March 27, 2019
10.15am at SENZO, 2B Station Approach, Epsom, KT19 8EU
As independent start-ups go, one of the most brave but risky of plans would be to set up directly next to a renowned high street chain. SENZO, however did just that. With their bold signage, digital screen and ground to ceiling glass panels, this coffee house already stands out next to their neighbours, Costa Coffee.
Walking in, the atmosphere can be likened to that of a vibrant and trendy café in West London with plenty of Revivallers enjoying their work day fuel. There are a mix of tables to choose, from small hotspots to high tables and sofa areas. Similarly, the seating offers a modern but simple range with plastic chairs, high stools and armchairs. The furniture blends with the internal décor as industrial ceilings and spotlights complement the white and grey contrast paint. SENZO mugs suspend over a variety of books including art deco essentials, graphic design tips and planet earth favourites.
While personal touches are nice to look at, they also seem to embody the SENZO culture. Whether you are coming in to work, read or catch up with friends - this coffee house has been set up for you take your time and relax.
I order my usual work day fuel at the counter where pink and black mug shaped light fittings hang overhead. Blue fairy lights and suspended box shelving surround the coffee machine, next to a display fridge filled with pastries, sweet treats and an array of drinks. Even when ordering just a coffee, the staff come to check that everything is fine with my experience so far - reinforcing the independent coffee shop feel. It's personal, friendly and jovial as the staff as well as the owner chat to a number of customers.
Next to me, a family are tucking into a mouth-watering meal from SENZO's varied menu. Breakfast, brunch, healthy alternatives, make it your own and food 'for the little troublemakers' can be ordered here. This coffee house has something for everyone, freshly made every day by the co-owner.
While there don't seem to be any 'little troublemakers' at the front of the shop, it becomes clear where all of the buggies are heading once you walk past the counter. SENZO have invisibly split their premises into what naturally becomes an adult's area at the front and a children's area at the back with a miniature soft play.
After immersing yourself into this experience, you can understand why SENZO describe themselves as 'a coffee house with a twist'. They make the neighbouring Costa feel like the equivalent of a fast food chain with their atmosphere and delicious coffee. Furthermore, SENZO offer free WIFI, multi-functional sockets and are ideally positioned next to Epsom Rail Station - in turn becoming an essential Revival location.