12 pm on Chapel street is lunch time for some people and for others it is the perfect time for breakfast.
Dukes Coffee is as busy as the dickens. When I arrive they already have a list of people's names hoping to get a table for 4, 5 or 6. If you come here with a large group, you will probably have to put your name on the list and go for a walk - but make sure you come back, there are not many places as good as Dukes on Chapel street. If you are by yourself you'll probably be able to take a seat at the communal table.
The staff are polite, helpful, knowledgeable and they're all on the good side of good looking. I know, it's hard to believe that already we are dealing with a 'complete package' cafe.
The people who come here vary from, well, you see a lot of different people. People who are dressed well and people who are not. Studying students and entrepreneurs who just eat breakfast all day and talk about their 120,000 salaries. Couples and singles. Even mixed doubles.There are tables out the front and I saw several couples with prams and kids. That being said, you'd either want to get in at opening time to secure a table and space if you plan on bringing a pram and your two little ones here.
People sometimes think that places this large cannot maintain a good rhythm of service and quality of what they're providing. Not the case here. There is a constant positive flow of food, service and coffee. Sure I have only been here once, but first impressions generally do wonders for people.
Twenty-nine minutes after my arrival more than 30 people have walked in for coffee, food and hugs (actually I didn't see any hugs being given). More names go on the list. The door opens. The door closes. Plates are brought to tables. More coffee is poured. Double espresso. Brazilian. Mellow and woody nut flavours. Extremely smooth and palatable, then again how could anything not be palatable here? This drop of nectar is an absolute delight.
Sweet. Clean. Bright. Floral and dark chocolate flavours. While this drop is tangy, it does not distract me from the other amazing flavours. There is a distinct fruit flavour, it is not orange nor is it lemon. It's a soft fruit with something else, the unknown factor that makes this fantastic.
Overall, Dukes Coffee Roasters is a coffee powerhouse. They are busy because they are good. People keep coming back and waiting because they know just how good everything is. Don't let the busy side of Dukes put you off going in or waiting. The wait is worth it.
I love the atmosphere, but I must say for my soy latte there are a few other cafes on Chapel Street I'd choose first, such as Tyranny of Distance or Vodka Borsch and Tears. The one here I find to be bordering on bitter and overpowering.