Friday, 11 February 2011

The Perfect Place

After years of cafe managing and being a barrista, it's not surprising that I am quiet particular when it comes to cafes. Added to the fact that I now have children there are quiet a few boxes that need to be ticked for me to want to spend time in one.

There are loads of cafes within a five minute drive or our house but so far very few of them are places I want to sit and relax for a bit. Normally I either get a takeaway or we drink as fast as we can and get out.

Today I went to a newish cafe just up the road. It was wonderful and ticked most of my 'needs' as a place to take the kids and relax over a coffee. Hamish and I spent 45 minutes there this morning. We could have happily spent a lot longer but I needed to get home and get some work/housework done. It's my favorite sort of cafe as it's set within a second hand bookshop. It's got big doors that lead outside to a park (although you can't see the equipment from inside). The coffee was a bit average, but I'll forgive that as it's a new cafe and maybe he's still learning and it had everything else on my essentials list in spades.

Here are my top 5 essentials for a good coffee shop:

1. A good vibe - You would think being the fussy coffee drinker I am that the coffee would be first but it's not. If the place doesn't have a good vibe, I'm not interested. It's rare that we go out to cafes and the vibe is what makes it feel like a treat. It's what entices me to spend money on coffee that I could just as easily make at home.

2. Good coffee - It's a given that I'm not paying $3 for a cup of bad coffee, when I can make myself a lovely cup of coffee at home. But sometimes (as with dinner) it's just so luxurious to have someone make it for you.

3. A well stocked kids area - Most cafes in our area have some sort of kids area. To often these are a crate of broken toys with a few books that have 1/2 the pages ripped out. If your going to try and have a cafe that is kid friendly you need to have decent toys and books and preferably some coloured pencils and paper. The cafe today was perfect. They had a little nook full of second hand kids books that were for sale and a big tub of toys that were a. Not broken and b. Didn't make any noise (also quiet vital as the vibe of a place can be ruined with toys that make buzzing sounds or require the kids to bang shake or click to play with)

4. Good music - If your playing to much classical or Brittany or even to much chillout I'm not interested. I also don't want to be listening to talk back radio or top 40. Today's cafe had one of the local radio stations play for a bit, which was great but then seeing as they also have secondhand CDs for sale they alternated between some of them as well.

5. Friendly staff - let's face it working in, managing or even owning a cafe is not rocket science. It's a job that requires a high level of customer service. The better this is the more likely I (and other customers) will be to come back. Again, to often I find cafes are filled with hipster staff that act like they are 'to cool' to serve you with a smile.

As a mum, these little moments that I get to just chill out outside of the home are few and far between. I'm left feeling quiet inspired that there is somewhere within relative walking distance that I can envision relaxing with a cuppa and a good book while the boys are equally enjoying themselves.

Watching - New eps of Big Bang, Being Human and old eps of Fringe and Vampire Diaries.

Listening - Still got Hottest 100 2010 on rotation.

Reading - Catching up on some blogs I follow and/or playing with the iPhone and some new apps. (I know that's not reading but it's taking up my usual reading time)

State of mind - Relaxed but busy. (playing with apps and drinking coffee isn't all I do you know :)

2 comments:

funkylamb said...

Air-conditioning is fast becoming a significant factor in my calculations on the 'perfect' cafe.
Would love to join you for a coffee at such an establishment, are you free any time this coming week?

Wondering Willow said...

Yep, especially these last few weeks Air-Con has felt like a must. :). I don't have any plans this week. I'll txt you and we can make a coffee and cake date !! Xx

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