I’m on a quest for The Perfect Café. I can’t say for sure if I have found it, but I have fallen in love with a very few Wonderful Cafés and have been to a number of Very Good Cafés.
Last weekend, I discovered a particularly lovely café in Cambridge. “Afternoon Tease” only opened four months ago, but is already attracting coffee-and-cake lovers across Cambridge.
Despite being only a few steps from the bustling centre of Cambridge, it felt somewhat hidden, out-of-the-way (I’d only noticed it on my way to browse some art supplies at Tindalls, the next-door art store). I had come with a friend, in search of some quality coffee and study-time. When we stepped in, we had no difficulty securing a table, and as there was no queue, I took my time debating between the pistachio lemon loaf and the cinnamon walnut cake. In the end, I opted for the former—a decision I certainly didn’t regret! As for the coffee, my cappuccino—strong but not bitter—didn’t disappoint either. Although the froth wasn’t impressively fluffy or thick, that didn’t seem to matter: the taste of the coffee itself (and the beautiful pattern of milk swirled onto espresso) made a pillow of foam unnecessary. Needless to say, none of the cups, utensils, or plates was plastic! The only downside was the lack of skim milk, but I find that surprisingly common in Europe.
So, the cake/coffee was delicious, but we were there to study! As it turned out, Afternoon Tease wasn’t a bad place to do some work: the wifi was fast, lighting was good, and tables were spacious enough to fit a computer next to the coffee cup.
However, just as I was getting comfortable, out of nowhere, hordes of customers started appearing—and here I was, talking of a “hidden” atmosphere! Suddenly, the tables all filled up, and noise level escalated. It was still possible to study, but any semblance of “calm” had been shattered.
We did out-stay all those other people though– after I’d finished my coffee, we ordered some tea, and remained at our table, unhurriedly sipping ceylon pink and camomile rose (from non-matching cups/saucers/teapots that absolutely won me over, as if the pistachio cake had not already done that) until closing time. All in all, I can’t wait to come back again!