At Kape – they take the coffee very, very seriously – but not themselves!
Ask co-owner of Kape and Co. Nick Shearman who he’d most like to make a coffee for and his answer is swift, ‘Anthony Bourdain, without a doubt.’ He says. And why on earth would he want to host one of the most influential figures in modern dining? ‘Because I think he’d really, really like our roast!’ He laughs. It’s a typically light-hearted answer from the first time café owner and coffee enthusiast who has spent a lot of time considering how to tempt the tastebuds of the discerning city set. ‘I just think anyone who enjoys a really delicious coffee would love what we do here,’ he says, ‘we take our coffee very, very seriously – but not ourselves!’
Kape (pronounced Kap-ay) is a joint venture between husband and wife team Nick and his partner Rhea. The name of the café is a nod to Rhea’s Filipino background, where coffee is called Kap-ay. Together they are bringing up a brand new business and a baby – the kind of crazy combo that only people who had an abiding love of food could ever dream of trying. ‘We’d both worked in hospitality together over the years before joining the corporate world,’ says Nick. ‘But that life just didn’t suit me, and I felt wasted. Becoming a dad for the first time just made me want to follow my dreams all the more. Kape was a chance for me to get back to doing what I love and have the life I wanted.’
‘I am just as passionate about good food as Nick.’ Says Rhea. ‘I wanted to make sure that what we stock at Kape stands out in a very competitive café scene. While it’s pretty normal for cafes to buy in their preservative-filled cakes and bakery items, I just didn’t want to do that. I make all our specialty items myself – I’m a big believer in fresh food. I don’t think banana bread should last a week!’ she says. It’s a big ask for a first time mum, but Rhea is determined to keep up the quality of Kape’s offerings and help set it apart from the standard café fare.
After only 6 months in operation, Kape is reaping the rewards. Regulars are becoming, well, more regular and the coffee is flying! ‘I have to admit that I don’t totally love the early starts,’ confesses Nick, ‘but for me the payoff is the rapport with customers and seeing that what we’re doing is really working.’ He says. ‘Word is really spreading about us and the coffee we do here is really hitting the spot – people are loving the taste!’