Enjoying a steaming cup of freshly brewed and aromatic coffee is nothing short of pure bliss.
But falling in love with the drink to the extent of opening a coffee business, and that too in a foreign country, is rare.
Before Rick Hubbard opened North End Coffee Roasters in Dhaka, he worked as a barista and coffee roaster for years.
He realised he was truly passionate about coffee and together with his wife Chris, who had a background in pastry making, decided to do something overseas.
The couple had taken a trip to Bangladesh in 2001 to meet a friend and thought of starting a business here. They researched the market and developed their business plan by 2009.
In 2011 they opened the first branch of North End Coffee Roasters in Pragati Sarani, Shahjadpur, near the US embassy. Initially, the idea was to make only small batches of freshly roasted coffee.
Within a short time, North End became popular among the ex-pat community. Items like cinnamon rolls were being baked every day and gradually, locals too began to flock.
One thing Rick noticed was that when people came for coffee, they also wanted to grab a snack.
With his wife's baking skills, they developed a menu with items like bagels, croissants and brownies.
Rick and Chris were pleasantly surprised by the response they began to receive and by the second year, the second branch of North End had opened and by the third year, the third branch.
Now, there are eight branches in Dhaka and another in Ukhia, Cox's Bazar.
Despite its popularity as a café, it remains unknown to most that the core business of North End Coffee Roasters is, as the name suggests, roasting and supplying coffee beans.
It imports most of its coffee beans from Singapore and Brazil, which are then roasted here and their buyers include many upscale cafés and hotels of Dhaka.
Around six tonnes of coffee is roasted every month. All of the imported coffee is Arabica coffee.
From the very beginning, North End established that they wanted to create a coffee community - a warm, friendly ambience where strangers would smile at each other and engage in conversation over coffee. Their tagline reads "craft great coffee, create great community".
Keeping that in mind, customers at North End are not asked to leave, regardless of how small their order is - a scene uncommon in many of the restaurants in the city.
They can spend long hours at the café enjoying a drink or a snack. Many even bring in their laptops and work from here.
We also heard the story of a university professor who has to start his day with a North End coffee. The days he cannot, his students have a hard time!
The North End customer base is quite diverse; ranging from students to corporate workers.
Founder and Managing Director of North End, Rick Hubbard said, "We believe that coffee does not need to be a luxury. We even have items under Tk100. Right from the beginning, we tried to make things simple for everyone and our baristas are trained to make customers feel at ease. If a child spills something on the floor, we do not rush to make a big deal out of it. We treat it like a very normal incident."
He continued, "We have a saying 'one drink, one customer, one experience' and we judge ourselves like that. We have this one drink, can we do it right so that that person leaves satisfied."
The blends that North End offers are usually displayed on shelves in its branches and naturally, the CHT (Chattogram Hill Tracts) blend catches the most attention.
North End also tries to help the CHT farmer's community. Their goal is to increase more of the local production.
"Regional coffee is something very important and Bangladesh has a unique opportunity to produce good quality coffee. I actually roasted my first batch of coffee in Chattogram years ago. We encourage local farmers in CHT to grow coffee. We supply them with seeds and in the last 10 years, we have witnessed great progress," Rick told the correspondent.
During an interview with Dhaka Tribune, Rick said that the coffee grown in Bandarban, Khagrachhari and Rangamati can be as good as the ones from Central and South America.
North End buys nearly all the coffee grown in Bangladesh, the report also mentioned.
The Shahjadpur branch, with which North End began its journey, now has a coffee academy where barista training, customer service and professional latte art is taught. Many local businesses have received their training there.
Rick said that they helped all of these cafés grow and enrich the coffee industry in Bangladesh along the way. "There is room for us, and for other coffee shops," Rick voiced.
Other than Rick and his wife, there are others who have closely witnessed the decade-long journey of the North End.
One of them is the Head of Sales, Rajoan Hasan, who joined the organisation in 2012 as a barista.
A marketing graduate from IUBAT, he was hesitant about working in a coffee shop.
"A friend recommended me to apply and I joined North End. Even in 2012, being a graduate and serving coffee was unimaginable. But I thought of giving it a shot because I wanted to learn something new. In the beginning, I would become surprised to see customers spending long hours at North End without anyone asking them to leave, unlike what we were used to seeing in other restaurants. But that is how North End became a second home to many of our dear customers," he said.
While conversing with us, he pointed at a customer sitting a bit far from us.
Rajoan informed us that this man comes here every day in the morning and leaves at night when the café closes. He does his office work from here and only takes a lunch break in the afternoon.
During the lockdown last year, for the few days that North End was closed, he called Rajoan almost every day, asking when they were going to open.
He shared a story with us which continues to motivate him till date. "One day I saw our Managing Director (Rick) mopping the toilet and I thought to myself, this is what dedication looks like! I gradually started enjoying my work and making people happy."
Echoing Rick, Rajoan said that opening many branches is not North End's goal. They want to keep creating coffee culture, and patronising and motivating local coffee farmers.