So after a bit of a break in our co-working, Liz and I thought we’d try the newest kid on the block – Costa Coffee which opened fairly recently. One of Liz’s friends had said that Costa was a good place to work from, so it seemed like a good enough endorsement to check it out.
Costa Coffee, High St, Kings Heath
Opening recently in the site of the old Clarks shop store, which has moved a few doors down, Costa is the first real chain coffee shop on Kings Heath High St in amongst all the little independents. Kings Heath was once the barometer by which the recession was supposedly being measured, if the flurry of national interest was to be believed, so the fact that we’ve now got a chain coffee shop (although we’ve had a chain pub for a while, good ol’ Wetherspoons) surely means something, but who knows what.
Well this is going to be a short section. We initially thought there was internet. After all if the little coffee-shops up and down the High St can manage it, surely a national brand like Costa would consider it akin to offering milk with your tea. Apparently not. Which is a great shame, as Costa is by far the best venue we’ve found for plug sockets and had plenty of tables that looked perfect for a laptop and mug of coffee.
And anyone that knows me know that I tend to want to know why something isn’t as it should. So I checked the internet on my phone (thank goodness for 3G), the internet was a bit unsure whether Costa offered wi-fi….their website certainly didn’t say. However it did lead me to the number of their PR manager. Hey, I was writing a blog on Costa and I couldn’t find a lot of contact info on the rest of the site, so maybe their PR manager might like to comment. Except they were on holiday – what if I found a rat in my tea?! Yup this is utterly ridiculous but it seems kinda odd way to run a press office to me. Still, I know that Kings Heath Costa doesn’t have wifi, but I still don’t know what the official position is on the matter. And seriously, it’s 2011 and if both Mc Donalds and the little indie cafes on the High St can manage wifi why on earth can’t Costa. Bad Costa, bad.
Food and drink
Costa is probably my favourite coffee shop of the big coffee-shop chains. When I had to cut caffeine and dairy out of my diet for a while one of the Costa chains were really accommodating and that’s the kind of thing you remember. And they actually manage to make reasonably decent tea, even if it is just a tea bag, but it comes in a tea pot so win for them. Oh and they do skimmed milk, which makes Liz happy.
Food wise I didn’t partake this time round. I’ve always found the food on offer a bit typical of coffee-shops and honestly, trying it would be a bit like reviewing Mc Donald’s – it’s going to be the same wherever you go. Except its sandwiches and cakes and stuff and all perfectly pleasant, but I just find them a little uninspiring. But the same goes for Starbucks, Costa, Nero and whatever other coffee shops I’m missing. Nice, but nothing new and exciting and also feels a bit pricey when over the road I can sit in and have a baguette, crisps and can of drink for about the same price as their sandwich or a freshly made sandwich from one of the indie cafes.
I’ve always preferred Costa over the over coffee-shop chains, so I’m glad that if we had to have one on the High St this would be it. And it seems like other people like it too. Even though we were in early afternoon on a weekday it was pretty busy with lots of different people, but nicely busy which is probably helped by the fact it’s got a good sized floor space. There are some comfy sofas for heart-to-hearts which are a bit rubbish to work from if you have a laptop, but thankfully there are plenty of normal tables and chairs for that. But only if you’re writing a novel or something that doesn’t require the internet (I know, broken record, but come on this is 2011 every coffee shop should have wifi by now). It’s got that kind of cosy coffee shop atmosphere and isn’t too noisy, even with a good number of people inside.
So, to sum up; it’s your usual chain coffee shop, but one of the better ones. Co-working wise it would be good for a meeting, but the lack of internet really lets it down. Everything else, is fine.
Check out what Liz thought here.