The wonderings, ponderings and other 'ings' of me. Lifestyle, review, news and opinion posts. Chic with a hint of sarcasm... hopefully!

Saturday, 25 February 2017

Review: Bould Brothers Coffee House

I'm not an expert at many things but one thing I do know is what a blogger or freelancer wants from their coffee houses, Cambridge's coffee houses to be specific. So I'm writing a series of posts where you can find out the cool, the quirks and the que? aspects of our independent coffee connoisseurs.  What better place to start than the newest coffee kid on the block,  Bould Brothers.


 The Cool
  • Coffee and conversation is the boy's motto and they seem to take this quite to heart.  They are so enthusiastic, naturally discussing the ins and outs of life with everyone they come in contact with.
  • The decor has all the charm of an English tea room with the chic metropolitan finishing touches you'd expect from a modern Cambridge establishment.  
  • They have a loyalty reward card, always a plus!
  • The coffee itself is smooth and delicately flavoured... or it was when I visited.  I don't doubt if you wanted something a little more slap-you-in-the-face-fantastic they'd be only to happy to offer recommendations for more intense loving taste buds. 
  • Their barista and latte skills are top notch, that coupled together with the decor means its a very instagramable place.
  • Their logo, a clever black and white silhouette showing the outline of 2 men (the brothers themselves I believe), is sleek and understated.  Similar to those optical illusion images that were popular way back when.
The Quirks
  • The lamps upstairs have a rustic, vintage look but for my requirements are too low.  When I banged my head sitting down (and standing up) I got empathetic smiles from the other diners.  A quick straw poll of each of the tables concluded every one of them had also banged their heads at least once, possibly every time, they stood up.  
The Que? 
  • A pet hate of mine is getting lattes in a glass rather than a cup.  I can't help feeling somewhat short changed when this happens as the coffee seems to cool more quickly and it looks as if you don't get as much. 
  • An unfortunate interjection from a customer did sour my appetite for a return visit, not something you can blame the boys for but unwanted comments or pompous interruptions do not exactly give you the warm and fuzzies!  
  • The wifi is weak, seriously so and at the time of posting their website seems to be having a few issues. While it works from certain smart phones, there are some issues from their google search and for pc users*. They may well be fixing this as I write** however while I have contacted them find out and ask a few questions getting a reply is proving tricky.
  • They don't seem to respond all that quickly and they don't have a twitter account.  I find twitter invaluable when it comes to corresponding with brands and bloggers alike so this is a little surprising to me.  
A poll I carried out (on twitter) inspired by Bould Brothers decision to forgo this platform showed 80% of those that responded use twitter for business either 'all the time' or 'quite a bit'.  Novi, another coffee house in Cambridge, advised 'we like to be where our customers are'***.
These issues, I believe, could well be teething problems and the friendly attitude and beautiful latte art I received on my visit means I'll likely give them a second chance to make a first impression.


I'll keep you posted on how it goes!

*Its not just my pc before you ask, I've had outside confirmation!
**they are! not sure if this is cos they have seen this or just noticed by themselves!
*** Now that's a response that smacks of common sense. 

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8 comments

Stephen Stokes said...

I really enjoyed reading your blog, and I also drink here. You do seem to go into some good indepth analysis.

I thought however that you may like to know that they do not offer wifi at all, so the signal could not have been weak it was none exsistant! however you can get a very week 'The Cloud' signal which I am sure they are not responsible for or a quite good Eduroam signal which is open to all member of the University (any University not just Cambridge), again they have no control over this.

This may also be why your thought that there were problems with the website, if your smartphone/laptop was not connecting to a third parties wifi well.
I too have heard otehr cusotmers interjecting and while this can sometimes apear pompous it could also be jusdged as Customer Loyality and a none biased input - if the Brothers say they are the best, it could be said 'well of course they would say that' hover an independant would hold more gravitas.

I would also say that it is the best coffee in the area.

I also asked about the glasses, in person, and was supprised to find out that they actually hold more liqued than the cups so we are far from being short changed.

I do agree the lamp shades are low - I have banged my head also - however I think this adds to the buiding, as it is, as you say, rustic and welcoming, they are only low so that it adds to the effect - too high and they would be lost - even though the buiding would not lend itself to this.

I am unsure about Twitter - I am not a user - and I think these boys seem to be getting the word around without having to resort to this form of advertising, also as they seem always busy - which must say something! - I doubt that they would have time to tweet that they are making a long black or a latte!!

these are, as yours were, my personal opinions and I accept we all look for something different as we all have different eyes.

Alice Toby-Brant said...

Hi Stephen, thanks for stopping by and leaving your thoughts. I'll reply in kind:

WiFi: yes the cloud is the weak signal I was writing about. Its an important aspect for bloggers and freelancers to know about. The boys could control the issue by offering free WiFi the way many other coffee houses do.

Website: Not so as I tried on several devices, at home and also polled the Cambridge Blogger group and Facebook friends. Many of whom also could not get to their website at all.

Pompous Interjections: the comment in question concerned my age, it wasn't general chitchat.

Best coffee: preference is personal so I hope we can agree to disagree here.

Glasses: ditto above.

Lampshades: This was merely an observation.

Twitter: this of course is up to the boys, however I enjoy speaking with brands on social media and have yet to hear from Bould Brothers on any of their platforms. Many others houses manage to serve great coffee and chat with customers simultaneously.

You seem very invested in this house and I wonder if you know the boys personally? Either way Cambridge being the vibrant wonderful place it is means, I'm sure, there's room for all tastes in coffee house desires.

Keep an eye out for my other Coffee House Critiques coming up!

Stephen Stokes said...

Just to reply, so that there are no missgivings or missunderstandings

No I do not know either of the boys personally or professionaly, I only know them as a customer.

I do agree that anyone refering to anyone else in a personal way, is rude - but also (as you say) out side of their control - that said as you agree it was outside of their control I do not, then, understand why you mentioned it, unless you are infering that they agreed - sorry I'm a little confused.

an observation I would add to about the wifi is that when I have tried to drink in other coffee shops, sometimes there is very little space to sit as there seems to be laptops everywhere and only a small coffee that seems to last for hours, and while they may be able to get wifi by third parties, if they offered it themselves then this may promote this state here which would be unfortunate.

again as you say we are all aloud our own personal obsevations

Alice Toby-Brant said...

No misunderstandings. I spoke on the comment mainly because it added to how I felt and I can write whatever I feel on my blog. Each to their own.

Charlotte Steggz said...

I've not been yet, but do want to try it out. How was their selection of cakes etc?
I'm totally with you on the hot drinks in glasses thing. They do it in Germany (where I used to live) and it drove me crazy all the time.

Alice Toby-Brant said...

Well there were only 3 pastries the morning I went there but the one I had was nice enough. Right?! Enough with the glasses of coffee people.

Quintus said...

Well, I'm sat in Bould Brothers as I write and have to admit that I love the place and its attention to coffee, design and detail. Age and technology feature in the reviews so I feel obliged to comment. As a dinosaur, I appreciate the absence of WiFi and the table blocking it promotes. I appreciate the undercurrent that more isn't invariably better. I come here to sit, think and recharge rather than to draft my autobiography however much that isn't in demand.

Alice Toby-Brant said...

Each to their own of course. The wifi was only one in a number of comments I had. Am glad you feel at home in one of our independent coffee houses, unfortunately for me the cost and taste of the coffee isn't to my liking. Luckily Cambridge is full of coffee shops and I'll be reporting on more over the Summer. Would love to know your thoughts on those so do keep an eye out! Thanks for stopping by.

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