In praise of Costa

My coffeeI had some retail therapy to attend to, so I headed into Uxbridge early this morning. I fancied kicking off the day in my local Costa Coffee, loading up with caffeine before attacking the shops. I took my writing practice notepad since mornings are my time for this new habit. Fifteen minutes on ‘a jewel’ and I was done – not one of my more inspired mornings, I admit.

At 08:30 and before the shops open, Costa Coffee is a haven, comfortable and subdued; a few early customers like myself, but none of the hectic crush that a busy shopping Saturday will later bring. The counter service was cheery, my Americano strong and delicious, my toastie crisp yet gooey and brought to my table. Seal’s Kiss from a Rose was the first track on the playlist I noticed and it was followed by a swell of Central Perk style mid-market soft rock. All very nice and right up my street.

The minutes nudged towards 09:00 and the business of beverage was well underway. Coffee machines whizzed, clanked and hissed, plates and cups clattered, the fridge displays rattled and the air conditioning hummed – all composing a vibrant mechanical backing track that was not at all unpleasant. Conversations ebbed and flowed – regulars acknowledging each other, friends meeting up, two guys behind newspapers sharing occasional observations, someone debating the climate of gun crime in South Africa; several accents in English, a chatter of Polish I think, perhaps from behind the counter.

A blast of chill air funnelled round from the door every time someone entered – I don’t mind this either since I’m at that age when I seem perpetually to feel too warm. A man came in, wrapped in a donkey jacket and woolly hat, a young girl grabbing a take-out cup, another swaddled in fake fur; a young mother struggling with a push-chair adorned with colourful toys, a teen in skinny jeans and giant headphones that looked like earmuffs.

What is it about the aroma of fresh coffee and toast? It takes me to a place of comfort and warmth, of pleasure in small things, of calm contentment. Of all the myriad coffee shops where I live – and there are too many – Costa is my favourite. I love the cosy burgundy/brown decor, the fact that there’s always somewhere to sit, upstairs if not downstairs – if you can survive the giant spiral staircase without decanting your beverage on to unsuspecting customers below. I’m not somebody who shows up every day, only every once in a while, but when I do, Costa rewards me with a heartening half-hour.

4 thoughts on “In praise of Costa

  1. Oh, you’ve hit my heart! Coffee, my favorite beverage and ‘a scene written and experienced’ that sits beautifully in as tribute to this, my first cup of the day.

    Thanks for sharing this through your First Press writing, where you noticed my ‘name,’ CoffeeGrounded. 🙂

    Coffee, my greatest passion, baking bread, my second.

    Enjoy a bright and beautiful day. Keep on writing. You have a special gift.


    1. Hey Margie, I’m glad I hit the mark with my Costa experience! Thanks for your lovely comment, and have a great day. Whilst I know very little about baking bread, I’m fully with you on the coffee. I’m one of those rare Brits who doesn’t like tea, so coffee is ‘it’ for me 🙂

  2. I cannot tell you how often I think about your remark regarding not liking tea. Nothing like a cuppa in the morning. I must say usually coffee is the item for me however after dinner out comes the tea pot for me. Your writings are delightful dear lady and they carry me away with such ease. A lovely mental journey.

    1. I don’t know what it is about tea, but I’ve never had a taste for it, and I can’t even stand the smell of it. I used to make it for my parents on weekend mornings – loose leaves in a tea pot, stirring twice, just the right amount of milk – in the cup ahead of the tea… I occasionally tolerate peppermint tea when there’s no other choice, but it must be steeped so long it’s like drinking a Polo Mint, or lemon tea, but ditto – it needs a whole lemon squeezed into it to mask the taste of the tea leaves! So it’s coffee for me – strong, no milk, no sugar, dark roast – my beverage of choice 🙂

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