Note: This entry has been restored from old archives.
Coffee House: Cinnamon Square
Address: 9 Church Street, Rickmansworth, WD3 1BX
Rating: New Orleans equivalent (Sydney-Coffee Rating System)
Website | Map
Rewrite 2007-11-30: The espresso improves and I partake of it more often, a general re-write.
It isn’t entirely fair to rate Cinnamon Square as just a “coffee house”, their raison d’être is given by their catchphrase: “the theatre of baking”. That said, they have the distinction of providing the best espresso in Rickmansworth so I feel Cinnamon Square belongs here since they’re “my local”. Unfortunately “best espresso in Rickmansworth” is not, on it’s own, a great qualification. The competition is generally atrocious, although a couple of the Italian restaurants serve an excellent shot (but are not really accessible for the causal espresso).
The gory details: A Cinnamon Square espresso is high standard but not brilliant, rating at New Orleans to TBA equivalence. Cinnamon Square even comes close to filling the role in my life that both filled back in Sydney, being a short walk away from where I live and where I usually work. We have espresso at Cinnamon Square every Saturday we’re in town, when I’m working from home (permanently these days) I pop in once or twice every day, if they were open on Sunday it’d be every day of the week! Alas, the best local coffee place doesn’t follow New Orleans’s virtually “always open” hours.
Update 2007-12-30: Cinnamon square is now open on Sunday!
The length of the pour is usually appropriate but with too-frequent “fill the cup” efforts, and crema is normally full and firm. The coffee tends to the sour-bitter ends of the spectrum, but certainly not far and it is quite good. I don’t know the origin or age of the roast but it is fresh ground (the least you should expect these days). There’s potential for truly excellent espresso here, possibly just some grind, machine, and roast tweaks away. The most significant problem is barista training, which is usual for places that aren’t primarily coffee houses. Sometimes the head hasn’t been packed well enough and the volume of the pour swings between just-right and full-up (luckily the demitasse are small so full-up isn’t as bad as it could be).
The espresso covered, I can’t finish without mentioning the pusscakes Their namesake product is evilly delicious, they’ve even won a “great taste award” for the “Sweet Fermented Bun” (aka “Cinnamon Square”). I have a hard time resisting these every time I go into the shop, especially since I love cinnamon, but alas a ball of sugary starches isn’t going to work out on my nutrition spreadsheet. The Cinnamon Squares keep good company with a selection of danishes, cupcakes, and other delights — we’ve never had a dud. They do well in the savoury department too, with beautiful breads and a range of lunches, the goat-cheese focaccia is excellent (but beware: their focaccia’s are huge). We don’t eat much bread but when we do fancy some this is where we go, they do a good range of large and small loaves and bake regularly.
If you’re in Rickmansworth and have a hankering for an espresso you can’t do better than Cinnamon Square, and you absolutely must try their namesake at least once. It’s also worth visiting just to see the cute little heritage-listed 500-year-old building they’re in — where even I bang my head on a padded rafter and can smugly think to myself: “Ho ho ho, I’m so tall.”
Cinnamon Square, be there or be without a square!
 Pusscake: A term I picked up in my youth when labouring for a paver. Often I would be sent to the bakery “for pusscakes”, this pretty much meant anything sticky and sweet, but especially those containing cream and/or custard.
 I’m told that this reflects the fact that the average height was significantly lower 500 years ago, and you do find lintels low enough for me to bang into surprisingly often in old buildings in the UK. I’m only 5’9″ barefoot.