Coffee Shops, where would we be without them?

They are a fundamental part of communities and imperative to our local economy.  It’s a competitive business and the good ones must be on top of their game.

coffee shops are great

coffee shops are great but are they ruining our waistlines?

The concept behind coffee shops is quite a simple one: fresh, locally produced, home baked products, and the aroma of good quality coffee!  If you’ve nailed that, you’re in business.  I’m always on the hunt for a new one but some of the top notch coffee emporia are:  Village Teapot, Arksey.  It’s a quaint church hall spruced up in shabby chic decor, using only fine bone china for that quintessential English effect.  The food is obviously home cooked/baked and of superb quality. What more could you need?

The Village Teapot Arksey

The Village Teapot Arksey has lots of fans

Great coffee, four paws and a walled garden. Shouldn’t all coffee shops be very special?

Victorian tea rooms Doncaster

Victorian tea rooms Doncaster also home to great coffee

The other one I really like is the Victorian Tea Rooms tucked away behind St. Catherine’s Hospital on the Tickhill Road, Balby.  This place is a hidden gem.  I prefer to keep away from the big chains and promote the local businesses.  I usually find they give a more personal experience.  With massive slabs of cake, fresh panini and very generous baked potato dishes it’s no wonder they are so busy. Set in the beautiful grounds of Woodfield Park and its cute walled gardens it’s a great place. It’s also dog friendly too as long as ‘all four paws remain on the floor!’

Coffee shops enhance social activity but they also provide a place to relax if it’s just you.

I usually ‘coffee’ alone, find a seat at a window and just watch the world go by.   I don’t think they’ll ever be a dying trade and they don’t seem to evolve much either.. so long live good old fashioned tea/coffee and cake.. (in fine bone china of course).

Samantha Largent

Are coffee shops too much of a good thing?

On the other hand coffee shops have become ubiquitous. We are consuming an enormous number of additional calories without even remembering. It’s so easy to expend 168 calories plus on a coffee. Add a cake, biscuit or whatever confection happens to be knocking about and you are working your way towards 500+ calories for a snack. In fact you are positively encouraged to have something more than coffee. I have lost count of the number of times people ask me ‘would you like something else with that?”

Many of the chains have helped increase the litter and also plastic, cardboard use  by a huge amount. Of course that’s not just about coffee shops. But in the UK, we throw away an estimated 2.5 billion disposable coffee cups every year. We all think they are “recyclable”, but in the main, only a very small percentage is managed sustainably

I have to ask, when did our lives change in such a way that walking around with a take away coffee has become so normal? Is it equivalent to a dummy or a bottle? Take time, sit down, have a mug of coffee at home then go to work. Do we really need so many cups of coffee in a day?  However, if this is a behaviour we can’t or simply won’t change then we need to work harder on the type of cups we use.

What about  a CupClub concept?

This is an interesting concept. For those old enough to remember deposits on pop bottles it’s a similar concept. You join a Cup Club and in effect you rent your cup along with the coffee inside it. When you’ve finished using it you leave it at a collection point. It is then washed, sterilised and then given back to participating coffee shops. Having set up an account your coffee cup is registered to you. This is done utilising the same type of technology London’s Oyster card has employed. That means you will be texted a reminder if you fail to recycle. Not only that, if you fail to return the cup you will be charged for it.

Perhaps coffee shops should make disposable cups prohibitive.

drinking coffee should be savoured not rushed

drinking coffee should be savoured not rushed

This sounds like a smart idea and with only around 2% of people recycling cups right now for one reason or another it’s another approach that might work. Just think if everyone was charged an extra £5 for a coffee in a disposable cup, you’d soon change your habits wouldn’t you? Why don’t we bring our own insulated cup? Or does it end up like being the reusable supermarket bags that are always somewhere else when you decide to go shopping?

Certainly there are some fab places to have a beverage in Doncaster. In fact Doncaster’s coffee shops seem to be thriving. However, isn’t it time we started supporting the ones that use china cups? What do you think?

In addition you might want to read the fabulous review in the Guardian of Clam and Cork in the Doncaster Market. Also their long piece about Amazon Vs The High Street is also a fascinating read. It’s great to see Doncaster hitting the headlines and the press being so positive. Watch this space we say!

Vivienne Neale

Let us know by contacting Good Food Doncaster and having your say about food and drink and associated themes. We’d love to hear your views.