We arrived back in Goa around mid-September "in hopes" to find the same location as the previous season for a coffee shop and in addition possibly finding another location for a second cafe and for the first few weeks of being back in North Goa we began looking for these new spaces.
This is where we were, an English girl looking to make a life from her passions and a Russian boy wanting to do the same.
and with us both seeking and wanting to be together to live a simple but beautiful way of living day to day.
The main reason we chose India as the main potential for the next few seasons was so we could be together more easily. It seemed like this was an obvious choice for us both given our current situations - easiest for me to live and for him to run his projects and for us to be together and still living well for a fraction of the cost in a beautiful tropical environment.
So, our vision, to find a space and make a nice living as well as me spending time teaching yoga and refining collaborations and future visions.
The first few months were super intense, we had a few meetings over the first few weeks here and there as we drove around the streets in this little omni van looking for potential places to approach...
One space we found was in Ashvem and by this time time was running out, the season was to be starting soon and yet we still had no space so it seemed about time we came across something!!
It was here that we came across 'Wellness Inn' in Ashvem beach, there we approached the owner and after a few weeks of negotiations we made a deal that we would set up a coffee shop in the front of the property, a space that we now share with a beautiful vegan / vegetarian restaurant and a space also shared with a number of rooms that would host retreats, teacher training students and tourists.
The front of the the building when we arrived was not being used. The space was nothing, it was worse than nothing it had a whole lot of nothing in it that needed to be cleaned or cleared.
However we saw the potential so, we took it! Immediately we got to work getting the space to at least a reasonable standard. This took around a month as there was so much to clean, so much to stock, to fix, to improve and to add those final refining touches to make it just right but after around the month mark finally the space and all its detail was ready and slowly Hoops began to give its offerings.
The space was the best we could make it and it turned out rather beautiful.
Its dainty, sweet, homely and stylish with fresh flowers put in place, by yours truly, every few days; a real pleasure and one of my favourite things to do is to take my Yellow Navi, collect new fresh beauties and scoot through the village streets of Mandrem surrounded by bright houses and palm trees back to the coffee shop to refresh the vases!
We have Aloe Vera hanging from the ceiling in beautifully handmade jute hanging macramé.
Rubber plants and bay window trees, Yoga and philosophy books on offer to read, gentle Jazz music in the background and to finish floral satin pillows to rest upon.
When creating the menu of course there were the classics. The Espresso, Americano, Cappuccino, but we added piccolo for this season and we now have a full selection of pure organic flower petal teas including Chamomile, Rose and beautiful blue butterfly pea flower tea.
We offer a coffee free section of the menu where you will find such treats as Matcha, Lavender, Beetroot and Golden Turmeric Lattes.
We have coconut and soya milk as an alternative in any drink to the milk of the cow.
The coffee beans are sourced from India, Arabica beans - nothing more, nothing less and the customers think they are perfect beans for the perfect coffee!
Hoops serves vegan and vegetarian waffles with anything you can imagine on top - you can make it as simple or complex as you like, you can have a half size, you can have them stacked - anyway you like that’s how you will get.
An lastly Hoops offer a daily vegan dessert of the day such as 'cashew lemon blanched almond tart', 'Mango orange cashew ice-cream with dark melted chocolate' or our 'Orange and chamomile Cookies With melon seed brittle and white sesame'
I was very excited to see all that we have on offering that we had to share. An I was very excited the fact that they were just as well received!
During the process of opening and running the space and falling into our seasonal goan lifestyle we have worked well as a partnership. As a team.
I have my work going on here, teaching daily Yin yoga classes at Anahata retreat and creating their plant-based desserts for the L atelier restaurant and he has his work, Hoops making the coffee and the desserts.
But it works well, if he wants to take a rest I will help and restock the place. If I have a big order of desserts, he will spend some of his mornings with my in the Latielier kitchen making them with me.
An even though not quite yet, by the time the season is out I hope to be making just as good as in both design and taste, coffees as he does.
In addition, we market and promote one another’s work! Which is also highly complementary!!
When I meet students and they ask me for recommendations I always mention both Hoops and the onsite restaurant 'JOY' are must experience's.
For me he does the same - When he sees someone reading one of my books that we have here in the coffee shop he mentions my class, if he sees a group looking to try Yoga, he directs them over to my 4:30 afternoon Yin Yoga sessions.
It works!! We have people from the coffee shop coming to my class as students and vice versa, we have people from my classes heading to the coffee shop for coffee and dessert!!
The first month was a quiet month overall but we had a 200hr Yoga teacher training onsite and these girls couldn’t get enough of our vegan daily desserts and word started to spread about the new location.
We spent New year’s in the coffee shop, eating vegan waffle and drinking coffee while we watched the fireworks from the window bay and restocked the space with complimentary plants in the new year.
I think January was the best month so far, but I can feel that February will be the best month yet for the space
I feel extremely proud of the space that we created together and that it is being enjoyed by the passers-by, the commers and goers and the returners of North Goa.
I love when we hear positive feedback about the coffee and the desserts and the space that we have created. It makes all the efforts we made at the beginning of the season worth while.
I find that after the last few months I'm very much settling into the routine of this space and enjoying it for what it is while it is.
The season is slowing down and slowly making its way to its ending and soon Hoops will close for the season. As the coffee shop will take on that slower pace we will spend the last few weeks here enjoying and saying our "goodbye for now" until we separate for a little time before dropping back into our way, this way and the way we created this season next season.