The coffee shop blog.

I've wanted to write this blog for a long time but I've just never been in the mood. However, after a week of coffee disasters and espresso stress-busters, the typical Saturday 4 o'clock latte with my mother and as I sit here on my bed with a gin and tonic in hand...I find myself in the mood. So here it goes.

As I'm sure most of you are aware I am a huge fan of drinking coffee and I particularly like drinking coffee in coffee shops or buying take-out. I own loyalty cards for practically every caffeine establishment in Britain: Costa, Santa Fe, Esquires, Starbucks, Cafe Nero, Millie's Cookies, Pret a Manger...etc. etc. There are four which I visit regularly, them being Cafe Nero, Costa, Starbucks and Santa Fe. I drink different drinks at different places according to the strength of their espresso and the taste of their blend. I figured it was only fair of me to criticise and praise the places I visit regularly as I have a pretty good idea of their good AND bad points. However, I'm planning on checking out the others because I want to be where there is good coffee (that should totally be my slogan!)

Cafe Nero has never failed to impress. They say it's 'The best espresso this side of Milan' and there is definitely some truth in that. Their lattes are the only ones in the country that can even match up to the genius of Italian baristas. Their blend is quite strong and they always put two shots of espresso in for a latte, however if you prefer a weaker taste then you just need to ask them to omit the second shot. The loyalty card is also a bonus, because after 10 drinks you get one free - this is VERY useful. The atmosphere in Neros is also great, it feels sophisticated without being daunting. I often go here with my parents because they, like me, appreciate proper Italian-tasting coffee...and they pay for me.

I must confess that my attachment to Starbucks isn't directly related to the greatness of their coffee. No it's because at Starbucks I regularly experience what can only be described as the BEST customer service and I'm particularly partial to the colour green and their red christmas cups. My favourite store is the one just next to Hard Edge in Reading - the baristas are SO SO friendly. They gave me 100 free christmas cups for our school social, they offered me the chance to try a new drink for free when I wasn't sure what to order and they gave me a free coffee for trying their new VISTA product. The Starbucks card is also one of the best shop cards invented, if you register online you can free espresso shots and syrups, which means I can get a double-shot skinny latte for half the price. They also send me lots of free things in the post. For example, they gave me 50p of vouchers for everyday in January, 10 buy one get one free vouchers in February and a free sample of their VISTA product in March. Now, if you know well, you'll be aware of my obsession with free things. So Starbucks makes me very happy. There, if I want coffee, I'll have a skinny cappuccino or a skinny-double shot latte, this is because their coffee is relatively weak. However, when you can ACTUALLY taste it, it's pretty good. They also do the BEST novelty beverages, the ginger-bread latte at Christmas is a MUST and their frappuccinos ROCK THIS WORLD.

I think Costa is overrated. Ever since it opened Bracknell it's become our church hang-out, but the coffee isn't brilliant, the customer service is lame and the shop just ain't that pretty. I guess it's just unreliable, sometimes I'll have an excellent coffee and other times it's undrinkable. Now, considering I've never had an undrinkable coffee at any of the other establishments, I'm often keen to avoid going to costa altogether. Their frescatas are good...but again that's on a good day! If it's busy I'd say boycott it, because the Costa barristas don't produce good coffee when under pressure. Also, they've only JUST brought out a loyalty card with any benefits...saying that, I have yet to discover what this actually entails.

Sante Fe is one of my favourite coffee shops in Bracknell. It's really chilled and studenty - surrounded by books with a great view of the town centre (yes a view of Bracknell can be pretty sometimes! Particularly in the sunshine) It's also independent so I feel like I'm helping to support the local community etc. They have the bottomless coffee option - perfect for revision! They also have AMAZING mugs and their drinks are really reasonable. They also do YUMMY bagels, like seriously out-of-this-world! Again, their loyalty card is similar to Nero's so they make it worth your while.

And thus ends the coffee shop blog. I hope it was informative and that you won't go away after reading this and think I'm an absolute nutter (I realise the likelihood of this is actually...very likely!) My gin and tonic finished itself a looonnng time ago and between the Costa and Santa Fe paragraphs I squeezed in a quick film sesh with the old Ann-Harrod Clague: Sweet Home Alabama and a humiliating sit-through of South Hill Park's production of Wizard of Oz. Seriously, how is my face so WIDE and so PALE? It's like a FULL moon...a MOON face. Gaaahhh. Happy bank holiday people!


  1. I love the Costa in Waterstones. Thefact that you can't understand the baristas makes it feel all the more mysterious...

  2. Hey Ellie,

    When I come to the time to open up my coffeehouse you will be one of the people that I will call in to give me objective advice about the coffee I'll be serving.

    Totally agree about Costa. Very, very overrated. I'm definitely a Starbucks girl.

    Love the blog :0)