Monday, October 14, 2013

London Guide: London Coffee Network

If you live in London (or are visiting and plan on drinking a lot of coffee), you need to know about this app.

The London Coffee Network app (for iPhone and Android) lets you track down cafes selling real coffee around London, with an easy map view, and then collect points for every £1 that you spend on a digital loyalty card. 

You won't find Starbucks, Cafe Nero, Costa or any other corporate coffee chains on this app - supporting the "Real Coffee Movement," you'll be rewarded for drinking at independent, local cafes, brewing quality beans with a personal touch and will ultimately be supporting the diversity of the high street.  You're rewarded for how much money you spend in-store, instead of how many coffees you purchase, and there are increased levels of membership, which appear to reward you at a faster rate.

The app is really easy to use.  While it hasn't quite gained momentum (a lot of the cafes listed have no reviews and people have yet to collect points there), once it does, it will be easy to find quality coffee by browsing user reviews.  The screen shots below are pretty self-explanatory:

You can even see when a cafe's opening hours are and invite friends to a meet-up.

A regular breakfast/lunch/coffee stop of mine, Fleet River Bakery, is a participant, requiring 25 points for a free coffee (so I'll be racking those up).  However, I am mostly looking forward to using the app to find new cafes in London serving quality coffee and food.  Other popular cafes participating included on the map to help you find real coffee are:

And many, many others that I can't wait to try.

After trying out the app at a new cafe, I was disappointed to discover that only the cafes that show up in pink on the map are participating in the loyalty points part of the app.  The others have only been included to assist in your quest for real coffee.  While I do still appreciate the ability to find real coffee, there are at present only around 16 participating cafes, which are spread across Greater London.  None of the cafes listed above, with the exception of Fleet River Bakery and Kipferl, are participating. Hopefully, this will improve.

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