REVIEW: Bumbles – Studley’s new eco-conscious indie coffee shop
Innovative restaurants and cafes all over the UK are doing their bit to make going out more sustainable, including Studley’s inviting cool new indie, Bumbles - a coffee shop with a zero-waste zone.
Studley, a Warwickshire village once renowned for needle-making, has its first independent coffee shop and eco-conscious lifestyle retail store – thanks to the aspirations and hard work of 30-year-old entrepreneur and mum-of-two Ella Clarke. Together with the help of her family she has converted a former bank – complete with vault – into an inviting and pleasant community space that is both child and dog-friendly serving delicious local fare.
Opposite Co-op, among a small row of businesses on the main Alcester Road through Studley. Bumbles is located inside a converted former HSBC bank and has a welcoming stylish glass frontage with a few parking spaces. There’s a free car park in Pool Road (Sat Nav: B80 7LZ).
Studley is close to Alcester, Henley-in-Arden, Stratford-upon-Avon, the Cotswolds and Redditch across the Worcestershire border.
Here’s a zero-waste enterprise on a mission to reduce Studley’s plastic footprint. Founder Ella Clarke was inspired by Birmingham’s Clean Kilo – the UK’s largest zero waste supermarket, Bromsgrove’s Nature’s Intention and Warwickshire’s Zero Store, stocking a selection types of organic, local and loose produce bought from Zero in retro-sweet-shop-style jars.
Ella tries to use as many local producers and independent suppliers as she can from Monsoon Estates Coffee in Stratford, Bird and Blend loose teas to freshly baked bagels from the Steamhouse bakery in Redditch and Beki’s Brownies made in Warwick. Bumbles aims not to use any single-use plastic single-use plastic.
You can not only pop in for a Bird and Blend cuppa or a flat white, but also refill and restock up on household essentials. Here’s how…
Ella has always lived in Studley and felt she’d really like to put something back into the village.
A sales and marketing exec with firms including Google and Logitech, Ella gave up work five and-a-half years ago when her son was born. Following the birth of her daughter she became a stay-at-home parent for three years. During that time, she noticed a need for a child-friendly venue where parents locally could meet up with plenty of space for pushchairs, and highchairs.
Growing up in the village, she recognized Studley always had a lot of pubs – at one point 15 – but only a smattering of coffee shops. After jotting down her ideas, Ella went through the Prince’s Trust Enterprise programme for 18-30-year-olds and received help from a business mentor. After receiving a financing loan husband Lee, a landscape gardener, spent early mornings and evenings transforming the space. The family is now getting used to a whole new routine!
Bumbles only opened on November 19 last year but already has a devoted set of regulars and followers on social media. Ella says the positive response has completely blown her expectations and is delighted so many people have made a point of saying ‘thank you’ before leaving.
It has an unhurried atmosphere, lovely service and great food, Bumbles also makes terrific coffee – from textbook espresso-based brews to various filter concoctions. It’s the perfect place to drop in for brekkie, a light lunch or if you’re feeling naughty one of Beki’s Brownies.
Ella has gone for a clean, light, airy natural look with Scandi-style wooden floors and panelled walls toned with grey and pastel pink hues. There are massive windows either side of the coffee shop and minimal light bulbs strung stylishly across the ceiling.
And the centrepiece is an impressive rustic untreated natural pine wooden drinks counter.
Ella wanted kid-friendly easy-wipe wood-effect tables and chairs.
Around the corner is their Zero Zone.
Household staples include pasta, rice, herbs and spices you can buy in clean, dry empty containers brought from home, as well refilling washing up-liquid and clothes detergent etc. Great for thoughtful gifts too, with shelves full of indie products including Twinings Home Fragrance soy candles made in Rugby, balms & solid lotions from Cherry Tree Naturals in Wellesbourne and Halle-Lula prints by a local illustrator from Studley now in South Leicestershire. I picked up a couple of packets of Monsoon Estates cafetiere coffee while I was there and a lovely smelling bar of natural soap by The Wrinkly Elephant, Bromsgrove.
Aside from its green credentials, Ella is running workshops, craft evenings and networking nights. Already Bumbles has hosted an arm knitting workshop, Boogie Babies Christmas party for toddlers and drinks following a charity dog walk in aid of Dogs for Good UK (for 20+ dogs and their owners – “chaotic but good fun”). This year’s itinerary includes a talk by yoga teacher Megan Sullivan, ‘Do you need yoga in your life? (Jan 9), Mindful Crafts Needle Felting (Jan 21), Arm Knitting Workshop (Jan 31), an Abstract Embroidery Hoop Workshop with Wild Floss (Feb 4) and Wine and Cheese Tasting (Fri March 6).
SCOFF AND QUAFF
Outstanding baked goods from Beki’s Brownies and imaginative filled bagels add to the all-round appeal of this newcomer to the Studley scene.
The coffee shop’s newly launched January menu has ‘Breakfast Time’ homemade vegan granola pots with berry compote, organic coconut yoghurt and organic granola, Deliciously Ella Porridge Pots or Toasted Bagels and Croissants. ‘Lunch Bites’ consists of filled bagels or croissants ranging from avocado and tomato to cream cheese & roasted peppers. There are specialty coffee from Monsoon Coffee and loose teas from Bird and Blend, cool reusable seal-able water cans and Froosh Swedish cardboard smoothies.
Ella suggested we try the more offbeat Bird and Blend Matcha Chai Latte, which I’ve never had before. It’s infused with anti-inflammatory turmeric. As a coffee drinker I could be persuaded to drink this on a regular basis. It’s very more-ish with a real kick and it’s good for you. My 16-year-old who joined me had the Salted Caramel Chai Latte, which she loved.
We each enjoyed a seeded Steamhouse bagel for lunch –my daughter’s had a smoked salmon and cream cheese filling; while I went for the vegan option, falafel, humous and roasted red pepper – so tasty. Highly recommended! If you have a sweet-tooth Beki’s Brownies are nigh-on irresistible. We took home two flavours – Bailey’s cheesecake and white chocolate and raspberry – to share with the rest of the family.
Ella works closely with the butcher’s wife next door who sells bacon and sausage batches from a hatch – she invites their customers to sit inside the café where they can order a drink. She says hopefully it will bring more customers into town.
Children and dogs are most welcome. A great deal of thought has been put into this as Ella has drawn from personal experience as a mum and owner of two dogs. Understanding that children tend to waste food, they offer ‘small portions at small prices’ such as a ham or cheese sandwich for £1.75 with carrot or cucumber sticks and a veggie bowl with bread sticks for £1.50, extra hummus is optional at 70p. Ella, her sister and mum have also created a mini book swap library, for adults and children. A water bowl and dog treats are provided for pet pooches.
OUT & ABOUT
Grade II listed Studley Castle in the village reopened last year as a new landmark 210-bed adults-only hotel with an in-house cinema, The Stables Spa, restaurant and bars following a £50m makeover by Warner Leisure Hotels and hosts live headline music acts/spa breaks. Nearby is the National Trust Tudor country home, Coughton Court, set in beautiful gardens.
A crowdfunding project raising £35,000 has seen the creation of Enjoyably Studley, which aims to signpost visitors to local attractions such as heritage walks and nature trails, the local nature reserve and Heart of England Forest. Stratford-upon-Avon, Henley-in-Arden, Warwick and the Cotswolds are within an easy drive.
THE MUDDY VERDICT
Good for: A bang-on-trend brekkie or brunch beacon for the baby-toting denizens of Studley and beyond with its pleasant vibe and a great stop-off for a perfectly executed quality coffee/ loose leaf tea (including caffeine free and green). There’s plenty of space for pushchairs. Good provenance also abounds across the excellent veggie/vegan/gluten free menu – and clever time-saving points for zero waste household shopping at the same time and stocking lovely local produce and gifts.
Not for: Anyone expecting a fry-up or full English.
The damage: Great value for money on the foodie and drink front. Breakfast £2.50 – £3.10 and filled bagels or croissants for lunch £4.50. Children’s snacks from £1.50.
Bumbles, Haydon House, Alcester Road, Studley, B80 7AN.
Opening times: Mon (closed), Tue – Fri, 8.30am – 4.30pm; Sat 9am – 4pm; Sun 10am – 2pm.