Posts Tagged With: mocchacino

Farrer’s Tea and Coffee Merchant

I remember when I was moving back to my old home – Windermere, and as I told everyone who asked that I wasn’t discontinuing my coffee blog, I also thought: but what will I actually review?

It turned out that in Windermere alone there was an abundance of cafes; then there was Bowness, just a stone-throw away – an obvious location for a few coffee shops due to the unquestionable appeal of the Lake. However, I didn’t expect Kendal, the biggest town in the proximity (unlike nearby Ambleside, Kendal has a train station – oh, glorious civilisation!) to have much on offer, apart from the Costa that has been there for years and some coffee shop in the Westmorland Shopping Centre, as there tends to be one, although under a different name every couple of years. Well, a lot has changed whilst I was away, is enough said.

Farrer's Tea and Coffee Merchant

Farrer’s Tea and Coffee Merchant

Now, this shop was recommended and I decided I’d visit it first before venturing to one of the few other interesting looking cafes. I had just missed the opening hours once before, and it was hard to see the interior through the small tinted glass in the windows and the stacks of tea on display – which made me doubt whether they sold coffee beans at all. Because, I have to clarify, when I heard about this place, it was because I asked about the best shop to buy beans – it was only convenient that they served coffee also.

I hadn’t, however, imagined, how big this place would turn out to be. Three storeys all together with plenty of seating – all rustic decor, a very atmospheric interior with squeaky floors and wooden furnishing and finishings. And no wonder – the shop might probably date back to the 19th century, as the founder of the independent roastery, John Farrer, established his Kendal business as early as 1819.

There even was a small bell to ring for service… I wouldn’t have noticed it, of course, if some impatient woman hadn’t rung it; there were a good few elderly couples sitting around and the flow was quite impressive for an early Tuesday afternoon. There were only two or three waitresses/assistants running up and down the stairs though, hence why I was a bit cross with the bell woman – I thought the girls deserved a bit of understanding.

Mocchacino at Farrer's

Mocchacino at Farrer’s

Considering these circumstances, my coffee was delivered very fast, within minutes of ordering – and before the bell woman received her drink, despite having ordered first, which, I feared, would have caused her even more annoyance. I tucked into my Mocchacino, which was quite big for the price. I was rather disappointed with the frothy foam on top, but the texture underneath was nice, the temperature OK for drinking and the sweetness just right after steering the layer of chocolate from the bottom of the cup. It wasn’t perfect, it lacked some special ingredient – maybe a bit more density throughout, a more chocolatey texture, than the layered brew it seemed to be. However, considering the speed of service plus the complimentary biscuit on the side (which I haven’t tasted, but it’s always a nice touch), it was definitely a pleasurable experience and one I would happily repeat again – this time to try a different version of my drink, an actual mocha (as it stands in the menu).

As for the shop itself, I would definitely recommend it, as the variety of beans is more than satisfying with coffees from all major regions and some house blends as well, all in very appealing prices; and there’s plenty of accessories and brewing equipment and even teas to chose from for a variety of customers.

To put it simply: a gem right at my doorstep.

Mocchacino: £2.15

Verdict justification: A lovely, atmospheric place with plenty on offer. Definitely worth a visit.

Categories: Cafes, Lake District, Local, UK | Tags: , , , , , | 2 Comments

Gaia Delicatessen

Another of many non-British coffee shops on Leith Walk, Gaia is primarily and Italian deli. Indeed, full of non-perishable foods for sale, such as dry pastas, fresh meats and biscotti, it certainly is the place to stock up on authentic Italian goods; not so much if you’re after authentic (read: best) Italian coffee – but it’s definitely worth a visit.

I walk past this place virtually every day on my way to town, and although it certainly caught my eye – the outer walls painted bright orange – I never thought much of it, especially not in terms of a coffee shop, despite the two give away tables outside where on any non-rainy day there would be someone sipping a cuppa. The other day I stepped in following a recommendation, and although I tried to keep my mind open, I went in with high hopes for a taste of Italy.

On the deli side this place probably doesn’t disappoint – probably, as personally I never sought any specific Italian produce and I cannot say that this place stocks it. There are, however, many items to choose from, including fresh sun-dried tomatoes, anchovies and cheeses, all on display in the glass cases, as they are also used to compose a salad or sandwich of one’s choice right on the spot.

Soy Mocchacino at Gaia

On the cafe side, well, the first thing my greedy self noted was that there weren’t many pastries available, although a bun studded with grapes stood out among the other few rolls. I stuck to the coffee, which here is called a mocchacino. I took a seat on the sofa by the window and waited for the coffee to be delivered to the table by a smiling Italian chef/waiter. There was Italian pop music on and a drawing of Sicily on the wall; the customers also looked Italian; but I didn’t feel the Mediterranean spirit as I did in Sprio.

The soya mocchacino was good; slightly on the hotter side and the foam on top was quite thick, but it was certainly of nicer texture than the coffee at Word of Mouth. It had pleasant sweetness to it to the last drop and the layers of coffee and foam worked well together. Some thick chocolate residue on the bottom suggested use of good quality cocoa – or some effort on the part of the barista to dissolve it. A nice surprise was that there was no surcharge for soy milk – and the coffee was surprisingly cheap.

Overall, Gaia Delicatessen is a place to stop by when you’re looking for a quiet retreat or a take-away beverage of better quality than your average grab-and-go stop; it’s much more value for your pocket money.

Mocchacino: 2,15

Verdict justification: Good quality coffee – but not the Italian dream I hoped for

Gaia Delicatessen, 32 Crighton Place, Edinburgh, 0131 553 7333

Categories: Cafes, Edinburgh, Local, UK | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment

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