Essex gets something of a rough ride in the media. From the Sharon’s and Tracey’s dancing around their handbags in white stilettos during the 80s, right up to the The Only Way is Essex foolishness of today, it’s easy to see how this happens. However, Essex is a huge county and to tar everybody with the same brush is plainly ridiculous.
So, when it comes to hipper end of the Essex scale, where do these bright young things choose to hang out when they’re not bounding through the streets of East London? We decided to find out and went in search of the hippest coffee shops we could find in the county:
Café Amoore, 3 Moores Place, Brentwood, CM14 4AG
Tucked away on Moores Place, Café Amoore (do you see what they did there?) is something of a gem right in the heart of Brentwood. Serving up excellent food and fantastic, freshly ground coffee, Café Amoore has quickly found a place in many of the locals’ hearts.
Quiet enough to be able to work on a laptop or enjoy a good book whilst supping a latte; it’s also busy enough to provide a gentle buzz of atmosphere too. The staff are exceptionally friendly and welcoming, yet they aren’t overly pushy and you can enjoy your coffee here the way you should – relaxed and at peace with the world.
Dada Café, Station Road, Epping, Essex CM16 4HS
Dada Café in Epping has, like so many other independent coffee shops across the land, seen an influx of big brand coffee houses enter into its midst recently. However, owner Adrian Muica knows that his idea of a coffee shop brings something to the party that the big boys can’t compete with – the personal touch. Customer service is exemplary here in this fabulous example of all that is good about independent traders.
Regulars are greeted with a cheery smile and many of them are on first name terms with the staff here, making it feel more like a home from home rather than a business purely out to take your money. Although the chains of branded coffee shops may continue to spread on to every high street, independents that do it right, like Dada, will undoubtedly remain simply because they do it better.
Dandelion Coffee Shop, 20 Mill Road, Stock, Essex, CM4 9LJ
This family run coffee shop could quite easily be set in the heart of uber trendy Shoreditch such is its perfect boutique style. Dandelion opened its doors back in February 2012, and husband and wife team, John and Mel, do a fantastic job of serving the highest quality coffee alongside delicious foodstuffs that will probably have you overindulging whenever you visit.
In addition to the great food and drink on offer, Dandelion also has a little craft section where you can pick up some handmade delights that you would struggle to find anywhere else. From beautiful greetings cards through to candles and diffusers that make unique gifts, these additions certainly add to the boutique style and somehow give the whole space a more homely feel. Dandelion is a thoroughly recommended coffee shop for anyone who is fortunate enough to live in or around the picturesque village of Stock.
With so many major chains taking up our High Streets, making them increasingly homogenised, it’s fabulous to see that the independents still have something to offer. Whether, you want to sit and catch up with a friend or work your way towards the Holy Grail of ‘Inbox Zero’ on your laptop, coffee shops are the places to be. So, next time you’re in need of liquid refreshment, make sure you try out your High Street’s independent traders; you might just be pleasantly surprised.