As coffee shops go, Black Sheep really stands out from the crowd.
Black Sheep launched five years ago, after two blokes decided they were totally over their desk jobs and got into coffee instead. Very early on, they knew they had to be different — hence the name, and the tag line “leave the herd behind.” (Feature image: @philipwatts_design)
Sure, they could focus on making better coffee than anyone else, but they were already fairly confident about that part. No, these guys are different because they truly make a difference.
🙅🏻 A big NO to single-use plastics
Black Sheep have never, in the history of the company, used single-use plastics. This has been a core focus from the very beginning, even before the conversation about sustainability became so loud. All of their coffee cups and takeaway packaging comes from Vegware and is 100% compostable.
You can watch all the David Attenborough documentaries in the world and buy yourself a KeepCup but, sadly, a huge amount of waste still ends up in landfill and our oceans — and the coffee industry contributes to a lot of that waste. Although many coffee cups are recyclable, not enough of them are making it to the correct facilities. Black Sheep’s compostable cups mean the responsibility is out of the customer’s hands.
(See also: the best coffee shops in east London.)
☕️ Coffee for the homeless
Running for four years now, Black Sheep’s ‘coffee board’ initiative has been a brilliant way to break down barriers and fight social exclusion. The idea came about after a homeless man used to pop into their first ever shop in Fitzrovia, just for a chat. Staff began offering him free drinks during his visits, and this became a regular thing. After forming this relationship, Black Sheep wanted to help more and more people in his position, and decided to get their customers involved.
Now every single one of their stores across London, Manchester and even Manila has a ‘coffee board’ where customers can write a positive message, or pin a free coffee card for someone less fortunate to redeem. Homelessness usually equates to loneliness and isolation, but Black Sheep’s shops are open to all, and everyone should feel welcomed. So, not only can the homeless come in for a free coffee, but their friendly baristas will always be up for a chat — something that may have an even bigger impact than the drink itself.
(See also: the best coffee shops in Covent Garden.)
So pop in for a seriously good coffee, and buy a second one (at a discounted price) for someone less fortunate. Homelessness is a huge issue in this city — larger than many people care to acknowledge — and although a coffee is only a small gesture, it could be enough to put a smile on someone’s face.
Not only are Black Sheep extremely good eggs, they also host fantastic monthly masterclasses for coffee n00bs who’d quite like to learn how to be better with beans. Find out more and book here.
Also published on Medium.