Gyre & Gimble. 2 Cornwall Place, The High Street, Buckingham, MK18 1SB

16 Dec

As with all things in nature, adaptation is the key to survival. The Coffee Vagabond as shifted focus to become a barista-for-hire/training venture. In it’s place as a shop, Gimble and Gyre has apparated.

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Gyre & Gimble is a joint venture between Elliot Wallis of Monkshood Coffee and myself, to create a stand-alone fixed coffee shop in North Buckinghamshire.  We opened our doors yesterday (Dec 15th 2012) upon the market town of Buckingham and went straight into full service.

We are using Jabberwocky from HasBean as our house espresso blend and be grabbing different coffees from roasteries all around the country as time goes on, for guest espressos and filter coffees.

There will be Postcard loose teas for those that prefer a lighter drink and we’re also featuring Kocoa collection’s Single Origin Hot chocolates.  In the coming weeks produce from the surrounding area will be filling our shelves, including locally pressed apple juice and freshly-baked cinnamon buns, cakes and pastries.

Away from the products, we’re also very pleased to offer a completely different decor than we’ve experienced else-where, our obsession with Victoriana and steam-punk has heavily influenced the design and ambience we’ve tried to create within the shop.

It’s still early days and there is plenty more to add to the shop as time goes on, but we’re both very excited about Gyre and Gimble and will be here for time to come.

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Gyre and Gimble on Twitter @mrgyre_mrgimble

Gyre and Gimble on Facebook: Gyre and Gimble

 

Projects and projections

21 Sep

Yes, it’s been a while since I posted. Self employment and working with others has left me with little time to blog and a good chance to work out thoughts practically rather than theoretically.

So, status update; The Coffee Vagabond (which evolved from Peel & Peel) came to a conclusion at the Northampton location in July and will be relocating soon. But in between now and then another project is keeping my attention. Pull Brew Melt the indie Coffee, Tea and Chocolate festival is fast approaching, 29th & 30th of September.

On going work with Monkshood Coffee has been fantastic and shown repeatedly that the public, when given the option will err on the side of quality and are wanting to learn about their products. In response to this enthusiasm we’ve been show Elliot and I decided that it’s time to really make something of the wider UK coffee scene as well as bringing lovers of tea and chocolate together to make it a sensory weekend.

From the outset we were determined that this won’t be a trade show. This is a public show with free entry (donations to Coffee Kids are encouraged), our goal is spreading awareness and interest in a really accessible and fun way and while we’re at it we will be raising money for Coffee Kids.

We have a raft of different forms of entertainment and education, from talks and Q&A’s to jazz bands and cellists as well as anything impromptu that comes to mind over the weekend.

All this is happening at the Waddesdon Plant Centre which is about an hour from Brent Cross by road. Check out the website or Facebook (Day 1, Day 2) for more info.

Brief show info:

Address:The Glass House, Waddesdon Plant Centre, HP17 0JW
Times: 10:00-4:30
Entrance: Free (donations to Coffee Kids welcome)

Any questions, contact me on Twitter @awlred

Sorry about that

21 Jul

Sorry about the spam post there. Shouldn’t happen again.

–Alex

The best laid plans of mice and men…

1 Jan

I know I said this last year, but I’ll say it again.  I’m gonna try and blog more in 2012.

I kept a fine roll going and made it into July but from there I did…well nothing.

Sorry.

I beg pardons but my last 6 months have been filled with resounding amounts of work and other hobbies coming to intercept my time.  As I alluded in my last post, I’ve started working at Peel & Peel Independent Coffee, in Northampton.  This has fulfilled one of my goals of last year but more on that in a minute. I also started working on a per diam basis for Monkshood Coffee, an independent mobile coffee company using (Working!) VW Campers and through them got to work at Download, Sonisphere and Bloodstock festivals, making top-notch coffee. This made me very happy. All the while continuing my daily job at The Courtyard Brasserie and convincing them that speciality coffee is the way to take that side of the business.

So, last year I made a set of goals for myself to achieve over the course of 12 months. They were

  1. Try as much coffee as possible – I could have tried more. C for effort
  2. Work towards my own operation or with people with a similar goal - This was perhaps my most coveted goal. In working at Peel & Peel I feel I’ve achieved this with bells on
  3. Share great coffee with more people and help educate consumers about what is possible Peel  & Peel definitely gives this an extra outlet, but Monkshood brought it to a whole new level. Metal people love their coffee
  4. Give the UKBC my all - Effort; yes. Timeliness; Not so much
  5. Visit a producing farm - A tall order to arrange but, one day…
  6. Blog more - Failed entirely.
So, with that in mind, a few new goals should be set.
  1. Blog More! – I couldn’t blog much less than I have in the past 6 months so it’d be hard to fail
  2. Try as much coffee as possible – I have 52 weeks in which to try as many coffees as I can.  I can feel a few coffee subscriptions coming on…
  3. Expand Peel & Peel toward becoming entirely self-sufficient and, with luck, work towards our own premises. (May take longer)
  4. Give one last crack at the UKBC whip.  – I feel this might be the last time I put myself through the UKBC, at least for a few years.

I’ve chosen these goals with a consideration to what their secondary effects will be.  Blogging makes me continually reassess and rethink concepts that I’ve held as fact, sometimes incorrectly. Tasting coffees expands my palette and makes me better at what I do. Expanding Peel & Peel is an expansion on my own goals in regard to running my own coffee shop. The UKBC forces me to assess myself as a barista and work on any bad habits I may have acquired.

A very Happy New Year to you all.

Peel & Peel Independent Coffee

12 Jul

So, I have been quiet of late, with the exception of a few brief posts and it’s because my time has been spread over a few projects and distractions to keep my time away from writing.

The most exciting distraction has been working at Peel & Peel Independent Coffee in Northampton.  Those who follow my twitter (@awlred) will know I visited this shop when it launched last September and got to hang out ith Steve Peel, the eponymous owner.  I was immensely impressed with Steve’s laid back attitude and the niche-cool of the hosting shop Retropolitain. Peel & Peel is a Saturday only pop-up and this set up allows a foot in the door to introduce great coffee to Northampton.

In April I joined the team as a co-conspirator of introducing great coffee to Northampton with the role of managing day to day running of the shop.  We’ve since moved from the fantastic Retropolitain into the brilliantly cool Spiral Archive next door.  Spiral Archive is a great independent record shop that we’re really glad to be working along side and look forward to the future, expanding and meeting the fantastic folks of Northampton and cafeinating them thoroughly.

Techy stuff; we’re running our espresso through a Rancillio 3 group lever machine and serving brewed coffee through a melitta filter, aeropress or cafetiere. If anyone is about Northampton on a Saturday then I’d love to see people coming through the door.

Peel & Peel Independent Coffee Shop
Inside Spiral Archive
24 St Michael’s Road
Northampton
NN1 3JU
Saturday; 10.00-16.00

We’re also on Facebook and Twitter

Okay, Shameless self-plug over.  But pop on by ‘kay ;)

Good things must come to an end…

4 Jul

Back in September I broached to the owners of The Courtyard Brasserie (where I work) about doing a monthly coffee evening.  After a resoundingly positive response from the monthly speciality cafetiere project I have pioneered and run I wanted to share more specialised coffee and start discussions about coffee.  This helped me realise a few issues I raised in a blog post last summer about the community lacking outside of London, and Steve Leighton said in a follow post to ‘get off your arse and make one’ which is what I tried to do…

Of the wonderful people who attended these goals were realised. We’ve had some fantastic questions asked and it was very vindicating to have people from outside coffee to be interested in coffee in a very specialised way.  We had people discussing processes, varietals, origins, organics, biodynamics, brewing techniques and a host more topics. It’s been a truly fulfilling experience and so it’s with a heavy heart I have to put them on hiatus.

Though we had a great response from those who came, unfortunately the numbers that did attend made it an endeavour that ran at a loss and so, this coupled with a widening of other commitments and distractions has lead to this decision.  It is not one I took lightly and if I had the finances to do so I would fund it and run it entirely out of my pocket.

I would like to say a massive thank you to everyone who came to the coffee evenings and supported the goals we had.  The idea is not entirely gone and I’m constantly thinking of new ways to share great coffee with people and welcome any suggestions or input.

It won’t be the last coffee event so watch this space…

Follow up to the working barista conundrum…

3 Jul

OK, so a slightly different blog post to the usual and one that shan’t be a common theme, but I felt the need to empty my mind slightly into the Internet.

That not-withstanding, Gwilym Davies made the suggestion of a working barista co-op. An idea I think is absolutely excellent.  Forgiving the logistical issues this would require conquering in order to be truly equitable, this sounds like an excellent plan.

Though I know most speciality shops don’t have profit margins as lovely as some would imagine, would there be shops willing to help get this off the ground? Would there be people willing to donate time to keeping this operating?

I would love to see someone take this idea and formulate it into a working model.  I have no knowledge of such thinks so I would willingly be a member of such a program but I would have no business in running or organising it.

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