Added: 13th August 2015
Terms like ‘skinny latte’ and ‘flat white’ have gone from esoteric terms only coffee enthusiasts would understand to partof our everyday language. Although nowadays the opening of a new coffee shop is hardly news, one new arrival to Birmingham’s coffee scene is causing something of a stir by setting up business in an unusual location: inside a red phone box directly outside one of the city’s many Starbucks outlets!
Out steps Jake…
Jake’s Coffee Box on Eden Square may not put much of a dent in its neighbour’s trade, given that it has no seating, no cover, and only has space for a single coffee machine – but that is almost the point of it, and proprietor Jake Hollier says trade has started off briskly with around twenty customers in his couple of hours of operation. Open only on weekdays, Jake says his target customer is the busy commuter wanting to grab a quick cup of quality coffee to drink on the go, with maybe a sausage roll or muffin to go with it.
The coffee box is a result of one day’s barista training for Jake, plus six months of planning in partnership with charity Thinking Outside the Box, who are working to preserve the country’s remaining iconic red phone boxes by letting them from the local council, and gaining planning permission to rent them out as kiosks and other small business ventures. The charity say that they’d rather see the phone boxes be used and maintained rather than being removed or falling victim to vandalism.
From these humble beginnings, Jake hopes to expand his operation by erecting a gazebo to provide a covered seating place for his customers, although this will depend on further planning approval from Birmingham City Council. He is also looking to take on an assistant so that he can rush to the nearest supermarket whenever his supply of fresh milk starts to run low.
In the meantime, how does the coffee stand up despite the tiny serving space?
Local newspaper the Birmingham Mail reports that the Jake’s Coffee Box latte compares extremely well with its more famous Starbucks version, with a rich texture and well-brewed flavour. With a large cup costing £2.60 at Jake’s compared to £2.95 at the neighbour’s, the price is certainly right for coffee-starved commuters who want a delicious cup on the run while also showing support for Hollier’s entrepreneurial spirit.