Good things come in small packages
EMMA LEE visits The Window Coffee in Norwich - a small cafe with big ambitions.
'Once I start talking about coffee I don't stop,' warns Hayley Draper with a laugh.
Inspired by her travels around the globe, six months ago the 28-year-old opened The Window Coffee in Wensum Street, Norwich.
Good things come in small packages – and that's certainly true here.
Seating six people at a squeeze ('we once got 14 in here, which was a record,' laughs Hayley), it's one of, if not the, smallest caf�s in the world.
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Conversation is positively encouraged – and, inevitably, the hot topic on everyone's lips seems to be the coffee.
A visit to The Window is a real education.
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For Hayley, coffee is so much more than something to give you a kick start in the morning. It's a passion.
She has worked in caf�s since she was 14 – she started out washing up at a caf� in Diss.
Then, when she was visiting Melbourne, she tasted what she describes as 'true' espresso for the first time and has never looked back.
'I had a year in Australia. I then went to India where I visited coffee farms. I went to New Zealand,' she says.
'My original plan was to have a mobile coffee cart, but when I drew up my business plan I realised I wouldn't be able to sell my coffee beans
'Then I saw this place and knew it was right,' she says.
The tiny coffee shop was once a tobacco shop and has been transformed with the help of her dad's carpentry skills.
When researching suppliers, Hayley really did her homework and took trips to coffee conventions.
The Window's coffee comes from Stephen Leighton's Has Bean roastery in Staffordshire.
'He's had his roastery for 12 years. He's amazing,' says Hayley. 'I tell him my order, they roast it that day and I receive it the next day. You treat it like a fresh food.'
Currently The Window is serving coffees from countries including Yemen and Colombia. And the house blend is made of beans from El Salvador, Guatemala and Nicaragua.
'I do change the house blend,' says Hayley. 'It's another way of educating my customers.
'A lot of things can affect the way the coffee tastes,' she adds. 'The altitude it's grown at and the soil, the way it's prepared by the barista, how much coffee I put in, how hot the water is.'
And if you think that coffee 'just tastes of coffee' think again.
'Coffee has 800 notes within it, whereas wine has 400,' says Hayley. 'It's a massive range.'
It's not just coffee that gets Hayley's tastebuds going. She also keeps bees and makes honey and the tempting array of cakes and pastries she stocks at The Window are organic where possible.
Reflecting on her first six months in business she says that it's been a steep learning curve.
But she's clearly in her element when she's passing on her knowledge to others. Recently Hayley took some of her coffees to the Book Hive in the city for a tasting evening. And she's got big plans.
'I would love to hold coffee workshops using the different types of brewing methods and showing people how fantastic coffee can be,' Hayley says.
Suddenly that cup of freeze dried instant coffee doesn't seem like such an enticing prospect after all.
The Window Coffee is at 25 Wensum Street, Norwich. It's open from 8am-3pm Tuesday to Friday and from 9am-3pm on Saturdays, closed Sundays, Mondays and bank holidays. For more information visit www.thewindowcoffee.com