I felt like I was copping out (pardon, pardon!) by making another trip down St Swithin Street for my next mocha review, but time was against me this particular Monday. I had just finished the n-th virtual meeting of the day and needing to get a gasp of fresh air, so I thought I’d put it to good use with a new review – but the afternoon was flying by and the café closing times were approaching. I knew I had a choice of at least 2 places in this part of the West End, and I assumed at least one of them would be open longer.
En route I had decided to try Coppa first, since I bypassed it last time on my way to Orka – and I thought it would make for a good study – comparing two coffee shops, just a block apart. The site for Coppa used to house Rocksalt & Snails (as you can learn from this archive review) which may be why I had weary feeling about it to this point. It wasn’t, however, until writing this post that I realised I had actually been to Coppa since they took over – and rated it better than its predecessor.
As I arrived this time, I was definitely attracted by one thing – their offer of “any hot drink £2” (and “soup and sandwich £5”), which I assume is a lockdown special deal. However, after digesting this A-board as well as other signage in the café’s windows I was no wiser to whether they were still open or not. There was a table at the entrance, but the door itself was closed, and I saw no note about opening hours, although having checked their Facebook there and then, it suggested they should still be serving.
Through the window I could see a man on the inside behind the bar, but I wasn’t sure if he was a barista – until I caught his eye and he quickly came over and opened the door to take my order. Apart from soya, almond and oat they also had coconut milk alternative so I asked for that – still the sole £2 advertised, despite the alternative.
I didn’t hang about in the door waiting for my drink as there was a fair amount of human traffic on St Swithin of which any might have decided to order at Coppa (but no one had). I seemed to have heard noises from inside suggesting the assistant who served me – who was friendly and effortlessly engaging by the way – wasn’t alone. Peeking inside I was intrigued by some framed pictures (paintings?) laid out on the chair-less tables: what was happening here? Were these for sale? Again, no giveaways to these questions were to be found before my coffee was served.
I quickly peeked inside the cup balancing the coffee, the lid, my phone and removed glove while continuing to walk my circuit. It looked foamy but actually OK. It was of drinking temperature (finally!) – sadly, that was the end of the excitement.
The taste of the concoction was rather acidic – gone was the coconut sweetness experienced in the previous take-away coffees . It had quite a watery consistency, so no luxurious mouthfeel you’d expect with a mocha. Half-way through the cup I started picking up sediment on my tongue… in fact, I didn’t enjoy this cup much and – with a heavy heart (admittedly less so for what it cost), I decided to pour the last of it down the drain to recycle the cup. That allowed me one final observation – under that initial foam, the coffee had a yellowish colour (you’d expect brown on a mocha, right?) which corresponded with that acidic taste.
I really was hoping that the positive POS experience (if you exclude the waiting outside all confused playing out the Vincent Vega meme) and the low price would be followed by a black-horse coffee that steals the show; at the same time, having my preconceptions I was not surprised.
COVID or not, after multiple attempts, I’m afraid Coppa is not my cuppa after all.
Coconut Alternative Mocha: £2
Not an enjoyable mocha, but thumbs up for a great offer in times of need, and positive staff regardless!
To learn more on Coppa Coffee visit their Facebook page.