Books

Our 2016 publication, Crossing Paths, Crossing Borders, tells the tales of our journey across 25 countries as we moved from Yorkshire to Australia, drinking lots of coffee and tea on the way. Our fourth book, Fancy a Cuppa North Yorkshire? flagged up great places for tea and coffee across the biggest county in England. Our third book, Fancy a Cuppa by the Cathedral?, took the reader round the UK's 89 cathedral towns and cities, with recommendations for tea and coffee nearby. Our first book covered 50 tea rooms and coffee shops across the UK, often with weird and wonderful stories from ghosts on the stairs to secret tunnels or tour guide dogs. Our second book goes to 53 towns in 27 US states East of the Mississippi - all the towns have a British or European place name so as well as finding the best places for coffee, tea and cake, we tell the story of the people involved and the links each town has to its European namesake.


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Crossing Paths, Crossing Borders

This is a travel narrative laced with fine coffee, tea and a few good yarns. It tells the story of how we emigrated to Australia but got there by bus, train, ferry, the odd shared taxi and a short-hop flight or two.

We look at the everyday activities that felt different in some places: getting a haircut in Hanoi, seeing a movie in Malaysia, posting a parcel in Tashkent. It's about the people whose paths we crossed on the way, including the Red Army veteran in North Ossetia and the tea experts in Indonesia, but also describes the border crossings, which could be the most hair-raising moments even in modern-day travel, with a cage on the Azerbaijan-Iran border and Russian 'spooks' chatting to us as we left Dagestan.

But of course, wherever we went we were on the look out for good tea or coffee. This took us to tea plantations in Turkey and Iran, to meet tea experts in Georgia and Vietnam as well as Indonesia, and to sample the uniqueness of Vietnamese coffee or Turkish coffee, while craving a good cappuccino (the best of which we found in Singapore, funnily enough).

This is an ebook available on Amazon, Google Books, Apple and Kobo.

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Fancy a Cuppa, North Yorkshire?

A tea and coffee guide to God's Own Country.

The 4th Fancy a Cuppa book is now available. This takes readers on a tour of 50 towns and villages across England's biggest county, with suggestions of where's best for coffee, tea and cake on the way.

For fans of the Tour de France in 2014, this is an essential guidebook, with lots of places to stop and have a cuppa while waiting for the peloton to pass. But this will lose none of its value when the cyclists have all been and gone.

There's a short introduction to each place visited, bringing in coffee or tea connections where possible: so, we discover that Leyburn in the Yorkshire Dales used to hold an annual tea festival in Victorian days; while tea was smuggled in from Holland in the 18th century via the North Yorkshire village of Robin Hoods Bay.

Over 80 tea rooms and coffee shops are reviewed in this edition, all of them in our view with the best cuppa in town, whether tea or coffee or both.

And, as usual in Fancy a Cuppa publications, we bring out the best stories for each venue reviewed: from the 1940s ladies hair salon now serving fancy afternoon teas in Scarborough, through the medieval toll booth on the River Ouse in York (great for coffee); to coffee shops with great sea views in Whitby, Saltburn and Redcar.

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Fancy a Cuppa by the Cathedral: The Guide That Refreshes Both Your Soul and Your Palate

Fancy a Cuppa by the Cathedral: The Guide That Refreshes Both Your Soul and Your Palate takes you on a whistle-stop tour of the UK's cathedrals and suggests the best place to go for a tea, coffee and cake afterwards. This is the perfect guidebook to take on a day trip. You'll get a sense of the cathedral's place in history and the coffee shop or tea room's place in the town centres of today.

The focus is on the stories our cathedrals can tell rather than the architecture or the theology. There are such stories as the Native American Chief buried in Southwark Cathedral graveyard; the Alice in Wonderland stories inspired by Lewis Carroll's time as a choirboy; or the Portuguese Princess who landed in Portsmouth and demanded tea rather than beer before her wedding.

In seeking out places for a refreshing cuppa after you've toured the cathedral, Fancy a Cuppa lists independent coffee shops and tea rooms that not only provide top-quality coffee and tea but also have an intriguing story behind them. Some of these are contemporary, others artisan and some sell themselves on their historic location.

Seek out the wonderful tea room in Truro where the tea is grown just five miles away; the coffee shop built right on Durham's mediaeval walls; or the hotel in Westminster where spies swapped intelligence during the Cold War, but there are now 200,000 bees on the roof!

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Fancy a Cuppa, USA?

Fancy a Cuppa, USA? began as an American follow-up to our UK guide to 50 great places for coffee and tea, all with a story to tell. But as we toured the 27 states east of the Mississippi, this became something more than a guide to independent coffee shops and tea rooms in the USA.

It is as much about the people we met as it is about coffee and tea. We were staggered by the diversity of people who run the coffee shops and tea rooms: young and old; Native American to 5th generation European; coffee experts and those who just have a passion for what they're doing.

It's also about Main Street America today. Fancy a Cuppa, USA? looks in brief at how the 53 towns visited were given their British or European names; how they developed from the initial settlements; and how they are working to maintain their identity in the face of the out-of-town malls.

For many, the independent coffee shop and tea room is the hub of the local community. You may not know all the towns and venues reviewed here, but if you're inspired by some of the stories we tell maybe these communities will continue to thrive in the future.

Now available direct from FancyaCuppa? for just £3 per copy (plus p&p) - Buy this book

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Fancy a Cuppa?

Fancy a Cuppa? reviews 50 places across the UK for a good cup of tea or coffee and a nice piece of cake, a scone or other local delicacy. This is not a '50 best' tea rooms or cafes guide. Rather it includes places that have a story to tell.

There's the haunted house in Haworth, West Yorkshire, where some of the ghosts are apparently older than the Bronte sisters. Or the tunnel under a tea room in Windsor, where Nell Gwyn allegedly met Charles II. There are railway connections, literary links and good old-fashioned country garden tea rooms.

There are the people - and animals - who run the places: the lady in Lincolnshire who also manages the House of Correction next door; a member of the Campaign for Real Bread; and a former VIP chauffeur who knows how to look after his customers in Devon. Not forgetting Megan, the tour-guide dog, or Poppy the parrot who maintains morale in Montgomery.

This is the kind of book you should keep in your travel bag or the glove compartment of your car. Wherever you go in the UK, you'll not be far from one of the tea rooms and cafes reviewed here.

Now available direct from FancyaCuppa? for just £3 per copy (plus p&p) - Buy this book

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