I must confess that “The Dry Goods Store” does not immediately strike me as the obvious name for a coffee shop. However, on further reflection, what are coffee beans other than dry goods? It’s only the finished product that is wet… And, in fairness, Dry Goods is far more than just a coffee shop. It combines the twin passions of its owner, Yasmeen: excellent coffee and cutting down on food/packaging waste.
Tucked away on a parade of shops, restaurants and delicatessens (I can recommend La Piccola Dely) in the leafy northwest London streets of Maida Vale, Dry Goods is a delightful place. It’s on Lauderdale Road, near its confluence with Elgin Avenue, Castellain Road and Morshead Road. It might only be a kilometre from the hustle and bustle of Paddington and its surroundings, but it’s a very different, and much more peaceful world.
Dry Goods is a throw-back to shops of a generation or two ago. It sells a range of, well, dry (food) goods including some excellent coffee beans from London roasters Volcano. However, it’s not just a bean retailer, since, perched on the end of the counter is a single-group espresso machine dispensing some lovely coffee.
January 2017: Sadly, Dry Goods has closed, with Yasmeen moving on to other things, but still within the sustainability movement. I wish her every success in her new endeavours.
Dry Goods is another twitter find, although it’s fair to say that Dry Goods found me, since the owner, Yasmeen, kept commenting on and retweeting my tweets. So, intrigued, I looked it up and was fascinated to discover that it’s 15 minutes’ walk north of where I work near Paddington. So, one lunchtime, I crossed Regents’ Canal and ventured out into the unexplored lands between Warwick Park and Maida Vale on the Bakerloo Line. Well, unexplored for me…
Dry Goods’ founding philosophy is waste reduction. Fed up with the throw-away culture and excess packaging of today’s supermarkets which promote over-purchasing, leading, ultimately, to much of our food being thrown away, owner Yasmeen decided to do something about it. Turning her back on a career in accounting, she followed a personal journey that led to opening Dry Goods in July this year, coincidentally roughly when I started at Paddington.
Dry Goods is coffee/food shop, although it gives little of its credentials as a coffee shop away from the street, with the exception of a row of four chairs outside the large front window. Stepping inside, all that changes. Down the right-hand side and in a row down the centre it’s all food, but on the left there’s a fine-looking table set back from the window. Beyond that, at the back of the store, is the counter, complete with grinder and espresso machine.
Dry Goods’ philosophy is simple: you buy only the quantity you want, be that nuts, beans, pasta, spices, rice, sugar, oats, etc. You’re also encouraged to re-use/bring your own packaging. It’s a philosophy that’s very close to my heart, as any stall-holder on Guildford’s North Street Market will attest to as I extract a tatty paper bag from my rucksack whilst doing my weekly vegetable shop…
So, I was pre-disposed to like Dry Goods even without the coffee, which, in bean form, naturally sits within this philosophy. The coffee is from Volcano, because, as Yasmeen explained, she was blown away by the quality of its decaf beans. Anyone, she reasoned, taking that much care over its decaffeinated coffee must be pretty good.
There are six coffees for sale (two single-origins, four blends, one of which is, naturally, decaf). These are available either as whole beans or ground (for espresso). Two of these are also available to drink there and then through the espresso machine. This choice of beans regularly change, as do those on sale. Yasmeen, a self-confessed experimenter, picks whatever beans Volcano has on offer that “look exciting”. Based on what I’ve tried so far, she has a good eye!
This means that you’re unlikely to get the same drink twice, unless you’re a daily visitor. Even then, Yasmin is often experimenting with grind and extraction times. Both times I visited, I ended up standing at the counter (which is how espresso should be drunk) nattering away over the finer points of coffee-making. If you want to come somewhere where each cup of coffee tastes exactly the same as it did the time before, Dry Goods is definitely not for you!
Dry Goods is still getting established, but Yasmeen is steadily building up her regulars. She reckons she sells more espressos than beans, but she notes that once they have bought some beans they always come back!
|10 LAUDERDALE PARADE • MAIDA VALE • LONDON • W9 1LU|
|www.facebook.com/TheDryGoodsStore||+44 (0) 7850 189871|
|Monday||CLOSED||Roaster||Volcano (espresso only)|
|Tuesday||10:00 – 18:00||Seating||Table with Benches, Chairs outside|
|Wednesday||10:00 – 18:00||Food||Cake, Occasional Lunches|
|Thursday||10:00 – 18:00||Service||Order at Counter|
|Friday||10:00 – 18:00||Payment||Cards + Cash|
|Saturday||10:00 – 15:00||Wifi||No|
|Sunday||10:00 – 15:00||Power||Limited|
|Chain||No||Visits||27th November, 4th December 2013|
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