Not going to Starbucks!

Those who know me, know I enjoy my coffee.

However since we got into lockdown I’ve not been able to visit my usual places for coffee and enjoy a flat white.

As lockdown is now easing, our local Starbucks, which is a drive-thru, has re-opened, but only for drive-thru, you can’t go and sit down and drink coffee.

Starbucks

I try and avoid takeaway coffee, as for me it’s not just about the coffee, but the whole coffee drinking experience. So though I could drive to Starbucks and get a flat white in a cardboard cup, and then drink it in my car, I am not quite sure why I would do that?

What I am looking forward to is going out for a coffee. Ordering the coffee, maybe a cake or pastry and then sitting down to enjoy that overall coffee drinking experience.

Coffee and Pistachio Croissant

On one of my last visits to London I stopped for a coffee on the way to the office, to check e-mail and catch up on other stuff.

I had been meaning for a while to try out the Sourced Market on Wigmore Street in Westminster. Before I didn’t have the time, or there was too much of a queue and I hate queuing…

This time, I had the time, and there was no queue, even though it was crowded. I was going to just have a flat white, but liked the look of the Pistachio Croissant, so I got one of those as well.

Sourced Market has a basement, it was quieter so I was down there (and could still get a 4G signal).

The coffee was excellent, and maybe a little too sweet for me, I did still enjoy the croissant.

Certainly if I ever get back to London and it’s open, I will go again.

Time for a rather nice Flat White

Harris & Hoole

When I am in London (and elsewhere) and needing a coffee I try and find somewhere not only new, but try and find a place which I wouldn’t find locally in the South West, whether that be an independent, or a “local” chain.

I enjoyed the coffee I had at Kiss the Hippo for example.

So on my most recent trip to London and arriving early for my meeting I decided to go for coffee and chose Harris & Hoole.

The welcome was warm and friendly and I ordered a flat white, as one does.

Flat White

The seating was somewhat communal with a large table and counters. There was additional seating downstairs, but I didn’t go down and have a look.

The coffee was really nice and I enjoyed it.

Time for a Flat White

I was at the services on the M42, and rather than go into the main building, I went to Starbucks, which stands alone, mainly as it is a drive through (not a thru) but has a “normal” bit as well with tables and chairs.

Flat White

I ordered a flat white, like I usually do, and I was reminded why when it comes to coffee that I rarely go to Starbucks as the coffee tasted as though the beans had been over-roasted, so great coffee taste, but left a rather unpleasant burnt after-taste.

Despite the coffee, the flat white had been prepared really well, the milk was smooth, velvety and light as it should be. I quite enjoyed it in the end.

Tasty coffee in the hustle and bustle

In the midst of shopping decided to stop at Paterisse Valerie in Cribbs Causeway for a quick coffee. Actually we didn’t want a quick coffee, what we wanted to do was take a break from the crowds, sit down and have a coffee. We did consider going to Pret a Mange, but the queue was really long, and at least with Paterisse Valerie we could sit down and chat while we waited and while we waited for the coffee.

We ordered a few drinks, but I went with a flat white, whilst my eldest went with a latte.

For a French sounding place I feel I really should have had a cafe au lait, but the reality was that no such coffee was on the menu.

The flat white was strong and intense with the smoothness of the milk offering a nice contrast.

The place was busy, so service was slower than I might like, but we spent the time chatting, so it wasn’t an issue.

It’s kind of what I expected…

Usually when I stop at the services on a long car journey, I venture in, see a high street chain, look at the prices and then walk out.

Well at least I managed to stretch my legs. Sometimes though I am known to order a coffee.

On my most recent visit to Membury Services, I decided I would buy a coffee, and went to Starbucks. I am actually not a great fan of the flavour of Starbucks coffee, but with no choice, I ordered a flat white.

flat white

I had quite low expectations, so in the end I quite enjoyed the coffee. It was kind of what I expected.

Though I have visited the Membury Services many times it was only last year that I realised it was next to an airfield, when I heard and then saw an airplane coming into land.

Though checking Wikipedia I realise that it was only more recently that aircraft have started flying from the airfield, as the airfield was closed in the 1960s with the construction of the M4. The services are located on the original site of the RAF Membury. The base was opened in 1942 and was used by the RAF and the USAAF.

That was a nice coffee

coffee

On my way to our office in London I was walking down Gray Inns Road. Before it meets High Holborn, and up the road on the corner with Baldwin’s Gardens, is a great little cafe called Catalyst.

I have been here before and really enjoyed the coffee I had. So having some time before my first meeting of the day, and it been a really long time since I had coffee, I decided to stop and have a flat white.

The food looks really interesting, but also seems a little pricey compared to the coffee. So not feeling hungry I had the coffee,

They certainly take care when making the coffee, and they will bring it to your table, so I took a seat and waited. They did initially confuse me with another order, but then my flat white arrived it looked perfect.

Now I am not sure if I left it too long, but I was distracted by my laptop, so it wasn’t that hot. Now I think it might have been me, rather than them. Even so it was a really nice coffee.

Nice coffee

Working in London, I popped into Fernandez & Wells on Denmark Street for a quick coffee. Though I like working in our offices, sometimes working in another place, with decent coffee, is a nice alternative. I was walking to our offices, when I decided that I wanted a coffee and though I passed a few places, I didn’t fancy going to a chain like Costa or Caffe Nero and London is full of independent and small chain coffee places.

I did at first walk pass Fernandez & Wells, but then did a double take and walked back, looked in and decided, though I didn’t want any food, but did want coffee.

Fernandez & Wells has a few branches across London. This branch is described as a trendy hangout, okay so they let me in. The wooden floors and furniture create a nice warm ambience and environment. There was a warm welcome and I quickly placed my order for a flat white. What I did like was that I didn’t need to wait at the counter for my coffee, I could take a seat, get the laptop out and get on with some work.

The coffee arrived speedily and looked great. It also tasted great.

Flat White

This is a lovely café and the food menu looks interesting too.

Nice coffee

Wanting a coffee and somewhere to sit to do some work, I wanted to try something other than the usual high street chains such as Costa and Caffe Nero. The 58 High Street branch of Taylors in Oxford, looked nice and inviting, and the sign said they had seating inside. Great I thought, time for coffee.

I asked for a flat white and a croissant, which was part of a morning offer. Alas it was only after I ordered that I realised that the so called seating was in fact some stools at the back of the shop. The coffee was going to come in a paper cup, rather than china, and the croissant in a paper bag! Not quite what I wanted or was expecting. I had to ask if they had butter for the croissant, they gave me margarine… that isn’t butter.

The service was excellent, very friendly, warm and welcoming. Not over the top, nor in your face. You were made to feel welcome and important to them as a customer and then they ensured you knew what was happening and when. This is important if you are unsure of the process of ordering, receiving and other stuff with coffee.

So I got out the laptop and got working, the coffee was actually rather good, and the croissant was fresh.

I think this is an ideal place for takeaway, but isn’t a place to sit and do stuff whilst drinking coffee.

Good flat white

I had some time to kill before a meeting in London, needing coffee and a place to catch up with some work. A few of the places I had see in the Clerkenwell area were busy, so pleased to see there was some room in a branch of Benugo. It was early afternoon, so there was no queue and I ordered a flat white. The flat white looked and tasted great. The seating wasn’t very comfortable, but even so it was adequate for catching up with stuff.