Not far from the Lake District is Kendal, with its mint cake and cafés. One of these cafés is Farrer’s Tea And Coffee House, which has been recommended by a reader.
My girlfriend and I sat down near the kitchen, which in hindsight was probably the worst seat in the house. The clankings and bangings were distracting, and the waitresses were shuffling up and down the stairs in a terrible hurry.
Our waitress seemed to be in a constant state of nervous tension, which didn’t do much to help us relax.
The menu makes a big deal of coffee, which comes from Farrer’s own roastery just down the road. I had something from a caffetiere, which was ok.
There didn’t seem to be an ordinary latte on the menu (the closest option being a “caffe latte machiato”, which is very different from a latte as the espresso is added after the milk, rather than before). Most coffee options are “dusted with chocolate” by default, which I tend to think is a bad sign.
One of the shop assistants told me that the coffee is ground first thing every morning, “so it is fresh”. In fact, this doesn’t mean the coffee is fresh – ground coffee lose its freshness very shortly after grinding.
So this may not be the best place for coffee, but maybe I’m getting a little pedantic. This blog isn’t just about coffee, it’s also about setting, and that’s the best thing about Farrer’s. It’s generally very pleasant (apart from where we sat, on the lower ground floor) and the olde worlde, characterful surroundings are wonderful.
There are plenty of seats (the upper floor seeming like the best spot) including a small outdoor area (in the middle of the pavement) and an extensive shop with plenty of pretty tea-and-coffee-related things.
Normally, I would expect to adore this sort of coffee shop. On this particular day I didn’t take to it, but this may have been partly down to bad luck, and I’ve been wrong before on a first visit.
I would love to go back and give it another try, especially in view of the good things I have heard. Without doubt it’s a popular place.
We visited on 14 September 2009.