Barista who came to Portsmouth from Romania with £300 in his pocket opens The Coffee House alongside wife

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A barista who came to Portsmouth from Romania with a dream has turned it into a reality after opening a new coffee shop.

Argint Iancu Ionut recently opened The Coffee House in Highland Road, Southsea, alongside his wife Argint Carmen Valentina. They opened earlier this month, with Mr Argint being delighted with the feedback so far.

He told The News: ‘Things have been going great. We do have experience in hospitality, but it’s about getting used to the new location. So far so good.

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The Coffee House in Highland Road, Eastney - owners Carmen and Ionut Johnny Argint Picture: Habibur RahmanThe Coffee House in Highland Road, Eastney - owners Carmen and Ionut Johnny Argint Picture: Habibur Rahman
The Coffee House in Highland Road, Eastney - owners Carmen and Ionut Johnny Argint Picture: Habibur Rahman

‘The customers have loved it and they’ve been so supportive.’ The couple have done everything themselves, from designing the menu, the interior and choosing the furniture.

‘It’s all made by us and we’ve tried to present ourselves to the customers,’ he said. Mr Argint came to Southsea almost nine years ago from Eastern Europe and has stayed ever since.

He previously worked in the popular coffee shop The Garage Lounge in Victoria Road South, with he and his wife both having about 15 years of hospitality experience.

‘I first turned up with £300 in my pocket, now we’ve managed to do this,’ Mr Argint said. ‘We’ve been working hard all these years and we managed to save up and buy our house a few years ago.

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Carmen and Ionut Johnny Argint at the Coffee House Picture: Habibur RahmanCarmen and Ionut Johnny Argint at the Coffee House Picture: Habibur Rahman
Carmen and Ionut Johnny Argint at the Coffee House Picture: Habibur Rahman

‘We never thought having our own business was going to be something we would do. I’m a people person and so is my wife, so we’ve been doing that all of our lives. So we thought we would stick with what we know and open our own place.’

Mr Argint said The Coffee House is unique because of the love the couple have put into the business, their experience, and its interior design.

Customers can enjoy a special rich blend of coffee from Allpress roastery in London – using beans from Guatemala, Brazil and Columbia. Mr Argint said the pair now consider Southsea their home.

Carmen and Ionut Johnny Argint Picture: Habibur RahmanCarmen and Ionut Johnny Argint Picture: Habibur Rahman
Carmen and Ionut Johnny Argint Picture: Habibur Rahman

He added: ‘We visit our family and friends every now and then in Romania. Over time, we now ask each other “when are we going back home”, which surprisingly for us is now Portsmouth.

‘We’re feeling living by the seafront, it’s enjoyable. We love coffee. I like to drink a nice proper cup of coffee in the morning, so that is exactly what we’re trying to serve to our customers.’

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