Before Work, Coffee


Before I can even start to think about work, I have to have coffee.  I have a Nespresso in the office & bombard the staff with a kaleidoscope of different Nespresso coffees every week (I presume they don’t mind?) but if I’m working from home I like to go out for my morning coffee instead.

Oxford, unexpectedly, suffered from a dearth of decent cafes when we moved here.  Expensive and/or dingy (Covered Market – I’m looking at you), and almost universally inaccessible for strollers.  Curiously in the last year, the world seems to have noticed this, and the sole hip cafe in Oxford since we moved here, the Jam Factory, has been joined by a couple of fantastic city centre places.  There’s still no stroller access (which I can forgive, given the age of the buildings in question and the limited commercial space available in Oxford), but these new cafes are properly hip and serve great coffee, in particular Zappi’s on St. Michael Street, opposite the Oxford Union.

It occupies the bright and airy floor over BikeZone, so properly speaking Zappi’s (named after Flavio Zappi) is a bike cafe, and as such attracts more lycra than you could possibly imagine, especially on Sundays.  But the most important thing is that after 34 years of not really thinking about it either way, in a few short months, the Zappi’s crew have turned me into a complete coffee snob.  These people CARE about coffee and it can be weeks before a newly trained barista is even allowed to do the milk for a customer’s latte.  Suddenly, now when I get coffee elsewhere I find myself looking incredulously at the badly steamed milk and bland taste.  I never knew I had it in me.

Unfortunately for me, if I want to work in a cafe, Zappi’s just doesn’t cut it – the staff are so lovely that they (and their excellent coffee) have attracted a friendly and regular customer base, and everybody is on first name terms, so going there to do actual work might not be the most practical idea.  Lots of people do seem to go there to work, but I know I’d be far more interested in chit-chat and doing the crossword (a daily communal effort).