As we roll into London Coffee Week who better than to be this week’s LDNER other than the co-founder behind the cool Grind & Co group, they do know their coffee. Find out how it all started and what is next. Plus grab yourself one of 600 FREE coffees throughout London Coffee Week right here. Now, meet David Abrahamovitch…
Tell us where you live in London and what you love about that area?
I live right in the centre of Shoreditch, and have been in living there for about 6 years now. I absolutely love being in the middle of all my favourite places, and I love how Shoreditch is like a village during the week and at the weekends, apart from on Friday and Saturday nights where it goes a bit crazy! It’s really changed a lot since I’ve been there, and theres constantly new stuff opening. There’s no where in the world I’d rather live at the moment!
How was Grind born and what’s the story behind it?
We opened our first location, Shoreditch Grind back in 2011. I took on my father’s retail mobile phone business – housed in a stand-alone, circular building perched on the edge of Old St. roundabout – and decided to turn it into an espresso bar, and enlisted my friend (and co-founder) Kaz to help. Kaz is a musician and a DJ (and was one half of the Bodyrockers) and badly missed the coffee from his hometown in Melbourne, and knowing that he loved coffee and design, I knew he’d be a great person to set it up with.
Let’s talk coffee, what’s the secret behind the perfect blend?
When we were first starting out, we tried all the coffee from all the big name roasters, but we couldn’t find anything we really loved, so we decided to develop our own blend with a roasting partner. Though the blend changes seasonally, the flavour profile hasn’t really changed in the last 5 years. We designed it to be a really punchy blend that works well with milk – lots of the coffee we taste is amazing as a black drink, but doesn’t work so well when you add milk – as the vast majority of our customers do. We love our house blend, and it’s 95% of what we sell, but we also have a rotating Single Origin for our black drinks, and our new ‘other blend’ which is a little more mellow – as our house blend is pretty strong!
More than just a coffee shop, Grind has has a recording studios and is now a popular cocktail spot, what was the inspiration behind this and what have you got planned next?
We originally set up a recording studio upstairs as a base for Kaz’s music, and now its home to recording artists – FKA Twings and Hurts amongst further up and coming talent. Music is a really important part of the brand, our playlists are well loved and the tunes are always cranked up in the sites. We’re also partners alongside Bestival in Soho Radio, an online radio station that broadcasts live from the heart of Soho, and we have a tiny coffee shop in the front. We’re much more than just coffee now, all the sites are also Cocktail Bars and brunch spots, and London Grind is a full restaurant. There’s been no master plan, we’ve just taken things one step at at time. When we realised how amazing our coffee tasted in an Espresso Martini, we decided to start serving those in the evening at Shoreditch Grind instead of kicking everyone out at 7pm, and the cocktail side of the business grew organically from there. We found a site in Soho that we loved, so we took it, and when the Hoxton Hotel asked us to take part of their second hotel in Holborn, there was no way we were going to say no! When we were offered the space that is now London Grind, we said yes instantly – the building is just amazing – and then we realised that with that much space we really ought to become a restaurant in the evenings, so we did! It’s all been very organic. We just opened in Covent Garden in a beautiful space in Maiden Lane, and next month we’re opening at Royal Exchange – in the city for the first time and as part of an incredible, Grade 1 listed building. Later this year we’re also going to open a roastery where we can finally bring the roasting of our beans in house. We’re really taking it one step at a time but it’s really exciting and 2016 is shaping up to be our best year yet!
And finally, what would your perfect day in London be?
My perfect day in London would be a sunny Saturday that would start with a wander around Borough Market, before a nice bit of brunch at London Grind (of course!) which is just next door. Then I’d probably head into Soho before late lunch at Barrafina if the queue wasn’t too bad, before rounding-off the day back east to catch a few hours of sun and some cocktails by the pool at Shoreditch House whilst the sun goes down!