Why a Coffee Shop?
This was often asked when we were planning the shop; to usually be followed with “you are mad… Portsmouth has tons already…”
Our friends and colleagues thought we were crazy, and when we started getting deeper into the world of speciality coffee they thought we had lost our minds.
The problem was, the more we learnt, the more we wanted to know. Our eyes began to be opened to a world of incredibly satisfying and tasty coffee, to the possibility that we could have a connection with our favourite drink rather than just buying it off a supermarket shelf. It’s a moment that we often see others encounter in the shop when then try a fruity natural or vibrant washed coffee for the first time; “I didn’t know coffee could taste like THIS…”
We had been researching (and for sure, drinking lots of coffee) for a long time before the shop opened its doors, and we knew that there was nothing like it in Portsmouth. Yes, there were other shops, which each serve their own part of the community; but none serving single origin coffee and the type of food we wanted to eat. We decided that we wanted to bring this style of coffee we loved to our home town and set the wheels in motion.
We kept coming back to the idea that a coffee shop should be at the heart of its community. I had spent my whole working life working in pubs and restaurants and I knew how important it is to have that venue where people can meet and talk and be part of, well, something. On reflection, this really is what the heart of any independent coffee shop should be - fully based and focused on its community. It’s our role and should drive what we do.
Is this not the reason why there ARE so many coffee shops around? They each serve their own facet of the larger community - much like the corner pubs of old; people go to their favourite shop either because they prefer its coffee, or its atmosphere.
Since we have opened the shop we have been in awe at how open our community is. Every person that has come in has helped us mould and shape it as we take on suggestions, and their stories become intertwined with our own.
So why a coffee shop?
It’s always been about the coffee - the type of coffee that we get excited by and we want to share with others; and also, and perhaps most importantly, it was about creating a hub, supporting and becoming involved with our community.
It’s a great journey.
Perhaps the best way to explain all of this is through the words of another. We have many writers that use the shop, one of whom has a blog. (it is beautifully written and well worth spending a few evenings reading his posts) and this is what he had to say about us:
"I am sitting while I write at Southsea Coffee co. in Portsmouth. There are two ‘waitresses’ dancing, talking to each other as they work. There are two more members of the staff. It is not clear whether they’re working or not. A third one come and sits at one of the tables after greeting everyone. There’s a smile in all of them which goes deeper than their faces. To call them waitresses would be an understatement. We are not job descriptions. To consider the people who regularly come here as customers would be another understatement to. It is a place in which souls gather to enjoy the company of others, as if we all had a prearranged agreement to meet and it is a beautiful synergy to see. In this case the soul of the owners is expressed through a physical establishment, making a strong, uncompromising statement to the world. It is a collective effort. And this is home."