Second Shot is a coffee shop with a difference, serving excellent coffee while helping the homeless.
I was invited by Second Shot to write a review. All opinions are my own.
I was excited to attend the opening of the new branch of Second Shot in London’s Church Street. This is the second branch of a popular coffee shop with a difference. I met the founder Julius Ibrahim, and his team (Nadine the manager, Chris the chef, Edge who is a trainee, and Julius’ sister Samira) to learn more about what they do.
Second Shot is a friendly café serving excellent coffee and delicious food, by professionally trained staff who have been affected by homelessness.
The idea came to Julius while he was a student at UCL. He had started working with the non-profit organisation, Enactus, which aims to ‘develop socially minded young leaders of the future who can transform communities and society through real life social action and environmentally responsible enterprise‘.
Working as a consultant on various social projects inspired him to leave university and start his own social enterprise project.
Three years ago, Julius founded Second Shot in Bethnal Green, combining his passion for good coffee and food with a drive to help the homeless. With an increase in the number of people sleeping rough on the streets of London, Julius has built a business that works to help them rebuild their lives.
Second Shot trains people who are homeless to become professional baristas. So far, seven people have received training and moved on to secure jobs.
Julius chose Church Street in Westminster as a location for his second coffee shop, as the borough ranks amongst the highest in London for the number of people sleeping rough.
The café uses the Pay it Forward scheme like the caffé sospeso (or pending coffee) where coffee is paid for in advance in an anonymous act of charity. They have devised a method so that customers can pay for extra hot drinks or food, then draw a picture on a large board as a menu of what has been paid for. The board at the Bethnal Green branch is hugely popular with some interesting artwork, and a lovely way to see at a glance what is available.
The pay it forward scheme is also available on the Second Shot website, for food, drinks and hot water bottles in winter, which stay warm for 5-6 hours.
Their other initiatives have also been successful, such as the pay it forward scheme for a cut and shave at the Total Barber Academy, working with schools to put together care parcels, a buy one/take one clothing rail, and accepting donations such as 200 sleeping bags.
The Church Street café is bright and cheerful, with dried flower arrangements on each table (by Lauren in Bethnal Green). A serving counter runs along one side and there is seating along the other with sockets to recharge your device. Downstairs there is a space for training baristas.
Julius has carefully sourced top quality ingredients. Coffee is prepared using a La Marzocco machine, the Rolls Royce of coffee machines. Every 6 weeks, a different variety of coffee bean is used. Today it is a wonderful single origin Peruvian roast from Cast Iron, a West Sussex family run company. The milk is from another family run business, the Allan Reeder Dairy in Feltham.
Delicious sandwiches are made using freshly baked bread from Celtic Bakers.
There are two eye-catching dishes of overnight oats in wonderful vibrant colours. One is made with spirulina powder, blueberry, mint, and the other with dragon fruit, strawberries and pomegranate. Both use coconut milk so they are vegan.
The small bowls are also a festival of colours and are vegan too. There are two smoothie bowls with fruit and granola, and one with chia seeds, berries and coconut milk.
It is always great to find a café promoting the use of reusable cups.
I thoroughly enjoyed my visit to Second Shot, everyone was so friendly, and there was a really great vibe that succeeds in bringing together different communities. I look forward to dropping in again soon!
Visit their website for more information on the Second Shot pay it forward scheme.
49 Church Street, London NW8 8ES
Opening hours: Monday- Saturday 8am – 4pm
You can also find the Second Shot stall in Lloyd Park, Walthamstow, over the summer months till September.