THE ROAD LESS TRAVELLED
David Cunninghame explores some unexpected cafe destinations
From the remote to the unusual, three café settings you wouldn't have expected.
Here at Matthew Algie, we are proud to work with a wide variety of cafés dotted all over the length and breadth of the UK and Ireland. Given that the theme of this issue is ‘Tales of the Unexpected,’ we asked our sales team to provide us with three of their most unexpected café settings. Each one with has its own unique story and here is a window into these hidden gems.
1. The Puffer- Easdale island
If you travel about 15 miles south of Oban, venture across the 200-year-old Clachan Bridge (The Bridge over the Atlantic) and then hop onboard a three-minute ferry crossing across a 200-metre channel in the Firth of Lorn, you will find yourself on Easdale. Home to 59 permanent residents, this tiny island has no roads, no cars and is the smallest permanently inhabited island of the Inner Hebrides.
What you may not have guessed that this tiny island is also home to a café, bar and restaurant called The Puffer. A popular spot for tourists during the summer months, The Puffer has recently undergone extensive renovations following a change of ownership. Rachel and Jhennia left behind the big city life, moving from London to Easdale to begin their new dream café venture.
Even though one of the residents of Easdale has their own coffee roasting business, The Puffer has taken the decision to partner with Matthew Algie, serving its customers freshly roasted Peak & Wild.
Rachel, co-owner of The Puffer, said, “The new coffee machine and coffee have proved a real hit. We’ve even had customers coming over to the island specifically for a cup of our coffee. Word is starting to spread about the quality of our coffee offering, something that you would probably not expect from such a small, remote island.
We chose Matthew Algie not just because of the brilliant taste of Peak & Wild, but because of the extra support they could offer. The machinery, training and servicing was the ideal fit for us and our first café venture.”
Interestingly, The World Stone Skimming Championships 2022 will take place on Sunday 25 September 2022 on Easdale, so get your entry forms in and stop by The Puffer for a pre-match coffee.
2. The SeaGrown Centre - Scarborough Harbour
From a café that necessitates a journey by boat to visit, to a café that is actually on a boat. In the seaside Yorkshire town of Scarborough you will find the SeaGrown Centre aboard MV Southern Star.
SeaGrown is a rather unique business. Its pioneering seaweed farm aims to ethically produce a sustainable crop that can be used in lots of innovative ways – from biodegradable plastics to a new source of pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, textiles and biochemicals. It also produces its own range of seaweed food seasonings for those of you looking to add a new flavour or nutritional boost to your next meal.
The Southern Star is now permanently berthed in Scarborough harbour following a long and varied past as a supply vessel in the Great Barrier Reef, a survey vessel in the Falkland Islands, and even working in anti-piracy operations.
Although its days at sea may be behind her, the Southern Star is still shining bright. Aboard you will find a unique and welcoming café serving one of Matthew Algie’s triple-certified Tiko coffee, with deck and quayside seating areas.
Oliver Hughes, Matthew Algie’s Coffee Sales Manager for the region, said, “I’ve visited many interesting cafés in my time, but none can match the unique story of SeaGrown. It’s a fantastic place to visit, where you can learn exactly how a Seaweed farming business works while enjoying a great cup of coffee on Scarborough’s harbourside.”
My First Steps - Ennis, Co. Clare
When you step foot inside a children’s shoe shop one thing you probably would not expect to find is a delicious cup of coffee.
Well, if you happen to pay a visit to My First Steps in Ennis, County Clare, that is exactly what you’ll be presented with. The newly opened Baby & Children’s Shoe Specialist was looking to make its store as welcoming an environment as possible, while also taking advantage of the distinct lack of cafés within the vicinity.
What began as little more than a notion to provide customers with a cup of coffee while they tried to find the right shoes for their child, has grown into something a little more significant.
Liam Stones, Matthew Algie’s Coffee Sales Manager for the region, said, “Originally when speaking with the owner, Allison, she was looking to install a bean-to-cup machine. She wanted to offer her customers coffee while they shopped and that was as far as her planning had gone initially.
“Following some discussions with her, she realised that setting aside space within the store for a bespoke café was actually the right way to go. From there it has grown arms and legs and they now have a true café set-up, with a kitchen, a Rancilio Classe 5 machine and her staff have undergone barista training. Both the store and its café are unique. It is a great space where families can truly enjoy the shopping experience.”
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