Part of our tenth anniversary celebrations, we're proud to introduce the Workshop Coffee Professional Community – our industry purchase programme. A new initiative based on old principles, it's one way in which we hope to continue building relationships with those within the specialty coffee industry.
2021 marks our tenth year seeking out, roasting and showcasing exceptional coffee from our home here in London.
At once exciting and at the same time entirely arbitrary, the movement from single to double-digits has us reflecting on just how much we have learnt since we began roasting coffee. We’ve encountered numerous and ongoing firsts along the way, spanning new coffees, origins, locations, roasters, team members, partnerships and more.
In the pursuit of progress it can be all too easy to get swept up in its momentum. However, change has only been a constant for us in allowing us to hone in and focus further on the unwavering tenets we strive to adhere to.
We’ve always aimed to keep a set of guiding principles squarely in our sights: a commitment to the people that grow and prepare the product we’re lucky enough to source, roast and serve; an unwavering focus on offering a continuously improving, consistently delicious product; a dedication to building lasting relationships, be they with farmers and producers at origin or our wholesale partners across the world.
As well as taking the occasional moment to reflect over the coming months, it will be these guiding principles that we’re keeping at the front of our minds as we begin our second decade. Using this milestone as an opportunity to double down on our beliefs, we’ll be continuing to look ahead, paving the way for the next ten years (and beyond) of Workshop Coffee.
To kick this process off, we’re proud to introduce a new initiative based on old principles.
The best relationships rely on a cycle of open communication and accessibility, which is why we’ve always sought out those who share our values. Whether team members, producing partners or those looking to introduce exceptional coffee to a new community, great people doing great things in their own areas doesn’t just align with our own approach – it provides us with another opportunity to learn and improve.
The Workshop Coffee Professional Community is one way in which we hope to continue establishing and building relationships with those within the specialty coffee industry. Providing exclusive discounts to those working with the product we love, our aim is to ensure our seasonal range of single origin coffees be as accessible as possible regardless of your place or position within the industry.
We’re looking forward to sharing more projects and products we’ll be kicking off in our tenth year over the following weeks. Until then, you can discover more about our Professional Community and submit your application here.
At the end of September, Japanese outdoor lifestyle brand, Snow Peak, announced that they’ll be opening their European flagship store in London’s St. James’s Market. Alongside their array of high quality clothing, camping equipment and gear, their first ever European location will also be operating a full-service café in the three-story store, which will proudly serve Workshop Coffee.
Having spent several months working closely together on both the design of the coffeebar and the equipment it will hold, Snow Peak will be pulling shots of our seasonal espressos using a combination of Nuova Simonelli Mythos One grinders and a 2-Group La Marzocco Linea Classic AV. The team will also be showcasing our filter coffees using their own range of titanium coffee brewing hardware to make clean, sweet and fresh cups brewed as pourovers.
From the moment we began speaking with Snow Peak’s Vice President, Lisa Yamai, the parallels between their approach and our own were apparent and abundant. As we continued our conversations and gained a greater insight into their approach, we realised those similarities ran to the very core of both companies.
As well as sharing a passion for things done well, Snow Peak are in continual pursuit of better products. To do this, they're forever tweaking and iterating on what has come before with the aim of making something better.
Their desire to inspire more people to enjoy the outdoors also struck a chord with us. We're always looking for ways that offer people access to the exceptional coffee wherever and whenever they choose to drink it. Snow Peak's beautifully designed, carefully considered outdoor brewing gear is an exciting way of helping people to do exactly that.
We're incredibly excited to begin working together and know exciting things lie ahead in the coming months.
Snow Peak’s London store opens on Friday 25th October and will be located at 16a Regent Street, St. James’s, London, SW1Y 4PH. If you can’t wait to visit their first European store, their UK online shop is open now.
The weekend brings with it the opportunity to take a little more time and be a touch more considered in the things we choose to do. That in turn allows us to appreciate the process a little more and discover more as a result.
With that in mind, we've partnered with tokyobike and Kinto Japan to brew and serve coffee from our seasonal range on the first Saturday of each month. You'll find us in their Shoreditch store from 11:00 until 12:00 brewing up something new on Kinto's 2-Cup Brewer Stand.
Stop by at your convenience for a conversation, to learn more or simply to enjoy a delicious cup of freshly brewed filter coffee on on us.
And after your coffee, you can also join tokyobike on a free, guided ride through and to some of London's scenic spots. Making use of cycle paths, tow paths, back roads and green spaces, bring your bike along to enjoy the ride and take in the views. Find out more and sign-up here.
One of the first bars to open in the redeveloped Northern Quarter, Common has been a staple of the area since 2004. In the words of General Manager, Jonny, “the area had a lot of residents but nowhere to drink and hang out. Common wasn’t trying to be a city bar but just a nice, reliable neighbourhood place to drink”.
A lot has changed in the last twelve years. The Northern Quarter has flourished and, during that time, Common has been torn down and rebuilt with an expansion and a refined offering.
“We bought more space, expanded the seating area… we completely ripped it apart and started again. We originally set it up on a tight budget — it was rough and ready, you know? We just kind of outgrew it and we couldn’t keep up with demand. We wanted something more efficient, to allow us to carry on serving food and drink to a high standard”.
The revamp wasn’t popular with everyone, but Jonny is confident that they have retained most of their regulars and won back most of the people they lost.
“Everyone who was vocally hating it, they started coming back once they saw it was the same team, the same philosophy and that we’ve just grown up a bit.”
This is a regular theme in conversations with café owners and operators; adapt or die. Lots of cafés that outgrow themselves don’t update or aren’t able to, for one reason or another. Aside from how customers may feel about this, it can cause real strain amongst staff members who are working in inefficient ways or with outdated equipment, and it can negatively impact the quality of the offering. So what was it about the original Common that, ten years later, was dragging its heels?
“It’s the same thing anyone in the Northern Quarter will tell you: we get incredibly, incredibly busy in very concentrated times, so it’s hard to maintain standards and quality in those conditions. We always want to keep ahead with new ideas, new and exciting things, not just rest on our laurels. It’s not pretentious though, we find stuff we like and we’re excited so we get behind it, and we want to share that”.
Common is in a constant battle to stay relevant to their neighbourhood, but it’s a labour of love and it allows Jonny and his team a certain amount of freedom to try to jump ahead of the curve. “We feel we have to take risks. We tore the place down and built it back up. You know, people don’t like change, but we felt we had to.”
Common 2.0 is ambitious without over-reaching. The offering is broad yet considered, and the team is keeping up with the changing demands and tastes of the neighbourhood whilst showcasing what they themselves enjoy, rather than bowing blindly to gentrification. Common hasn’t sold out. It’s grown up. There is utilitarian yet comfortable furniture, it’s light and airy (even more so in the Summer as some of the outer walls retract and open up the space), but it’s lively. The decor may be slightly Scandi-chic, but the buzzing atmosphere is full on Manchester - the pebbledash bar in the centre is a nice nod to Common’s roots, and a wink that lets you know you’re welcome.
Common has also refined the food offering (the salt and pepper squid and Korean fried chicken are great bar snacks), but they are still serving up their crowd-pleasing burgers and sandwiches. “We’re probably most famous for our burgers, the maple bacon burger is the most popular”, says Jonny.
The coffee scene in Manchester has grown tremendously in recent years, with events such as The Manchester Coffee Festival (formerly Cup North) putting Northern roasters and cafés on the map, and allowing local businesses access to roasters from other areas. “Since we re-opened we’ve seen much more of a push on day trade. The coffee side has really taken off, we’ve invested a lot in that and it’s blown up. Our coffee sales are up by about 400%.
When we visited we drank a bright and sweet brew of Marimira AA, a Kenyan coffee currently in our range. “People come down to try the latest filter, and we keep it on constant rotation. The people who like it get into it, they come back and try the different beans. The staff too — they love the filter.”
Originally coming from a craft beer background, the team at Common had a love of and appreciation for good coffee, but none of its staff were trained baristas. “We worked closely with friends from other cafes like North Tea Power and Idle Hands. They did some training with us and got the staff on board. It’s the same with anything we buy: wine, beer, gin — we apply the same thought behind it all in terms of taste.”.
It’s important to look at venues like Common who take stock of their position, decide what can be achieved, and then reach for it. In a time when so many new openings seem to be guided by the same rulebook, adhering to an accepted aesthetic, Common are “still here, still pushing forward. That’s about it really”. If you’re in the Manchester area you can drop by Common any day except Monday, and check out their sister venues Port Street Beer House, The Beagle, and recent addition The Pilcrow, close to Victoria train station. The latter is a pub built by hand with help from the local community in the NOMA neighbourhood, operated by All Our Yesterdays, a new partnership between Common owner Jonathan Heyes and Paul Jones, the co-founder of Cloudwater Brew Co.
Address: 39 Edge St, Manchester M4 1HW
This year has seen a number of new Wholesale Partners joining the roster and in a tip of the hat to Sprudge's 'Build Outs Of Summer', we thought we'd show a little of how Lundenwic, recently opened in July, came together over the first months of summer.
Lundenwic is an ambitious new Scandinavian-style cafe named after the seventh century Anglo-Saxon settlement, in the area by the Thames that became Aldwych. Set up by Ollie Hiam and Dominic Hamdy, the team behind Scotchtails, the cafe is located between the main Covent Garden theatres and Somerset House and brings much needed specialty coffee to the area.
Previously an old fashioned British Snack Bar, the Lundenwic team has been hard at work stripping out old kitchen equipment, yellowing walls and previously boarded up windows. Creating this cleaner, exposed interior, the focus has shifted onto the food and drink where vibrant salads and cold-press juices bring welcome colour to the space.
Setting up a cafe is never easy, but what the team at Lundenwic have achieved is quite spectacular in such a short amount of time. Be sure to drop by for a Cult of Done Espresso and a bite to eat, allowing yourself a moment to admire their handiwork in person.
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45 Aldwych, London, WC2B 4DW
Mon to Friday – 7am to 7pm
Saturday - 10am to 7pm
Sunday - Closed
We like to explore all avenues of potential tastiness with our coffees, test roasting them numerous times before they ever see time on bar. Sometimes during this process we discover a coffee we bought intended for filter makes an astounding espresso, or vice versa, and so it has happened with the Kabingara AA purchased from the Karithathi Farmers Co-operative Society in Kirinyaga, Kenya.
Having already been released as a filter coffee, we chose to offer the Kabingara AA to a handful of our most loyal wholesale customers to run as their main espresso for a few weeks. By developing the Kabingara further through a longer contact time in the drum, around 11m20s rather than the 9m10s filter roast, however with an end temperature that's actually lower, the raspberry notes have become more prevalent and the finish is reminiscent of black cherries and vanilla. It also handily serves as a little precursor to the Githiga AB Espresso which is launching on general release soon!
With only a limited amount of the Kabingara AA available, we decided it would only be offered at our Clerkenwell cafe and the list of customers below. So, for only a short amount of time, you'll be able to try this delicious Kenyan Espresso at these locations for the next few weeks.
Excitingly, this also includes Association Coffee's new shop on Ludgate Hill if you needed another reason to go visit Sam and Christian in their opening few weeks!
No. 10/12 Creechurch Lane London EC3A 5AY
Unit 3, 56 Ludgate Hill, London, EC4M 7AW
3C York Place, Edinburgh, EH1 3EB
36 Camberwell Church St, London, SE5 8QZ
2 Rookery Road, Clapham Common, London, SW4 9DD
Sat on the corner of Lamb's Conduit Street, Knockbox Coffee sets itself apart from the crowd by focussing on all the small details. From the light fixtures to the copper-legged chairs, much of the cafe was made bespoke to owner Mete's specification. Even the knockbox itself is a one-of-a-kind wooden affair built solely for the space.
While the cafe itself may be quite small, Knockbox Coffee has already become a hub for the Bloomsbury community. Frequented by the men's fashion retailers of the street, Knockbox has become the location for many a photo shoot. Don’t be surprised in looking up from your Cult of Done Espresso to find yourself sat across from a designer, cameraman or maybe even a world famous model.
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29 Lamb's Conduit Street, London, WC1N 3NG
Mon to Friday – 7.30am to 6.00pm
Saturday - 8.00am to 5.00pm
Sunday - Closed
We’ve been working with Carter Donnell since he started Daily Goods as a small concession in the now closed Kinoko Cycles some two years ago. The little Soho concession we blogged about shut doors in Golden Square last June and re-opened as a much more substantial cafe across the river in Camberwell, South London. We dropped by Daily Goods to catch up with Carter and ask a few questions about the changes and what it's been like over the last year:
So how did you first get introduced into coffee? Where did you work before setting up Daily Goods?
I grew up in a small town in Idaho and like normal, small town American life there was always a pot of coffee at home - coffee was always there noon and night. I didn't think anything of it until I was watching my favourite skateboarder on a video, he was drinking a cup of coffee while waiting for a train in New York. I emulated him in every other way so I knew I had to start drinking coffee.
My first job in coffee was at Starbucks and, ironically, it was there I actually learnt that coffee could be something other than a caramel syrup-filled slushy drink! On my first day they made me cup the two coffees they were currently serving: a Colombian and an Ethiopian. When I tried the Ethiopian against the Colombian I couldn't believe that you could taste actual flavours, different flavours, from coffee without adding anything to them!
From there, using the sweet deal of being able to work at any Starbucks, I left Idaho and headed to the East Coast. Settling in Philadelphia for a year, I took every opportunity to travel to Manhattan on the bus. Discovering the guys at Ninth Street Espresso on 13th St. in New York (now Everyman Espresso) was a revelation; no syrups, no blender, no sandwiches, just great coffee! I set about convincing them I wasn't a brainwashed Starbucks barista, was willing to forget everything I was taught and learn it their way if they gave me the opportunity. I worked at Ninth St. for three years, learnt a great deal about coffee and loved that job so much!
Afterwards I moved to London and worked at some great places like Milk Bar, Store Street Espresso and Embassy East. After a while however, I knew it was time I set out to do my own thing and try to create what I missed most about working in New York, the neighbourhood feel. I wasn't able to fund anything standalone on my own so found a stepping stone in Kinoko Cycles. I rented a small corner of the cycle shop in Soho and traded there for a year.
What's it been like going from a one-man band to being the owner-operator of a whole team?
Oh man! I would be lying if I said it was easy. I had no idea how much work it would be. Trading from a small counter on my own everyday for a year was easy enough; I knew what I needed to do and how to do it and had no one to answer to or look after, except for the customers of course. Opening in Camberwell has been a rewarding challenge; I now have five employees who I have to make sure get paid, get breaks and have fun while working. That is an amazing feeling but also a lot of responsibility!
Nowadays I do a lot more managerial work but when I leave the office and see the cafe full of regulars and my crew behind the counter serving these people and knowing them on a first name basis, ultimately building more of our community in Camberwell, I can't help but be happy with what Daily Goods has become, even if I am behind the counter less myself.
Do you ever miss the little bar at Kinoko Cycles?
No, not at all. I didn't like being in someone else's space and being held to their guidelines. It was an amazing opportunity and I can't forget that, but I'm much more happy here in Camberwell.
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It’s always the greatest of pleasures to see our Wholesale Partner’s grow and develop. While some go on to open second shops or do major refurbishments, others like Daily Goods go from small establishments to being much bigger cafés that form the hub of a community.
So, if you do find yourself in Camberwell, you know where to go for a great Cult of Done Espresso or a filter coffee served from the Fetco batch brewer. We can’t wait to see what Carter and his team have planned next and look forward to helping out where we can, as Daily Goods continues to grow and develop in the coming years.
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36 Camberwell Church Street, London, SE5 8QZ
Mon to Friday – 7.30am to 6.30pm
Saturday - 9.30am to 5.30pm
Sunday - 10am to 5pm
Opening last year, Under Pressure Espresso is a small coffee bar in Sutton Coldfield, just north of Birmingham. The owner and founder of Under Pressure, Matthew Hall, having worked at great roasters and cafes around the world, decided to return to his hometown and go about putting into practice everything he had learnt. Driven by the goal of serving the best possible coffee in an accessible manner with no pretence, it's obvious Matthew has genuine passion for speciality coffee.
Alongside a variety of different hand brew methods, the bar features a La Marzocco GS/3 and Mythos Grinder at its core. Having a single group GS/3, Matthew is free to explore different pressure profiles and temperatures when brewing, testing different recipes for his espressos, as he tries to get the best out of each coffee he serves.
Under Pressure is testament to the growth of speciality coffee in the UK, showing that innovation and quality is not limited to larger towns and cities but can thrive in local communities too.
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Under Pressure Espresso
23a Birmingham Road, Sutton Coldfield, B72 1QA
Mon to Thursday – 8am to 5pm
Fri to Saturday - 8am to 6pm
Sunday - 10am to 4pm
When Matt and Helen - the team behind Fortitude Coffee - contacted us, we knew they planned something unique for Edinburgh. Rather than simply focus on preparing high quality coffees, they also wanted to help people brew better coffee at home, gaining greater insight into what they were drinking.
The focal point of the shop is the back bar, where a La Marzocco Linea PB, Anfim grinders and Mahlokenig Tanzania ensure you can always get a precision brewed Workshop espresso or filter coffee. In addition, the shelving down one side of the cafe showcases different coffees and brewing equipment for retail. Being Coffee Merchants, the team are keen to always stock a selection of different origins, roasters, varietals and processes.
So if you simply want to pick up a quick coffee, or you would like to overhaul your home brewing with new coffee, equipment and even a demonstration of a brew method - Kalita being the in-house favourite - then be sure to pay Fortitude Coffee Merchants a visit.
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Fortitude Coffee Merchants
3C York Place, Edinburgh, EH1 3EB
Mon to Friday – 8am to 6pm
Saturday - 10am to 6pm
Sunday - Closed