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Back Buzz - April 12, 2014

pumping heartLeopold Kitchen, 1-3 Leopold Street, Sheffield, South Yorkshire

At some point in the past couple of years I suddenly noticed that what used to be Caffetteria is now Leopold Kitchen. Having given a favourable review to Caffetteria many years ago, I decided I'd better give the new venue a shot.

It was a lightly rainy and surprisingly brisk April day, and the cafe was half full of people who looked as if they had good jobs. I decided since it was still morning and I had yet to have my second cappuccino of the day, that I would break from my usual habit of having a macchiato and order a cappuccino. Because a double cappuccino would have been served in an overly voluminous cup I ordered a single cappuccino -- in the smaller single-cappuccino cup -- with an extra shot of espresso. I was a bit surprised at the rather steep price -- £3.05 -- but I decided not to be judgmental on the basis of price alone.

I sat by the window, a pleasant curve of glass that glides around the rounded corner cafe. I had a view across the Supertram tracks of the pointy ends of two cheese-slice office buildings, one the modern Balance and the other the Steel City House, built of classic stone.

When the barista brought my cappuccino over I was disappointed to see it covered with chocolate sprinkles which I rapidly scraped off with my spoon before they completely tainted my coffee. It had been awhile since I'd ordered a cappuccino, so I'd forgotten that in the UK, when ordering a cappuccino, one must always say "and no chocolate". But I have to admit that the coffee itself was robust and decent, even if my cup looked a bit of a mess as it sat in its saucer pool of chocolate-tainted foam. The food menu looks nice, too, with a wide range of paninis and refreshingly nonboring jacket potato fillings.

As I sat sipping my cappuccino I admired the comfy leather furniture and leather-looking wood furniture. My round table imparted a redwood glow and was textured with a pleasing faux-leather grain. Or was I thinking of alligator skin? I couldn't help picturing shoes made of this table, or perhaps a stylish lady's handbag. And the chairs are reddish wood with burnt orange padded seats, with big holes cut in the backs of them, making them appear to be objects of punishment. I could see someone's head stuck through one of those holes. All of the wood in Leopold Kitchen has such a lovely wave patterned grain I almost felt as if I were having a shipwreck fantasy.

But back to this chocolate coffee thing. Whose idea was it that every cappuccino in the country -- every classic Italian morning coffee -- should be tainted with a layer of chocolate sprinkles? When I was a young coffee drinker I used to add chocolate or cinnamon to poor quality coffee to mask the bad taste. That's what chocolate does: it covers up the taste of coffee. If your intention is a mocha, well, fine enough -- add some sugar to your chocolate covered cappuccino and you've got yourself a mocha. But I don't want a mocha -- I want an espresso drink that tastes solely of coffee. I just don't understand.

Speaking of understanding reminds me of a recent Facebook posting session from the Concrete Appreciation Society:

If pavements/sidewalks were made with rubber cement, walking would be a lot more fun.

If autos were made of rubber cement, accidents would be a lot more amusing!

SCREECH---BANG! LOL! Recycled rubber is a part of the composition of many highways and roads in the US. So what happens if you bounce a huge rubber-band ball on a recycled rubber road surface? It will bounce. And then? Bouncing persists, and as energy is absorbed,the bouncing decays until the rubber ball osculates with the pavement. Barring any external influences ideally this kissing will last until there is no temporal reality about 10^124 years. And then what? Well, then there's another "big bang", and the whole ball game starts all over again. And if somehow the signature from the previous aeon is carried forward the elements and laws of nature should be what we see in this universe. So hopefully the same varieties of concrete structures will rise again. It's a shame we won't be around to see and appreciate them. Perhaps concrete as well as ourselves will enjoy another incarnation, not to worry. You have a point. If parallel universes are only millimetres away from the universe we are experiencing, we could detect -- and appreciate -- the concrete structures of 10^124 years from now, right now. An endless amount of concrete appreciation to be experienced. In that other parallel universe, I'm just the same as I am now, but good-looking and most likely, involved somehow in maintaining the concrete structure of reality. I am not an adherent of M theory, but rather the eventual dissipation of all matter and energy -- as Sir Roger says "it just goes pop" a very long time after this the very fabric of spacetime vanishes at which point another big bang is to occur. And yes, according to the brane theorists it is about an inch from one's nose -- the other universe that is. Just think how much concrete would be damaged with another big bang.