Welcome Return

A few days ago, I returned to one of my favourite Leicester coffee outlets from several years ago, St Martins Coffee Shop. It was lovely to be there again although many of the faces have changed. It’s been a popular venue for some time, it’s reputation built on great service and good, good products. 

This time around I settled on a regular cappuccino, loaded with chocolate flakes, it was pure comfort drinking, an indulgence that laid waste to my abb crunch routine, some hours earlier:). 

The relaxed atmosphere was easy to hook into, and it made me realise how much I have missed coming here. Still highly recommended, the decor is bright and modern, great place to relax or my case, write and blog. 



Writing in the balcony of St. Martins, Leicester, enjoying a regular cappuccino. 


Just Walking In The Rain

Having been holed up for most of the week due to the crappy climate, I had to get out today before I went nuts. 

Mall week I’ve been grinding beans at home from various outlets, enough to accommodate my six to eight cups per day, but the time had come for somebody else to prepare the brew, so I pitched up at 200 Degrees, ordered a decaf cappuccino, sat down at one of the spacious tables, and marvelled at the Swan froth sculpture, that adorned the brim. 

This small luxurious moment was most welcome, and it was superb. Might stay for another, oh what the hell....



Coffee at 200 Degrees, complete with froth swan sculpture. 


Coffee At The Museum

The wife and I embarked on a longish walk today, dropping in first at the New Walk Museum, to make a donation to the ‘Save The Hogarth’ painting for Leicester. 

By the time arrived I needed a caffine fix, but opted instead for a decaf Latte, which accompanied with a mighty fruit laden flapjack, gave me a sugar rush at light speed. 

The last time I was here the coffee (Americano), was less than average. But this latte was a cast improvement. It’s  Costa franchise, not an independent, but nevertheless, it was a pleasurable if not memorable coffee moment. 



Decaf latte with the tail end of a delicious flapjack at the New Walk Museum, Leicester UK. 

In The Chain

Leicester UK can boast some of the best independent coffee outlets I’ve ever been to. So why would Cafe Nero, who has several outlets in the city, choose to open another one in the city centre? Simple, demand.

i went for the first time recently, to this prime location newbie, and was pleasantly surprised by the quality of the service and the product. This was early morning and there was a sizeable que, waiting for their various preferences. I was served swiftly and with good manners. 

Time will tell of course, but with the ever increasing student population, mostly from overseas, I doubt that places like the new Cafe Nero will have a short life span. 

Cafe Nero is located on the corner of Silver Street and High Street.


Very nice interior design at the new Cafe Nero in Leicester, UK


Sunday Best

I can Remember a time when next to nothing opened on a Sunday, those bleak days came flooding back today as I sat in 96 Degrees Coffee Shop today, enjoying a very strong double espresso, while making notes and enjoying the eclectic mix of clients coming and going, purchasing all manner of brews to keep the biting wind away from their bones.

The place was packed, like any working week day, but the service was fast and efficient. A larger kitchen has been constructed, I guess to accommodate a bigger menu choice. Always a pleasure to drop into my ‘local’.



My delicious double espresso. 


Good Start

I’ve had a very good start to my coffee year, visiting and spending time in several excellent coffee outlets here in my hometown of Leicester UK. But one of my priorities this year, is to drink and sample a range of brews at home, both solitary and with invited guests and fellow coffee lovers.

Another home project is to shoot more coffee studio type images, coffee packs, vessels, pots and all manner of coffee items. Busy times to come, but I’m well out of the starting blocks and on the move at a good pace. 


Platform Oasis

Two days into the new year, after a fabulous 48 hours in the city of Ely, Cambridgeshire, UK, we (the wife and I), found ourselves sitting on a freezing railway platform waiting for the train home.

i needed a double shot, badly and made tracks to the excellent little coffee kiosk, that I've used many times before, and I wasn't to be disappointed. Can't be certain, but the lady who served me seems to be the same person that has taken my cash for the last five years, when I've been in transit. 

Situations like this I find very comforting, and this place is one of the best small coffee hangouts I've ever used. The product too has always satisfied, and I honestly think I could hop the train to Ely from Leicester, just to sit here and watch the rythem of life shuffle by.  

Small coffee outlets are essential in my view to balance out our experience in consuming and experiencing the black brews. Ely is one of the best.  



Travelling Man

On my way to catch the train to Ely this morning, for a new year away trip with the wife, I grabbed a coffee and croissant at the Gourmet Cafe Bar just inside the station entrance.

served up by Richard, the coffee (regular black), was delicious with an amazing aftertaste, I wanted more but time did not allow. The croissant was fresh and tasty. Perfect for the short journey to the Fens.

Give the Gourmet a try, perfect for when you're on the go, or sit for a while and marvel at the human traffic arriving or departing. 


A Time For Sharing

Christmas has come and gone and over the period, I spend a good amount of time, grinding beans and brewing pot after pot of delicious brews with our guests. 

I also gave away a pack of beans to my relatives, from Leicester's newest coffee outlet - Leicester Coffee House, located on Granby Street. They have a fine and decent selection of beans for sale, and the atmosphere of the place is magic.  

There was also 'gifts' of coffee for yours truly, so one of our cupboards is now stuffed with different coffees from all over the world. Whether that will prevent me from early new year purchases is debatable. 

At the moment I'm very busy preparing notes for new year blogs with a huge mug made from Starbucks beans. It's 07:14 on a Sunday morning, and guess what, I need another fix.  

Happy New Year to coffee lovers everywhere. 



The Best In The West

Here in Leicester’s West End district, we are rich in the variety of shops and cafes, the best in my opinion is 96 Degrees located on Braunstone Gate. The service has always been tremendous and the variety of coffees (and teas), is tremendous. 

At the moment, they are preparing for Christmas. And as the images show they are have done a fabulous job. A more in-depth description of 96 Degrees will follow in the new year. In the meantime, if you happen to be in the area, drop in and experience a great coffee moment.  


Looking Back

When I was a boy, decent coffee shops in my home town of Leicester UK were in the minority. So when Brucciani came on the scene in the early 1960’s, it was a magnet for everybody who wanted to try decent coffee. This place in Fox Lane is very special to me, for on Valentine’s Day, 1989, I shared a beverage there with a man who was to change my life forever. His name was James, and he said something to me I shall never forget.

“Tony there’s only one thing you have to change in your life”,

“What’s that?” I enquired.

“Everything”, said James.

For that day on, I never took another drink, or use another drug. And I’ve been clean and sober ever since. This images were made almost a decade ago for a writing project, and only just been recently been found. I’ve not been inside Brucciani for a very long time, but I always stop for a moment or two when I’m nearby, and think about that day, almost thirty years ago, which led me into the world of re-hab, here EVERYTHING, got much better.

An old favourite with the Leicester Public

An old favourite with the Leicester Public

writing project 001.jpg


Today, I had the worst cup of coffee I’ve had in ages. With friends over from Nottingham, I suggested that we try ‘this place’, as I’d never been there before and from the outside, it looked quite decent. 

Never judge a book by its cover so the saying goes. Once inside I ordered a simple, no nonsense black coffee for myself, white for my friend. It was atrocious, bitter, tasted more like the crap we used to get served in in cafes, back in the 1960’s. 

I won’t name the establishment, only in private to other coffee lovers, but I will never enter this taste bud torture chamber ever again. 

Awful coffee in the heart of the city. 

Awful coffee in the heart of the city. 

Leicester Coffee Co. Cafe - Deserves Support

Me and my good friends Art and John have pitched up several times at the Leicester Coffee Co. Café in Granby Street, Leicester UK, several times since my last blog post. It was an easy decision to meet there, the product is excellent, the place itself is beautifully designed and the service first rate. Why wouldn’t we go back!.

I would urge anybody who hasn’t been to drop in and give it a try. With Christmas on the horizon, it’s the perfect place to relax either pre or post Christmas shopping. I’m heading there this coming Friday morning to try one or two amazing brews, relax and to do a little work on my iPad.

Go on, treat yourself to some delicious coffee (or tea).

My good friends John and Art enjoying delicious coffee at the Leicester Coffee Company Café.

My good friends John and Art enjoying delicious coffee at the Leicester Coffee Company Café.

New Coffee Outlet In Leicester UK

There is always for me, a delight in discovery. So when I found out that an old bar had been gutted and transformed into a new coffee outlet I headed straight for it. The Leicester Coffee House serves up a delicious brew, and well positioned to catch the footfall between the town centre, and the railway station, a few minutes away on London Road. It’s smallish’ but very comfortable and very welcoming. I like the sparse decorations, letting the coffee and free and easy atmosphere do all the talking. Highly recommended.

Sign pointing towards a great new coffee outlet on Granby Street, Leicester UK

Sign pointing towards a great new coffee outlet on Granby Street, Leicester UK

Inside Leicester Coffee House

Inside Leicester Coffee House

Clean and Neat.

Clean and Neat.

Taking time out to enjoy a delicious coffee in a new outlet

Taking time out to enjoy a delicious coffee in a new outlet


On Bank Holiday Monday, I needed to get away from home for a while. So packing my journal and Kindle Fire, I walked into Leicester City Centre and made my way up Granby Street to the BRU Coffee outlet. Sitting inside with a medium Americano, waiting for a good friend, I noted down just how at home I feel in the popular coffee culture of the 21st century.  

As the traditional pub continues to die (quickly) in this city at least, the coffee outlet thrives and since retiring in 2013, I’ve immersed myself in the culture. So many conversations about books, life, politics etc, over one or two cups of the ever expanding range of brews. Occasionally, i have (dare I say it), tea, but not that often I have to admit.  

I love this life, and feel much more in tune with daytime coffee drinking than ever I did in a pub or club from times past.  



Bru Coffee Shop, Leicester UK, on Bank Holiday Monday, August 2018

The Smell Of The Pack.

There is nothing for me, that’s quite as addictive, as that moment you open a new pack of coffee and/or coffee beans. It’s indescribable sometimes, its an experience one has to enjoy for themselves. Most of my ‘fixes’ are in the kitchen at our home in Leicester UK. An image can’t come anywhere close to capturing that instant pleasure, but I did try! 



Freshly opened coffee. Man oh! man, that aroma. 

Home Brewing

Like millions of others, I drink and awful lot of coffee at home, and these days love purchasing, and trying different brews, different types and making coffee in a different way. This summer I have used a lot of beans, which I grind with an electric grinder, to make either a small or large amount depending on my coffee ‘mood’. The latter I will be talking about at a later date.

In our kitchen, I have a designated shelf which I keep the bare minimum for a good coffee experience, the simpler the better. Right now I have filled my ‘day to day’ glass jar with beans grown in Ethiopia, and I’m finding it rather good (but not the best) coffee I’ve tasted over the bright, warm months. I acquire my beans locally from the many coffee shops I frequent, and over time will construct my own personal guide and choice of the coffee experience in Leicester UK. 



My Shelf. The simpler the better for me.

Supply & Demand

Quite recently, we had the builders in so to speak, to transform our garage space into a utility room and small office for this writer and blogger to tap the keys at all hours. They, the builders, were here much longer than expected so after several weeks of Fair Trade news, served up in my largest cafetière, I decided to economise, and purchased two large jars of Nescafé Original. Now as a keen, retired professional photographer, I used this stuff as an ingredient for developing black and white films (I kid you not), in the process known as Cafenol processing.

As I’ve not been out shooting with my Nikon’s of late, the coffee was given out in large cups, mostly with a good helping of full cream milk and three to four spoons of sugar, to the excellent team who finished after weeks of delay and bad organisation. In the meantime, I tried a few cups myself, and although it would be nowhere near my First choice for an instant moment, it wasn’t as bad as I remembered it to be. I took mine black with no sugar, usually with a glass of ice water to dissipate the aftertaste. The last jar is nearly empty, so once finished, there will be no more on my coffee shelf. 

It’s not terrible my any means, but over the last 15-20 years, I’ve been exposed to so many classic coffee tastes that a jar of Nescafé Original, just doesn’t do it for me anymore. If it ever did in the first place.


Purchased from my local newsagent for an ingredient of Cafenol film developing, The Nescafé Original blend must be consumed by millions the world over each and every day. But not by me anymore.

Purchased from my local newsagent for an ingredient of Cafenol film developing, The Nescafé Original blend must be consumed by millions the world over each and every day. But not by me anymore.

Cool Running’s

I had my first iced coffee of the Summer at the fabulous Ninety-Six Degrees Coffee Shop, situated on Braunstone Gate, Leicester UK. This place is my home from home, I write here, edit images, here but more often than not just hang out and watch the world go by.

Iced Coffee is fairly new to me. I can’t quite remember where and when I tasted the cool brew first, but it was than a decade ago. Now I’m hooked, and this one shown here, served up by employee Hazel, was so delicious, it nearly went down in one gulp. Happily I did make it last awhile, and was very tempted to try another. Many more to come I fear, but hey, this is an exceptionally hot summer. 




The Lure Of The Coffee Shop

These days, a new coffee shop opens somewhere in the world every week. In the UK, the coffee explosion is something I never thought I’d ever see in my lifetime. As pubs close, another outlet opens and for me, more the merrier.

I’m a regular user of both independent and chain coffee outlets, and here in Leicester UK we have a good and varied selection to choose from. Come with me then on my journey into the heart of the coffee revolution, here in my hometown and further afield. I will be writing and inviting comment about the culture of coffee, and making comments about my many homes from home.