4 mins read

Over a Brew with… Nagare Coffee

There’s a new coffee shop in town, and what a lovely little spot this is. This week we had a great chat with Dora of Nagare. Located in the bustling heart of Spitalfields, Nagare offers a temple of relaxation and zen.

Nagare means flowing like a river in Japanese, and after speaking to Dora you understand how this sentiment can parallel that of her personality and business mentality. ‘To strive for excellence, yet to keep our mind open to new tastes, forms, and ideas.’ ✨

????Ground Floor, 40 Brushfield St, London E1 6AG

How long has Nagare been going for? 

It’s been slightly over the month, I think our grand opening was on the 21st January.  I designed the place myself and the name is actually Japanese- the whole team loves Japanese culture so we wanted to do the theme around that. This is more of a calm / cosy cafe with an asian vibe. 

Coming from a design background, I focus on the colour combinations and that side of thing. When people come here we want them to find a kind of serenity. That being said, aesthetic is one thing, but the coffee is something we really want to focus on as well. We want to provide really good coffee for the customers in the area. 

We also really wanted to put a focus on hospitality and how the customer feels when they come into shop. We found that sometimes in the coffee industry, there can be a distance between barista and the customer. The whole thing here is like a package, we want you to feel welcomed whilst also being able to get a great cup of coffee. 

What were you doing before you started this businesses? 

I’ve been working in the design industry, but the team have a really strong coffee background. Some of our baristas have been working in the coffee industry for over 10 years. I did actually study here in London a while go, but I only just came back around 2 years ago. I have my own small design business at home and that’s why I wanted to combine design and coffee.


How do you find juggling two businesses? 

I actually like to go with the flow most of the time, that’s what nagare means! I bring the same attitude to this businesses. For example none of the furniture for the shop is bought new, it’s 2nd hand pieces that I’ve found randomly that I thought would look great. It doesn’t have to be commercialist, it’s sometimes good to just go with the flow. 

How was the opening day?

It was great, on our opening day we were doing £1 coffee, so it was a great way to meet the community and get to know our new customers. We were basically just inviting friends and anyone who walked past for a £1 coffee.

One thing we’re really proud about serving is our huge range of filter coffee, we have a lot of options and we really want customers to try different coffee to what they normally would do. 

What was the process of opening the shop and was there a lot of planning around it? 

Well this is something that’s interesting, a lot of the time we are still going with the flow, and finding the location was actually something quite random. The idea was to find a spot in central London, we were looking at various places like Covent Garden. We came to this area and were contacting various different agents for different properties. We were then told about the current shop, it used to be an old chocolate shop in fact and we loved it. 

In the end we decided to go for it! From then on, everything we did was taken step by step, nothing fully planned. When we needed to choose a coffee machine, we chose a coffee machine. When we needed to find a colour scheme, we chose the colour scheme. Both of us owners have some experience within the coffee industry, so we kind of knew what to expect. It’s great having the flexibility of owning your own business, we wouldn’t have been able to make these quick decision if we were to be working in a chain. 

Are you planning to expand the business anytime soon – what are those next steps looking like for you?

It’s quite early to say really, for now there’s no plan for expansion next. We don’t want to lose this closeness between the barista and the customer, especially quality control. Sometimes when you become a chain you do have to sacrifice these things. In the future, it could definitely be a responsibility. We don’t have a long-term plan, but we do have a short-term plan. With London Coffee Festival coming in just a few weeks, we really want to collaborate and test out coffee from more European roasters. 

What are two important aspects to owning your own business? 

I think it’s really important that you have a good team round you, even better a team with different expertise. For example, I haven’t been working in the coffee industry for a that long, but my partner has. Whereas my partner doesn’t know too much about design, but I do. The advantage to this is being able to jam ideas, I think this is so important otherwise it’s quite hard to come up with something new. 

Another important aspect for me that’s important is to be flexible. For example, I was speaking to my partner about having a full in-depth business plan. He said there isn’t always the need to plan so specifically for such a long period of time. Sometimes the scenario can change and being able to adapt to this is so important. 

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