Tuesday, 2 February 2016
Espresso Library. A winters day tale.
The sun is out here in Cambridgeshire in England on a cold crisp winters day but the wind is far to strong for getting out riding so I thought I may as well tell you about one of my adventures I had recently on my bike out to Cambridge to visit a special place called Espresso Library.
Kat who is also a blogger and YouTuber so feel free to go check her posts and videos out, who was told by a friend about this awesome cafe that sells some extraordinary coffee, has a relaxed atmosphere to chill in, and of course celebrated the great invention that is the bicycle. We headed down in the new year to check the place out but unfortunately it was closed for reasons unknown, but I still found myself with nose pressed against the cold window, staring into cycling and coffee heaven with a heavy heart at the prospect of not being able to sample the goods that very moment, but I vowed to be back!
So fast forward around a month later and I found myself on a day off from work, the sun was shining, the weather was ice cold and the wind was behaving, I thought today is the the day Christopher, get that ridiculous looking lycra on and get on your bike armed with your camera down to Cambridge to visit the cyclist heaven! So off I went!
It was really cold I wont lie but the sun made up for it and after around 26 miles I found myself arriving at Espresso library very much in need of warmth and comfortable seat, both were provided instantly. I somehow ended up with an entire couch to myself and as well as that, my bike was treated to some awesome looking bike holders attached to the main wall in the place, that also has a huge map of Cambridgeshire and favoured hills marked in bright orange by local MAMIL'S. Instantly I loved the place, it had all the right ingredients from ample space for bike storage indoors as believe it or not there are some naughty people out there who like to take things, especially bikes that do not belong to them, so having this security indoors was great to see. As well as the storage, it was nice that the flooring wasn't like an ice rink whilst wearing cleats in cycle shoes, I can imagine nothing worse than dropping your coffee and cake all over the place, heartbreaking, truly heartbreaking.
The food soon came over and yeah it looked worthy of the "famous" title. Now I wont lie, I would never really order Frittata but I am so glad I did. This one consisted of sweet potato, feta cheese, spinach, garlic, sun dried tomatoes and free range eggs with a side of green leaves and toasted seeds and the taste blew my cycling shoes off! Every mouthful was like a party in my mouth and everyone had just been told that they could have the following Monday of work so they could nurse the hangover. I had to stop myself from wolfing it down at 2.3 million MPH and to instead savour the taste, which I did, and more than likely to anyone who was watching me eat it, I might as well of been the nodding dog from the Churchill advert with the motion of my head acknowledging the tastiness of this dish. Anyway, frittata = Win. The espresso I had with it was a great coffee and not one that I have tasted before, very strangely it tasted like lemons but was so light and tasty,it really accompanied the food well so hats off on that one!
Once my food had been consumed, I set about looking at all the cycle specific artwork around the place and it really pays homage to the history of cycling from pictures of old team cars to jerseys, it feels like a special place to celebrate what to me is a real release from everyday pressures and worries and the owners have done an incredible job at creating such an atmosphere, not just for cyclists but for everyday people, to come and unwind, eat good food and drink good coffee. I got talking to one halve of the couple that started Espresso library, John Gull, and even from our brief chat, he loves what he does both from telling me about local routes to the south of Cambridge (I will go and try these out I promise), to all about the bikes that he has hanging up that have been very kindly donated by a local collector. The pictures do not do these bikes justice and there are some true vintage bikes up there to drool over, the pictures could of been so much better but as it was getting to quite a busy period, I am not sure how happy people were with having a man dressed in lycra trying to squeeze around their table in a feeble attempt at photography!
I decided to grab one last coffee and a brownie for the trip home and John recommended the aeropress columbian bean to me after talking me through the depth of flavour and strength that comes in the package, it sounded just like what I needed for the trip home.
Espresso Library you went above and beyond expectations with atmosphere, layout, service and products you deliver. I will be returning many times more, with both club rides and on days i'm just in Cambridge casually. I cannot fault you in any aspect and to top it off, you have that lovely big projector screen which not only hosts talks in the evenings on a variety of subjects, but also shows Le Tour and I am sure many other cycling events in the future.
Ill see you there.