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Today’s post comes from über-coffee-maker Dave Jones, Origin coffee’s head barista trainer, pictured in green above. I attended one of Origin’s coffee courses (newly available to the public) at their geek-chic coffee lab in Helston last week and was bowled over by the complexities of brewing coffee but most of all by Dave’s amazingly detailist approach.

There are all sorts of things to think about like brew ratios, over-extraction, under-extraction, grind size, immersion time, saturation, freshness of beans… Ah, so that’ll be why there is so much poor coffee sloshing about, often even when the cafe has superb coffee beans to start with (talking of which, try smooth-talking Finca Los Altos by Origin, my new fave).

Don’t know about you but I’ve had enough limp lattes to last a lifetime, so without further ado, here’s Dave’s good coffee guide to Cornwall: Read the rest of this entry »

origin coffee cornwall designs

Origin, Cornwall’s favourite coffee (based in Constantine but moving to Helston to accommodate big new roaster), has started producing limited-edition coffee bags for the Seasonals range, with illustrations by artists and designers from Devon and Cornwall; just a few hundred packets of each are printed.

My favourite design (and taste) is the Costa Rica Finca de Licho, one of their seasonal blends, with lemony accents – I ground and brewed one up this morning, and it was most spring-like. New designs out this week for June.

OK, I realise that two consecutive blog posts have contained images of bunting fluttering in the Cornish breeze – you’ll have to forgive me (particularly male readers) but really you’ve got to make hay while the sun shines.

This is a clip of Porthleven Food Festival on Saturday, taken from next to the food marquee, where I sat pint of Betty in hand, enjoying Read the rest of this entry »

When you review restaurants, as I have done on and off for ten years for Time Out in London and recently Cornwall, it is always slightly scary to sing high praises about a place or dish out a damning report on the basis of one trip.

So, even though a chef is only as good as his last meal and all that, I was pleased to see that Observer restaurant critic Jay Rayner had made it all the way to “a gnarly old building at the skinniest end of Cornwall” to write about Kota in Porthleven, as a year ago I stuck a red star on it in the Time Out Guide to Devon & Cornwall.

“I’d be happy to declare this the best Asian food in Cornwall but the distinct lack of competitors renders it a rather hollow statement; instead, I’ll just say that Kota is quietly superb,” is what I wrote. So what did Mr Rayner make of it?

Despite expecting “the fishing-village shtick: food that went from surf to plate with little interference” (fair), Rayner found that: “There is an awful lot happening on the plates here. Ingredients from a lot more than 810 miles away are chucked at the dishes, culinary traditions co-opted with enthusiasm. There is a kitchen here which has yet to meet an ingredient it doesn’t like, and for the most part it works.”

Now I want to go again, you know, just to double-check that review. Read Rayner’s full review of Kota here.

Kota restaurant, Harbour Head, Porthleven, Helston Cornwall TR13 9JA. 01326 562 407.

The axing of the railway branch line to Helston in the 60s is not something I am old enough to remember first hand but I am aware of it via family and friends, and general local lore. Which, considering it happened almost 50 years ago, goes to show how strongly the reverberations were felt.

I have a very soft spot for Helston. It’s partly because I went to primary school there but it’s not just that – it is one of Cornwall’s most attractive country towns. But it is out on a limb (the limb being the Lizard) and is clearly struggling – and you can’t help wondering what it might have been like if its transport link had not been cut. And you also can’t help wondering now what on earth they were thinking but that’s another story…

This story is a little more cheery. The Helston Railway Preservation Company succeeded in reopening a half-mile section of track from a platform at the beautiful Trevarno estate to run a very sweet heritage steam train last week.

Stuart Walker, of the Helston Railway Preservation Company, said to the BBC: “We first started thinking about reopening part of the line in 2000. In those days, it was just a small group of us meeting in a pub. Now I have to pinch myself because we have a railway station.”

According to their website, “The objective of the company is to restore to running order, and re-open as a heritage railway, as much of the old Helston Branch Line as possible. The long-term aim is to re-open a three mile section of the branch line between Nancegollan and Helston Water-ma-Trout.”

Now, you’ve got to love a station called Water-ma-Trout

PS Yes, I realise that what with this and my post about the sleeper the other day, I am showing demonstrable symptoms of trainspottery – honestly, it’s under control.

outdoor gym cornwall

As someone who guiltily neglects to use my gym contract enough (apart from the sauna!) because I always find myself wanting to be outside instead, I was quite enthused by this new National Trust outdoor gym, which blends perfectly into Read the rest of this entry »

Here’s some shaky footage from my phone of Flora Day children’s dance in Helston on Saturday – a scene of great purity, as always, before the Spingo takes its toll.

Can you spot newly reelected Lib Dem Andrew George in Hal-an-tow regalia in this vid?

p&c january header: artist’s studio Newlyn

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