Being a city full of caffeine addicts, we’re used to coffee shops popping across Manchester. The latest to hit the streets is Department of Coffee and Social Affairs , opening on New York Street. Starting life in London in 2010, this independent business has grown from strength to strength. Making sure they spend time and effort perfecting their craft and searching for perfect spaces to share their talents, has allowed them to expand into a well-known brand within the coffee world.
While quality coffee (and a good shop) is crucial, they know that a key ingredient to success was their people. “The enthusiasm, knowledge and professionalism each member of our staff brings, help to define and differentiate us in a quickly growing market, as more people understand the pleasure derived from a ‘proper’ cup of coffee, rather than, well, that other stuff,” explains CEO, Ashley Lopez.
The site on New York Street will be Department of Coffee's first opening in the North. And with each shop having its own personality, this will be no different. “Our philosophy is that no two shops should ever look alike, but we believe that whenever you come to any Department of Coffee you will consistently find our own great coffee and our great people.”
With so many dedicated people working behind the scenes, it’s easy to see how the brand has become so popular. “I think more people are beginning to understand the talent, time, energy and love that goes into producing quality coffee and that’s been our passion from the beginning.”
But why choose Manchester for their first Northern base? “As the UK's third largest city, known for its flourishing music, culture and arts scene, we see it as a perfect fit for Department of Coffee.”
In November 2015, Department of Coffee launched their very own roastery, The Roastery Department, teaming up with Master Roaster Dumo Mathema. They now provide roasted coffee beans to coffee shops and businesses across Europe.
“The Roastery Department sources, profiles and roasts all of Department of Coffee espresso and filter coffees, roasted twice a week and packed the same day, meaning freshly roasted coffee beans are always available.”
No matter which shop you visit, Department of Coffee shops will always have a choice of two single origin espressos and up to four different single origin filter coffees running throughout the day.
According to the team though, good quality coffee doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll like it. “We encourage our customers to try as many coffees as possible to learn which types of flavour they enjoy. You’ll find that there is no such thing as the perfect coffee. There are flavours that suit certain times, moods, foods and occasions.”
Any excuse for more coffee, right?
The Social Affairs
Lesser known about Department of Coffee is what exactly the ‘Social Affairs’ part of the name means; while it refers in part to customers enjoying their coffee drinking experience, but also to the humanitarian work the business carries out.
“As an organisation members of our team are both board members and volunteers for a number of national and international charities.
“These include the award-winning charity Pump Aid which provides safe clean water to over 1.35 million of the poorest people in Sub-Saharan Africa. We provide mentoring and administrational support to The Afri-CAN Charity.
“We also support the London-based charity Team Up, which trains volunteer undergraduate students to tutor disadvantaged children in private lessons, and fund the Central London Rough Sleeper Committee events which are held every two weeks providing hot meals and support to the homeless,” explains Ashley.
The team at Department of Coffee will be looking to develop relationships with charities within Manchester after the launch as they seek initiatives to work with.
The ‘White Space’
Within the new Manchester shop will be Department of Coffee’s first ever ‘White Space’; a separate workspace for daily private members and public events, including hot desks, private booths, a chill-out area and meeting rooms.
“The space and area was ideal for our first White Space. The buzzing city and its passionate people are exactly what drew us the city, so we feel that we could not have trialed this new concept in a better city than Manchester,” says Ashley.
Those paying for a membership to the White Space will also receive a discount on all food and drinks at Department of Coffee, ordering straight from their desk, allowing for uninterrupted work.
Looking forward, the team behind Department of Coffee are hoping to continue expanding in the UK and will be opening their first US shop in September in Chicago, sharing their great coffee with more and more people across the world.
Thinking about popping to Manchester’s first Department of Coffee and Social Affairs soon? Ashley recommends their Batch Brew Filter Coffee, “it is really incredible and something that our team puts a lot of time into perfecting. Our Master Roaster Dumo Mathema roasts specifically for our filter coffee ensuring the coffee drinker gets to experience all the flavours the coffee beans have to offer.”