Workshop Coffee | Interview James Dickson – Founder

16th July 2014
Workshop Filter Coffee © Leo Bieber Workshop Coffee | Interview James Dickson FounderWorkshop Filter Coffee © Leo Bieber

If you haven’t been to the Workshop Café on Clerkenwell Road yet, this summer is the time to go check it out. The UK’s love for tea is being converted to a nation of coffee drinkers and at the heart of this lies the Workshop Coffee Co. With its ethos for sustainable sourcing of exceptional products and relationship building with the producers, this British company is set to bring to London its rich roasts for the espresso inclined. At the beginning of June, the Clerkenwell Road location launched a new menu to further temp those lucky enough to find their way to the flagship store and Ultra Vie had the opportunity to interview with James Dickson, the founder of Workshop.

2 300x240 Workshop Coffee | Interview James Dickson Founder

Hessian Sacks © Leo Bieber

You left behind a world of property and surveying to start up your own coffee shop, where did the idea for Workshop Coffee Co. come from?

The idea  for Workshop Coffee Co was inspired by the  specialty coffee movement and derived from the vision to create a vertically integrated coffee company, whereby we would source, roast and brew our own coffee. I suppose this is quite different from the decision to start up a simple coffee shop and I believed if we could source, roast and extract our own coffee then it would create a higher quality product as well as redefine and shape the term “coffee shop”. The idea was inextricable with the choice and risk to create a new market and to deliver a new kind of coffee ‘product’…..thankfully….it worked !

3 300x240 Workshop Coffee | Interview James Dickson Founder

Pouring coffee © leo Bieber

Why did you decide to introduce a new food menu at Workshop Café Clerkenwell?

It’s important to change things up, to make it more interesting for your existing customers. The Clerkenwell Cafe is a high volume environment and we just wanted to innovate and expand on the menu without alienating our current customers… I think we’ve done this really well.


Workshop Coffee Co. is prided on fresh and well-procured coffee,  do you feel that the same ethos has translated into your menu?

4 300x240 Workshop Coffee | Interview James Dickson Founder

Workshop Coffee Co. © Leo Bieber

Well what we do on the sourcing side of our green coffee is so incredibly focused in terms of traceability and accessibility – makes it a difficult comparison. With respect to the company commitment of using fresh ingredients and working with great suppliers such as Capreolus Fine Foods and Nathan our butcher then yes, the ethos is similar.

What is your favourite thing on the menu?

Ah- tough one…I’d have to go for the Sheep’s Milk, grilled Sourdough and Pickleback Dressing. This comes from High Weald Dairy in Sussex and it’s light, fresh and very lemony ! I’d recommend it.

Workshop Café
27 Clerkenwell Road
Twitter: @WorkshopCoffee