I can’t function until I’ve had coffee in the morning. Toddler wrangling and the nursery run are much easier with hot java in my bloodstream. Judging from the answers to the Mama Meets interviews, most of you are the same – coffee (and mascara) seems to be the main thing getting us up and at ‘em in the mornings.
I’m a bit of a coffee nerd (afraid there’s no instant at ours). If you’re going to drink coffee every day, why not spend a little extra and transform it from meh into treat? There’s some great coffee shops and even a couple of roasteries in the Tunbridge Wells area, so getting your caffeine fix is also a good way of supporting some local businesses who use ethically-sourced beans and are passionate about coffee.
Here’s my local picks for your caffeine fix, plus a few places further afield in Kent and Sussex for days out...
If you want to find good coffee, look for the Aussies (and the Kiwis). Black Dog owners Matt and Amy hail from Melbourne (arguably the world’s best coffee city) and have been serving luscious flat whites to the Wells since 2010. They use Monmouth Coffee and also place orders for beans or ground for you to use at home. This Camden Road café is quite small – there’s room for a buggy by the first table near the door, or by the stools in the window, but I often get a coffee to go instead. It’s a good spot for older kids and has a children’s menu.
Fine Grind at the bottom of Tunbridge Wells High Street also serves excellent coffee. Owner Matt has spent a lot of time in New Zealand and all the staff are trained by antipodean baristas (do you sense a theme?). They use single-origin coffee from Horsham Coffee Roasters in Sussex, and you can also buy beans to take home. I’ve always found Fine Grind very welcoming to small people, and although it’s not huge, there’s room for a buggy or two.
Perk and Pearl is on Grove Hill Road just up from Hoopers and the station. If you’ve never noticed it, do pop in next time you’re in that part of town. It’s a small shop selling speciality coffee, tea, chocolates and coffee-making equipment – perfect for presents. Owner Joe and his staff are friendly and keen to chat coffee, and Perk and Pearl also has its own signature blends which you can buy from the shop, or try at some of the local restaurants and bars it supplies.
Flimwell: Bean Smitten Roastery. Did you know that there’s a coffee roastery just outside Tunbridge Wells (near Bedgebury Pinetum)? Neither did I, until recently. Bean Smitten supplies lots of local shops and cafes, and you can buy bags of its ethically-sourced, single estate coffees online.
Brighton: Small Batch Coffee. Brighton’s coffee scene is thriving and there’s a whole handful of hot spots to try. I’ve picked Small Batch because it’s a mini chain in Brighton and Hove, so it’s easy to find one wherever you are in the city.
Rye: Edith’s House. This is such a sweet spot on Rye’s main drag, styled to look like a granny’s living room. The cakes are ginormous, and the coffee – made with London’s Climpson and Sons – is always excellent.
Mamas: Go forth and caffeinate!