Your 2020 hit list of must-visits where mean brews and delicious fodder are crafted with a focus on sustainability and a healthy dose of planet-pleasing practices
Boston Tea Party (pictured above)
across the South West
The West Country mini-chain has become a change-maker in the battle against waste since it announced a blanket ban on single-use cups across its 22 branches in May 2018. Saving over 250,000 cups (and counting) from going to landfill, the team have now turned to tackling plastic and swapped milk bottles for 13-litre reusable milk containers.
This Must Be The Place
Ask the crew at this Westport cafe who roasted the beans in your flat white, who picked the leaves garnishing your sweet-potato cakes or who kneaded the sourdough with which you mopped up every last drop of curry mayo and, nine times out of ten, they’ll have a name for you. Championing local producers is at the heart of Susan Timothy and Andrew McGinley’s teeny coffee shop, their passion for provenance singing from the inventive, organic and mostly vegetarian menu.
Foodstory Zero takes the eco-conscious ethos of its city centre sister, Foodstory, one step further. With a zero waste and packaging concept, the cafe delivers where others make vague promises: Obadiah delivers the house beans in vacuum-sealed containers, while a reusable cup is a must if you want your brew togo (though you can make use of donated vessels). There’s even a Belfast sink available so you can give your KeepCup a quick swill before you order.
Melissa Boothman was ahead of the curve when she opened her popular Penylan delicatessen and cafe in 2013. Launching as an environmentally conscious concept which offered a wide range of milk alternatives at no extra cost and championing hyperlocal producers from day one, the Pantry was doing the eco thing before green became the new black.
Fort William, Scotland
Forget biodegradable cups as, at The Wildcat, take-out drinks are a strictly reusable set-up (with porcelain mugs if you’re caught KeepCup short) while coffee is served exclusively with plant-based milk. It’s not just caffeine kicks that are easy on the conscience either: the colourful lunch plates are made in-house from raw (mainly organic) vegan ingredients and there’s also a zero-waste wholefood retail section.
Steep & Filter
Skipton, North Yorkshire
If you want to do your bit to save the planet, make use of all those empty jars at the back of your cupboard and get a stonking coffee while you’re at it, schedule a visit to Steep & Filter. After taking advantage of the cafe’s fantastic refill station (take along your empty containers and get your household shop done without leaving a mountain of rubbish in your wake), settle in for an espresso courtesy of North Star.
Tincan Coffee Co.
The Tincan tribe are always on the lookout for ethically produced ingredients, sourcing from its neighbours including buying free-range bacon and sausages from the butcher next door to its Gloucester Road outpost. Owners Adam White and Jessie Nicholson also recently announced they were ditching the use of avocados on the menu due to the negative impact the farming of the fruit is having on the environment.
Want to discover more game-changing eco-friendly venues? Discover the UK and Ireland’s best indie coffee shops in the Independent Coffee Guides.