How many of you are missing a good cup of coffee? Luckily some of our independents here in Leicester are going above and beyond to make sure people don’t miss out.
One of those is Leicester Coffee House in Granby Street. With their in house coffee roasting, homemade cakes and resident dog, Tommo, they’re one of the city’s best loved coffee houses, but now they’ve had to adapt to being a takeaway. Not only a takeaway but they’re also delivering coffee beans to you directly… by bike.
We caught up with them for this week’s BID Spotlight feature to find out more about it.
Leicester Coffee House has adapted its business to cater for customers during the lockdown period, can you tell us a little more about the services you’re now offering?
We have now turned into a takeaway and are able to serve the full range of hot drinks and cake through the windows of our coffee shop. Using our lovely new planters created by Construction students at Keyham Lodge School, a table in the doorway, card payments and digital Loyal Free loyalty stamps through the window, we have been able to create an ‘oasis’ for socially distanced coffee. We still take cash but ask people to provide the correct change where possible.
We decided to open Monday to Friday 9.30-1.30pm as there are still people working in the city centre. We are seeing a lot of the local police force, couriers, key workers, construction workers and the public who are coming in to pick up their beans for home or stopping by as part of their daily exercise. Many have been on bikes so the racks that we have borrowed from the good folks at Ride Leicester have come in very handy. For many living alone, we have been the only chance for a quick friendly chat and have a whole new set of regulars that we hope stay with us after the lockdown is lifted.
We are still roasting lots of our lovely new beans and coffee has been going out in the post every week to new customers nationally and abroad.
How easy is it to achieve that same great coffee shop taste when you’re making coffee at home?
Of course, coffee never tastes quite the same at home, however, you can still get a pretty decent coffee if you get some super fresh beans and a little bit of kit. We use a stove pot at home and enjoy a lovely cuppa through that. We also use an aeropress sometimes and are now experimenting with a V60.
Aaron – our Head of Coffee (and self-confessed coffee geek), says it’s a little bit of trial and error. Have a go at playing around with the quantities of water / coffee and brewing time. We are happy to offer advice and can recommend some kit depending on your budget. We would certainly recommend getting the freshest beans you can and ideally a grinder but if not, we can grind beans for you.
What have you missed most about traditional coffee shop life?
People! We used to have regulars that we would see every day – many have been in touch, or bought beans or sent us photos. We hope that they are all safe and that we are back to normal serving them coffee soon….and it’s a lot colder in here with the doors open!)
How supportive have customers been since you’ve been offering takeaway and delivery services?
They have been amazing. The people of Leicester are so supportive and really want to see small independent businesses survive. They have been down to buy beans, set up regular orders and treated themselves to additional cake!
You do a lot of your deliveries by bike, which is great, what made you decide to do that?
We had started doing some city centre deliveries last year with some of the students from Keyham Lodge School with a view to developing their employability skills. As things got so busy, we found it difficult to move this side of the business forward. At the beginning of lockdown we weren’t sure whether we could continue to send coffee in the post so decided the things we could control were the use of the roaster and our legs! So we bought a load of coffee, pre-loaded our regular order customers just in case and started to promote our cycle delivery service. We love delivering locally by bike as there is very little packaging and zero emissions.
Which is your favourite blend of coffee you sell?
All our coffee is single origin so we don’t sell blends. It also changes due to the seasons and what is on offer from the farms and we only purchase those rated as ‘speciality’ which means it is has a score from the Speciality Coffee Association of 80+.
We absolutely loved the creamy, Rainforest Alliance, organic coffee grown on the highest mountain in Honduras. Our new favourite is an Ethiopian coffee grown at 2040 metres above sea level from smallholder farmer in Western Ethiopia.
How can people order?
We pride ourselves on the personal service and building relationships with our customers. People can order with us directly via email [email protected], phone 07772 258728 or sending us a message on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook. We can provide regular orders or one off purchases for whole bean or ground. Regular whole bean orders can be set up via our website leicestercoffeehouse.co.uk.
Our BID Spotlight features are brought to you in collaboration with BID Leicester.