Located in the leafy area of Brockley – part of the Borough of Lewisham - Broca is a coffee shop that aims to buck the trend of the high street coffee shop. The district has gained a reputation for its thriving arts scene, with many of its residents being artists and creatives, so it’s easy to see why it would be the perfect place to open an independent and spirited coffee shop. Broca opened in 2007 and was inspired by the coffee shops of Western Canada and Berlin bringing with it something fresh and unique to London and the Brockley area.
Co-founder Erin Essex trained at the London School of Coffee and prides herself, and her team, on making strong, full of flavour coffee to a classic recipe. The Broca is associated with Broca Food Market that boasts an affordable array of fruit, veg, meat and other ingredients as well as local books and CDs. The Broca and The Broca Food Market both take great pride in sourcing things from the local area as much as possible making them very much part of the community. #VillageLondon caught up with co-founder Erin to find out more about Broca and what it is like to run a business and be an integral part of the community in Brockley.
Tell us a bit about what you do?
We run a local, community coffee shop next to Brockley common and Brockley station.
How did it all start/where did you learn your trade?
We opened in 2007 and have been going full steam since then! Woo! I've been a barista since I was 18 and was so excited to open the first coffee shop in Brockley!
How is business?
How is Brockley and how has it played a role in the business?
Brockley is awesome! It's an area full of artists, families, actors, small producers, creatives and lots of lovely warm people. I love it so much I even named my coffee shop after it! Broc -kley to Broc-a!
What made you choose the area?
We chose to live in Brockley in 2003 as I'm from Canada, and was used to living in a smaller neighbourhood. We were living in Brixton and the flux of the neighbourhood changed all the time. We looked for a settled neighbourhood with lots of families and slightly off the beaten track!
Do you hope to bring even more of a sense of character to the area?
I hope that Broca reflects some of the people who live in the area.
It's not hugely noticeable really. Brockley has always been a well-kept neighbourhood. House prices have really gone up but that is because of the Overground and lack of affordable housing in the rest of London. Compared to other areas nearby I don’t think Brockley is that gentrified. People have realised they can still buy family houses here.
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