Saturday, 11 February 2012

Doddington Hall

Doddington Hall is a Lincolnshire
Stately Home, complete with requisite car park, visitor centre and farm shop/gift shop. There's a decent range of local produce; fruit, veg, cheese, plum loaf etc. This is a good thing. A very good thing. Lincolnshire is a magnificent farming county and its food is as good as anywhere else you will find.

Tucked away at the back is the cafe, a modern-looking canteen built as an extension to an old barn. It's dominated by a huge 3 group La Spaziale machine, so I'm having a double macchiato and let's see what it's like!

They're using a Cafe Direct blend, so it's Fairtrade and Rainforest Alliance certified, which is good.

The crema is a dense golden layer with a rich sweet flavour an the sip is good. Rich and nutty with a smoky finish. It's undoubtedly a good espresso.
Unfortunately, what lets it down is the milk. They're still serving old school cappuccinos with stiff dry foam piled high on top of the espresso , and the macchiato is similar.

So this offers me a dilemma. I've had a good espresso, but I know they could be brilliant here with just a very little tweaking. But how will they know if I don't tell them? I don't work here, I have no place telling them how to improve their business. I'm no Gordon Ramsey!

My answer, of course, is to do nothing. They must have regular customers who like their coffee this way, so there's no incentive to change what's being done.

This brings me to the point (yes, there is one.)

Do you prepare your drinks the way you KNOW they should be, or do you do what your customers ask, expect or demand? I've heard stories of baristas refusing to use syrup because it ruins the flavour. Are they right or wrong?

I'd love to hear your views on this - where do you stand on this debate?

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