It was a warm sunny day in London and after a terrific morning at the HRC event over at the ExCeL London there was just enough time left in the day to visit some of the hospitality spaces that are on our ‘wish-list’ of places to visit.
We first came across Rosslyn on Instagram (@rosslyncoffee) with their unique pink pantones, a clean wordmark, minimalistic packaging design and nice interior detailing.
As you learn more about Rosslyn and delve deeper into the business you really find a brand that goes way beyond just selling coffee, and in this post we are going to explore more about the brand, the interior space and the overall customer experience.
Where it all began
The brand was started by co-founders James Hennebry and Mat Russell. Two hospitality professionals originally from opposite ends of the globe. James from Kilkenny Ireland and Mat from Melbourne Australia. With the pair of them working extensively across hospitality it is hardly surprising that much of their expertise was actually supporting businesses to establish and successfully implement their own coffee programme.
The duo first came together when they were both working for Caravan. Throughout this period they were integral in developing one of Europe’s leading roasteries. The journey was clearly going well for these guys and after spending a number of years consulting renowned operators within the hospitality sector it was time for something new.
Rosslyn: “It’s just good coffee served by nice people”
Introducing the brand
Rosslyn launched in 2018 and after doing some research it is really clear that Rosslyn is all about contributing to the City of London.
James and Mat clearly have a passion for coffee with a deep and rich understanding of the coffee culture that is woven through the fabric of London. Their first site is located just around the corner from one of London’s very first coffee houses that actually dates back to the 1600’s.
The attention to detail with the brand is meticulous. They have carefully crafted a brand that has considered everything, and when we say everything we really mean everything.
From carefully sourced coffee beans that are suitable for the type of drink you are ordering, to speciality roasters who are responsible for roasting all their coffee.
There are guest coffee’s each month from all over the world and the list goes on. They have a specially curated selection of ‘off-menu’ frozen coffee. This is essentially a library of some of the best coffee (available to buy) that they have come across over the years.
The brand inspires collaboration with other local businesses working with Bread Bread Bakery in Brixton and London based Ceramic Artist Melisa Dora.
There are a number of characteristics that really stand out with the Rosslyn brand and they are as follows:
- Attention to detail
- Quality of Taste & Service
- Be Nice!
The brand encompasses all that and more, it is very clear that both James and Mat have been extremely considered in their approach. Above all, something that is admirable is that they’ve really stayed true to their values and what they wanted to create with the Rosslyn brand.
Serving up to 1300 Coffees per day
The brand identity is really clean and modern, very recognisable and the typography has hints and shapes of what can only be described as a gaelic script or character. Probably a little nod back to James’s Irish heritage and roots.
In regards to the actual brand name we found on the website that ‘Rosslyn Street’ in West Melbourne is where James learnt to make his first coffee. In Gaelic terms ‘Ross’ translates to headland and pink which has contributed to the main brand colour pantone. ‘Lyn’ translates to waterfall which again has been communicated effectively on their cups with a considered design. Overall the brand identity, story and strategy are all really connected and cohesive in its approach.
The Interior Space – Rosslyn Coffee Queen Victoria Street
The interior space is representative of the brand as a whole, very considered minimal design with high impact.
The wall finishes are simple with a little bit of exposed brick work but in general they are not overly complicated.
The site has beautiful natural light with full height floor to ceiling windows. The counter is made up of timber and a natural solid surface. It ties in nicely with the other timber detailing that has been used within the space. For example the timber shelving and bar height counter tables.
Other features and details include the clock with the ‘coffee’ clock face, the newspaper rail that hangs excerpts from the Financial Times (which if you didn’t know their new HQ is literally just down the street) and finally the neat little benches that have been designed with a space in mind to place your coffee. There is a common thread here with this brand and that is that they really do not leave any stone unturned.
Finally the space is finished with a little bit of foliage which helps introduce some greenery into the space and shows consideration of biophilic design principles which is ultimately going to impact the well-being of the people that interact with the space.
The exterior of the site follows a similar design theme with a very minimal and clean look and feel. A piano black shop front, large windows and a Rosslyn wordmark positioned at each end of the site. As the footprint of the site is a bit of a wedge shape they’ve positioned the wordmark in optimal positions for people to see it from the pavement or even roadside.
Rosslyn Coffee – Brand Experience
Travelling over from Kings Cross it didn’t take us long to get to Queen Victoria Street. Greeted with a big smile the place instantly felt warm and friendly. This wasn’t a surprise to us as the intended brand experience was to create the warmth of an Irish bar and the attention to detail and culture of an Australian Cafe.
It seems that all customers are asked if they could do with a glass of water, again another nice little detail that really sets them apart from other brands.
The drink offering was really easy to understand, categorised and displayed nicely on the wall just behind the servers.
The music really complimented the vibe and energy of the space. There was a calmness about the staff, conversational in their approach and overall warm, smiley and friendly.
Learning more about Rosslyn you really get a feel for a brand that continues to develop a rich culture and a brand that really does deliver on what it says it’s going to do. They are only one of two speciality coffee brands that are signed up and accredited as a London Living Wage Employer showing first hand that they really do care about their people.
However, it doesn’t stop there!
They believe all businesses have a responsibility to protect the planet we all share and support various green initiatives. Their milk is delivered in reusable buckets saving over 13,000 plastic bottles from landfill each year. Coffee is delivered in tins by their supplier which in turn saves over 7000 coffee bags from landfill. Their cups and lids are made from plants and are fully compostable.
What’s next for Rosslyn?
Rosslyn now has two sites across London with Rosslyn 3.0 opening later in 2022. It’s amazing to see what they have achieved in what is an incredibly short period of time. Given the fact that in the previous two years the brand and business will have been impacted by COVID however we are sure they will continue to go from strength to strength.
To list a few of the accolades already received;
- “One of the best new coffee shops in the world.” Drift Magazine.
- “The not-so-best-kept-secret of the City of London.” The Financial Times.
- “Rosslyn might represent a template for the next phase in the evolution of speciality coffee in London.” Eater.com.
- “Tap into the global craft coffee industry beyond London and explore the talent from the rest of the world.” The Telegraph.
- Best New Café in the World 2018 Finalist Sprudge.com
- Best Independent Coffee Shop in Europe: 2nd place Allegra Events
- Best Coffee Shop in the City of London Conde Nast Traveller
- Listed in the 15 Best Coffee Shops in London by The Telegraph
- Listed as the number one coffee shop in London on Foursquare
We are going to be planning another visit to their second site over the coming weeks and can’t wait to see the launch of Rosslyn 3.0.
Overall we tip our hats to both James and Mat and the whole team at Rosslyn. It’s great to see a brand with such a strong and cohesive brand story and implement it with such style and finesse.
If you enjoyed this post we have a number of other posts on Coffee Shop Interior Design;