The next chapter 6 December 2019 Lexington managing director Julia Edmonds on taking the helm at the boutique caterer and her people plans for the future
In this week's issue... The next chapter Lexington managing director Julia Edmonds on taking the helm at the boutique caterer and her people plans for the future
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Caffeine rush

01 January 2000
Caffeine rush

If I'm on the early shift, I'm up at 5.45am for a shower and then I normally cycle to Wimbledon from my home in Fulham. It takes about 20 minutes and is good exercise as I'm trying to lose weight. I've had too many mochas and cakes at Seattle.

I open the shop and, although I don't eat breakfast, I always have a triple tall latte - a triple espresso with steamed and foamed milk. It has a real caffeine kick and is just the thing to wake me up.

Doors open at 7am and that's when we get our deliveries of cakes and pastries. I also have to check that the machines are in order.

Rate of extraction is important. That means that the coffee has to come out for 17-22 seconds and that it should appear like honey coming off a spoon. The colour must be golden and it should have a rich taste.

The first customer comes in at about 7.10am. Most of the customers around Wimbledon Village are wealthy and pull up in huge cars. They are regulars so I'm getting their orders before they come in. One guy buys four grande cappuccinos every morning. I have to be very quick because it's only me on duty at this time. The company rule is that you must welcome a customer inside 15 seconds and serve him or her with a drink inside 60 seconds.

At 8.30am, the second "barista" comes in and then I can focus on either the till or the machine, and that's a relief. Most people take their coffees and cakes out but at that time of morning we get a lot of mums with their children on the way to school and many of them go for things like pain au chocolat. We also serve special "child-hot chocolate", which is heated to just 120¼F, cooler than normal.

Overall, the most popular drink is the café latte. My favourite bean is the Sumatra Lining. It is earthy and fragrant.

After this morning rush, I take 10 minutes for another triple tall latte and an almond croissant, my favourite. Employees get a 25% discount on the café's food.

Between 10am and noon is the busiest time. People just pour in. I'll take lunch at noon and often go for a sandwich and sit on Wimbledon Common, which is close by and really beautiful, especially in summer.

An early shift means I finish at 2.30pm. Otherwise, I'll be here until evening, and that means doing things such as mopping the floor, checking the loo, and repositioning our cakes so that the most expensive ones are in the top shelves of the glass case.

After 3pm, the place often fills with about a dozen mums with their babies and children, and they'll often sit on the sofas and chat for anything up to two hours. There are kids and prams and buggies everywhere. One regular German woman asks me to hold her baby while she eats her muffin.

It's a very friendly atmosphere but, if one baby starts crying, it often sets off the other ones, and some of the other customers don't like that. But many of the regulars know each other and there are local things like baby massages, baby swimming lessons and mother and baby coffee mornings.

If I'm on a late shift, the shop closes at 7pm and I'll go home at 7.30pm. But then I have to continue studying my management manual, as I am training to be an assistant manager [since this interview, he has been promoted to that position]. I'd like to work in our Fulham shop because that's where I live, but I really love it in Wimbledon. It's so friendly.

Interview by David Tarpeyuter-controlled

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