A SOUTH Lakeland coffee shop has officially been recognised as one of the top ten in the country.

Cartmel Coffee was awarded the Michelin star of the industry – 5 Cup Accreditation – at the Beverage Standards Association annual Awards.

This means that owners Paul and Phaedra Settle, of Grange, have reached the highest level in the quality of and presentation of drinks, customer service, ambience, cleanliness, menu range, training and sustainability procedures.

And it was not just anybody who handed them the award, but Olympic gold medallist Dame Kelly Holmes.

Mr Settle, who only started the business in April 2011, said it was ‘tremendous achievement’.

He added: “We were very pleased to have won the 4 Cup Accreditation last year in our first year of trading and have worked very hard to get to this standard, taking on board both the comments made by judges and feedback from customers.

“Customers enjoy finding the flavours in their coffee of choice – it’s a great talking point and helps us to guide them to their ideal drink.

“From homemade meringues served with drinks to fresh water jugs we pay great attention to detail and I feel that has a lot to do with us winning the Five Cup Accreditation.”

The husband and wife team, of Grange, had no background in catering when they embarked on the venture, with Paul formerly self-employed doing general property maintenance and Phaedra a dispensary manager.

But they had the interest and drive in supplying great coffee and homemade cakes, and this was recognised by chairman of the Beverage Standards Awards, Ranald Paterson.

He said: “Paul and Phaedra have both changed careers to become one of the top ten 5 Cup winners in the UK. All three drinks assessed - espresso, flat white and hot chocolate - prepared by barista Paul, were short listed for best drink awards.

"This is a real cafe, frequented by locals and visitors on the edge of England's Lake District.”

The award-winning coffee shop can be found in The Square, Cartmel.