Get To Know Nagare Coffee
Located in an old building opposite Spitalfields market in East London, Nagare offers a spot of solace amongst the hustle. Co-owner Dora knows a thing or two about design, being the calligrapher behind the Nagare cup and merch. We sat down with her to learn more about their beautiful space and how to maintain a loyal customer base.
Can you please tell us a bit about yourself and how you got into the hospitality industry?
My background is in calligraphy, this is my first experience in hospitality and my first coffee shop. I moved to London, and my partner Adam and I decided we wanted to set one up! We wanted something that was not your typical London coffee shop all sleek and minimal, but rather more rustic and vintage and Asian-inspired. I’m originally from Hong Kong but love Japanese culture and this has heavily influenced the design/interior of this space. We have Japanese ceramics and coffee beans for sale too.
Where does the name Nagare come from and what inspired you to start?
Nagare is a Japanese word that means ‘flow’ - the motion of flowing like water. Bruce Lee famously said “be water my friend” - which is all about going with the flow and letting things happen as they should. This is the essence of our coffee shop and we even have this quote printed on our coffee cups.
What makes Nagare different?
Our filter coffee range is a big focus for us - we have a lot of pour-over coffee options. We found in London there weren’t many options for good filter coffee, but people want it! We’re always rotating what filter coffee we have on the menu - finding new and unique roasters to bring something different to London.
What’s your favourite thing about working with decent packaging?
Sustainability, quality and most of all, the people and customer service. So friendly! One day we realised we weren’t going to have enough cups for the next day so I rang Nick (our decent account manager) in a panic. That same afternoon he walked down the street with a big box of Hot Cups to get us through. That’s great customer service…
What do you think makes a great cafe, and how do you retain a loyal customer base?
About 60% of our customers are regulars which we love! The little things are very important, like remembering people’s names, having a familiar face working front-of-house and making it an inviting and cosy place to be.
But more than anything, the quality of coffee has to always be good. This will be the downfall of any cafe and it’s something we always focus on getting right.
Do you have anything in the pipeline for Nagare?
We would love to eventually make it into more than just a coffee shop - perhaps host artists, book openings, that sort of thing. But at the moment we are focusing on being more creative and seeing what we can do differently, such as new types of filter coffee and new products we can offer.
Check out Nagare on Instagram here.