Visit to a chain coffee shop with a difference: Harris + Hoole at CrouchEnd Broadway

A lot has been heard on Harris+Hoole so time for us to go and see it.

http://harrisandhoole.co.uk/company/our-story

If it is the design style ( exposed brick/ structural steel/ hand drawn sign and graphics/ eclectic mix of furniture/…) that may made people think it is an independent then perhaps people didn’t consider the scale of the shop, the quality and proportional quantity of equipments (invested in some top quality machines) and the number of staff they have.

Costa Coffee had taken on a similar approach to their new coffee shops in a slight more sleek style and even Starbucks has made changes to some of their branches in UK with similar language independent uses: brick wall, hand written signs, less spot lights but tungsten light bulbs, coffee bags, etc.

Espresso based drinks are all single origin at the moment, from Guatamala and roasted by Union Coffee Roaster in London. Clear hand written signs describing what is on offered and simple straight forward explanations on the differences are very helpful. This applies to tea as well.

Flat white was sweet and milk chocolate like with no sign of dark bitter notes, not to mention the velvety milk not too hot nor luke warm.

Espresso has nice apple like acidity and sweetness, roasted nuts, chocolate and a hint of cacao at the end.

Observing how the bar is run by 3
very skilful, friendly and well coordinated baristas ( sequence of work, tidy work stations and nice drinks) H+H at CrouchEnd Broadway definitely beats other chains that we have been to and pretty much up there with the well reputed independent coffee shops. The rest of the staffs seems to really enjoy the work and serve well.

It is no wonder it is packed on the weekend visit, the spacious interior is a magnet to mother with pushchairs, comfortable furnishing and well balance tactile finishes made it a relax atmosphere for meeting up or simply enjoying a cup of coffee.

When a chain has upped the standard, lets hope it will create a more genuine interest for the general public, so that it will trigger their curiosity to explore other independent coffee shops, to taste and experience something more out of their comfort zone, so development of coffee will have bigger support and independent will also gain from it.

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7 thoughts on “Visit to a chain coffee shop with a difference: Harris + Hoole at CrouchEnd Broadway

  1. freshcup says:

    the end of the tunnel is now coming into view – the end is beginning – stop the bus, I want to get off.

  2. Sakhr says:

    Is there an issue with H+H’s ownership? http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-20943739

    • What kind of issue do you mean specifically?
      I guest a lot has been discussed already, particularly in the article you have attached so we focus on what it is about than debating on the business side.

      • Sakhr says:

        Sure, and it’s good to hear someone talking about their coffee, rather than the business. I guess I’m just worried that this Tesco-owned chain dressed up as an indy might hurt genuine independents.

        And also, you talked about the quality barista/staffing, which surprised me (in a good way). I wouldn’t have expected that from a chain. Any idea where they came from? (Are they new/from another chain/worked on local coffee stalls?)

      • That I don’t know. The whole coffee set up, training and monitoring is by Taylor Street baristas crew.

      • Sakhr says:

        Ah, interesting. That’s good news.

      • I guess for most people, chains are places they get to know coffee, sadly. Some starts to work for them because either they do not know good independents or they don’t live near one. Moreover, chains often has job offers whereas independent seldom able to afford to hire as many people as chains.
        If they do provide high quality professional training and on going education on coffee and customer service, it could be a good place to start before heading to independents, which is like many other business.

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