I need a daily caffeine fix, albeit a bit of a poor excuse for a ‘proper coffee’ and not actually containing any caffeine; due to circumstances out of my control, i’m having to avoid dairy and caffeine at the moment and in doing so, i’ve discovered that it’s quite a mission to get a decent cup of coffee.
We’re currently holed up in Shaldon in a flat we’re lovingly referring to as the ‘cave of doom’, as Yannon is fully booked for the summer season so i’ve been religiously visiting all the local cafes to determine how well they cater for food allergies and i’ve also discovered which establishments are child friendly. I’ve written before about my love affair with good coffee, it comes from being friends with a top barista in Sydney who educated me about what to expect from your caffeine fix. I haven’t had the heart to tell him that I can’t have dairy or caffeine, I think he’d disown me as a friend if he knew I was ordering a ‘decaf soya flat white’!
My quest for a good dairy alternative began at The Coffee Rush Cafe (see here) where I have to admit, I was sadly disappointed. They have rave reviews on their website about their “outstanding coffee” but in my very humble opinion, it’s far from outstanding; they boast about winning lots of awards, but dating back to 2011, I wonder how relevant these are to the cafe as it is today. Firstly, it was pretty much impossible to get in there with a buggy – there’s a step up to the cafe itself and once in there, it’s very difficult to manoeuvre your way around as it’s very small and they’ve crammed the tables and chairs in. The coffee that I ordered was boiling hot and tasted burned. Sorry Coffee Rush, I won’t be visiting you again, the (understandable) scowl of contempt I got from the lady behind the counter when I ordered my ‘non-coffee’ coffee didn’t help matters either.
The second cafe was Cafe Ode in the Ness Carpark (see here). This is a very child friendly place with a grassy area specifically for children to play on – you can order from a hatch outside so no need to try and fight your way through heavy doors with a buggy, but if you do need to go inside, the space is free of clutter and easy to move around, there’s even a big wicker basket full of toys for the children to play with. The coffee is one of the best i’ve had in ages, their dairy alternative is almond milk. It’s served at a perfect temperature and the coffee, even with a decaffeinated shot, is strong and slightly bitter. The chap making it even had a go at some latte art which is pretty much unheard of in this part of the world!
My favourite place is the Clipper Cafe (see here), not just because of the coffee but because of the location. its right on the seafront, next to the beach. If you choose to sit outside you get a great view of Yannon too – look out across the water, past the boats and right in the middle of the hill is the house. The cafe itself is great if you have a buggy with you. The front doors are wide and automatic, so no scrabbling about trying to hold the door open with one foot while desperately trying to push the pram through one handed as you hold on to your toddler who’s decided that he’s going to make a run for it across the road.
Anyway, the cafe is bright, light and spacious with lots of places to sit and in no way does it feel cramped or if they’re trying to cram as many tables in as possible. The seating area outside has a canopy for when it rains or if you like to sit in the shade. The coffee itself is made with soya milk if you go for the dairy free option and always comes accompanied by a small biscuit, which annoyingly I can’t eat, but they get stored away in my bag to act as a bargaining tool for when aforementioned toddler needs bribing away from the park. The milk is smooth and heated to a prefect temperature and the coffee is slightly bitter, but not at all drying to the palate.
There are, of course, lots more establishments that i’m going to have to visit in the name of research, but as yet, these are the three I felt the need to write about.