My Perfect Coffee Shop

I’ve been around the world, well around most of America and Canada, some of England and Scotland and all of northern Italy to be precise, always searching for the perfect coffee shop.

Coffee, Birmingham, Bean Scene, Urban Coffee Co, perfect coffee shop

Everyone knows that in Birmingham, my regular ‘home from home’ is Urban Coffee Company but if I can combine the ‘best bits’ from around the world, this is what my coffee shop will include;


Small and large. Let’s save cups and saucers for tea and cappuccino. North America does this so right.

Decent coffee

Urban make it and it’s obvious really. An option to have it in take-out cups as it keeps my coffee warm and is less fiddly. I once got refused a takeout cup to have inside a coffee shop in Edinburgh as it’s ‘against policy’. I went back to that shop nil times.

Oh and eggnog offered as standard in coffee during December.


I love a comfortable chair and sofas too so a mix is great but sometimes a desk helps us workers focus. And a big table means we can fit a lot of solo workers’ chairs around it, working away without taking up the sofas.

Lots of seating

Sofas for the socialites, desks for the workers.


Just with cream cheese is fantastic. Scrambled eggs or salmon is a huge bonus. Again, standard in North America.


(Kissme) Cupcakes absolutely! Also a small assortment of other cakes and pastries each day. Love the mix at Peter’s Yard in Edinburgh.


I love live music in coffee shops. It’s simply the most civilised way to listen to music. Probably not AC/DC, they are better in an outdoors stadium setting but music of the singer/songwriter type is just gorgeous in coffee shops.

At other times, soft music in the background or radio 2 is perfect. If it was my coffee shop everyone would have to stop at 10.30 to do #popmaster  BeanScene in Scotland are passionate about their music.

Real Hot Food

Panini’s are great but I love soup, slices of pizza work and my absolute favourite is a bowl of hot chilli. And bagels! What’s a coffee shop without toasted bagels?

Bean Scene in Glasgow always have a warming chilli bowl ready for me.

Friendly staff

“Where everybody knows your name”.

No matter how good the coffee is I will go back only if there is a warm welcome and great service. It’s sooooo easy, ask Urban.

A view

Now I’m getting into the luxury territory but a room with a view is wonderful.


It’s very hard to work in the cold.


If the coffee shop is the hub of a community, it’s good to know what’s happening in said community with posters, flyers, cards etc. Let’s spread the word and help each out. Bean Scene are great at this which is good for me, the out of towner.

Late Opening

8pm is fantastic (Urban), 10pm is divine (thanks Bean Scene!) 24 hours is a little crazy but handy (New York)

Goodies to take away

Not for me but if a coffee shop is all this then I love it if the out of towners can take a little piece of it back home with them. Just like this bag that I picked up from the heavenly place that is Peter’s Yard in Edinburgh.

Peters Yard coffee shop coffee cake Birmingham Edinburgh New York









Italy Well in Italy I’m guaranteed a perfect cup of coffee EVERY time, EVERYwhere. The only thing is I can’t linger; I can’t work or read but balanced with the many pavement cafes, the view is always superb. In any case, I’m very grateful that they have escaped the terrible chains that the rest of the world has embraced, except for the rather handy, cheap and tasty McCafes. I guess they must have made it government policy not to let them in. Thank heavens.