After a couple of hours shopping in the vibrant market town of Cowbridge, what could be better than enjoying a high-quality speciality cup of coffee and a slice of homemade cake? 96 Degrees offers both and more.
So successful is the offering, that owners Lee Davies and John Howe have now added a wine bar which is already proving a huge hit. Here Lee tells us more.
What are your backgrounds?
I have seventeen years’ experience in hospitality from successfully owning and running The Mackworth Arms in Laleston, Bridgend. John has twenty- three years of business and commercial experience and is currently responsible for Global Key account development with Michelin.
How long has 96 Degrees been open?
We’ve now been open five months. It has been two years in the planning with a lot of hard work in its preparation. Finding the right location was something we had as a high priority and feel we’ve got just that.
What do you offer your customers?
We offer outstanding high-quality speciality coffees, hot chocolate and loose-leaf teas. Our cakes are all homemade, straight from The Mackworth Arms which also supplies the homemade soup. The toast, croissants are locally sourced and toasties are made fresh on site every day.
What’s so good about your coffee?
Our speciality coffee is sourced straight from the farms. We have a wide range of coffees which help to cater for our customers taste preference. Speciality coffee is graded on a scoring from 0 to 100, all speciality coffee must score 80 or above, anything below is commodity coffee.
Are your cakes homemade? Give us a few flavours.
Yes, all are home made by my mum Sian and the kitchen staff and include millionaire short bread and custard slices. The cakes change flavours daily as they’re so popular.
What do your customers enjoy about their experiences with you?
Apart from everyone commenting on the quality of the coffee and cakes, we get so many comments about the ambiance and relaxed environment we have created. Everything we do is about the experience. Our customers say that they love the table service which means they don’t have to wait in a queue. They also love the sense of space on offer, you can have a private conversation with a friend or family member without being on top of one another. Not forgetting the chilled acoustic music, and the volume we play it at creates a nice vibe but allows customers to talk to each other easily.
What about food intolerances?
We have gluten free options and all the soups are always vegan.
What are your opening hours for the coffee shop?
We’re open from 8am to 5.30pm Monday to Thursday, Friday and Saturday 9am to 11pm at night and we start serving alcohol from 3pm on both days. Sunday 9.30am to 2.30pm.
You’ve recently added a cocktail bar – what is the offering?
We prefer to call it a wine bar that does cocktails and gins! Like the coffees, all the spirits are about quality, they are all specially picked and very bespoke which ties in nicely with our other products. The night vibe is a bit more upbeat but still maintaining the chilled feel.
Who does the wine bar attract?
We tend to get groups or couples in. They love the atmosphere we have created, combined with the high-end quality wines, cocktails and gins. We have security on the door to reassure the customers that want to have a good night with the peace of mind knowing the place is in safe hands. There are a lot of good pubs in Cowbridge and that is not what we are trying to be.
We wanted to create somewhere with a chilled vibe that offers something a bit more special in its drinks offer, a perfect place to take your partner or a relaxed enjoyable evening with friends.
What has been the feedback so far from customers?
They love it! To be fair we had so many customers comments from the start telling us this place would be a great wine bar. They were not to know we had already planned it – so that was nice to hear.
What do you think makes 96 Degrees stand out from the crowd?
We are both in it for the legacy, not the currency! We want to create a special place for people to come and spend time with friends and family. Everything we do is built around the customer experience. We want to have a positive impact on someone’s day. We believe the table service, our high-end quality offering and chilled atmosphere are what sets us apart.
Staff training is massive for us, all the staff have their SCA Barista diplomas and have all been on extensive customer service training to ensure we give the customers the very best experience.
96 Degrees Coffee
Unit 7C, Old Masons Yard, Cowbridge, CF71 7EE
Monday to Thursday 8am – 5.30pm
Friday and Saturday 9am – 11pm (Alcohol is served from 3pm)
Sunday 9.30am – 2.30pm
Friday and Saturday 3pm – 11pm