We have all seen the headlines about the booming coffee industry in the UK which is emerging as one of the few winners on our increasingly struggling high streets. Coffee shops are even being talked about as replacing the pub as the nation’s favourite place to socialise. But does the reality live up to the hype as far as the younger generation are concerned? We have identified the 5 things Millennials look for in a coffee shop, helped by Sam, a 20 year old student at Portsmouth University who reviewed some of the coffee shops in Southsea and features in the short video clips.
Think ‘Central Perk’
Millennials want to meet up with friends to socialise in a relaxed, comfortable environment with the right atmosphere over a good coffee. Like the TV series ‘Friends’, spending time together in a favourite café is a regular occurrence.
Millennials care about what they eat and drink and the ethics of buying locally. They feel emotionally connected with the places they live, work and study and want to support local, independent businesses. They like being in places that feel like ‘home’ with freshly made food and drink.
Deal or no deal?
The importance of value for money for savvy young consumers is reflected in their choice of coffee shops. The all- important free wifi is one of several essentials, with benefits like free water, newspapers and generous portion sizes making customers feel valued and wanting to return.
More than a feeling
Its no surprise that Millennials value great customer service and good quality food and drink but coffee shops that go the extra mile and make a real connection with their customers build attachment and loyalty. Millennials will remember how they felt when they visited a coffee shop and will tell their friends and leave an online review – good or bad!
Who’s the boss?
Everyone has a favourite food or drink that they buy regularly but Millennials like to personalise their choices. From the type of milk in their hot drinks to the bread that the sandwiches are made with, Millennials want to be in charge of the end product.
Read Sam’s reviews of coffee shops in Portsmouth in full!
Coffee and a bite to eat in Portsmouth for £20 – a student’s perspective
Initially we’d had Southsea Coffee Co recommended by a few friends, all giving it pretty good feedback so we knew it had to be done.
First thoughts were pretty good. The décor and interior was very minimalistic and easy on the eye, yet quite inviting and comfy. The floor and tables made of re-used planks and distressed wood, exposed lightbulbs and just a very plain simple feel.
The menu was filled with plenty of options, brunch and lunch with vegan options as well. All the food quite snacky and relaxed, with not too much emphasis on the dining experience. Not taking anything away from the food, which was surprisingly good for a coffee shop. We had a smoked salmon bagel, tostada con tomata and toasted pitta with pesto and houmous, all of which wouldn’t have gone a miss in an actual restaurant. Plenty of freshly baked brownie’s and various cakes as well which looked incredibly tempting. A solid 8/10 for coffee shop food.
Coffee and drinks were good as well. Tonne’s of options on the menu, from fresh fruit juices to herbal teas and lots of coffee in-between. Myself going for an iced latte and my girlfriend a fresh apple and ginger juice, both very tasty and suited the nice weather perfectly. Probably another 8/10 for the drinks.
Staff were attentive and charming, doing that little bit extra to make the place seem more than just a coffee shop. A wide range of customers as well, from students to oldies popping in for a quick coffee or a sit down meal; generally, a nice and busy atmosphere to the place. 9/10 for service and a 9/10 for atmosphere.
Overall we’d definitely recommend it. Although a little on the pricey side for a student, it was well worth the £23 we spent on two drinks and three plates of food. Definitely a good spot for students to spend an hour away from their dark and dingy digs and use some of that loan for something that isn’t alcohol or takeaway food. An 8/10 for Southsea Coffee Co, we’ll be back!
Parade Tea Rooms
Similar to the last coffee shop, The Parade Tea Rooms had been recommended to us as a great location for coffee and food in Southsea. It didn’t disappoint! The location of the Tea Rooms was really great, sitting on the edge of Southsea Common with nice views looking out over the field itself. The interior was very aesthetically pleasing, with the wide archways giving the place a very open and spacious feel, yet still homely and inviting. Also, the fine china used for the tea and cakes was a very nice touch.
The food was a strong point for the Tea Rooms. With their focus clearly being on high tea and a wide selection of amazing-looking cakes and lots of tea to offer, the rest of the food on the menu looked and tasted very good and arrived very quickly. Myself and my girlfriend went for the brunch menu and chose Eggs’ Benedict and the Butter-Milk Pancakes. 8.5/10 for the food. Having initially walked in and seeing all of the cakes and tea, it was a very nice surprise to have had such good quality food. Big portions and good value for money.
The drinks selection was very good also. With lots of tea and coffee to offer, it couldn’t really be faulted. Free lemon and cucumber water on tap was an appreciated extra as well. I went for a Hazelnut-Iced coffee as the weather is still being kind to us and my girlfriend a pot of Earl grey, again with very good sized glasses for what we paid. 9/10 for the drinks.
Couldn’t have really asked anymore from the service either. Did exactly what they needed to; all smiles, attentive, knowledgeable, on-the-ball and coped well with what seemed to be a busy Tuesday morning. Staff were accommodating as well, offering doggy bags for any left-over food that you wanted to take away; a simple gesture but much appreciated. The busieness was also a good sign; people were piling in for a nicely busy Tuesday at 11’oclock. 9/10 for service and 9/10 for atmosphere.
Another recommendation and must-visit for food and coffee loving students. Although we were the only people under 25 in there, I’d definitely recommend it to my student friends. Good food, not especially expensive at just under £20 for two big plates of food and two drinks, a great location and good service. 8.5/10 overall for The Parade Tea Rooms.
The next stop on the blog is Home Coffee of Albert Road in Southsea. Having had more of a food-focus for the previous coffee shops I’ve visited, Home Coffee was chosen for those who appreciate a purer coffee shop. It was quite a small place and intimate place though, so it didn’t really feel right to break out a camera and start snapping pictures – you’ll have to take my word and go and visit for yourself!
With University buildings full to the brim during the exam period, finding somewhere like Home Coffee is a bit of a gold-mine for any student. Plenty of room for a laptop and paper and reasonably price food and drink. What more could you ask for?! The tiled walls, wooden floor, re-used wooden tables and hanging plants really do give it a very homely vibe making it a perfect place to do some studying.
Although I didn’t try any of the food Home Coffee had to offer as my focus was on the coffee this trip, it did look delicious. I will definitely be back to try some of the home made sandwiches next time! Instead I had two double espresso’s and I have to say they were two of the nicest espresso’s I’ve ever had! At £2 each, I challenge you to find a better one in Portsmouth. 10/10 for the coffee. The glass of water they bring with every drink is a pleasant touch as well that a lot of places don’t do.
What I loved most about Home Coffee however was the atmosphere of the place. At 1 o’clock on a glum Thursday afternoon, I wasn’t really expecting much, but I was pleasantly surprised. The staff very clearly spent a lot of time with each-other and their chemistry was apparent. The way they interacted with each other and some of the regulars was incredibly charming and a very pleasant thing to see in a coffee shop. They were also clearly knowledgeable about the tea and coffee and really made for a good team. 10/10 for the service. A middle aged couple, a young-ish guy listening to music and an older gentleman having a long chat with a member of staff made up the clientele. A good mix of people which again contributed to the buzz of the place. 9/10 for the atmosphere.
There isn’t much more I can say about the place. A proper coffee shop. Perfect for a quick drink and a bite to eat or a long study-stint, Home Coffee is a definite recommend! Overall 9.5/10. I will definitely be back visiting again to try the food!
Having walked past Garage Lounge most days on the way to Uni and peering in through the window I thought it was about time to give it a visit.
Sitting just in-between Elm Grove and Albert Road, it’s a pretty busy place which makes for some good atmosphere and a nice buzz. The interior of Garage Lounge was really very nice, making good use of old, used furniture, old wooden floor-boards and used china, all giving it a comfy and relaxing feel. Really a very nice looking café from the inside.
The food was quite good. A decent sized menu which had a good selection of sandwiches, French toast and some other nice sounding options. Good portions and reasonably priced. I had French toast, banana, maple syrup and pecans and my girlfriend had avocado, sourdough bread and a couple of boiled eggs. Decent standard, comfort food presented very nicely and tasted pretty good. Overall the food was good but nothing special. 7/10.
Again, drinks were pretty standard, nothing amazing. I went for a double espresso and my girlfriend a pot of earl grey. 6/10 for drinks. Some home-made smoothies or fruit juices wouldn’t have gone a miss, rather than the over-priced bottle juices they had to offer.
The service was the best thing that Garage Lounge had to offer; attentive, chatty, knowledgeable and very polite. Really couldn’t have faulted them. Clearly some good interactions and rapport built-up between the staff and some regular visitors which was very nice to see and a good sign for any business. 9/10 for staff and 9/10 for the atmosphere, lots of very happy and relaxed people in the café.
I would go back and visit Garage Lounge again, perfect for some drinks and a bite to eat with a group of friends as there is plenty of space and comfy seats. Decent portions of comfort food for a reasonable price at £18 for two drinks and two plates of food. Overall I’d give Garage Lounge a 7.5/10. Was definitely a good café but it’s got some stiff competition across Southsea!
I’ve saved the best until last for the coffee shops blog. Baffled coffee is a real cut above the rest, combining extremely high quality locally sourced food with delicious coffee and drinks and some very proactive and engaging service.
Baffled coffee sits in the middle of Fawcett Road, which is pretty good spot with lots of people walking/driving through Fawcett. The interior was pretty on-point, having really got the whole minimalistic, modern yet warm-feel spot on. A very inviting and comfy feel to the place. Good range of clientele in the coffee shop as well considering it was mid-week, middle of the day. Always a good sign when somewhere has a buzz at this sort of time.
Onto the food and drink. I went for the New York Ruben and an Iced Latte. The New York Ruben really was a bit special. Smoked Brisket, sauerkraut and roasted potatoes – all of which were to die for. The nicest sandwich I’ve ever had. The brisket went beautifully with the dressing and the sauerkraut and the potatoes were very nicely seasoned. Proper restaurant quality food, reasonably priced just in a café. 10/10 for the food without a doubt. The iced latte was very tasty as well, perfect amount of milk and extreme flavoursome coffee. 10/10 for the drinks, can’t be faulted for the quality and the selection available.
Another aspect that makes Baffled Coffee stand out above competition would be the service. All members of staff clearly love their job, the passion is clear. Always a smile on their faces, clear chemistry in the team and generally good at their jobs. Again, adding to the comfortable and homely vibe was the atmosphere that the staff created. 9/10 for the service.
To be perfectly honest, as Café’s go it doesn’t get much better than Baffled Coffee and everything I’m saying doesn’t really do the place justice, so I highly recommend visiting Baffled Coffee. Be it for a proper sit down lunch or brunch, or just a quick snack – Baffled is perfectly suited for both. 10/10 overall for Baffled Coffee. Get yourself down there!
Thank you for reading! Over to you now, What are your thoughts? Do you agree with Sam and his points of view? Leave a comment below! Thanks Gideon