Opening day draws ever closer and our work at the café has started to change a bit this week from manual jobs to adding final touches to the space, making menu decisions, talking with suppliers and filling up the shelves with crockery and equipment. We're also still problem-solving and have a few things to resolve before we can open up!

The photo above gives a flavour of how our style is coming together. We've scattered cushions around the bench seating, have brought some plants over and are getting the artwork ready to hang on the walls. Many of these things have been bought and stored at home over many months and it's great to finally be bringing them to the café. The shelf on the right will be used for retail including coffee, tea, chocolate, chutney, beer and wine.

Speaking of wine, one of our favourite meetings this week was with our wine supplier, John Hattersley. John and Sean have done a great job of putting together a wine list that fits with our theme and our menu and we enjoyed tasting the house wines (including the Prosecco in the photo which was delicious) and talking about the shelf wines. Key to our concept is that most of the food and drink we serve on the menu will also be available to buy to take home. When it comes to wine and beer everything will have normal 'drink in' price and a lower 'take home' price and everything will be available to browse on the shelves and read about on our website. Writing up the menus and price labels has started this week!

One of our favourite things in the café is this plant pot cover crocheted by my very creative sister Kathy. We love having little personal touches like this around the place - not to mention that all the building work and electrics have been done by family members, we're very lucky!

The next blog post should feature some of our products and some final photos of the café space. Then roll on opening day!!

So much has happened this week it's hard to know where to start. We both finished our jobs last Friday which was of course sad in some ways but also really exciting and meant that we could finally focus entirely on Ginger. We scheduled lots of deliveries for the first Monday after finishing work including furniture, lighting, crockery and of course the coffee machine! We wanted to get that up and running as soon as possible so we could start practising making coffees while we work. We had it installed on Tuesday and had some training on Wednesday from Trev at Smith Street Coffee Roasters where we're getting our beans from.

Things never go smoothly and it turns out that our main grinder isn't working, so we're now trying to get that sorted out. Luckily we've got a great little second grinder that we plan to use for decaf, so we've been able to use that for the time being. Trev gave us a great overview of the basics of grinding and weighing coffee and the right timings for the perfect shot of espresso. We also did some milk steaming and had a go at latte art. We've had some barista training before but it was a brilliant refresher and we've been practising every day.

Another exciting development was having the external signage and window vinyls installed. We're really pleased with how these look and they've generated lots of interest with plenty of people calling in to ask when we're opening. It's so nice meeting local residents and business owners while we're working on Ginger!

The lighting is in place throughout the unit now and after a late night here last night we were able to give it a quick test when it started to go dark - here are the lights over the counter area, but they look great in the main seating area too. We'll share some photos of those soon.

This photo also shows a couple of other developments. The chiller cabinet was delivered early this week and after a bit of a battle getting it through the door it's in and waiting to be turned on shortly before we open. You can also see the bottle fridge in the background which has been handy for keeping milk and juice (and a few 0% alcohol beers - alcohol and furniture building don't mix!!). And finally the blinds which we've fitted throughout the unit. The sun and light in this space are sooo nice, but they make the room pretty hot in these tropical temperatures we've been having. The blinds should help with this, and the air conditioning is doing a good job of keeping us cool too.

We've been using our new crockery and teapots this week and are really happy with both. Here we were testing breakfast tea blends - there's a bit more work to be done on that, but we're looking forward to working with Sheffield's own Craft Tea Company and have a great selection of loose leaf teas lined up to drink in and buy to take home.

I'll end by sharing a photo of my laptop where I've been sat writing the first blog post in the cafe - hopefully it will be the first of many :-)

The building work has picked up pace during this past week and we now have most of our counter area in place. The corner sink is being plumbed in this week and we also have all the wood ready and waiting for the bench seating and window bar to be built - exciting!

We've also got the first of the pendant lights hung and are really pleased with how they look, despite the plastic wrapping! We now have a door on every room (including the toilet, phew) and shelving in the store room so we can stack things away neatly. The first bits of our barista kit are stored there while we wait for the coffee machine to arrive next week.

We've had some ups and downs this week - nothing massive, just lots of little challenges and issues that crop up when managing a big project. We've been out picking up a core drill bit before 8am on a work day (shortly after learning what a core drill actually is) and testing paint colours at 8pm at night (when you realise that paint on a wall without windows looks literally nothing like the sample card).

But we've also had some great moments. Meeting Anna at Cocoa Mester and sampling her delicious award-winning chocolates was a definite highlight. We also met four friends who were walking by the shop on Friday night and popped in while we were having a look at the new counter area. They have been following our blog with interest and are itching for us to open! It was lovely to meet some of our future customers who are as enthusiastic about our concept as we are.

We both finish work on Friday (eeek!) but can't wait to be able to concentrate on Ginger full time. Lots of things are on the schedule for the coming week so the next blog post should include furniture, shelving and the all important coffee machine!

© Ginger Cafe & Deli Ltd

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