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Old Spike Roastery: Coffee for good cause

An admirable social enterprise that works to train the city’s homeless as top-notch baristas

As the sun rises, many Londoners flock to their nearest coffee shop to get their first caffeine fix of the day. While some won’t really consider the finer nuances that go into creating the perfectly balanced flat white, others will. Old Spike Roastery in Peckham Rye is doing just that each day, and more. Sitting down with co-founder Cemal Ezel, we find out not only what goes into making a great cup of coffee, but how they are running an admirable social enterprise that works to train some of the city’s homeless as top-notch baristas.

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‘We look at the social impact of where the coffee comes from,’ explains Cemal. ‘We may source from Rwanda, Colombia, perhaps Tanzania… One of the coffees we purchase is farmed by landmine victims.’ Old Spike’s selection is not just for ethical reasons, however. The coffee has to be of an extremely high standard, and the beans are roasted on site – nearly 600kg a week, which supply a range of London businesses. The roasting technique was developed under the watchful of eye of Rob Dunne, a local barista and coffee consultant.

‘To assure a high quality, we sample every coffee to see how it will taste as a filtered cup or espresso,’ says Cemal. ‘Coffee-tasting is becoming more and more popular,’ he adds.

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Old Spike Roastery, 54 Peckham Rye, London, SE15 4JR
Photos by Michael Drummond