IT’S based in a railway station car park, but Blue Frog Coffee does much more than dispense caffeine to commuters on the go.

Owners John and Tobi McGann have become well-known to Branksome locals and passers-by for their takeaway coffee, food and their cheerful welcomes.

The business has been going for seven years and originally its customers were overwhelmingly the users of Branksome station.

“It used to be all commuters but after lockdown happened I think we’ve got to 50-50,” says John.

“It used to be just the locals who knew we were here. Then word got out during lockdown that there was a coffee shop still open and people would come in and grab themselves a coffee.”

The menu of drinks has grown to include a long list of special recipes, created – and described on the menu boards – by John.

The Blue Frog Special is a 12oz cup with three scoops of hot chocolate and banana milkshake, a “good glug of caramel syrup” and hot frothy milk. A Hot Nutella is three scoops of Cadbury’s hot chocolate with hazelnut syrup and hot frothy milk.

A Sweet Tooth Special is a “tooth-jangling mix of chocolate and strawberry with a drizzle of vanilla syrup, all wrapped in hot frothy milk”, and is a “dentist’s partner”.

Some extravagant selections are named after regular customers who like to come in and order the drink with their name.

John is also responsible for the food menu, with a choice of a dozen different butties in tiger bread gaps. Choices include sausage and cheese; sausage and bacon; avocado and bacon; and double eggs and cheese.

The couple have recently added some tables and chairs made of pallets so people can drink their coffee outside. And customers can phone or text to have their order waiting when they arrive at the car park.

The business was a long-held ambition for John, who had worked in casinos but wanted to open his own coffee shop.

For Tobi and John, the interactions with people are what makes the hard work rewarding – whether the customers are business people facing a stressful journey or locals stopping by after the school run.

“We really love people,” says John.

Tobi adds: “We want people to come to somewhere they can talk. It’s a community. It’s a place where we have a relationship with them.”

“We like to make people laugh and start their days with a smile.”

Blue Frog Coffee is open at Branksome railway station from 6.30am on weekdays, 7.30am on Saturdays and 9.30am on Sundays. Call 07907 969675.

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