I first met Carter Donnell when he was working at 9th Street Espresso, my local coffee shop while I lived in New York's East Village. We became firm friends—once he got over my requests for iced mochas, which, in his opinion, mask the great flavors in the coffee. Yep, Carter is a total coffee nerd who has been known to take his own coffee beans and grinder with him on holiday. It's no wonder then that this year, the London transplant of three years opened a coffee spot, Daily Goods, in a corner of Kinoko Cycles bike shop, right in the heart of Golden Square. Daily Goods is kind of London's answer to Soho's Saturdays Surf
coffee joint-meets-surf shop––except with bikes instead of boards. I caught up with Carter and sampled a few of his coffee staples.
Photos by Eloise Moran
Lola Lalic: As an NYC expat, what do you miss the most about New York coffee shops?
Carter Donnell: That's a tough one. I'd have to say community. People's lives in NYC seem to revolve around their local coffee shop. Because of that, you really get to know your locals and their lives. You're the first person they speak to in the morning, and sometimes the last person they speak to at night. You see their kids grow up and just become part of a big, tight-knit neighborhood. The coffee shop in NYC is like an extension of your front room.
You've just woken up. How do you take your coffee?
That is purely dependent on where I am. On the weekend when I am at home, it's an AeroPress or V60 filter coffee of whatever I have fresh at home. But during the week when I head straight to work, the first coffee is some espresso to test the quality for the day.
What made you decide to open a coffee shop inside a bike shop?
I didn't initially set out to open up in a bike shop. I was taking a brief hiatus from making coffee and worked for Supreme London for a stint. While I was working there, I realised that I wanted to get back into making coffee, but I wanted to do it for myself and try to bring that community feel to London that I missed about NYC. Bobby from Tokyo Fixed (next to Supreme London) and I became friends, and he knew I was looking for an opportunity to do my own coffee venture. He also knew that Tokyo Fixed was moving to a larger space, so he put me in touch with the owner and the rest is history, as they say. It turned out to be a perfect match, and sharing is a great way to have space in Central London.
I heard a rumor that you take your own coffee equipment with you on vacation...
The rumors are true. It is a prerequisite that wherever I am staying has to have a kettle at the very least. I mean, coffee is the first thing you do in the morning and it might as well always be awesome. If you start your day with horrible coffee, it can ruin your day.
What's the country where you've had the best/worst coffee?
Luckily I haven't had 'the worst coffee' on my travels because I take my own equipment! I'm not keen on drinking horrible over-roasted coffee. The best country I've had coffee in? As easy or biased as it will sound, I would have to say America. You can travel to most cities in the States and there will be somewhere to go for good coffee. One of the best coffees I have ever had was in Dublin but I can't speak for all of Ireland, so I think I have to stick with America.
Where do you source your coffee from?
I get my coffee from Workshop Coffee Co. in Clerkenwell. I chose to work with them because their work goes far beyond the roasting process and they have sleek packaging. Workshop places a heavy emphasis on sourcing directly and knowing the farmers who spend so much time growing and caring for the product we drink. They pay fair prices, ensuring a better life for the farmers and their families. Because they are so particular, they only have a few offerings on at a time. But I much prefer to stock five exceptional coffees than 20 mediocre ones.
DAILY GOODS at KINOKO CYCLES
10 Golden Square
London, Greater London W1F 9JA, UK