Tag Archives: Tea

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.


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.


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

Cafe Review; Tea Monkey

6 Apr

A few weeks ago I saw a new name sign appear over a long unused unit in the Milton Keynes shopping centre. I was excited to see a branding I was unfamiliar with ‘Tea Monkey’. After a little homework I discovered they were a new brand with the Milton Keynes store being the launch pad.

Tea monkey are a new shop that is launching themselves toward the coffee shop faithful and offering a huge range of teas. From english breakfast to Oolong mystere (a delicious blooming White tea).

They are located in Midsummer Place, from the outside there is a covered seating area and stands out boldly from the bank’s which are on either side of it and the high street chain clothing stores opposite.

Upon entering you are surrounded by earthy brown, lime green walls and crisp white surfaces, which is very refreshing compared to a lot of places which try to go for the homey feel by using only warm colours and also makes the shop feel very vibrant. A truly extensive menu of tea is made less intimidating by very friendly staff who seem really passionate about their tea.  The view out through the huge glass frontage is of the rest of the shopping centre but between them is a old and majestic acorn tree which makes it seem much more picturesque.

On the three visits I’ve made so far i have tried three different teas and they are all delicious. All the tea is served in beautiful glass ‘la cafetiere’ tea pots which let you watch the tea brew and in the case of the blooming teas then it really is a treat. A very nice touch is the white and green teas are served in double walled glasses and the black teas are served in porcelain cups.

Tea at Tea Monkey
Silver Needle white tea with a Malteaser Cup cake

The other thing to check out is the cakes. All the cakes are made fresh and in house. I’ve sampled their blueberry and malteaser cupcakes aswell as the house cupcake. All were light and fluffy, the chocolate ones were balanced perfectly in flavour without being so light in flavour as to be wanting but so much as to be over powering. The butter cream on them were all different but absolutely perfect. It would be a huge shame to miss out on these.

I haven’t sampled the coffee and feel it would be unfair to judge them on it as it’s not their speciality.

A few other things to point out, the shop is very spacious and not over-furnished, a nice touch compared to some places which try to cram in as much seating as possible. The staff are friendly, helpful and seem to care about what they’re doing and check to make sure everyone is happy.  I over-heard that the weekend was very busy and the service slowed down while they found their feet but lessons were learned, after all it was their first weekend, but if you are to visit on the weekend perhaps it would be worth preparing to wait for a little while.  On the far wall are a row of iPads with internet connection which are free to use, this is a lovely touch!

All in all it’s a very refreshing shop to visit.  Gorgeous teas with beautiful cup cakes and friendly staff.  It’s very nice to have something unique in Milton Keynes Centre and gives me a reason to go there.