Thomas Cowper’s 1785 poem, The Task, described ‘The cup that cheers, but not inebriates’. He was referring to tea, something the British enjoy more than any other European nation (in fact only Turkey and Iraq drink more tea than us), but can equally apply to coffee. It has not yet overtaken tea as the nation’s favourite drink, but it is certainly on the increase.
A relaxed visit to a café for a cup of tea or coffee and maybe a slice of delicious, home-made cake is one of life’s simple pleasures, and one we are finally able to indulge in again now that we are starting to get out and about. And as a popular holiday destination, Islanders have plenty of choice about where we can meet up with a friend or find a quiet table alone, perhaps to read your IW Observer while enjoying a drink and a sweet treat.
One reason why tea and coffee shops are so popular is they have an open, homely and relaxed feel, particularly when compared to outlets such as restaurants, pubs and fast-food chains. In our modern world, where many social interactions take place on-line, there is a need to create more personal moments in our day-to-day lives, and there’s nowhere better to do that. They can also play an important part in our working lives. As more of us work from home, they provide a perfect venue for an informal business meeting or a relaxing space for a lunch break.
The probability of bumping into an acquaintance, friend or neighbour in an Island tea or coffee shop is pretty high so, even if you enter on your own, you may not be alone for long. And even if you don’t know anybody, they are an easy place to start a conversation, about how busy Newport or Ryde is today – or how delicious your cake is. Our towns and villages would be much diminished without these special, sociable places that give us somewhere to go and give ourselves a little treat without spending a fortune.
The advertisers on these pages are all independent local Island businesses and they all offer different surroundings and individual character. They will really appreciate a visit from our wonderful IW Observer readers after the turmoil and difficulties of the last twelve months.