MacIntyre represents the cutting edge of the London speciality coffee scene. The café itself is a stripped-back coffee hotspot on John Street just by Angel tube station. Having just moved from their old location in Shoreditch, the shop is currently experiencing what proprietor Alex described to me as an “ongoing remodelling process”, a fact which seems to chime with Alex’s desire to constantly innovate and iterate. The sparse décor merely draws attention to the centrepiece of Alex’s operation – a bar laden with the latest brewing technology through which he retains his sharp focus on pushing the boundaries of speciality coffee. The precise and unusual layout of this bar reflects Alex’s desire to promote quality and innovation in all things, from the coffee itself to the layout of the shop itself.
This is where MacIntyre stands out. The usual hulking espresso machines are absent, replaced by a row of exotic stainless steel pumps, a setup reminiscent of a bar at a craft pub that removes the physical barrier to communication between customer and barista. This also adds an interactive element to the process as both the barista’s skills and the advanced equipment employed are on display.
Alex, betraying his strong innovative and progressive streak, enthusiastically broke the bar down to me as such: high-tech Alphadominche Steampunk handles delivering perfect filter coffee and speciality teas from Good and Proper Tea, alongside a custom “modbar”, a bespoke espresso machine built into the structure of the bar itself. These machines are more or less unique in London and provide an added element of excitement to the shop – with baristas fielding a constant stream of questions and queries from curious punters.
MacIntyre currently runs entirely off Modern Standard coffee, whose coffee has lead the charge of speciality coffee into the mainstream arena with a spot in 350 Sainsbury’s stores. Alex was keen to highlight that this represents the first breaking of new ground and demonstrates the health of the UK coffee market. US guest roasters will return soon, such as Dogwood and Heart, adding a transatlantic vibe to the establishment.
Food-wise MacIntyre offers a coffee shop selection of filled croissants and pain au chocolat. Unsurprisingly Alex also has exciting plans in this regard. He aims to create “craft fast food” – with gourmet subs prepared open to the public on the second counter behind the bar. Proving that coffee really is just the start, Alex also told me about his plans to bring the Australian trend of fermented sodas on draught to the UK, making them from probiotic cultures similar to those used to make sourdough bread.
Alex retains a positive outlook in relation to the speciality coffee industry, in contrast to those that see it as an oversaturated and limited market. In his view Modern Standard have broken a key barrier in enlarging the speciality coffee market. He also sees independent coffee as sustainable – trade tends to be based upon catchment areas that needn’t overlap excessively, and amongst those interested in speciality coffee loyalty often runs deep. Digital loyalty forms an inevitable part of this through creating a gentle incentive for customers to return to their favourite shop. He asserts that loyalty apps will likely become ubiquitous as the barrier of credibility is broken down; that is to say that just as stamp cards were adopted as a normal process, so digital loyalty will act as a natural next step.
It’s great having Alex and MacIntyre as loyalty partners. Their commitment to progressive innovation and iteration really chimes with ours. They place their customer experience at the forefront of their process and as such have joined the Trezoro team to reward their regulars. Check in at MacIntyre with your Trezoro loyalty app (iOS and Android) on your next visit and start earning stamps – they’re offering a free drink in every 9 currently. You can catch updates on their latest activities on their website or twitter.