Thank You!

After a recent award and a couple of high profile listings, I just had to post here briefly to say a big: Thank You!

Cardiff Lifestyle Awards Best Coffee Shop 2016

The Sunday Times 25 Best Coffee Shops in the UK 2017

The Telegraph’s Britain’s 30 Best Coffee Shops 2017

Thank you to the good folks responsible for selecting and deciding to include us in the listings (including the wonderful Caffeine Magazine for one of the above).

Thank you to our wonderful customers (the most lovely customers there are!) for voting for us to Win the Cardiff Lifestyle Awards Best Coffee Shop category in November 2016, when we were up amongst so many of the very best local independent artisan cafes. Thank you all for your regular custom, continued support, and kind words of appreciation.

And thank you to our fantastic team of lovely people at The Plan Cafe, who should all be very proud of their involvement with making these achievements happen. Thank you for taking on board the extensive training, for putting up with me being so particular about everything coffee, even though coffee is not your passion, and for working so hard to help maintain the service and coffee standards I put in place. Thanks to Mike and Veronica for taking the cafe on at the beginning of 2016, understanding what makes us special, and helping us to continue doing what we do, better than ever.

To be honest, it always comes as a shock to be included in such listings; it is an honour to be mentioned alongside some of the most prominent names in London and the UK (legendary coffeeshops who are at the forefront of the UK speciality coffee scene), when what we do feels so humble and low key.

I know it is the ambition of all serious coffee shops to be included in any such UK wide list by a well regarded newspaper even once, but that most, even really good places, never achieve it.

So to have been listed in several over the years is just such a wonderful privilege. Always so unexpected, and it makes me happy, proud, and humbled.

I’ve been doing what I do at The Plan for a decade now, since I arrived at the cafe in 2007. From that point we became one of the very first places in Wales offering the Third Wave style, at a time when it was still very rare (especially in Wales). And the endeavour has been to continuously improve, learn more, and constantly refine the details further and further within the existing framework of what we do.

There was my 2010 UK Barista Championship Final achievement, and following that we were listed in The Independent’s Top 50 UK Coffee Shops (along with numerous other listings, articles and features over the years).

Since then, the Cardiff speciality coffee scene has of course gradually developed, and there are now quite a lot of places in the community locally doing good things with coffee. I recognise this as a mutually positive, and completely expected natural development, as part of a speciality (Third Wave) coffee movement that is thriving and constantly expanding worldwide, as well as throughout the UK.

With this in mind, it would be easy to assume or suggest that we might now be overlooked or disregarded within this more densely populated contemporary speciality coffee landscape.

Especially when we at The Plan could be viewed as being less focused on things like being on-trend, and having the right look, etc, than some places are. When we haven’t had vast pots of money poured into slick, fresh interior design (ever). And when we don’t have all the latest, brand new must-have kit and gadgetry at our disposal (whilst our kit is not the latest, it is still great, and I just try to look after it lovingly, know it intimately, and use it well …and just make do).

So, to continue to be singled out for recognition of this stature, from amongst so many others of merit (both locally and across the whole of the UK), makes it all the more spectacular, remarkable and appreciated.

My focus is simply on trying to make the best coffee we can, as consistently as possible, in an inclusive and unassuming sort of way. We aren’t preachy; we won’t bore you with all the details about our coffee if you’d prefer not to know (although I’m always happy to talk about it when people are interested!). I’m not into being showy or ‘leading the way’. We don’t tell people they can’t add milk, cream, or sugar if they want it. And if you want your drink extra hot, that’s fine; we’ll actually adjust our technique to try to ensure we still give you the best possible texture and product.

It is true we don’t stock flavoured syrups (because we’re all about trying to make coffee that tastes really nice by, and of, itself, without needing to add flavourings), and true that we don’t grind beans to take away (whole bean only, for grinding fresh at home, to try to ensure people have a chance of experiencing the best the beans have to offer).

But we’re not elitist; we’re down to earth, unique, quirky, genuine, not always perfect, eclectic – and everyone is welcome.

It’s impossible to fully communicate the level of continuous dedication, training, precision, organisation, calibration, experience, integrity, obsession, focus, planning, thought, research, attention to detail, and sheer hard work that goes into the coffee and service operations at The Plan, every single day, as it has done for many years. Perhaps our continued achievements, and the fact we and our reputation have stood the test of time, is a testament to some of these things.


You can watch this recent TV interview with me at The Plan on The Crunch Cardiff on catchup. Episode 45 from the 13th April from 38:35 into the show.

And, you can now also follow me on Instagram.

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