Alchemy Coffee will open a second London coffee shop on Scrutton Street in Shoreditch. The roastery, whose flagship speciality cafe is on Ludgate Broadway in the City, has taken a unit at Victorian warehouse conversion Zetland House, and will open in November.
Alchemy, co-founded by Joe and Anne O’Hara and based in Merton, south west London, is often overlooked or forgotten in London’s roasting pantheon, with Square Mile, Workshop, Assembly, Cornish imports Origin, Dark Arts, Allpress, and Climpson and Sons thought of as the bigger players. In terms of scale, this might be accurate, but the quality of Alchemy’s coffees, particularly its flagship “Elixir” espresso — which showcases the fruits, florals, and high sweetness of coffee’s flavour palette — often outdoes its competitors from a comparatively smaller footprint of cafes and wholesale accounts.
Its direct trade model — a highly corruptible speciality coffee buzzword used and abused across the industry — is another credit. Under the traditional brokering model for purchasing green, unroasted coffee, roasters can reject a coffee based on a pre-shipment sample of the final product; the financial responsibility and risk lies with the broker. With direct trade, the risk is with the roaster and producer: the former will often commit to buying a whole container of coffee, to be paid for in full pre-arrival, based on a small sample. Representative, transparent, truthful samples must be provided. A good number of quality London roasteries use this model, coffees labelled “direct trade” to bend the term in service of the cachet it has been loaded with are also disappointingly common.
More soon on Alchemy’s second London cafe.