COFFEE AND VEGAN CAKE
Walking in from the rush hour chaos at Central Station, the tranquillity of Gordon St Coffee is a welcome relief. The café strikes you as a rather unique setting to eat cake and drink coffee. The mezzanine adds a cosiness upstairs, with the coffee roaster taking centre stage. It’s a versatile space hosting open mic events and coffee roasting nights. The first café in Glasgow to roast their own coffee, they’re certainly making a name for themselves amongst Glasgow’s discerning coffee connoisseurs. I’m here to meet the manager Christopher Kane, who runs this innovative and experimental venture. We take a seat by the bar and first ask when did it all begin?
“We’ve been open for just over two years now, we opened about May 2014”
Setting up and getting the ball rolling was a struggle although Christopher says that things have greatly improved since then.
“The day we made over a thousand pounds was an amazing day, now looking back at that it’s very different”
So what was the key to the success? A huge part has been that they’re the only coffee shop in Glasgow to roast their own coffee.
“We roast pretty much every day now, when we opened we roasted maybe once or twice a week, but it has to be every day.”
Their resident coffee roaster, John has become part of the furniture, with customers picking his brain on all things coffee.
“John’s in for usually about four hours every day” “The fact John does it right in front of everyone, he gets loads of questions while he’s doing it”
Over the two years since opening, there have been some noticeable changes, Christopher started as a barista but has been managing the shop for over six months now. He speaks of the changes he’s implemented since becoming manager.
“I introduced almond milk and we got the vegan cakes in and then started getting the vegan chocolate bars in”. “For lunchtime food we’re trying to push the chefs’ to do a vegan roll hopefully, we have the vegan sausage in the morning and hopefully we’re going to be doing a vegan chilli for lunch in the winter”
Christopher Kane, Manager of Gordon St Coffee.
As well as these vegan options, Gordon St as I’m sure many Glaswegian vegans will know stock the ever growing Vegan Burd range. Christopher says, “The vegan burd stuff alone has flown out every time”
It’s evident to see that these changes have been made due to the greater awareness of veganism in the city. With Glasgow’s growing vegan “scene”, it’s becoming apparent to all sorts of businesses that veganism is a viable market. Gordon St have certainly been quick in recognising this and have seen an impact since introducing more vegan products. Christopher says, “We are getting a lot of new customers through the door” “We want to cater to everyone, it’s supposed to be accessible to everyone”
Although not vegan, Christopher is aware of Glasgow’s culture of veganism and he admits he’s had some help from his colleagues.
“A lot of our staff are vegan so that really helps so we ask they guys what do they like”
An argument popular in the vegan community is that with every purchase we make, we are essentially voting with our money and can create a market that encourages more producers and businesses to choose compassionate or non-animal farming. With companies such as Gordon St who have pro-actively introduced vegan options, there are signs of hope that veganism is being taken seriously by those out with the community here in Glasgow. This has to be seen as a positive. Yes, it may be a small step but with each step there grows a greater understanding and appreciation of veganism and the ideologies behind it.
Here’s to Gordon St for introducing more vegan options, let’s hope it continues.