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Happy 1st Birthday to our little pink box!

It’s absolutely flown by, but this week, 1st March, marks one year since we opened the hatch for the first time.

Here’s 11 things we’ve learned in the past 12 months.

  1. It’s all about consistency. Our plan was to be open every day, for all advertised hours, regardless of the weather, and we have been. I’m writing this on a damp Thursday in February, at 10.30am. We’ve had 3 customers so far in 3 hours, and we’ll probably not quite break even today, but those of you who make the massive detour on days like today will always be our most important customers, and we’ll be here for you.

  2. Consistency isn’t possible without brilliant staff, and we’re lucky to have some of the best around. Jaimee has been here since day one, and Kata joined a couple of months later. They both radiate good vibes and deliver 10/10 consistent coffees all day. They’ve been ably supported with some expert part time help from Ali, Beth and Yas in particular, and they’re now stepping into Joint Cafe-Manager roles to take the cafe to the next level. NB. We’ve used Need a Barista a few times to get additional pairs of hands for holiday and illness cover at short notice, and this service works a treat when you need it.

  3. Nail the basics and build on them. We call the space a cafe, but really it’s an espresso bar in its current form. But the plan was always to grow the food offering, and from this spring onwards, we will have an all new savoury menu to roll out. We’re deep in recipe testing and logistics prep (more complex than you might think) to prepare and sell some top notch sandwiches and other options. Gelato is also incoming, keep an eye out for some samples as we try to find the best local supplier.

  4. Teamwork makes the dream work. Sundays in particular, can get pretty hectic. On our busiest day of the year we sold just over 400 hot drinks in 7 hours, 21 of which were teas. In the peak hour from 11-12 the team made 93 coffees which is sterling work, this means the queue is always fast moving and never more than a few minutes wait. This is only possible with absolute ninja level skills on taking the orders, preparing the shots of espresso and expertly texturing and pouring the milk.

  5. You love our cups, and we do too. We now have custom printed 6, 8 and 12oz cups. Each cup costs around 15p compared to 10p for an unbranded cup, but we think they’re well worth the extra outlay, plus we love working with Sam on all things design.

  6. No, we can’t tell you when the planes and helicopters will be coming in. Possibly our most asked question. We know there are customers who have been dozens of times and never seen a plane, and some who have been once and seen multiple planes and a helicopter in one go. It’s a nice little bonus when you strike it lucky.

  7. No,  you can’t have a large flat white. Flat whites are 5-6oz drinks, in the same way you can’t get a large kilo of flour, a large VW Polo or a large teaspoon. If you’re after a milkier coffee, you are in the market for a latte or cappuccino, which we can do in 8oz or 12oz sizes. More info here.

  8. Dogs on leads is the only option. We started out fairly relaxed on the dogs front, and quickly realised that it was crucial that they were on leads anywhere around the farm and cafe. Fortunately, 99% of visitors are great with this, but there are still occasional issues. It’s a serious business, we had 2 separate incidents in 2023 which the police had to become involved in around dog attacks here, hopefully 2024 will not bring any more. 

  9. Upgrading our till system from Zettle to Square was a game changer in terms of productivity inside the unit. The larger screen, better customer experience and greater reliability has allowed us to streamline and speed up all the processes we go through when taking orders, if you’re deciding between the two then we couldn’t rehiocommend Square enough.

  10. Magic Stamp has been a great investment too. The additional data which comes from Magic Stamp is invaluable in allowing us to see visitor trends, frequency of visits and impact of weather when paired with the raw till data from Square. It has also allowed us to send out discount codes to specific groups, and free coffees too, and it’s all really easy to do. More on Magic Stamp on our YouTube channel here

  11. We’re nothing without Coffee. We work with Chimney Fire who are based just down the road at Denbies Vineyard. Not only is the coffee 10/10, they’re great to work with and are there to help whenever we need it. We’ve also been dug out of holes in the summer by fellow Chimney Fire customers, the Jolly Coopers in Epsom and Hideaway in Surbiton when we came dangerously close to running out of beans after ploughing through 23kg two weeks straight in the summer holidays. 

Thank you to everyone who has been down in the last year, we’re working hard to keep things as good as they can be and have lots more to come in 2024 and beyond!

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Happy birthday to the best coffee in Surrey... London... anywhere 🎉

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