Stress, strife and struggle in the silly season.

We run a tight ship at Liberty with a small team working in the shop across the year. Once summer hits we can sometimes struggle with the change in pace.

Therefore we are sorry for the following…


  • Not always welcoming on arrival.
  • Struggling with a clear explanation of our coffee board.
  • Asking you “what kind of coffee” you want when you just asked for a coffee.
  • Being unable to serve you that cream tea that one afternoon when we were understaffed for the sixth time that summer.
  • Letting you know there would be a ten minute weight when it would have probably been more like five.
  • The endless array of dirty tables and stacks of stained ACME cups (RIP ACME).
  • That goddamn awful decaf cappuccino I made.
  • Not serving a Full English Breakfast.
  • Not serving Cornish pasties.
  • Not serving milkshakes, Coca-Cola or Marlboro Reds.
  • Having the audacity to attempt selling cold brew in the South West of England.
  • Not explaining clearly enough that we CAN grind for espresso but this COULD still be too fine or too coarse for your machine at home.
  • Not selling our retail coffee at supermarket prices.
  • Not understanding that your carnivorous nature is so strong that it is insulting for us to only have vegetarian cheese & herb rolls on the counter (More on that one later…)

Not withholding a degree of cynicism and sarcasm, what exactly is my point? ‘Speciality’ coffee shops such as us can focus so much on trying to deliver their precious coffee menu that other areas of the business can get neglected. Once in a while you might actually get busy so make sure you prepare for the ‘worst’ and implement adequate systems and training. But you already knew this as you have read Colin Harmon’s excellent book on why you probably shouldn’t run a coffee shop:

I believe that we have done and do do a very good job in Liberty Coffee or else we probably wouldn’t be here anymore. This year was a particularly busy summer for us so it just goes to show that you must expect the unexpected in this industry.


P.S. I’m also sorry for not updating our blog in over a year, our report card most definitely reads: MUST DO BETTER.


There’s always next year.