Lets find a Cafe (or tearoom)

Lets find a Cafe (or tearoom)

Locations of reviewed cafes

For more information on the Cafes I have visited and the latest cafe cycle news go to http://www.cake-crusader.co.uk/

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Saturday 19 October 2013

There must be rules !

Before I publish the current ratings it is important to be clear on how the cafe rating system works. So here are the rules and definitions.

What qualifies as a Cafe or tearoom?
  • It must be independent and not be part of a chain (I don't plan to go to every (or any) Starbucks or Costa etc)
  • If it is part of an attraction or garden centre then there mustn't be an entrance fee to get to the cafe.
  • It must have at least 1 home made type of cake on offer.
I like hot chocolate and cake so the ratings are weighted towards these. The 5 factors measured are:

1. Hot chocolate quality. (HCQ)
I'm looking for a thickish drink that has a distinctly chocolate taste. Most common issue is when the focus has mistakenly been put on the HOT rather than the CHOCOLATE part of the drink. A steaming anaemic drink, where the chocolate powder has been waved past the cup, with the resulting beverage tasting of burnt milk doesn't really do it. A standard Cadburys drinking chocolate gets a 6 (unless it is weak or cold).

2. Guest hot drink quality. (GHDQ)
My cycling guest (or guests) get to rate their hot drink (soft drinks don't count). There is more inconsistency here as type of drink and reviewer is much more variable. But it is rare for there to be a big difference between the HCQ and GHDQ and if there is I probe my guest further on their rating basis to try and get consistency. Again the temperature, strength and flavour are the key factors.
(Note: there is a GHDQ score ceiling of 7 for Tea because at the end of the day it is just a cup of tea)

3. Effective cake selection. (ECS)
The number of home made style cakes (e.g. nothing in a plastic wrapper) are reviewed and factored against how many I would actually like to try to give the effective cake selection (ECS) score. There is no absolute algorithm allowing for adjustments on just how tasty and desirable they look. Having 4 or 5 cakes I fancy would give a high score.

4. Cake Taste Quality. (CTQ)
Straight forward score of how good the cake tastes. If my cycling guest/s have also had cake then we agree a combined rating, although in the result of any disagreement my decision is final as I have more cake tasting experience to fall back on. 
(Note: there is a CTQ score ceiling of 8 on a flapjack as it is not really cake although I allow them to count as cake as I'm rather fond of a bit of flapjack.)

5. Ambiance and atmosphere. (AAA)
Whilst sitting enjoying our refreshments we agree an AAA based on factors like view, noise, space, layout, feel, cycle friendliness etc.

Each is rated out of 10 and the following unweighted formula; (HCQ+GHDQ+ECS+CTQ+AAA)/5, is used to give the overall cafe or tearoom rating. I score the cafe on every visit but to keep ratings current only the last 3 scores count.

However if a previously visited cafe is under new management when being revisited then any previous ratings will be discarded and the current visit would count as the first effectively wiping the slate clean. 

For further consistency, once rated, I moderate the cafe against others of a similar rating to make sure the score feels right and they are a comparable cafe or tearoom.

It has often been suggested that I rate other things like service, price, toilets, other food etc. but as cake and hot chocolate are the main things I want from my refreshment stop then I don't want other factors to influence the overall rating. If my guests want these things rated I have often suggested to them they do their own spreadsheet and blog.


  1. I like the fact you keep the scores current by discounting old visits, but I would like to know how many times each cafe has been visited, as I think repeat business is its own recommendation. Although I do appreciate that this could be as much to do with plentiful cycle routes in the area as the quality of the cafe (or tea room), it would still be interesting for us number/data lovers. :)

  2. Good idea, I will try and add it in somewhere next time I update the ratings table