the plan Cafe Cardiff reviews

After noticing some recent comments on local review sites (like these on Yelp) from people who’ve been to the plan cafe, I thought I’d post a response to clear up one particular point which cropped up a few times and seems to have caused some confusion, resulting from our advertisement of our inclusion in the Independent newspaper’s 50 Best UK Coffee Shops, and other reviews and articles in The Week magazine, etc. As it’s not always possible or appropriate (because I’m employed by the cafe), to post on these review sites, I am posting here on my blog, in the hope that some of the customers, and others in the future, might find this. It’s not my intention to influence people’s personal views, merely to clarify this one point to avoid any misunderstanding.

Firstly, let me say thankyou SO much for the many kind comments from customers regarding the cafe, and the coffee particularly!! Really, really appreciated.

But, regarding the point mentioned above, I feel it’s important to make the distinction that the publicity was gained more specifically for what I’ve been doing with coffee, both in the official UK Barista Championships (in which I ranked 4th in the UK Finals in London this year), and with the team at the cafe, in terms of raising the standards of everything we do with the coffee specifically (and the espresso coffees especially) over the last few years since I arrived there in 2007.

Whilst there are lots of other things which make the cafe lovely as well (and for which visitors and our regulars alike love the cafe), it’s for the coffee side of things in particular that we have gained this recent recognition, rather than everything else the cafe does, as such.

It’s unfortunate that some people might see these reviews advertised, and as a result be tempted in, only to then feel that perhaps various other aspects of what the cafe is/does doesn’t reflect these listings. We certainly don’t want to disappoint anyone, and if you read the actual reviews (Independent, ‘The Week’, South Wales Echo, Radio Wales interview), their coffee-focus is clear – and this is something I endeavour to deliver on, especially when I myself am at the cafe.

The posters that the owner printed say ‘Top 50 Cafes’, whereas more precisely it should be ‘Top 50 Coffee Shops’, as this is the listing we have been included in by the Independent. This subtle distinction might make things more clear.

I can wholeheartedly confirm that I’m something of a professional coffeegeek, and that there are few others in Wales at present who are as sincerely (ridiculously and obsessively!) passionate about the craft of espresso, and as dedicated to trying to offer great, hand crafted, ‘3rd wave’ coffee as I am!! And so, if you come looking particularly for flat whites, cappuccinos, and freepour latte art, etc, I hope we can provide you with something really special, and deserving of the publicity!

Great coffee also depends to a large extent on the barista making it. Whilst I work tirelessly to implement and monitor standards, train all our staff, and keep standards high throughout the cafe (and some of our more experienced baristas are now able to do great things), there will be some natural variation in skill level and experience between different members of staff. So please feel free to ask for me personally, and I’ll be happy (busyness permitted!), to prepare your coffee myself, and, if you like, share my passion for what I do with you, by telling you more about where our coffee comes from, and the specialist techniques we use to prepare it!  I’m in-house full-time, usually Monday to Friday 9-5.

There’s lots of info elsewhere on this blog about what I do as well.

Thanks, Trevor Hyam, Head Barista @ the plan

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