17 January, 2013


An average trendy coffee shop makes about £3,000 a day.  Amazing isn’t it?  I mean there used to be one coffee shop in Witney a few years ago.  I remember taking a friend there and her laughing at its hard wooden dining chairs, it was a café not a “coffee shop”.  In the past two years the market for designer coffee has grown exponentially here and across the UK.  We now have Costa and Café Nero, both bursting with relaxed chatty caffeine-fuelled customers. Plus four independent ones, that’s not counting the likes of M&S opening them instore  and various pubs also selling posh overpriced coffee.  This is big business and it is an entirely created need.

They used to run a coffee shop in the Church on the corner. I went in there once with the kids, I couldn’t face dragging them back across town to Costa.  I remember watching a disabled woman on sticks walk up to the door, when we got there behind her, she held it open for us.  Sweet eh?  The coffee shop was in the church hall,  square formica tables with table cloths, laid out with little flower arrangements on each one.  There were even some toys out for the children to play with.  The other customers were older, some disabled, some disenfranchised and those ever-so-kind churchy ladies bustling about.  I remember I ordered 1 coffee, 3 juices and 3 large slices of sponge cake.  I handed my tenner over and there was a flurry of anxiety behind the tea hatch, as two grey haired ladies looked in the pale green saucer they called the “till”.

“We really sorry, but we don’t have nine pounds in change”, they said.

Ten seconds later, when my mind had processed  I was being charged £1 for all that,  I offered to leave and get change to pay them.  By this time though, the kids were halfway through their cakes and starting to bicker over who was going on the ride-on tractor first.  It wasn’t going to be easy to get out.

“Don’t worry, bring it next time.”  They said.

As I turned to sit down, still incredulous that I could get all the free cake I wanted, so long as I never came back.  I realized that the disabled woman on sticks was still waiting patiently behind me.   And when she paid for her cup of tea, she handed over an extra pound and paid for our coffee and cakes too.

You know, that never happened to me in Costa.

Getting dressed can be difficult when you’re on crutches.

One Response to “Coffee”

  1. Tonyony Says:

    I enjoyed this piece, really nicely written. Church coffee shops are hidden gems – lovely old ladies and excellent cake too!

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