Get To Know The Nook Hampstead
The Nook are a wee independent serving speciality coffee, signature milkshakes, luxury hot chocolates (and a whole lot more), in Hampstead Heath. We caught up with Shalini about the key things to running a successful local and how decent helps!
Tell us, how many years ago did The Nook begin?
We opened the Nook during lockdown, Sept 2020 to be exact. It’s a very small (hence the name!) but perfectly formed space for takeaway coffee, hot chocolates, milkshakes and ice cream.
Fun fact: Our space used to be the ATM of a Barclays Bank!
What inspired you to start The Nook?
Who doesn’t dream of opening up a lovely coffee shop?! We (Michael, Keith, Shal and Zoe) love coffee AND chocolate, so we wanted to bring something special to the local high street in Hampstead Heath and incorporate our love for these drinks. A small spot came up and we snapped up the opportunity to open our doors. We worked really hard on the menu and wanted to make sure we gave as much prominence to our Hot Chocolates, as we did our Coffee. Hampstead Heath is always heaving over summer so we wanted to make sure we also had something delicious for the warmer months – we’re proud of our award-winning ice cream and delicious range of chocolate milkshakes.
How do you support sustainability in your coffee shop?
We serve Origin Coffee which was one of the first roasters to gain B-corp status! Our energy balls are handmade locally by Mrs. Hollingsworth – an independent female business owner who makes small batch and delivers personally each week. Overall, quality and deliciousness is our goal but we always check the sustainability credentials of what we stock.
How have customers responded to your sustainability efforts?
Awareness of single-use plastic and the environmental impact of disposables is very high and our regulars are no different. We’re really proud of the fact our cups are fully compostable and our customers respond well to this too.
Do your customers love your decent custom-branded cups?
Our custom cups are a huge hit with regulars in particular. The branding reflects the interior design of our little shop - because we’re a takeaway and turnaround is fast, we want customers to be able to take a bit of the Nook experience with them as they enjoy their drink. We’re biased but we think it’s a very instagrammable cup (hey, we think so too!).
What’s your favourite thing about decent packaging?
Tom (our account manager) is our favourite thing about decent! Always so responsive, helpful and friendly. We also love the simple ordering website, storage facilities and next day delivery (…but not as much as Tom).
What’s the most important thing to you in running a local cafe?
For us, the two most important things are our team and our customers. We’re so happy to be part of the local Hampstead community who have welcomed us with open arms. As an independent, its hugely important to us that we get to know our customers, their regular order, what they like, etc. We don’t take a single customer for granted because our business depends on it. It’s been an honour getting to know the locals (and of course their doggies whom we welcome with open arms…and free dog treats). Of course, none of that would be possible without a fantastic team and we really love our team. Our ethos is simple - a well looked after team means well looked-after customers.
You’ve got some amazing sounding luxury and signature drinks on your menu - what’s your favourite? Your customers’ favourite?
Hot chocolates are our signature and as popular as our coffees. We offer six different cocoa strengths to suit everyone’s tastes. The most popular is the 34% which is a classic, delicious milk chocolate. We have been blown away by the success of our limited edition flavours when we have them – Baileys, Mint and Orange have been big recent hits.
Sustainability is obviously a big part of your mission and what you do - what do you think the importance of sustainability is in hospitality, and the responsibility that hospitality businesses have?
Given the nature of our business (takeaway only), we often can’t see what our customers do with the cups once they have finished their drink. That’s why it’s so important for us that we do everything we can to make environmentally responsible choices before handing over the drinks.
Check out The Nook Hampstead here.