Getting into Costa Coffee Harborne was easy enough as it was flat access with only a slight incline and only one door was initially open which was not wide enough for me to get through in my electric wheelchair. However, a staff member came over immediately as soon as he saw us trying to enter and opened the other door then held it open which made it much easier. He repeated gesture on the way out making an entrance in and out of the venue easy. In keeping with his friendly manner, the member of staff offered to carry the tray over to the table and moved chairs aside so I could get through. As the table was too low and my PA had forgotten to pack a suitable tray for me to eat off he offered stacked trays to rest the main one off so I could have my food and drink in front of me where I could access it independently.
The tables and chairs were evenly spread out so it wasn’t too bad getting around. It might have been harder if it was busier to manoeuvre around the people in there but there was enough space that I would be able to move just by asking people politely to move for a few seconds. I was able to see the sandwiches, cakes/treats in the display counters easily and my eyes were on level with the member of staff working the counter. But, I would have been unable to pay without help as the card machine was too high and doesn’t reach down very far. As the counter wasn’t super wide it was easy to communicate with the staff member who was serving me so it didn’t feel awkward trying to pay as they were attentive and able to hear me as I could get close enough.
Costa Coffe Harborne has one unisex toilet and one standard disabled sized toilet. Both these were locked and to use either you needed to ask a staff member to open it for you. This meant the toilets were very clean and well maintained. However, though this is a good thing these toilets don’t cater for the range of disabilities that they should do, adoptions should be made to fit in a hoisting facility within the cafe.
Costa Coffe Harborne had a very calm atmosphere as was quite quiet and peaceful. This made it easy to have a nice chat and not feel rushed. It would have been ideal for a large group meet up. Possibly it could have louder music just to aide the atmosphere as it didn’t feel as cosy as some other coffee shops.
The food and drinks on offer were of a large variety. Although Costa is most known for coffee they offered a range of alternative hot and cold drinks that were not espresso-based. For instance, they offer multiple fruit smoothies and ice drinks, as well as a selection of soft drinks. They are also very flexible with what cups they use; I had my fruit cooler in a takeaway cup despite eating in as this was easier than glass. The first food you see is the savoury products, this included a selection of toasties that could be heated up, cold sandwiches and soups. They also offer a range of sweet goods that were clearly marked for allergens. The food on offer included promotional items like the rainbow muffin they sold in support of Gay Pride which was current at the time of my visit. I have sampled both the savoury and sweet items and have been pleased every time with my choices. Provided you have brought food or drinks from Costa they are pretty relaxed about your eating or drinking food brought from outside the shop as long as you don’t take the mick.
Overall the Costa Coffee Harborne is a good venue for meeting up with friends.