Although Britain is traditionally a nation of tea-drinkers, the consumption of coffee continues to rise. According to a Mintel report in 2012, the estimated turnover for coffee shops in the UK that year was £5.6 billion. Gone are the unsavoury, scalding cups of instant. Mums are building micro-communities around their local café, based on what they serve, how they serve it and whether it’s baby and child-friendly.
The need for coffee starts shortly after having a baby. Adapting to sleep deprivation requires a pick-me-up, and the opportunity to combine that with a social gathering increases the attraction. The NHS suggests talking over parenting worries with friends can help prevent post-natal depression. During those early weeks and months as a first-time mum, it’s vital to meet up with other mums who are facing similar challenges.
A good cup of coffee, welcoming sofas, endless supplies of cake and excellent baby-changing facilities create a sanctuary to reset the brain and refocus. “For me, coffee is synonymous with socialising and ‘me-time’,” says Worthing mum and blogger Jen Palmer, “and it keeps me awake!”
A gourmet coffee is also seen as an adult treat, especially during these tough economic times. The household budget often doesn’t stretch to regular meals out in restaurants but a cappuccino or caffè latte is an affordable indulgence. New mum and personal trainer Lucy Howlett loves an Americano with soya or non-dairy milk. “Whether it gives me energy or not, having a coffee is a nice ritual to start the day,” she says.
Another recent trend around Sussex, which has no doubt trickled down from London, is slow-brewed drip filter coffee, preferable when taken black to bitter and grainy Americanos. Many places are starting to serve a ‘guest filter’, meaning you can try a variety of beans from around the world and find one that suits you.
We asked Sussex mums to pick their top places for coffee and social gatherings.
Moksha, York Place and Trafalgar Street, Brighton
“Plenty of buggy space, healthy and tasty food, and guest filter coffee. The staff are great at supporting mums with babies and small children.” Claire Jones-Hughes, BrightonMums.com editor.
Baltica, High Street, Lewes
“Even the decaf is great! It has a nice relaxed vibe and tends not to be mad busy plus delicious gluten-free cake and brownie options. I love the unique lovely Polish pottery.” Morgan Nichols, Lewes-based writer.
Jasper Wood Café, Cornfield Terrace, Eastbourne
“All dark wood and lovely coffee.” Crimson Boner, local artist.
Tom Foolery, The High Street, Shoreham-by-Sea
“Child and dog-friendly, plus run by locals and regularly features local artwork. There’s also a pop-up restaurant occasionally and craft events.” Jemma Patterson, Shoreham-by-Sea.
Cobblestone Walk Café, Steyning
“Although it’s probably known for tea and cake, the coffee is great too. It’s almost like going back in time, in a good way.” Kat Naish from WorthingMums.com.
Honorable mention for mum-friendly establishments in Sussex also goes to The Flour Pot Bakery, Brighton; Bond Street Coffee, Brighton; Flint Owl Bakery, Lewes; The Beach Deck, Royal Parade, Eastbourne; Prestons Café, East Preston.
Getting through the day needs superb organisation skills, humour - and large quantities of coffee, says Claire Jones-Hughes