IT’S the little things that make a difference when you’re running your own business and Ben and Alison Ashwin have got it mastered to a tee – or should that be tea?

The couple own CJ’s Coffee Shop and Tearoom in Penketh and after scooping last year’s Best for Afternoon Tea award for their tasty treats, the venue has just been named Warrington’s Best Coffee Shop.

Each week, we will be searching for the best Warrington has to offer in different categories and we’ve given out 20 awards for 2023.

The winners so far:

Best for Hair – Ashleigh Hair and Beauty

Best for Pies – Tomlins Bakery

Best for Nails – Bamboo Hair & Beauty

Best for Roast Dinner – Heaths Kitchen

Best for Cocktails – Dead Eyes

Best for Breakfast -Café Blu

Best for Fitness – Daniel Warburton

Best for Fish and Chips – Fish Net

Best for Tattoos – Danny’s Tattoo

Best for Pizza - Donatello

Best for Pets – Victoria Park Vets

Best Independent Shop or Business – The Phone Whisperer

Best for Dessert – White Lace Bakery

Best for Beauty – Bella You

Best for Kids – TinyTalk Warrington, Newton and Lymm

Best Gym – Ryfields Gym

Best Beer Garden – The Ferry Tavern

Best for Afternoon Tea – The Grand

Best for Burgers – Café at the End of the Universe

Voting for Warrington’s Best for Curry is currently taking place and we’re also looking for nominations in our latest search - Best Pub or Bar.

Next on the menu was the search for Warrington’s Best Café or Coffee Shop and CJ’s Coffee Shop and Tearoom took the latest Best of 2023 crown making them back-to-back winners.

CJs Coffee House and Tearoom opened on Warrignton Road in 2018

CJ's Coffee House and Tearoom opened on Warrignton Road in 2018

Husband and wife Ben and Alison opened the coffee shop on Warrington Road in February 2018 and named it CJ’s after their daughter Chloe Jaine who is now eight.

Ben was born in Warrington but moved away at a young age before returning in his early 20s and Alison moved to the town from Hull with her family when she was eight.

Ben said: “CJ’s is an independent coffee shop run by just the two of us for the past five years.

“We have our own blend of coffee which we are incredibly proud of and we’re currently open six days a week apart from during the school holidays.

“Alison primarily takes the lead front of house while I work in the kitchen.

“We serve hot and cold food - breakfast, brunch and lunch - as well as hot and cold drinks.

“We make all our cakes on the premises and we aim to make as much of the food here as we can.

“We wanted to create a space that is truly welcoming for customers and treat people on a personal level without the corporate script and checklists.”

Perfectly roasted cup of coffee

Perfectly roasted cup of coffee

CJ’s Coffee Shop and Tearoom is a tiny café and Ben thinks it might be the smallest in Warrington.

Ben believes the size of the venue allows him and Alison to get to know their customers and their regular orders, like how they like coffee or which salad dressing they prefer.

Ben said: “It’s the little things that may seem small when written down but when we fulfil customers’ requests it helps them feel valued and remembered – that makes a difference.

“We’re probably the smallest café in Warrington which gives us the chance to really get to know our customers.

“Over the last few years, we have attracted the most amazing customers who keep coming back day after day.

“When someone does come back, I think it’s a huge compliment.

“If someone has tried your menu and liked it enough to come back then it’s a great feeling and gives us a big sense of pride.”

Homemade fruit scones with clotted cream

Homemade fruit scones with clotted cream

But what do the customers think of CJ’s Coffee House and Tearoom? Why did they want them to win one of our Best of 2023 awards?

One review on their Facebook page said: “The food is delicious and very reasonably priced.

“The staff are very friendly.”

Another said: “Best full English breakfast we’ve had in ages!

“Lovely atmosphere - a real gem of a place with friendly and attentive owners.

“Squeezed down a delicious scone and a piece of rocky road takeaway for the road.

“Looking forward to coming back - afternoon tea looks like a must!”

When Ben and Alison heard they’d made the shortlist for Warrington’s Best Coffee Shop they were shocked as “there are hundreds of venues in the town that could make the list”.

CJs has its own blend of coffee

CJ's has its own blend of coffee

Ben said: “We were humbled, truly humbled to win.

“When we started five years ago, I never imagined we would have the popularity we have right now.

“I don’t think we can ever thank our customers enough for taking time out of their day to vote for us, especially against such strong competition.

“I am sure some people would have been torn as to who to choose.

“We will be putting a post up on our socials about how we are going to celebrate the win, once the news really sinks in.”

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Warrington Guardian: Perfectly roasted cup of coffeePerfectly roasted cup of coffee (Image: supplied)