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The Tea Kiosk, Caversham Court

A year on – it was this time last year a selection of local charities met for the first time to hear Reading Borough Council’s plans for Caversham Court and their visionary idea to allow local charities to set-up and operate the newly refurbished cottage building, of picturesque design, which had been the Park’s toilet block. And, as the saying goes, the rest is history!

For those Friends who have not visited The Tea Kiosk, it boasts a small, intimate kitchen, fully equipped to provide refreshment, cakes and biscuits to relaxing Caversham Court visitors. It does not have a cooker (cakes and biscuits are made elsewhere) or a freezer. One of the many debates The Tea Kiosk Committee has had (and I am confident these will continue!) is whether to sell ice cream. We know there is some demand, however there are two issues to overcome – where to physically locate a freezer, because there is no room within the Cottage, and how to maintain the Food Handling Standards required for frozen dairy products. (It is incredibly easy to get food poisoning from frozen dairy products, which unintentionally are defrosted, then refrozen, for example, during a power cut. As you might imagine this is not a scenario we wish to inflict on Court visitors!)

We have been delighted with the positive feedback and many compliments received on the standard of cakes and biscuits. And, we are determined to maintain this standard. Over the winter months, several of us have been testing out new recipes from requests received from the public, e.g., wheat or dairy free alternatives, and I am confident we will have something to satisfy most tastes, though these will probably not be available all the time. (Down to money I’m afraid – cost versus waste.) Increasing customer demand is a big aim for us, in this our first full year of trading - the more customers we attract, the wider range of refreshments we will be able to offer. Also, the fresh coffee machine will be up and running, which I appreciate is not quite the same as a frothy cappuccino from one of the many refreshment outlets in central Caversham, but we have the views (and homemade cakes!). So, what is happening in 2010? Most importantly, the opening date for The Tea Kiosk is Thursday 1st April. (Perhaps Emily might be persuaded to hang spaghetti from some of the trees?) The opening days last year were popular (Thursday, Friday , Saturday & Sunday), therefore these will remain, however we have tweaked the opening times to:

  • April, May, September & October; 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.
  • June, July & August; 1 p.m. to 6 p.m.

Last year, we were flexible with the closing time – if the Kiosk had customers we stayed open for a bit longer; we will continue to do the same this year.

At time of writing, I know RBC hopes to host an Easter event – I have heard an egg hunt mentioned, but as yet I have no details. And, this is an area which has concerned The Tea Kiosk Committee – how we broadcast details of events, quickly. Therefore, I am delighted to announce that we will have a website: theteakiosk.org.uk. It is not up yet, but will be by 1st April, will obviously link to the Friends, RBC and the Charities running the Kiosk, and will provide up-to-date information on Kiosk happenings. In addition, it will have at least one dedicated Kiosk email, so customers can tell us what they like, areas for improvement or make suggestions.

And, lastly, a big thank you to all the Friends who have helped out at the Kiosk.

February 2010


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