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Its 5:55am, pitch black, drizzling rain. The streets are quiet as I unlock the front door and enter Delany’s on Denman Street. After some of the essential duties are out of the way, my favourite task is up next, “seasoning” the espresso machine. The scent of rich espresso fills the air and sweetens the rest of my work to get the cafe ready for the day.
Soon enough its 6:30am and we’re opening the doors. Its not unusual to have a handful of regular customers waiting to come inside. Some have even helped to put the patio furniture out - thats just what its like when you work in a friendly neighbourhood coffee shop. We know all their names and quickly have their orders ready to go. They hardly even need to say much beyond hello, which is handy when the sun isn’t even up and you haven’t had coffee yet.
As the day progresses the atmosphere and pace pick up. It gets a little hectic around mid-morning when in true Vancouver fashion, the sun suddenly appears. Wraps and sandwiches are flying on and off the grill, the line-up for espresso drinks is full, and our baked goods display has a lot less treats in it. Half awake dog walkers and commuters have been replaced by all manner of people - tourists caffeinating before a walk on the seawall, groups of friends meeting for morning treats on our patio, parents and babies out for some fresh air, workers getting a change of scenery for a few hours, it goes on. There are familiar faces mixed in with new ones, and all are treated to the same hospitable service that we pride ourselves on.
There is a lull before the lunch crowd appears and we're able to reset, restock, and re- caffeinate to prepare for the next rush. Time passes without me even noticing and suddenly it's almost the end of my shift. I'm tired but satisfied with the morning’s work. Its fun when we're busy and the energy is high. I grab a coffee to go (don't worry, this one's decaf), and farewell some regular customers on my way out the door. Ready to do it all again tomorrow.
Written by Tosha Patel
-Delanys on Denman employee