it to be a little shorter next time. 

  • Black Americano, drink in
  • £1.50
  • Weak - Medium strength
  • Very smooth
  • No crema
  • Size: Medium

A good coffee, don't avoid it. Go see some animals, have a slap up meal and enjoy the black stuff.


Thursday, 27 October 2011

Riverside Coffee Shop, Windsor & Eton Riverside Station, Windsor, UK

I went to Windsor to meet my friends at Nintendo. After the 40 minute video conference with Japan it was time to head back to London.  On the way back I bought a quick coffee from the station cafe.

I foolishly ate part of a cookie whilst drinking this coffee and so my review may be totally void. Add sugar and most coffees can taste ok, combined with milk you can really hide the horror. That is why my reviews are always based on a black unsweetened coffee. If I like the espresso you will probably love the latte (unless they burn the milk). 

I had very low expectation and although they were mainly met this coffee was not the most terrible I have imbibed. It was indeed too bitter but not the most bitter. It was also too weak, the classic over dilution of station cafes but not the weakest. To be fair to it, the taste was not unbearable but I would not add it to any must taste lists soon.

  • Americano, take away
  • £1.80
  • Medium strength
  • Quite bitter flavour
  • No crema
  • Large size

Not very good coffee but it won't kill you in a pinch.


Friday, 14 October 2011

Marwood Coffee Shop, Brighton, UK

On giving up my Brighton residence and becoming just another tourist to this fine town there was one coffee shop that had alluded me. Marwood coffee.

The first attempt to find it resulted in walking up and down Ship street early in the morning and in the rain but to no avail. My first sighting at another time whilst not realising what the place was came in the form of their sign boasting about the quality of their coffee.

I arrogantly snorted in derision thinking I knew best. But then later on it hit me and my stomach sunk as I understood who's sign that was. Realising my mistake I have now come to plead forgiveness and give Marwood the review it deserves.

Named after I from Withnail fame it would be lazy of me to state the coffee house is quirky, it is however very cool. Random images, furniture and graffiti line the two storey coffee house. Check out their site for more pictures of the eclectic and entertaining decor.

They also offer up some serious cake which I didn't try but did tempt me.  But if you get rid of the cake and you get rid of the style and attitude that this place has what are you left with? Does the coffee make a mark?

Arriving in a small attractive red cup and saucer the wisps of crema were starting to fade away in their death spiral. First sip gave me plenty of flavour, not too strong but above all a good smoothness. 

It was also slightly sweet all the way through which seems to be the hardest trick to pull off. It left a creamy tone as the main flavour faded away and I can't say I was disappointed.  A little more strength would not have gone amiss but that could have just as easily disrupted the well balanced drink

  • Black Americano, drink in
  • Medium strength
  • Smooth, a little sweet and flavoursome
  • Light Crema
  • Size: Small
  • £1.80
  • Beans: Mozzo Coffee

They say they serve kick arse coffee and they do. A good taste, smooth and sweet.


Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Prufrock Coffee @ Present, Shoreditch, London, UK

The second part of my first East London jaunt with Rex was to the Prufrock coffee counter at Present. The little counter looked quite at home in the large breezy store, we didn't look round we got straight on with the drinking. I enjoyed choosing a 6oz. cup (is that an issue with E.U. regulations?) rather than small, large etc. perhaps the geek in me hyped on the specifics.

The lovely barista supplied us promptly as we made a little banter and then we went outside to enjoy our drinks. As we sat on the distressed yellow benches their was enough time to savour our drinks before the rains came. We had to finish under some scaffold and then a grim side exit to a club further down the road as the rain beat down in a torrent but I'm happy to say these changes in environment didn't mar the coffee experience. 

It had a fine amount of crema that dissipated to leave an oil slick, black as pitch. The square mile beans were rich in flavour, almost creamy. As I sunk it I started to feel a little bit of a tang coming through which I thought would become unpleasant but instead grew on me. Chewing is the best way I can describe the experience, the more I drank the more I discovered of its full, broad flavour. It was excellent. 

  • Long Black, take out
  • Strong
  • Chewy, full and deep
  • Slight Crema
  • Size: short - 6oz.
  • £2.20
  • Beans: Square Mile

Great strength, high quality beans, a flavour with much depth to explore and all balanced so well together. A coffee to have me questioning my loyalty.

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Dinkyccino stall, Brighton/ Worthing /East Sussex area, UK

Somehow  Joe saw Dinkyccino online or the other way round, they became friends but had never met. As luck would have it wondering through the Brighton Food Festival on the way to another coffee house Joe saw Dinky and had a drink. 

The reason for the special interest in this company inhabiting the increasingly popular world of mobile coffee stations is aside from their love of great coffee is their impressive skill in turning out a constant supply off coffee masterpieces. 

Resisting the urge to fill the rest of the review with puns I was impressed with this Monet of Mocha, bringing the Toulouse Lautrec to the latte and the Euan Uglow to the espresso (that is enough!). I believe this fine work belongs all (or primarily to) Adrian Lucking who founded the company. 

If you follow Joe on facebook you will have seen some of these wicked looking brews reposted there and for your viewing pleasure I have borrowed a few from their facebook page and set up a little gallery below.  I hope they don't mind but I could not resist, they look awesome.

But what about the coffee? It wasn't the main man running the stall that day and as I drink it black and straight up for these reviews there would be no chance of milky flair to alter my judgement. The barista asked how big I wanted it which was great service and polite, I took it short to medium. It came promptly and was possibly a little hot. 

The joe smelt good but there was little if any crema in my mug but there was a glint of oil.  It was smooth and silky however there was an uncomfortable bitterness hanging over the whole affair which spoilt what could have been a great cup of coffee. Not so much to destroy the drink but enough to knock it down a peg.

  • Double shot black americano, take away
  • Strong
  • Smooth but a little bitter
  • No or little crema
  • Size: medium
  • £2.50
  • Machine: Astoria

A good coffee but sadly not a breathtaking one. Certainly well above the water mark set by many station coffee stalls. I was hoping for sensational to match the showmanship this company prides itself on, perhaps next time. 

Enjoy the coffee art below.

Map - To be found at various events especially in the east Sussex area and regularly at Durrington Railway station, Worthing

Dinkyccino Gallery

New town, new logo.

To celebrate my move back to London Damn Fine Joe gifted itself a logo. Hurrah.

Here it is:

Thanks to the fabulous Cait Russell for dealing with my repeated demands and tweaks, especially for the colour version. It took some time but we got there, thank you Cait, coffee is on me. Also a smaller but just as robust thanks to the fabulous Dan Nilsen for hacking in the com for an as yet unannounced bit of fun.

What is the line? Most of my reviews come from take away coffees. In these waxed 6 ounces cups I've always loved the way the coffee leaches into seal, check the reference below. As it is the last thing I see when I finish a coffee I thought what better way to represent the blog.

Monday, 3 October 2011

Allpress Espresso, Shoreditch, London, UK

Allpress was my knock out favourite coffee at the London Coffee Festival. I was excited to go and try out their East London store and roastery and so Allpress became the first store I would visit in my more focused attack on London coffee houses.

I was nobly accompanied on this and the next few trips by first class British artist, designer and director Rex Crowle. He even drew some pictures of our little visit.

It was lunch so we treated ourselves to a bite to eat, Rex had the corn beef sandwich, I went for the breakfast salad thingy with avocado, both were delicious and I could talk about the food for sometime but I don't want to get side tracked.

After we made our order we took some seat by the counter and checked out the room. The space has great light from the large surrounding windows and this is amplified by the sparse near Scandinavian feel of the decor (wood and plain light paint). The detail or the flair rather is in the roaster, the bean holders and the other coffee paraphernalia as it should be. You can see some of the other clientèle in Rex's awesome sketch. 

The coffee arrived with a little mug of water on the side so we could mix the strength ourselves. This is always a plus in my mind and is pretty cute to boot. It looked good with a shaving cream thick layer of crema. The taste backed up the presentation, it was full on, rich and pretty wonderful. That broad, mouth filling flavour comes naturally sweetened which cuts beautifully against the lightly bitter blackness. 

A word of warning, I have one issue with this coffee and that is that it was a little strong. Even using up all my water left me slightly overwhelmed, sure I could have asked for more water but how it is served is what I'm critiquing. 

I should also mention that this was their own roasted ethically sourced beans which you can buy to take home, the Redchurch blend I believe. 

  • Long Black, stay in
  • Very strong
  • Full flavour and sweet
  • Thick Crema
  • Size: short
  • £2.50

Super coffee served with style the New Zealand way, from the black clad barristas to the purity of the product itself. Go get yourself this joe.