London has gone through a bit of a coffee revolution over the last few years. A nation formerly very committed to their tea, something that to this day I have yet to understand in my Germaness, London is now flooded with coffee shops. The problem of course is that not everyone operating these cafes really knows that much about the coffee culture bandwagon they have jumped on and particularly in London it’s become near impossible to find a street without at least one Costa/Starbucks/Café Nero or all three on it. I am not going to claim to be on a moral high ground when it comes to these chains, they have a market and when you fancy a sweet and, in the widest possible sense, coffee related concoction in the shape of a Frappuccino or a Gingerbread Latte, they are the place to go to and not feel ashamed about doing so once in a while. However in my eyes they don’t serve proper ”coffee”. As a result of this and of being a History student with an aversion to libraries I have tried countless independent coffee shops to find that elusive perfect one with a good concept, good coffee and most importantly friendly staff that make you want to establish it as your little coffee secret.
Protein by DunneFrankowksi had been on my to try list for a while and once I walked into this coffee shop in a joint space with a gallery and creative agency in Shoreditch, the interior immediately struck me as one of the best I have seen. Stripped back to basics, white floors and white walls, simple furniture and exposed electronics. Protein displays understated modern design done to its best without becoming too clinical, something that I haven’t seen done quite as well in any other coffee shop in London. What is different too about Protein is that it isn’t a coffee shop per se. The two guys behind it, Rob Dunne and Victor Frankowski, are in fact coffee consultants and with that real expert on the field of how to present, make and market coffee. Protein is in a way their business card, showing the world their interpretation of coffee and has seen work with an array of clients in all things food and drink related. It means that Protein is not only about ordering, a by the excellent, cup of coffee, the space invites you to talk to the guys and really learn about coffee, a personalized coffee shop that is not about the number of flat whites sold or how quickly they can get you out of the place. Thus Protein doesn’t just offer great coffee and interiors but highlights their commitment to excellency, a tiny space that offers a real coffee experience rather than somewhere to go for the free Wi-Fi (and yes we all know that’s what we do at Starbucks).