Posts Tagged With: roastery

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

Artisan Roast

Visited on Broughton Street, Edinburgh

Those of you who have been following my coffee journey for a while might recall the Bruntsfield Place Artisan Roast review I posted a few months back; and the La Barantine review later in which I was planning on visiting the refurbished venue again. However, after ending up in the Broughton Street shop, I have decided not to venture to any Artisan Roasts again – their coffee simply doesn’t suit my tastebuds.

Nor does their style, on that matter.

Flat White at Artisan Roast, Broughton Street

I could repeat myself talking about the etno-hippie atmosphere inside, the open space venue with no sales-desk per se, with low and narrow cushioned benches and tables, old cafetieres and mugs serving as lampshades – and a barista that didn’t seem too bothered about anything really – the whole thing, probably to the liking of some (like the specific, very ‘statement’ kind of people that were there at the time) is certainly not my cup of tea. Not that I am a fan of over-the-top baristas, to be perfectly clear – but it is nice when they make a little bit of effort to make you feel welcome when you walk through the door, as opposed to the “do-what-you-want-I-just-make-the-coffee” attitude.

Soy Mocha at Artisan Roast, Broughton Street

Against all odds, I was really looking forward to the coffee, genuinely believing that this acclaimed roastery, complimented by so many, has to deliver – despite my past personal experience – especially that every coffee I spotted looked great with the milk steamed to perfection, and with a latte art decorating every single cup. As I took my first sip, I appreciated the delicate texture of the mix; but that bitter taste I knew from before hit my tongue straight after, and wouldn’t let go for hours to come. Again, I’d blame the espresso, but this time I’d like to say I know better to accuse the poor barista making the drink for leaving the shots out for too long or for not calibrating the machine properly – I dare say, the fault is in the beans themselves, a question which I will attempt to investigate, in comparison with other famous roasteries whose products are available in Edinburgh.

I drank the coffee quickly, but with no pleasure whatsoever; and to make it worse, the lingering bitter taste stayed with me, despite downing a glass of water soon after. On top of that, the price didn’t impress with a shocking (even for me, being used to paying 30p extra in Starbucks) 50p add on for soy milk.

Whether it’s my skewed sense of taste or too much experience in the field, I have to say Artisan Roast is a no-no for me.

Judge freely.

Categories: Chains, Edinburgh, Local | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment

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