Relax and unwind at Steamer's Coffee House in Coseley

Fika – taking time to enjoy coffee and a tasty cake or pastry with a friend or colleague – is a cornerstone of Swedish culture.

Kelly Richards, Paul Jackson and Erin Fahy outside Steamers: Weekend feature pics. In the black T is Paul Jackson, White t is: Erin Fahy and pattern dress is: Kelly Richards..
Kelly Richards, Paul Jackson and Erin Fahy outside Steamers: Weekend feature pics. In the black T is Paul Jackson, White t is: Erin Fahy and pattern dress is: Kelly Richards..

And at some companies, it is even compulsory for staff to have at least one of these breaks during their working day.

This is because they believe a spot of fika can be therapeutic for their team and help to boost wellbeing and productivity.

This relaxing custom is one of the inspirations behind Steamer's Coffee House in Coseley.

The cafe first opened its doors around a month ago and is run by Kelly Richards and her business partner Paul Jackson.

“We wanted to make a cosy place where people can take a pause. They can sit down with a really good coffee, pick up a book and take some time for themselves. In Sweden they have mandatory breaks for people to stop for a minute and have a coffee and eat something. We wanted it to make it available for everyone. It’s about promoting a calmer, slower pace. People can take a break out of their usual day to feel more relaxed and refreshed. We’ve noticed from our own social lives how the way people socialise has changed,” explains Kelly.

They decided to take the plunge and open the coffee house after they were both made redundant during the Covid pandemic.

“It started from a conversation we had in lockdown about there not being anywhere to get a decent cup of coffee that we didn’t have to drive to.

“Myself and Paul were made redundant around the same time and after a few months of unsuccessful job applications, he sent me a message and said ‘should we go for it? We found the perfect location in Coseley and opened on August 16,” explains Kelly, who previously worked at House of Fraser in Wolverhampton.

Proud of their Black Country roots, the pair were determined to source local tradespeople and produce for the coffee house, located off Birmingham New Road.

“We wanted to keep things as local as possible to keep that community feel. It’s a way to give back to the community that rallied around during the most stressful and unprecedented of times. Our baker is local to Coseley – and I swear she uses witchcraft because the things she can do with vegan food are amazing. We wanted to have a wide range of vegan and non-vegan options.

“We also wanted to make ourselves as eco friendly and sustainable as possible using compostable and recyclable packaging,” Kelly tells Weekend.

The pair have also made sure that their customers’ four-legged friends feel welcome too.

“We wanted it to be pet friendly – myself and Paul are both dog owners. We’ve met lots of lovely dogs and we’ve even had two cats come in, which has been really fun,” says Kelly.

Since opening their doors a month ago, the team, which includes apprentice Erin Fahy, have been delighted by the response from visitors to the coffee house, which serves its own coffee blends and a wide array of teas.

And they are keen to see the space be used as a meeting place by different groups and people of all ages.

“We’ve had a lot of positive feedback from the community and one of the Coseley community groups is interested in holding their meetings here,” says Kelly.

“We aim to promote the strong community feel that is synonymous with the Black Country and do our best to provide a safe and comfortable place for all residents and their pets where they can do activities like a book club.

“We are hoping to do safe space evenings for young members of the LGBTQI+ community, where they can come in and chat with other like-minded people and feel at ease and comfortable.

“We also plan to incorporate RPG (role-playing game) nights for people wishing to socialise and connect with new friends,” Kelly tells Weekend.

Although starting a new business may seem daunting, especially in the current climate, Kelly says she’s enjoying every minute of being her own boss.

“It’s been really rewarding so far. I absolutely love my job, every day is different and we get to meet new people and get to know them and their stories every day – and we get to meet so many wonderful pets.

“It’s amazing to think we’ve gone from losing our jobs to this. It’s so rewarding to think we’ve turned an idea into a business.

“There is still some stress because it’s a start-up but it’s a rewarding kind of stress and we get to put our heart and soul into it. And we’re looking forward to what new things the rest of the year will bring,” says Kelly.


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