Having spent the last year living in Paisley, with its post-textile industry history and booming student population, I decided to write about a wonderful café located in its city centre: Blend Coffee Lounge. Whilst Paisley is undergoing something of a cultural rejuvenation, it is no lie that its population is somewhat ageing and there isn’t a great deal for young people to do. Blend is a welcomed addition to Paisley’s centre with its warm and quirky interior alongside their friendly and welcoming staff. Having already opened an establishment in Perth, Paisley was lucky to have the group move in last year.
When I lived in the heart of the town centre – a questionable and noisy experience in my opinion – I visited Blend more often than I do now, but J and I try to make an appearance at least once a week. The first feature you notice about Blend is the disability button entrance into the café, leading to the main ramp into the building. This café is friendly to everyone. I have met people from all backgrounds and beginnings in Blend and they host regular meetings from new mums groups to local disability friendship groups. Whilst it has somewhat of a millennial, hipster feel, I have never felt judged or unwelcome whilst ordering in Blend, something that I have often felt in the trendier parts of Glasgow.
My beverage of choice at the moment is a Mint Latte, as Blend do a range of hot and cold drinks with delicious syrups in them. While it still receives a few raised eyebrows and a “Mint?” response, they consistently make delicious drinks whenever I visit. It is the kind of uniformity and consistency you’d expect from a larger company but is instead provided by a unique, independent brand with skilled staff.
Their cakes, pastries and treats are also amazing and they actually heat food properly, not the lukewarm kind of eating I’ve experienced in more established companies. Their caramel shortcake is absolutely outstanding, I could honestly eat the whole thing if I didn’t think I’d sit in a corner and weep at the calorie overload afterwards.
Price wise it is very competitive. A large mint latte sets me back £2.90 which is a bargain, and we’re usually only about £5 or £6 quid for two coffees/teas and two cakes. They also have little stamp cards that when you fill you get a free drink which we have taken advantage of a few times because I’m a bit of a caffeine fiend, particularly mid-week. Another appealing factor in the way Blend runs itself is that I never feel rushed; even when it’s absolutely mobbed, I’ve never been approached and asked to leave. That being said, I am socially aware of people standing around, waiting for tables and feel rude just sitting there having finished ages ago, so I’d usually scarper pretty quickly anyway.
Speaking of social awareness, Blend also states clearly beside their tip cup that half of the tips they receive go to children’s charities, something quite close to my heart. Whilst I can’t comment on the wage rates the staff receive for Blend, I find it wholesome that, hopefully on some level, they all agreed that they would like to contribute a part of their wages to a good cause.
I am glad to see that Blend haven’t fallen victim to the high street curse and seem to be thriving. They are equally popular between the different age groups – there has been more than one occasion where I have definitely been the youngest customer! And that’s something that should be celebrated. Coffee brings people together all over the world and Blend is the perfect place to sit with a coffee and read, catch up with an old friend and even have a business meeting, as I’ve witnessed a few times.
Despite only living here for a year, I am so glad to see a new, modern establishment doing well in Paisley. Having lived in Inverclyde for most of my life, I saw my local town centre turn into a ghost town with every store being replaced with a card shop. If you are ever in the Paisley area, then you should definitely visit this diamond in the rough. 5/5.
Link to the company’s website: http://blendcoffee.co.uk/