Tastes of the Town: Eight Ounces coffee shop in Harpenden
PUBLISHED: 12:20 14 February 2019 | UPDATED: 12:26 14 February 2019
The indie coffee shop craze hasn’t quite swept Harpenden in the same way it has in St Albans; Costa and Café Nero seem to have quite a stronghold. But I’d like to tell you about a new coffee shop that unless you are out shopping for men’s clothes, you might have missed.
Eight Ounces opened in November as part of Purple menswear, just up near Godfrey’s. Owned by Paul Monks, it is a stylish stop that sells designer menswear at the front (including a range by David Beckham) and has a Menspire barber shop at the back. The coffee shop is in the middle, and has seating for about 10 people, and more when the weather is good, as it has a great little secret garden area.
Paul won Young Entrepreneur of the Year in a local business awards last year, and has been featured in Drapers.
His sense of style is evident in the coffee shop. It is a bright room, with funky green banquettes and a large vintage-style mirror which makes the most of the space.
They sell Campbell & Syme coffee, which is roasted and ground in King’s Langley. My partner’s flat white was perfect. It is the same coffee that Hatch in St Albans sell, and Fred and Ginger in Berkhamstead. Paul told me that they serve glasses of tap water with coffee too, in the Italian style.
I chose a Moroccan mint tea, which was by Brew Co Tea – it had a good flavour but needed to be served in a small teapot which is usual for that brand; then you can get two cups out of it.
The coffee and tea prices are good, with most at the £2-£2.70 mark, which is similar to the chain coffee shops. I like the smart coffee cup branding.
There is a small range of pressed juices too and I was intrigued by the charcoal lemonade, which contains lemon, lavender and activated charcoal.
Due to the proximity of the clothes shop and barber shop, Paul has decided not to sell hot food, and I think that makes perfect sense for this small shop. Instead, they sell a small range of filled bagels, yoghurt pots and cake slices.
I like that the bagels are made fresh each day by Silver Palate, just a few streets away. Paul calls them each day to order for the next day. When I went in they had tuna melt bagels, turkey and cheese and ham.
I was surprised not to see a veggie/vegan option and Paul explained that they usually have a hummus, aubergine, red pepper and spinach bagel, but had sold out. They offered to toast the bagels, and ours was nicely served on chequered paper in a paper box.
The cakes were mostly chocolate-based, which isn’t a problem for me. You could choose millionaire shortbread, fridge cake, cornflake cake or Italian filled twists. Something gluten-free or lemony would be a good option.
There is a small selection of branded tote bags and sweatshirts with the Eight Ounce logo on, I guess for any teen customers popping in, and a few reusable coffee cups for sale too.
I was pleased to see that they are supplying paper straws and napkins made from recycled paper. The bathroom needs a good clean – hey, this is Harpenden, and people are going to notice.
A useful addition to Harpenden High Street, that supports local suppliers. This is the way to keep shoppers visiting small, indie retail spaces as we shop more and more online; making it a lifestyle space to visit often, whether you want to buy a gift, get a whole new spring wardrobe, or just pop in for coffee. A clever idea.