There are few things that I find myself overly opinionated about, but coffee shops are one of them. You could say I should shout about something more important, but then you would be failing to realise quite how important these beverage stops are.
Done well, a coffee shop can be the centre of a community, a welcome slice of calm, or inspiring dose of conversation. For that to happen, the following things are non-negotiable.
Seriously good coffee
The kind that tastes good in its simplest form, without the need for extra froth/syrup/gingerbread toppings.
Surely everyone prefers to start the day with a genuine smile and a few easy words. Extra points for remembering the regulars’ usual order.
Free and easy wifi
An internet connection that really works is a rare treat. So many places promise wifi, only to offer the equivalent of a string and a tin can.
Carefully chosen music
I like to hear what different staff will choose in the morning: always a better variety than radio, with the added delight of no radio adverts. If you host live music events, all the better.
Plenty of space
Like it or not, the coffice is a real thing. The busy hum of a cafe is the best thing for focusing on a task. I like space enough that I can sit quietly in a corner and finish my thoughts, even after I’ve finished my coffee. That only works if you’re not taking up the last table in a tiny hole-in-the-wall (though I do love those places too!)
With good music, plenty of space, and friendly baristas who know the locals, you have the makings of a genuine community space.
Other seemingly-unimportant things on which I hold strong opinions: campsites, banter, and acrylic wool. I’ll save those for another day…
(This post was inspired by my favourite local: Mettricks.)
And let’s not forget Jolliffe’s.
The coffee is near perfect. But there is no music: (
Not that you would hear it over the top of his banter
And I believe now it is the go-to place for pie and mash..!
oooh I enjoyed this post, especially the music one. I would have to add some decent cake/biscuits to that also! But yes for the music, and for the space, and I quite like it to have a bit of interesting decor, not carbon copy chain style! apparently I have strongly held views too :)
It would seem so! Well justified views I’d say. Here here!
I could not agree more with what makes a good coffee shop. It’s one of those ideas I fantasize about having my own coffee shop with a twist. Maybe one day.
Oh yes, wouldn’t that be fabulous?! I often spot empty shops and plan how I would transform it in to a bookshop/coffee shop.
Bryony, I found your blog a couple months ago while attempting to find a link to your mother. Is it possible for you to pass on this message with my email and let her know I’d like to get in touch with her?
Also, I think the predilection toward appreciation of a good coffee spot must be in your genes. For many years I enjoyed hanging with your grandma Marla at the Seascape in Trinidad. She always had her journal with her too!
Hi Deborah. I’ve passed your message on. Glad to help you two get in touch!
I adore the Seascape and still dream of their blueberry pancakes by the bay.)