Matt Phillips (left) Rhodri Morgan (right) Photo Credit: Jonathan Morris

Sunrises and morning coffee inspire opening of cafe for early risers and outdoor people

The First Light cafe in Tongwynlais wants to encourage customers to take up a more healthy lifestyle

LOVE of the great outdoors, early mornings and coffee has inspired a cafe that has just opened in Tongwynlais.

The owners chose the name First Light because they believe in the importance of a morning routine, including being out at sunrise in the beautiful outdoor spaces of South Wales. 

The venue on Market Road is setting its sights on cyclists, runners, and other active members of the Tongwynlais community. 

Doors are open at 7.30 every morning to welcome what the owners call the “first people” – those walking their dogs before work, runners on their morning jog or some just out for a stroll. 

“There are some amazing benefits to both mental and physical health in the first half an hour of daylight,” said business consultant Rav Billan. 

First Light Cafe, Market Road, Tongwynlais. Credit: Matt Phillips

“We offer mainly plant based foods and bio-dynamic coffee, ” said co-founder Matt Phillips.

Bio-dynamic refers to coffee produced using holistic farming techniques such as composting and without synthetic pesticides. 

A latte at First Light cafe, Tongwynlais. Credit: Katharine Worrell

“We can track the process from bean to cup,” said Ms Billan. The coffee beans come from a family-owned farm in Peru and are roasted in a location near the Black Mountains in South Wales. 


Everyone’s adventure is different and we want to be a part of it”

Rav Billan

The interior of the coffee shop plays into this First Light theme, with the colour of the walls representing the changing light in the morning, with fairy lights above as the stars.

Mr Phillips and his co-founder Rhodri Morgan say that morning routine and coffee have played a major role in their fitness journeys. They have both done Ironman events, cross country runs and various mountain climbs.

On the First Light website, Mr Phillips shares his route to sobriety. The business was official coffee supplier for Dry January for the charity Alcohol Change UK.

“We are committed to encouraging positivity and well-being through lifestyle choices,” he said.

“Everyone’s adventure is different and we want to be a part of it. We want to fuel the adventure,” explained Ms Billan. 

Eventually First Light wants to host events like fitness talks, open mic nights and book launches to involve more members of the community.