‘The connection between authors, and coffee-houses must be kept up’ to misquote Boswell. Where would Pepys have been without his visits to the coffee-houses and his shagg gowne? The latter having little to do with coffee and much to do with the realisation that I have an essential item missing from my wardrobe.
But back to coffee …. having embarked on the novelling path, I thought I would test out the writing-in-coffee-house theory to see if the inspiration flows better when assailed by the scent of bean, the hiss of steam and the visual delight of the perfect crema. My studies of the writing forums suggest that Starbucks is the venue of choice, and whilst that may satisfy many aspiring authors, it is not for me. I don’t like Starbucks for a number of reasons, but first and foremost, I have never forgiven them for taking over my favourite coffee haunt in Vienna, which is, of course, the home of the great Kaffeehäuser.
In order to find the perfect novelling den, I purchased “111 Coffee Shops In London That You Must Not Miss”. Thus far, I have visited only two and, although both served superb coffee, I realise that the coffee-shop is not going to be where I write my magnum opus. As a smoker, I am banished to the pavement and a London pavement in November does not create the right (or even write) inspirational stimulus. On venturing indoors, whilst the sound of the coffee machine is music to my ears, the actual music to my ears is usually not to my taste. When the first prog rock café opens, I’ll be first in the queue with pad and phantom pen in hand. In the meantime, I’ll stick with the top deck of the number 11 bus as my inspirational habitat.
However, for those of you seeking the perfect coffee, it would appear that the ‘111’ authors know their Arabica from their Robusta and have made the right selections for the book (if 2 out of 111 can be considered a valid sample). So, where was I?
The morning’s excursions took me to Victoria and the TomTom Coffee Shop. The coffee is faultless, but the greengrocer’s apostrophe in “one of the finest cup’s of coffee in London” necessitated a deduction of marks; we are on a writing mission at the end of the day. (8/10)
An afternoon meeting in the city enabled a visit to Dose Espresso. I was seriously impressed with the knowledgeable discussion about the bean I was to drink (the expertise and knowledge all coming from our charming host, I hasten to add, as I am still a novice in the language of coffee). The coffee was superb and the café scores a bonus point for automatically providing an accompanying glass of water – très continental. Dose Espresso would have scored full marks, but I’m afraid the music meant a one point deduction. (9/10)
The 111 idea appeals to me very much and I feel that there is an entire series rooted in the needs of the aspiring novelist. Wilcey (my wonderful sister-in-law) and I have started to put a list together. Stay tuned to find out more, as the AN lists will be emerging throughout November.
Warm Wet Circles from Clutching at Straws by Marillion