This article was published in 2015, in Newsletter 121.
Cambridge has recently welcomed Espresso Library, a new cafe that is not just about coffee, but also cycling. The cafe is conveniently located on East Road near Parker’s Piece, and the free Wi-Fi, ample space and mix of modern, Scandinavian and industrial decor have made it quite the appealing destination. I’ve spent a fair amount of time there recently and I particularly enjoy sitting at the front window watching the world and cyclists go by.
Bringing something new to Cambridge is the carefully designed area for recreational cyclists which includes a large communal table, indoor wall-hanging cycle parking and a giant map of Cambridge (to review the day’s ride). This is a key part in the vision of owners John and Malgo, healthy-living enthusiasts, who aim to provide healthy food and promote the athleticism of cycling.
John is a keen cyclist and identified a need in Cambridge for a suitable location to convene after lengthy rides. In particular, he saw a need for safe cycle parking where valuable bikes could be kept in sight. The cafe also runs regular bike rides for their cycling community. Malgo benefits from the cycle parking as the house is no longer cluttered with bikes before and after rides. She is also the force behind the delicious menu, designing the healthy meals based on seasonal, local, organic produce.
The most important feature of a cafe is the coffee, and Espresso Library passes the test for a discerning Melburnian used to one of the world’s best coffee cultures. My usual order of a soya decaf latte often provokes the ire of baristas, but at Espresso Library it isn’t a problem. They have even encouraged me to try the homemade almond milk.
The food is also delicious. On my latest visit I enjoyed a generous serving of salmon on wholesome rye topped with lemon zest and accompanied by a fresh salad of mixed greens. Combining this with a fresh green juice left me full, satisfied and feeling healthy. Just what John and Malgo have been aiming for.
Beyond supporting recreational cyclists, John is also keen to encourage the everyday cyclist. Cycle parking is at a premium as the numerous nearby Sheffield stands are often filled to capacity. To increase the parking provision John has purchased additional cycle racks and will install them when approved by the council. The parking cannot come soon enough as the indoor parking is in hot demand by all types of cyclists, despite being restricted to lighter road bikes without locks.
Espresso Library is always full so they are clearly doing something right. Not only is good coffee important in Cambridge, but so are places that support the large economic force that is the city’s cyclists. I can’t wait to see what Cambridge has to offer next.
Roxanne De Beaux