Tell us a bit about your café?
Serving the Firle community and surrounding areas, Cheeky Grin Coffee is a small, bustling cafe known for its smooth, balanced cups of coffee and easy, on-the-go food options. Customers can dine in or take away every product on offer whilst feeling welcomed and share a joke and/or friendly conversation from staff.
What makes your café special?
I believe that the loyal, community aspect of our cafe makes it special. I am incredibly lucky to have such loyal, regular customer base making the in-store atmosphere feel as if it is a big cheeky family.
What are you known for?
Aside from my cheeky grin (it’s in the name), I believe that we are known for our delicious and strong cup of coffee created from Willow Bend Beans, fresh, mouth-watering toasties and our friendly service. We are focused on turning people’s frowns upside down and ensuring that each customer feels welcomed into our space.
Tell us something people don’t know about you or the café?
Those who haven’t been a customer since the beginning would perhaps not know of our unique establishment story. Cheeky Grin Coffee was born in a Firle shed (my family home), serving coffee to the local community every Saturday and Sunday in peak COVID-19 lockdown. The response was huge, and we even made it on national television which ultimately led us to find a shop around the corner from the shed.
Owning a café is a very popular dream for many people. Was it always your dream?
Yes, I have always worked as a barista jumping from shop to shop. Being Italian also, I feel it’s in my blood to know and love coffee so where I am today does not surprise me.
What’s been the biggest challenge?
The constant changes in rules and regulations with COVID-19 have definitely been a huge challenge especially as a new business.
Another thing that comes to mind as a challenge is staying relevant and keeping the community engaged.
Have you noticed your customers becoming more knowledgeable in food and beverage choices?
Yes, I’ve been able to educate a lot of my customers on specialty coffee and the differences in blends we provide so that they can tell and understand the difference when trying other people’s coffee.
Have you noticed a distinct shift towards plant-based?
I have definitely seen a shift towards opting for plant-based milk alternatives in my customers’ coffee. I think customers are becoming more educated and open towards the idea of having non-dairy milk due to brands such as The Alternative Dairy Co perfecting the taste and creaminess to the point where customers can’t tell the difference or even prefer it.
How do you think The Alternative Dairy Co performs?
We love using The Alternative Dairy Co in our coffee. The taste, the texture is incredible and we’re especially fans of The Alternative Dairy Co Oat milk and converted many customers to this now. We also love The Alternative Dairy Co milk for creating latte art as some other plant-based milks are particularly hard to create that lovely heart on top of your cuppa