As the frosty breezes begin to sweep from the shores of our beaches, the time has come to delight our tastebuds and tummies with the warming notes of a soothing beverage to help fend off the cold. Cravings of chocolate, spices and chai are abrupt - and despite the worrying reality of shops closing in our towns left right and centre, there's still a great range of independent options to cosy up to.
Read on to discover 10 hot spots in Bournemouth and Poole to grab your mug of winter luxury (in no particular order).
Starting back in 2013 by Francesca Silvestre, Espresso Kitchen has grown as a local favourite and reaped success to the point where a second site is now open in the heart of Boscombe high street. Now you can pick a favourite! At both sites, you can find surfy and quirky interiors with squishy cushions and wallpapers entirely fashioned from old newspaper articles.
There's interesting reads on the shelf for you to borrow during your visit, smiley staff and a range of three or four freshly-made bagel choices throughout the day which seems just right to suit all the taste palates and dietary requirements. Not forgetting Francesca's homemade cakes and treats which make a great pairing. Our favourite is definitely the Vegan Snickers Slice!
Espresso Kitchen has a simple mission (as quoted from Francesca herself) - to give you the best quality coffee possible, paired up with delicious homemade cake, or a juicy bagel, wrapped up in excellent, personal service that'll see you coming back again and again!
For a proper winter treat, you should definitely try the 'Winter Spice Hot Chocolate'. With the best of both worlds - the spicy notes of chai sugar, ginger and nutmeg combined with pure cocoa - it's a cup of luxury to sink into your chair with a good book.
24 Richmond Hill, Bournemouth, BH2 6EJ | southcoastroast.co.uk
Nestled on the foot of one of Bournemouth's hills (just a <1 minute walk from the Square), South Coast has a well-earned reputation amongst locals and tourists alike for bangin' good coffee combined with some mouth watering brunch options available from open 'til close. If you haven't tried one of the Lemon Friand's yet, you're missing out on a beautiful bite.
You are greeted with a sight of vintage wood, exposed brick work and a very cool mural of Bournemouth Pier as crafted by LUCANART (click for more info). The vintage-yet-modern aesthetic continues with overhanging lights made from beaten metal and a selection of blues, R&B and soul beating out of the amplifiers. South Coast uses Bad Hand Coffee - a super local roastery that has grown very popular amongst coffee and hospitality business and the staff here know how to handle it well to give you a cuppa that'll get you coming back in no time.
It's a versatile hotspot that also features great craft beer options too if you're fancying a tipple during your visit, and also plays host to DJ events throughout the year!
Fancy something differently wonderful from South Coast? Try the 'Shroom Brew'. A cracking combo of espresso, chocolate, vegan milk and six (yes, six) different blends of medicinal mushrooms. You just can't go wrong!
91 Salterns Road, Poole, BH14 8BL | wearecoast.com
For those that want to cosy up whilst being nestled in a trendy beach/bike themed setting, look no further than Coast. Just around the corner from Lilliput, this vibrant establishment is fitted with a bright and contemporary theme that stays true to the surfer culture. The coffee here is gorgeous with notes of nougat and dark chocolate, and is provided by roasters Ozone. There's also a-plenty of smoothies, softies and beers to choose from as well if you're not a caffeine person (I'm sure they're decaf is great too - I just rarely have decaf!).
Foodies will be delighted nonetheless with a great selection of brunch, lunch and dinner treats for all dietary preferences. For seriously hungry breakfast goers, choose between 'The K Bay', 'The Veggie Bay' or 'Breakfast Board' for a filling satisfaction. If you're not a morning person then don't fret - Coast also offer a lunch/dinner menu of fish tacos, wood-fired burgers and pizza all the way until 9pm.
For those that need a little retail therapy, Coast has a range of stylish merchandise to tempt a little extra spending... from T-Shirts to Yeti-branded cups!
2 Grand Parade, High St, Poole BH15 1AD | instagram.com/riptideespresso
Sticking with the surf/beach theme, we have Riptide Espresso & Records which is located in Poole's historic Old Town, very close to the quay. Riptide thrives on a balance of carefully curated coffee, melting bagels and mouthwatering cakes whilst being suspended with an array of fantastic tunes direct from their record player. And, as a musician myself that is open to all genres, their music choices are grand indeed.
Winter Warmer fanatics will be pleased at the great choice of themed beverages and mulled goodies whilst taking in the sweet sounds around the two-storey establishment. The theme here portrays light and airy, exposed brick with little beach-themed motifs dotted around. More squishy chairs can be found upstairs alongside a few games. There's even some swings to perch on for those that want to let our their inner child! I last visited Riptide with my partner who tucked into a very delicious (and vegan) bagel that he reported back as amazing, whereas I indulged in a caramel shortcake that left me in a chocolate-coma heaven.
7 Westover Rd, Bournemouth BH1 2BA | facebook.com/fikabournemouth
Small coffee shop. Big heart. This is the motto for this lovely little gem found nestled in Westover Road - a shared space with hairdressing salon called 'Collective'. After visiting the shop myself with my partner to give it a go, we can confirm that their motto stands strong!
Fika's embrace reminds me of Scandinavian design - it's a clean collective where their decor is simple and striking, providing a jolly greeting to those that enter the store with the welcoming staff. It's probably one of the newest entries in this list too, serving up a flurry of lip-smacking coffee goodness accompanied by a wonderfully colourful selection of sweet treats to keep the inner buzz buzzing. They've also won the award for 'Best Coffee Shop' this year from England Business Awards, so if my words don't sway you to give this treasure of a coffee stop a go then the proof is in the pudding (or the award, so to speak)!
For those that are on their own this Christmas, you'll be delighted to know that Fika will be opening their doors on Christmas Day to offer some hearty company alongside their list of goodies.
There is of course many other options to indulge in, and if there's something you think we should include in our next round of reviews then do get in touch and let us know!
(All images belong to their rightful owners from their wonderful Instagram pages.)