Javajava: Our fantastic first year!

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When we were recently given the opportunity to write something to go into the food and drink section of the NT website, we wanted to do our best to make it interesting, informative and a pleasure to read!

After much thought, we have decided that the most appropriate thing would be to share with you the highs and lows of running an independent coffee shop in Kettering, together with some tried and tested recipes and regular information regarding up and coming events!

As some of you may know, we have just celebrated our first birthday and it is safe to say that our first year has been a steep learning curve.

Our inspiration for our business began when frequenting coffee shops during a holiday in California in the late 1990s but, for various reasons, didn’t actually come to fruition until late 2011 when we happened upon The Coach House next to Kettering Library which was to become the home of javajava.

Our vision was to become a destination coffee shop, where people would come to relax and enjoy superb coffee and a simple, unfussy menu in lovely surroundings while listening to a gentle combination of soul, jazz and blues tracks on the soundsystem.

While away from the main town centre, we felt we offered something different to the other outlets in Kettering and, when we finally opened in February 2012, we were excited, if a little trepidacious, to hear the opinions of our customers.

I am pleased to say that the feedback we have received during that first year has been fantastic with the most compliments being received on our coffee (thanks to Limini Coffee), our coffee cake (Carol at Coffee House Cakes), our Millionaire Shortbread (courtesy of our lovely Jess!), our choice of music (fulfilling Tony’s passion to be a DJ) and the vibrant leather chairs (designersofas4u.co.uk).

Some highlights (and lowlights) of our first year have included the wettest April for many years which gave rise to unfounded fears that no-one would come; the granting of a 5-star food hygiene rating and the provision of an alcohol and entertainment licence; the opening of our outside coffee glade which proved to be a huge hit all summer; our first javajazz session on Father’s Day which fulfilled our long-held ambition to become a music venue (Sunday lunchtimes will commence again shortly with music events planned!); the Olympic Torch Relay in July which resulted in people queuing up into the council offices car park; the day of Kettering Carnival when we were full to bursting both inside and out; the joy of the wedding reception that we hosted in September; the Christmas Lights switch-on in the Market Place which saw our staff running to and fro from the Market Place with coffee orders – berserk but fantastic fun!

The weather so far this year has been rather strange to say the least and it is hard to imagine as I write this article with several inches of snow on the ground that, two weeks ago, we were serving lunches outside on the terrace!

Ah well, can’t beat nature!

During the course of this year, we want to use the coffee shop to host some creative clubs and various music events and we will keep you updated of these events on a weekly basis.

We are also happy to hire out the venue should anyone be interested in using it for their own activities and interests.

Upcoming events:

March 25 to April 6:

Easter colouring competition, three different age groups, winners of each group to get an Easter egg!

Monday, April 22, and every Monday apart from Bank Holidays:

In conjunction with The Tea Party Social, we will be starting a java & jabber craft club (similar to knit & natter) every Monday from 9.30am to 11.30am where you can take part in an organised craft activity or bring your own craft and join in with the ‘jabber’! Ten per cent off all coffees and biscuits will be provided!

Next week, we will share some of our recipes with you (including Carol’s coffee cake!) and details of our spring and summer menu which will be available from the beginning of April.

In the meantime, you can follow us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/javajavauk or on Twitter @javajavauk.

Have a great week!