As anyone working in the travel and hospitality industry, I have been following with concern the news of city lockdowns across the UK, Europe and the rest of the world. We must do it to slow down the infection, but tragically millions of people will lose their jobs as a result. I have been thinking of ways to support our local, small businesses at this time and decided to share some ideas here. I plan to keep updating this blog post in the coming days and weeks. Here are simple ways we can support our favourite coffee shops in the time of COVID-19.
The spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) is forcing entire cities on lockdown. School are closed, events are cancelled, and any kind of travel (domestic and international) is out of the question. These measures are extreme, but they are also essential to beat this virus as quickly as possible, and with the least possible amount of deaths. There’s only one thing we can all do: we stay at home. If you must go out, please only do so only if you can maintain distances between other people and avoid contagion (the recommended distance is around 2 metres). We are in this together so let’s all be smart and do what we can to flatten the curve.
If we all do out part now we will see positive results soon, hence limiting the disastrous economical effects of this lockdown. The two industries I love and write about on my blog – Travel and Hospitality – are going to be the most affected. Ultimately, we have to rely on our governments to take financial measures to shore up the economy against the coronavirus impact, but there are ways each individual can provide support as well. But remember, your purchases from local businesses are life-changing.
Coffee shops (and the same goes for restaurants) need cash to pay their employees, suppliers and rent. It is estimated that sales in hospitality have already gone down by 80% and one million people have lost their jobs in the UK. The lockdown is expected to continue for weeks or even months. And sadly, many cafés will be forced to close down and lay off their employees. Some will re-open and hire their staff back when this is all over, but how many?
No business owner wants to fire their employees (who are not going to find other jobs right now) but to avoid that, they need money. Any sale they can make at this time will make the difference between keeping the business alive or closing down. Help save our beloved speciality coffee industry!
How can you support local coffee shops?
How can you help the many companies, big and small, that are fighting hard to save their businesses? The answer is simple: by spending money.
I’m in Poland at the moment and most of the cafés here are closed, but a few are open for take-away. I try to support the local coffee community by buying coffee beans from different roasters each week. My home-country, Italy, is suffering greatly from the coronavirus spread and is under a strict lockdown. Coffee bars are closed, but coffee roasters are still at work. If you are in Italy and need to buy coffee, please consider making an order from these speciality coffee brands: Ditta Artigianale (free delivery for orders over €30), Gardelli Coffee (they ship worldwide), Neroscuro, Bugan Coffee Lab, His Majesty Coffee, and D612.
Here are a few ways you can do that while respecting the rules of social distancing, lockdowns and quarantine.
1. Buy coffee beans online
This is obvious and most effective way to support the coffee industry: buy coffee beans online from small independent coffee roasters. Chances are that even if a café has closed down their premises, they are still selling beans on their online shop. I am sharing a few of my favourite UK coffee roasters that are offering home delivery of coffee beans, ground coffee, capsules, etc. You can find many more on the Caffeine Magazine website.
Rosslyn Coffee have launched their first online shops where you can purchase coffee bags, gift vouchers and also the gorgeous ceramic mugs handmade by local artist Melisa Dora.
Terrone Coffee is a speciality coffee roaster based in Tottenham, North London. They source the most delicious, fresh crops from the best farms around the world and offer a wide selection of products on their online shop ranging from whole beans to fully compostable capsules. They are offering 20% off coffee subscriptions.
Old Spike is a south east London coffee roaster/café that is also a social enterprise helping the homeless. Their online store is still running to keep you caffeinated during the lockdown.
Origin Coffee is one of the UK’s top coffee roasters. Based in Cornwall, they also have coffee shops in London and supply beans to many cafés around the country. Origin is offering 20% off coffee on their online shop until the 31st March. They also offer a subscription plan to receive a coffee box directly through your door every month.
Formative Coffee in Victoria is closed, but you can support them by ordering retail coffee, chocolate and gift cards online.
Electric Coffee, a speciality coffee roaster in North London, are offering 10% discount and free shipping on their online orders.
Ozone Coffee Their two London eateries are now closed, but the online shop is open offering a wide range of single origins and blends for filter and espresso.
80 Stone Coffee are offering free delivery for orders over £25 and 10% off on their delicious Heavybag espresso beans.
Kapihan in Battersea are working on deliveries for the bakery and possibly a pick up hatch in the shop. Coffee is available to buy online.
Kiss The Kippo, 50 George St, Richmond TW9 1HJ (Richmond) + 51 Margaret Street, Fitzrovia
London W1W 8SG (Fitzrovia) The shops are open; all drinks are served in takeaway cups and foods can be served in takeaway boxes on request. Kiss The Hippo have also launched a new Gift Subscription service.
Redemption Roasters, Unit 109, Lower Stable St, Kings Cross, London N1C 4AQ + more locations. All locations are open with a ‘two for one’ deal going forward on all their retail coffee beans.
The Gentlemen Baristas is a fantastic coffee shop and roaster based in London. They are offering 30% off their coffees.
Coleman Coffee in Lower Marsh will start soon a coffee delivery service in the Waterloo area.
Perky Blenders in East London are giving £9 off their Six Week Club, which is a special home coffee package to receive one bag of coffee every week for 6 weeks.
Saint Espresso are selling coffee beans online. You can click & collect your order from their roastery in Kentish Town, north London.
Minor Figures is a UK brand of 100% plant based products, including oat milk used by many independent coffee shops. They are going to pay 5% of proceeds from their online shop to their cafe stockists. You can find the full list of the cafes retailing Oat M*lk and supplies here.
Colonna is a Bath-based roastery founded by former UK Barista Champion Maxwell Colonna-Dashwood. You might remember my post about Colonna & Smalls coffee shop. Colonna is known all around the world for its top quality coffee and they make some of the best speciality coffee capsules on the market.
Dear Green is a Glasgow-based roaster of ethically-sourced, speciality grade coffee beans. You can order beans on their website. They are also helping a local organic grocer & veg box delivery company called Locavore: Dear Green beans are available to order in their weekly veg box. If you live in Glasgow, please consider buying from them.
La Bottega Milanese is a Yorkshire speciality roaster. Their two coffee shops in Leeds are closed, but you can support La Bottega Milanese by buying coffee bags on their website, like La Classica, a 100% Arabica blend between of continental & third wave style coffee, medium/dark roasted.
2. Purchase vouchers and gift cards
Did you know that coffee shops sell vouchers and gift cards, even smaller independent ones? This is a great way to pay now for coffees you will have in the future. Give cash to a small business now that they desperately need it. You can use the gift card yourself or…gift it to someone else! It can be used to buy coffee beans or drinks in the shop.
3. Sign up for a coffee subscription
Speaking of gifts, why not purchasing a coffee subscription for a friend or family member? This could be a weekly or monthly delivery. Many of London’s coffee roasters offer subscriptions, like Alchemy Coffee or Dark Arts Coffee.
4. Buy coffee appliances, mugs & other products
Now it’s time to raise your coffee game! I have been working from home for about five years and so I’ve had to learn how to make a tasty flat white or a pourover at home. If you have the money, now it’s the time to buy coffee-making appliances (many coffee shops sell them). Espresso machines for home; brewing devises such as Hario V60, Chemex, AeroPress and paper filters; coffee grinders. For example, I have a Wilfa Svart coffee grinder that I purchased a few years ago directly from Workshop Coffee (and got a free coffee voucher too).
Don’t just buy them on Amazon or eBay! Now it’s the time to support small businesses in your city.
5. Get a coffee to take-away
Some cafés in London are still open to buy food and coffee to take-away. If you’re out for your daily exercise activity, to walk your dog or to buy groceries, consider adding a stop at your local coffee shop.
Re-usable cups are not accepted at this time for health & safety reasons. The Ritual app also offers contactless pick up for many coffee shops that are still open in London. A great way to support local businesses while still making social distancing possible.