Gather & Gather opens the first brew bar at a London university

Gather & Gather has brought the craft of specialty coffee to University College London (UCL) in the form of a new Brew Bar – the first at a university in London.

The unique space at UCL’s faculty of the built environment, The Bartlett offers UCL students, employees and visitors a choice of ‘pour over’ brew methods.

It also supports jobs into hospitality for the local community. Camden residents have been recruited into the UCL Brew Bar team and trained by local social enterprise Well Grounded, that provides SCA accredited coffee training programmes, work placements and ongoing support to Londoners facing barriers to employment.

The Brew Bar was officially opened at a special launch event on Thursday 21 October 2021.

Using mainly ‘pour over’ methods, the Brew Bar offers a unique coffee experience. With a longer brew time than extraction on an espresso machine, the flavour notes are more distinctive, allowing the coffee to be enjoyed in almost its purest form. The additional brewing time also gives customers the opportunity to engage with the expert baristas and learn about the coffee they are about to enjoy – from its origin to coffee sensory and specific flavours.

The Brew Bar’s coffee is sourced from UK-based specialty coffee roasters, focusing on London-based roasters, rotating on a monthly basis to keep the offer fresh and exciting and to continue to grow customers’ coffee knowledge and repertoire. The Brew Bar will also stock coffee and equipment for brewing at home.

The opening of the Brew Bar epitomises Gather & Gather’s partnership with Well Grounded. Well Grounded runs a series of specialty coffee training academies for people facing social and economic barriers to employment, linking them to work in an industry looking for talent. Gather & Gather is proud to have supported dozens of Well Grounded trainees into employment, many of whom are still a key part of its family, including its UCL Brew Bar team.

Gather & Gather has also committed that ten pence from every coffee sold will go back to Well Grounded to help fund its training programmes.

Sustainability is high on the agenda at the Brew Bar, including initiatives to minimise the use of single-use cups, metal reusable coffee filters instead of paper, loose leaf tea instead of enveloped, coffee beans sold for home use by weight via a dispenser system with ‘bring your own’ packaging, coffee grounds used for fuel via Bio Bean and local suppliers providing cakes and oat milk.

Rob Fredrickson, Managing Director, Gather & Gather, said: “The Brew Bar is an incredible space that allows the university community to fully appreciate and enjoy the craft and optimum flavours of specialty coffee. Where else in London can you engage with enthusiastic and knowledgeable baristas over coffee in its geekiest form?

“We’re also delighted to continue our partnership with Well Grounded. This fantastic enterprise has already trained and introduced incredible talent to our teams and it’s great that we’re able to support entry to employment for the Camden community. At a time when hospitality has a recruitment crisis, this forward-thinking enterprise provides a tangible solution and together we will create opportunities for the next generation of baristas.”

Mike Rogers, Interim CEO, Well Grounded, said: “As Well Grounded celebrates five years of social impact in London’s specialty coffee industry, the time and trusted partnership with Gather & Gather to launch Brew Bar feel absolutely right.

“Working together we can empower the next generation of baristas into sustainable careers in an industry for which they display a real passion and commitment. Brew Bar represents a levelling up of how we provide support and services to transform lives through coffee in the capital – especially in our new home the Borough of Camden.”

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