Sunday, 19 August 2012

A review of Strangers with Coffee

Strangers with Coffee, 31 St Cuthberts Street, Wells, Somerset, BA5 2AW 

It's not often that I'm quick enough off the mark to review a place that's recently opened, so I love when it happens by accident. On our recent country jaunt staying at The Swan, Wedmore, we ventured out into the rainy west country to the 'smallest city in England' - Wells. There's a massive Cathedral (hence city status) and buzzing food/antiques market on Wednesdays and Saturdays so we had a bit of a nose round and then sought out somewhere for lunch.

A little off the beaten track, Strangers with Coffee is opposite St Cuthbert's Church which is really near to the main visitors car park. There's a big A-board pointing you in the right direction. Opening at the end of June, they were welcomed on to the local cafe scene by none other than the Mayor herself.

The first thing we noticed was that they serve Allpress espresso, from the New Zealand roastery which has more recently set up shop in London's East End. Having visited and reviewed Allpress before, I was pretty excited to see the brand outside of London and we headed inside to try it out.
Although pretty compact on the inside, there's seating outside under a small shelter with bright scatter cushions and not too many smokers. We made the most of a brief interlude of sunshine by sitting outside and, unlike in some places, were not forgotten. The friendly proprietor saw to our every need and I will from now on always demand my apple juice in a wine glass - how very civilised!

The menu was brief but balanced with a range of sarnies, salads and breakfast options. My other half went for the cheese salad sandwich, and I opted for the croque monsieur. Both were tasty, generously proportioned and came served with crisps and salad - a nice touch.

It's great to see ambitious start ups making the most of the blossoming UK cafe culture and using trendy coffee brands like Allpress to really carve out a niche for themselves in their local coffee scene. I'm sure that by serving such a great espresso brand, Strangers with Coffee has already trumped many surrounding businesses.

The quality and taste of the coffee really came through in the cappuccino enjoyed by my other half, but I must say the pour was a little 'wet' for my liking. I like my cappuccino to have a good head of foam on it to really differentiate it from a latte, and on inspection there was only a few mm skimming the surface.

All credit to Allpress for taking the leap to supply other independent coffee houses, but I guess every extension of your brand leads to a little less quality control. Strangers with coffee - hone your pouring skills and you'll do Allpress proud. For now, I'll stick with the apple juice.

Check out Strangers with coffee on Facebook.

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