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/

Cake Crusader Book

There is now a Cake Crusader book available where you can follow my journey from humble local trips to world record attempts and near-death experiences. How did a simple method of keeping track of decent cycling café pit stops turn my life upside down? Track my adventures into Europe, up mountains and right across Great Britain as I become a 'rising star' on social media. Will I prove my critics wrong? Should cheese scones be served hot or cold? Do I really have nothing better to do with his time? A must read for lovers of cycling and cake or anyone wanting to make it big in the virtual world

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Friday 28 February 2014

Best for running not cake. (Copper Beech Tearooms, Brandon country park)

Cooper Beech Tearoom,
Opening times Mon-Fri 10:00-17:00,
Sat-Sun 10:00-17:30
(Nov-Feb 10:00-15:30)
After two weeks with no cycle cafe reviewing possible (bad weather and half term holiday.combination) I was glad to be able to get back on the bike for a cycle cafe review. 

Just before Christmas, during a short break to Elveden Forest Centre Parcs, we (Chris: wife and George: son) had ventured out to Brandon Country Park to take in the local parkrun. To explain for those not familiar with the parkrun concept then it is a timed 5k run every Saturday at 9.00 am in your local park. They are great fun and attract many people of all standards. I have now done over 100 (and have the t-shirt to prove it). We really enjoyed this one as it is a lovely run through the woods and the friendly organisers and regulars made us feel very welcome that day. It quickly went into my top 5 all time favourite parkrun venues. Admittedly all my other parkruns have been at Eaton park in Norwich so entry into the top 5 was guaranteed but it was still a great venue. At the end of the run I did notice there was an interesting looking cafe by the car park (Copper Beech Tearooms) and decided that I must cycle back here one day to give it a cycle cafe review. Hopefully the drinks and cake would be as good as the run.

Therefore today I teamed up with guest, Big George, with the plan to cycle to Brandon Country Park (wind behind), review tearoom and then catch the train back. 

Things started badly as when Big George arrived there was a frosty atmosphere. Not only had I not noticed the new tribars on his bike, a bit like failing to miss a ladies new hair do, but something else was clearly bothering him. It transpired that Chris (wife) had been to a parents evening type thing at school to learn about how to make your teenage child do revision leading up to their A'levels (a fairly fruitless exercise). She had been taken in by the presentation and was now convinced this was actually possible so had diligently written up the notes to e-mail to me and our sons. Like most modern families, despite all living in the same house and often being in the same room, we do find e-mail and text the most effective way to communicate with each other and avoid arguments. 

Unfortunately she had mistakenly sent this e-mail to Big George instead of Son George. Big George had taken this as a patronising slur on his parenting skills and criticism of his sons revising ability. Apparently family honour was now at stake. Rather than his original suggestion of pistols at dawn I smoothed over the situation by agreeing to buy him his cake and we spent the rest of the ride discussing the pros and cons of a colour coded revision timetable system.

We arrived at the Copper Beech tearooms in Brandon Country Park and I locked up our bikes, with Alarmio, in the outside seating area which has a collection of octagonal based benches. 
In outside seating area at the Copper Beech tearooms.
 Note octagonal based bench seating 
The outside seating area provides a pleasant view of the woods, however a quick tip, if you choose to sit on the wrong seating oct you end up with a not so pleasant view of the car park so if you choose to have your refreshments in the outside seating area select your seating oct with care to avoid potential view disappointment.
Bikes locked against octagonal based bench. Select your seating oct with care
for optimum view enjoyment.
As it was a bit rainy we headed inside to the cafeteria style indoor seating area. Despite there being a good range of cakes all of them were pre-packaged and therefore not very appealing. There is clearly no place for cellophane wrapped product in any top rated cafe or tearoom so I had to award a low effective cake selection (ECS) score.
Part of the cellophane wrapped cake selection.
To go with my hot chocolate I chose a walnut and date cake and Big George went for cappuccino and cherry cake. Unfortunately the cake appearance first impressions proved correct as the cakes were both very dry and a bit tasteless. If the package had been an attempt to keep the contents fresh and moist then this strategy needs a re think. I was therefore forced to give a poor cake quality rating. 
Frothy drinks and bits of cake ready for rating.
This just left the drinks to try to see if they could save the day. Sadly not as It appeared that the lady in charge of the frothing machine had got a bit carried away and gung-ho with her frothing duties as both our drinks contained far more froth than liquid. Once the drink part of the drink had been uncovered then the hot chocolate actually tasted ok but Big George didn't like his coffee. Not good drinks ratings either I'm afraid. 

I had had high hopes for the Copper Beech tearooms in Brandon Country park but it was a bit of a let down although slightly better than some cafes at other parks and attractions I have been to. I do, however, still suggest you visit the park for the excellent parkrun.

After cafe rating was completed we headed into Brandon to catch the train home and continued planning our London to Paris continental cycle cafe reviewing trip.

Ratings for Copper Beech Tearooms
Hot Choc Quality
Guest Hot Drink Quality
Effective Cake Selection
Cake Quality
Ambiance and Atmosphere
Café Rating
This is Map of the route

View 40 miles Norwich to Brandon in a larger map
Click here to down load 40 miles Norwich to Brandon GPX file for your GPS

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