About us

Having a cuppa is a big part of our day. And there's nothing better than finding a good tea room or coffee shop with a great atmosphere. Sure we like to enjoy the coffee or tea that we drink, but it's more the feel of the place that counts for us.

The idea for Fancy a Cuppa? emerged when we realised that we knew quite a few great tea rooms and coffee shops around the UK already. We'd often chat to the owners and heard some really good stories about the people who run them or the buildings they're housed in.

The trouble with most guides already out there is that:

  • they tend to focus only on coffee or only on tea, whereas we'll swap our tastes according to mood or time of day;
  • they tend to be purely factual and focus on the menu, or they go to the other extreme and write far too many words about every single aspect of the place.

So our focus in Fancy a Cuppa? is as much on getting across the highlights about the people and the places as it is about how good the espresso was or how the tea is prepared. We're telling a story, rather than claiming to be coffee or tea 'experts' and we're not trying to be professional reviewers, picking holes in minute details: if we don't like a place, we simply don't review it!

So who are we?

Simon Duffin

My love of coffee and cake (usually in the morning) or tea and cake (usually in the afternoon) came to the fore at university in Brighton, where the student common room caterers made the cakes themselves at home.

When I first met Anita, she would join me on trips to follow my favourite football teams - Hull City (where I was born) or Southampton (where my Dad was born). This took us often to beautiful places like Lincoln, Cheltenham, Bournemouth, Cambridge. We would do some tourism in the morning, find a place for a good cup of coffee, and then arrange to meet after the game for a final cuppa before heading home. We met some fantastic people in those coffee shops and tea rooms, and decided to start writing about them...

I worked for 25 years in the field of international relations, for the last 10 years of which focusing on media relations. Working with the media has given me a strong sense of what makes a good story and how to tell it. So, interviewing all the owners or managers was an important part of the research that went into Fancy a Cuppa?

Anita Volkert

I was born and grew up in the sunny, Mediterranean climate of Adelaide, Australia, where cafe culture is a big part of life. I spent many hours as a student meeting friends and drinking cappuccino in authentic, independently-owned coffee shops in the leafy suburbs around Adelaide's city centre. I also got the bug while visiting my father's home country of Germany (where cake and coffee is an institution!) during high school.

I am a late-comer to tea-drinking - converted after living in the UK for several years. But working in the health and education field, having a cup of tea with people is often part of my daily work, quite apart from all the day trips with Simon...

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