London’s coffee scene has a new, transatlantic entry: Roasting Plant will currently open at 4 Borough High Street, between London Bridge and Borough Market, on 16 January. It is currently open, and serving coffee, which has been described as “gimmicky as hell ... but actually pretty delicious” by at least one drinker.
The American roaster and café operator, whose first London store will be cashless, prides itself on a system called “Javabot.” This proprietary technology, developed by founder Mike Caswell and team, fires coffee beans at pressure through plastic tubes — first unroasted, to a roaster, then to storage tubes, and then into super-automatic machines. A barista, in the traditional sense, never goes near the drink other than to serve it. This isn’t to be dismissed as a sign of poor quality. Automated machines have improved incredibly quickly in recent years, and this Willy Wonka-esque tube system should provide some kind of spectacle at the reportedly 500-seat site. The ‘craft’ aesthetic — with the working feel of a brewery — has won the company fans stateside, as has speed of service, and the opportunity for drink customisation.