Whether it’s a quick drink on the way to work, a business meeting or a chat with friends, coffee has become central to our daily lives.
The aroma of the coffee shop is an ever present on our high streets and after working in restaurants, bars and cafes, and even as a guitar teacher, 27-year-old Anton Taratine, thinks he has the recipe for success.
He teamed up with actor friend Samuel Reed, to open Stir Coffee, in February, which combines caffeine, craft beer and food.
Based in Brixton, Stir Coffee is all about mixing science and a great atmosphere to make the perfect cup of coffee.
The London coffee scene
There are plenty of big well known coffee shop brands on the high street, boasting top baristas and offering exotic-themed drinks.
But many independents are fighting back based on quality.
Stir Coffee has built up a regular round of customers with most ordering a simple flat white or long black.
Anton says: ‘Sam and I decided to open a coffee shop as we love nothing more than working with coffee and craft beer.
‘Although the London coffee scene has started to kick off in the last couple of years it is still very much in its infancy. We saw a gap in the market and thought we should give it a go.
He isn’t worried about being in competition with big names, adding: ‘I don’t think that there is a competition really. We do something completely different. I don’t think that many of our guests go to the big brands, and vice versa.’
Stir Coffee was the first name that came to the pair’s mind and it has since stuck.
Even their Brixton location was a stroke of luck, Anton explains: ‘We popped in the antique shop that was here before us to look for some pendant lamps and got chatting with the owner.
‘It turned out he was moving to Australia and the space was up for grabs. Despite this being way out of our budget we should not let this space go as it just felt right. And now here we are.’
Anton describes coffee-making as ‘basic chemistry.’
He explains: ‘It is really not as complicated as some baristas make it out to be. Temperature, dose, and extraction time are the three most important factors when it comes down to making an awesome cup of coffee - in my opinion at least - we just try to be consistent to the best of our ability.
‘At the end of the day the overall atmosphere is just as important as the cup of coffee itself, and that is what we work the most on providing.’
Stir Coffee opened at the beginning of February with just Anton and Sam and one staff member, but are already looking to take on more staff to cope with demand.
Anton says: ‘It has been absolutely insane since we opened - and we are currently looking for a strong team. At the moment we only have one full-time employee and have been getting our friends to help out. We are looking to have a team of five.
‘Coffee is an affordable luxury. We have been pretty much full non-stop since we opened our doors.’
They are serving 150 coffees on a slow day and up to 400 on a busy one and are expecting the numbers to grow, although are currently relying on word of mouth.
He said: ‘We have been terrible at social media to be honest, despite understanding how important in can be. That being said, we have always found that word of mouth is a very powerful tool - and it seems that it is working wonders for us.
‘There isn’t enough time in a day to do everything that needs to be done - I am sure that with time we will get into the flow of things though.’
So what does the future hold? Well, along with the speciality beers and food you can already get, Anton is also considering an extra branch and even offering a roastery at the back.
Sounds like he will need a lot of coffee to keep up all the hard work.