Making good coffee is an art form, and it's even more impressive when it's done from inside a phone box.
That's exactly what Luke from Diallingin, Nottingham's smallest coffee shop, does every day. This week, I had the pleasure of photographing his tiny, innovative business.
On a humid morning, between downpours, I made my way to Middle Pavement, the home of Diallingin. I introduced myself and, after a chat over a top-notch cappuccino, got my camera out. This was my first real chance to test out my new lens, a fancy 85mm 1.8 that I had been playing around with for a few weeks.
After a few test shots, I got into the swing of things. Luke was kind enough to show me his process from start to finish. I was surprised and enthused, in equal measure, by the effort he put into each cup.
He started by stamping the cup that was about to be filled. I had seen some photos of these cups before on Diallingin's Instagram page, and had assumed that they came pre-printed. Wrong! Each one is carefully hand-stamped. Such was the craft of this barista that an erroneous fleck of red ink was met with a sharp glare. This small business owner is a perfectionist, you see.
From stamping through to pouring, each step was undertaken with pride. The result is an outstanding coffee, which shows on the faces of satisfied customers.
During the shoot, a man walked up with a pile of around 10 coffee cups. They were stamped, but with subtle additions; each one had small black figures adorning the usual red phone box stamp. One cup featured a Dalek, another showed a character sitting on top of the box. Others were more abstract and one - my personal favourite - featured a stick figure climbing a rope attached to the red structure. A local artist had provided these bespoke designs to be used in a future giveaway. Pretty cool idea, I thought.
I left with a hundred or so shots, and a greater appreciation of what goes into creating good coffee. I don't know much about barista life, but I know craft when I see it. What I saw during the shoot told me that Luke is dedicated to making great coffee. The faces of his customers show that he's doing just that.