Sustainable Cafés and Coffee Shops in London
London’s sustainable cafés leading the way in planet-friendly coffee culture
Many of us grab our morning coffee without thinking about the effect our caffeine hit has on the environment. Yet when you hear the statistics, they’re hard to ignore. Every day in the UK we use around seven million disposable coffee cups, amounting to 2.5 billion a year. And according to the Environmental Audit Committee, only one in 400 cups can be recycled – less than 0.25 per cent. But there are some cafés trying to make a positive change. These London spots not only serve lovely coffee and food, they’re doing their bit to reduce waste, from changing to eco-friendly coffee roasting processes to using biodegradable cups. Get your coffee fix at one of the city’s sustainable cafés.
Sustainable Cafés and Coffee Shops in London
Kiss The Hippo
Richmond’s Kiss The Hippo is a pioneer in the farm to table coffee movement. Not only can guests enjoy premium coffee brewed on site, they can take part in home brewing workshops to make freshly roasted coffee which they can then use at home. It’s also a lovely brunch spot, with dishes like scrambled tofu on sourdough and almond butter toast on offer alongside tasty treats – all made using ethically sourced seasonal ingredients. kissthehippo.com
Coffee roasting company Ozone was founded in New Zealand in 1998 with the aim of connecting coffee lovers to coffee farms. In 2012 the company expanded overseas, launching a site in London’s Shoreditch, followed by a second branch in Bethnal Green. Here beans are roasted in-house, and food menus are created using local produce. Honeycomb, for instance, comes from just six miles away in Crouch End, while quality cured meats are bought from Cobble Lane Cured in Islington just down the road. The restaurant has also been designed with the planet in mind, with chairs made from recycled plastic sourced from the fish farming industry in the north of Norway. ozonecoffee.co.uk
Caravan is a market leader in sustainability. Not only are its coffee cups 100 per cent compostable, customers with a reusable cup get a 50p discount. Plastic straws are also banned, and customers are only given a biodegradable alternative when requested. They’ve also got a dedicated Green Coffee team, who travel round the world visiting farmers to create long-term sustainable and personal relationships. Produce is sourced sustainably, and in-house where possible – they make their own charcuterie, Kombucha, shrubs and soda. caravancoffeeroasters.co.uk
Eco-friendly coffee roaster Origin Coffee has a sustainability officer, responsible for ensuring all environmental policies are implemented. They recently switched to a natural carbonated water decaf process, which involves submerging the coffee in pressurised water and adding CO2 to draw the caffeine from the bean. The caffeine is then treated as a waste product, and resold for commercial use, which is much better for the environment than the alternative: a roasting process handled in Canada. Origin has cafes across London in Shoreditch, Hammersmith, Southwark and The British Library, so look out for one while you’re out and about in the city. origincoffee.co.uk
With branches in Covent Garden and Canary Wharf, Farmstand’s sustainable cafés cook up a healthy, seasonal menu using local produce from UK-based suppliers. Though the menu is 80 per cent plant based, Farmstand serves a small amount of sustainable fish and ethical meat dishes too. It also uses only compostable packaging, avoids selling single-use plastic water bottles, and is committed to equal pay – all staff are owners of the business, and the highest paid person is only paid 2.5 times the lowest paid person. ‘You can’t offer healthy sustainable food if your founder or your senior team are being paid substantially more than others,’ says founder Steven Novick. farmstand.co.uk
Rail House Café
Rail House café founder Adam White is in the process of finding a sustainable charity partner for the group – but in the mean time, the company is taking a number of steps in the right direction. At Victoria’s Rail House Café, takeaway cups and lids are 100 per cent compostable, no plastic straws are used, and any excess produce goes into preparing staff meals to minimise wastage. railhouse.cafe
Daylesford Brompton Cross
A leader in the eco-friendly food movement, Daylesford Brompton Cross celebrates a zero-waste policy, ensuring packaging is recyclable, reusable or compostable, and no food is thrown away. Any extra food is sent to The Felix Project, who go on to redistribute it to those in need around London, while straws are made from wheat stalks and customers are encouraged to bring their own reusable cups. Fitting, then, that the three-storey space is designed around a huge oak tree, which was saved by the Bamford family and transformed into a piece of natural art. daylesford.com
Plant-based Notting Hill eatery Farmacy uses recyclable or compostable packaging, adopts a ‘root to fruit’ philosophy, and ensures food waste is kept to an absolute minimum. All ingredients used are either grown on the farm or sourced from local suppliers, and the restaurant champions biodynamic sustainability, with a fully organic and biodynamic wine offering. farmacylondon.com
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