It´s one of those gloomy mornings, when both rain and snow are fighting over who gets to fall down the sky first. People are running for the buses hoping to get from A to B with minimal water damage.
It is on this day I step into Waycup cafe, a little Italian coffee shop by the Pirita beach. You know those moments when a black and white film suddenly turns into colour. Well the cosy, aromatic cafe really took me in with a warm embrace.
The family owned business opened its doors last February. The lovely coffee shop owner Stella Mazur sits down with me for a chat and tells the story of how a Moldavian-Italian family ended up running a coffee shop in Tallinn.
"It´s really a magical place, Estonia. I came along a couple of times with my brother and his wife, who came here for work and just fell for it," she described her first encounters with the country.
How long did it take from an idea of a coffee shop to the actual opening?
7 months roughly. We talked about it first around August and opened in February. My brother found this place here and set up all the business part. We all work here now. My mother and my sister-in-law bake cookies and make cakes. I run the cafe and serve behind the counter. It´s quite a lot of work, we open around 7 am and go home around 8-9 pm. But I truly enjoy it.
Wow, that´s quite fast! How did you manage?
Well we are strong as a family and all put in effort to make sure this dream would come true. The bureaucracy is much simpler here as well.
What do you enjoy most about the work in your cafe?
The people really. I love my regular customers. Sometimes all they must do is give a knock on our window and I already know what order to start preparing.
What´s the secret to good coffee?
To put a little bit of yourself into it. You should care about what you are doing and people will taste it.
Coffee shop business can be tough with a lot of competition around. What do you think is the key to keeping it going?
Well I don´t know that. But I think that it´s about your comportamento.
(I wish I was that sophisticated and say I didn´t have to check that on Google Translate...But anyways, it means behaviour.)
What Stella was trying to explain in her beautiful language, is that you must be fully present and passionate about your business. She is the owner, who also works behind the counter, because it´s something she loves to do. And customers feel that, as she pays attention to the faces that come by and always gives a little extra.
"Customers sometimes tell me stories and some even share their worries. And I don´t know what it is, but they leave this place thanking me and feeling much more relaxed and happy."
And so did I. Some colourful macaroons in my bag and warm coffee in my veins, I decided to skip the crowded bus and take on the confused March weather with a smile.