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A cafe you like to visit: IELTS cue card

Going to a cafe is one of the most popular activities worldwide. You probably have an idea what your favorite cafe is, but would you be able to describe it while showing off your IELTS skills? On this page, you can check out my IELTS speaking answer to a question about my favourite cafe. Keep scrolling to see some answers to task three questions and a full list of the interesting vocabulary from these answers.

IELTS band nine cue card

Describe a cafe you like to visit. You should say:
Where it is
What it serves
What you do there
And explain why you like to go there.

I’d like to tell you about a cafe called Maison Berteaux. It’s in Soho in Central London. Because it’s very central, it is a convenient spot to meet at. In addition, it’s within walking distance of tourist hotspots like Convent Garden, Trafalgar Square, and Chinatown. 

This cafe is also a patisserie so you can buy all sorts of cakes and pies. My favourite is a plum and almond tart, but they also make delicious eclairs and marzipan fruit. When I go there, I usually order a pot of tea for the table. They’re very generous and give you extra hot water so you can have seconds

When I go, I like to sit and have cake and talk for a while. Afterward, I might go for a walk around Chinatown or go shopping on Oxford street. 

If someone was visiting me in London, I’d usually take them to Maison Berteaux. The reason for this is that so many places in London are cookie-cutter chain cafes and restaurants. It’s allegedly the oldest cafe in town, which has helped it be pretty unique. Naturally, the cake and tea are delicious. Also, the location itself is a little shabby which I think makes it very charming. Finally, the staff are so friendly. Even when, there’s a queue out the door, they will make time for small talk with you. 

Cafes part three IELTS questions

What type of people like to visit a cafe? 

Since it has gotten more and more expensive to eat out, I think the majority of people who visit a cafe in the UK would be people who are on the go. Most cafes serve food, like toasties or croissants, which are quick and easy. Commuters and people on their lunch break prefer this type of food because it helps them fill up and get on with their day. 

How have cafes changed over the last 30 years? 

The first big change I can think of is the rise of chain cafes. Obviously, Starbucks is the most famous one of these, but there are also other chains like Costa. These cafes have supplanted many independent coffee shops. 

Second, coffee drinkers have become more sophisticated consumers. For example, they are more likely to want to know the provenance of the coffee they drink. They might make an extra effort to find a cafe serving organic single-origin coffee. They are also more likely to be loyal to a cafe with a skilled barista who can make them a coffee just as they like it. 

IELTS Cafe Vocabulary

Convenient spot

We often use ‘spot’ to mean place, especially in spoken English. ‘Convenient spot’ is a common phrase for somewhere easy to get to.

Within walking distance

If two places are within walking distance, it is easy to walk from one to the other.

Tourist hotspot

A tourist hotspot is a place which is popular among tourists.

Patisserie

A patisserie is a bakery that specialises in sweet goods. This word comes from French where most bakeries are specialised in either sweet or savoury baking.

Tart

A tart is a type of pie that does not have pastry on top. In other words, you can see what is inside the pie by looking at it.

Eclair

An eclair is a long thin pastry that is full of cream and has chocolate on top.

Marzipan fruit

Marzipan is a type of paste that is made from almonds. It’s usually yellow but can be dyed any colour. It’s common to make sweets from it that look, but don’t taste, like fruit.

Seconds

If you have seconds, you have another serving of something. In this case, the extra hot water lets you make tea.

Cookie-cutter

A cookie cutter is a divice used to shape cookies. However, this phrase can also be used to mean something looks very similar to other examples of it. E.g. Starbucks cafes all look like one another.

Chain cafe

A chain of shops is lots of shops with the same name. Supermarkets, restaurants, and cafes are often chains.

Allegedly

If something is allegedly true, it means someone says that it is true but you can’t confirm it yourself. Here it means that the cafe says it’s the oldest in London, but I can’t say for sure.

Shabby

If something is shabby it is a bit run down or rough round the edges. This sounds like a bad thing, but it can often be used to mean run down in a charming way.

A queue out the door

Literally, this means that there are so many people waiting, some of them have to wait on the street. It can also be used more figuratively to mean that a place is busy.

Small talk

Small talk is a casual conversation about unimportant or uncontroversial topics like the weather.

On the go

If you are on the go, you are busy moving from place to place.

Toastie

A toastie is a type of sandwich which is pressed between two hotplates. It is similar to a grilled cheese in the USA.

Croissant

This is a flaky pastry dish that looks like a crescent moon.

Supplanted

This is another way of saying ‘replaced’. It can have a connotation of that replacement being slightly unfair.

Sophisticated consumer

This is a common phrase we use to describe someone who knows what they want when they are shopping.

Provenance

The provenance of something is about where something is from and the journey it takes to get to you. When discussing food this means where the food comes from as well as how it is grown transported and prepared.

Single-origin coffee

This means that the coffee comes from a single farm. People who really like coffee care about this as it means the coffee has stronger characteristics compared with coffee made from beans from many farms.

Barista

A barista is someone who makes coffee, especially someone who is skillful at making coffee.

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