Cafe Royal @ Nelson street Newcastle

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IMG_0082.JPGTuesday 2nd December we took a trip to Cafe Royal on Nelson street, the building looks really nice from the outside and was pleasant once you got in. The place was packed and there were plenty of staff serving. The cakes looked nice, and as usual we were trying the flat white.

You will see from the scores below how we rated it

Taste 6/10

Flavour 5.5/10

Aroma 4/9

Temperature 2.5/3

Appearance 1.5/6

Consistency 2.5/3

Smoothness 6.25/9

Total 28.25/50

IMG_0058.PNGSo this scores 3 beans on our scale

This was a slightly above average coffee that was pleasant but had little depth to the flavour and not much to really set it apart from the national chains that have been middle of the road. It was also disappointing that there was not any latte art or design on the coffee, we saw other coffees with this on but not ours, so the staff were not consistent when making the coffees

So this is an average Coffee at an reasonable price, call in if your passing by but don’t go out your way

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Flat Caps Coffee Ridley place – Is this the best in Newcastle?

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IMG_0077.JPGThursday 25th November we took a trip to flat caps coffee on Ridley place. It’s slightly bizarre going into a shop selling dream catchers and fairy things looking for coffee, but the in the search for good coffee these things have to be done. Just inside the Elula shop you go down a spiral staircase and it transforms into a coffee shop. The place a quirky with each table named but is really welcoming

As usual we were reviewing a flat white, but as Joe the owner knows is stuff and likes to serve coffee in a variety of ways so we tried a syphon coffee as well, we tried the Escocia which is a coffee from El Salvador by Has Bean Coffee. Some of us are not really into black coffee but the syphon coffee was really enjoyable. Smooth and crisp and almost tea like, we will definitely try one of these again

IMG_0245.JPGSo for the flat white we tried Nourega again from El Salvador by Has Bean Coffee, the scores were

Taste 8.5/10
Flavour 8/10
Aroma 5.5/9
Temperature 3/3
Appearance (design on top) 6/6
Consistency 3/3
Smoothness 8.5/9

Total 42.5/50

IMG_0060.PNGSo this gets 5 beans on our scale and nudges into the lead by 1.25 points

This is a sweet floral coffee with a hint of bitterness also a nutty earthy flavour. Obviously Joe Freshly ground this and it had the perfect amount of milk and temperature.

So all there is to say about the flat white from Flat Caps, is when you have an award winning barista who is passionate about coffee you know you are going to get a good cup. You go in expecting a Bentley and you come out knowing you have been giving a Bentley.

Seek out Flat Caps Coffee when you get a chance it’s worth it.

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Geek retreat @ Grainger street Newcastle

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IMG_0074.JPGThursday 20th November we visited geek retreat on Grainger street. This was not on our original list as it was not open when coffee ninja first started, but after walking passed it a few times we thought we would give it a go. This place serves coffee, limited food and snacks, this is also a shop that sells comics and games and if you want there is plenty of space to borrow a game and play while you have your drink. As usual we were reviewing a flat white, which was a slightly expensive £2.90

Taste 4.25/10
Flavour 4.75/10
Aroma 2.75/9
Temperature 2/3
Appearance (design on top) 0.5/6
Consistency 1.5/3
Smoothness 3/9

Total 18.25/50

So this gets 2 beans on our scale

IMG_0057.PNGOverall we thought that the flat white was too milky and the milk was not really frothed and way too big a cup for a flat white. The coffee itself did seem to have some some flavour, but there was too much milk to really appreciate this. It was inoffensive but we thought it was slightly expensive. It possible that some of the staff in the shop or more geek than barista and with a bit training their coffee making skills may improve.

IMG_0075.JPGThe best way would be to compare this is to the game monopoly, the coffee is definitely not the Mayfair, more like Pall mall but paying the Mayfair prices, so probably not the best value for what you get.

If you are a bit of a geek who likes comics or games this place is worth a visit, but based on our visit don’t go out the way for the coffee

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AMT Coffee @ Central station Newcastle

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18th November we took another trip to central station to go to one of the remaining coffee outlets that we have not been to. This time it was to visit AMT which is on the main concourse in the station. As mentioned in previous reviews of central station it looks great now that they have done some redevelopment. AMT do not advertise a flat white on the board, but this is standard for most places that serve coffee, we asked and they said yes they can do one. Unfortunately that is where the positives end

You will see from the scores below how we rated the flat white

Taste 1.5/10

Flavour 1.5/10

Aroma 2/9

Temperature 0/3

Appearance 0.5/6

Consistency 0.75/3

Smoothness 2/10

Total 8.25/50

So this scores 1 bean on our scale

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As you can see we thought that this was a really poor flat white, far and away the worst we have tried so far. The main comments were that it had a burnt woody taste with few redeeming points. The milk was far far too hot, one of the ninja’s ended up with a burned lip, An other had a skin form on the top of the coffee/milk, I can’t say I have ever seen this on a coffee. The milk also tasted burnt

The only positive point we could find was that the disposable cups were really good and insulated as the cup did not feel too hot despite the heat of the coffee.

To summarise I would say this coffee is like a second hand car that looks good from the outside, but once you get it home you realise that the whole underside is rusty and the engine in shot, only one place for the car and that’s the scrap yard.

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AMT’s philosophy is ‘the real coffee connoisseurs know that whenever they see the original, distinctive, AMT coffee bar, they will be served the best coffee in the UK’ unfortunately on this occasion they did not deliver.

* Disclaimer – coffee ninja set out to find the best flat white in Newcastle, we are here to inform and advise, but recommend people make up their own mind. We are reviewing based on our opinion as a group and it is only our opinion. This was reviewed at the Newcastle branch in central station and no other store .

Coffee Ninja the ratings so far

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Based on the bean and £ criteria recently added I thought I would summarise the places that we have visited and reviewed so far for flat whites

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9bar Coffee Grey street 41.25 out of 50
Lola’s Coffee @ central station 40 out of 50
Olive & Bean 40 out of 50
Central Bean Coffee House Newcastle 39.5 out of 50
Pumphrey’s @ Grainger market 39.5 out of 50

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Harvest canteen – OCC Jesmond 37.5 out of 50

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Starbucks Neville street 26 out of 50
Filmore & Union @ central station 25.5 out of 50
Costa @ central station 25.25 out of 50
Caffe Nero express @ central station 24.5 out of 50

£
Olive & Bean £1.69
Lola’s Coffee @ central station £2.00

££
Caffe Nero express @ central station £2.25
Central Bean Coffee House Newcastle £2.25

£££
Pumphreys @ Grainger market £2.30
Costa @ central station £2.40
Filmore & Union @ central station £2.50

££££
9Bar Coffee £2.70

The ratings for the coffee and price

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Ok so this is not a review but it is how we will be adding to our ratings going forward.

Obviously we be will rating the coffee using beans rather than stars. It will use the totals that we give in our review

So these are the ratings for the coffee are below

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0 – 9 This is barely coffee, instant may be better

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10 – 19 This is below average, there is better coffee out there

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20 – 29 This is average, this will give you the coffee fix if your passing and is ok but don’t go out your way

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30 – 39 This is a decent coffee, seek out this place if you get a chance

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40 – 50 This is an excellent coffee, go out your way to try this place and you won’t be disappointed

We have also rated the coffee based on price, the ratings are based on the prices in the Newcastle area.

£ – Less than £2.00 The cheapest you will find
££ – £2.01 – £2.25 Good value
£££ – £2.26 – £2.50 Average
££££ – £2.51 – £2.75 Slightly expensive
£££££ – More than £2.76 Most expensive you will find

You can use the bean rating in conjunction with the £ rating to give an overall judgement of the coffee. So for example if the price is £2.80 but has a rating of 5 beans is still probably worth a try

Costa @ central station newcastle

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7th November we took a quick trip to costa at central station, the place itself is pretty nice as most of the concessions in the station are, now that the station has been refurbished, the staff are friendly and are getting into the Christmas spirit even at the start of November

Scores for the flat white can be found below

Taste 6/10
Flavour 5.5/10
Aroma 3.25/9
Temperature 1.25/3
Appearance 2.25/6
Consistency 2/3
Smoothness 5/9

Total 25.25/50

This was a mild coffee that was slightly sweet and citrus, a bit milky and slightly too hot. Too large a portion for a flat white.

Overall as all the national chains are proving a palatable coffee that does not really set the world alight, can only be compared to a reliable mid-range family car. It will do the job and get you here without turning any heads, but next time you change your car you will probably go for a different model