You may not have heard about DripApp yet, especially if you live outside the capital. I discovered it just three weeks ago when I bumped into their promoters on Byng Place and immediately loved the concept of it. So much so that I got in touch with the Drip team and asked them a few questions about the inspiration behind it. But what is it, I hear you ask?
Drip is an app that allows you to prepay for your hot drinks on your phone and pick them up anywhere and anytime you please. No more counting out your coins and no cash required. All you have to do is show your phone to the barista. However for me, what makes this more than just another convenience app is that it can only be used at specially selected local, independent coffee shops in London. I’m always grabbing a hot drink on go, especially with winter coming, and as some of my favourite stops were already on board, it didn’t take much to convince me.
So, over to the Drip Team to tell us a little more…
What inspired the concept of DripApp?
“The authenticity and charm of independent cafes mixed with today’s technology.”
What is the story behind the making of DripApp?
“We were both coffee lovers and thought that it would be awesome if independent cafes had an app themselves, like big chains do. Independent coffee shops often don’t count with the same resources, so we aim to provide them and make them an equally convenient and available choice. One app to bind them all!”
In a time of contact-less cards, do you think this will become the new way of buying hot drinks?
“Contact-less cards, apple pay and payment apps all make the payment faster and easier. With DripApp we aim to offer more than just a payment method. So yes, it’s a payment method in a way because you don’t need to worried about having change in your pocket, but with DripApp you’re getting a unique way to get discounted prices at a curated selection of cafes. It would become the reference for sure, for people who want to drink good coffee in a good place. So in a way, we like to say that we’re in a coffee revolution… and much more is coming!”
Why do you think it’s important to buy local, independent coffee?
“People don’t go to independents for many reasons, but mostly because going to big chains is unfortunately more convenient; in a way it can reduce the uncertainty. Everyone knows that the quality and the service is better at independents and it’s the same for coffee. But independents are hard to identify, and people tend to be lazy and they’d rather choose the easy way (chains).”
“With DripApp, going for independent coffee becomes as convenient and simple as going to big chains. Besides getting a better coffee in a better atmosphere, there are thousands of reasons to go to independents. For instance, when you go to Starbucks they ask for your name to write it (badly) on your cup. But when you go to your local coffee shop they call you by your name because they know you, and we think that’s a huge difference.”
How did you choose the coffee shops that are involved?
“The main criteria to be member of the DripApp family are: cool place, nice vibe, good coffee! The location can be a coffee shop, a working place, a bakery, a barber shop, a bike shop – the options are endless.”
What Drip says is true; part of the reason it’s easy to go to chain coffee shops is because we always seem to know where the nearest one is. But another great feature of the app is that it uses your current location to show you where the nearest participating coffee shop is to you. I pass three of them on my walk into university everyday so I had already visited a few, but this also meant that I was able to discover other places and find good coffee in areas of London I’m less familiar with. Here are some in Bloomsbury that I know and love, and recommend…
FORK DELI PATISSERIE
This is the kind of place that you could spend hours in – it’s the perfect chill out cafe. Take your laptop with you, making use of the excellent WiFi connection to get some work done, or go with friends and enjoy the variety of comfortable seating. Fork Deli provides a relaxed environment to be in. Oh, and the coffee matches up too because they serve Monmouth Coffee which has not earned its high reputation by coincidence. And the fact that they offer almond milk, as well as the usual alternative choices, makes this a frequent stop for me as I love Almond Cappuccinos! The food is also worth a try here as they serve a range of lunch options such as bagels, frittatas and salads all with different fillings and flavours each day (hence, why there’s no menu on the website). But if it’s something sweet you’re after then, as the name suggests, their cakes and patisseries will make your mouth water just by looking at them. Equally enticing gluten-free options are also available, which is great.
Located in Gordon Square, in amongst the pretty green surroundings, sits Ginger Jules. It’s only a small kiosk providing a few tables and chairs for al fresco consumption should you choose to enjoy your drink whilst admiring the scenery. The coffee is all organic and there’s also a range of teas to choose from, depending on what tickles your fancy. I would also recommend trying the food here because they have a lot of vegan and gluten-free options for sweet treats, such as their vegan banana muffins, as well as salads and sandwiches. I spotted the Deliciously Ella book at the back of the kiosk so I’m guessing she must of provided some of the inspiration! This place could almost be described as a hidden treasure, as I feel it can be easily overlooked when commuters and students rush past. But this makes it all the more special, and a really quaint little stop to show your friends.
LEVER AND BLOOM
I love this one, because essentially it is just a trailer with a coffee shop in the back that at the end of the day gets driven off. The coffee is by no means compromised though and provides the perfect Monday morning pick-me-up that I can take on the go to lectures with me. They have a great range of coffee and teas to choose from too, depending on how you’re feeling (e.g. an Americano on a Monday morning!) and some pastries if you’re feeling peckish. The baristas here are so friendly too, which makes it a really nice place to stop by. There are a few seats near Lever and Bloom should you have time to stop and enjoy your drink, as it’s in a really pretty location on Byng Place next to the church. There’s also a great Farmers’ Market here on Thursdays, which I would also recommend.
When I asked Drip App if they had any favourites amongst their coffee shops, they said it would be like choosing between your children! So I’m sorry for highlighting a few of my favourites here! But, what I wanted to do was give a flavour of the types of amazingly quirky places that are part of the Drip App family. I think choosing independents has so many benefits, all of which have been highlighted by Drip. I really hope that this concept grows to the popularity it deserves and becomes a new approach to finding great coffee!