Newcastle coffee shop Hip Cat Coffee might be the answer to Starbucks queues

Hip Cat Coffee on Newcastle’s Byker Bridge will sell only three types of brew to increase quality and decrease waiting times


An anti-Starbucks coffee shop is aiming to put the express into espresso by offering just three choices to customers.

Hip Cat Coffee on Newcastle’s Byker Bridge wants to avoid the delays which see many customers stuck behind someone ordering a decaf skinny latte or a suger-free, vanilla soy chocolate mocha.

Instead of the bewildering range of drinks available in modern chain coffee shops, Hip Cat will instead sell just americano, flat whites and filter coffee.

Vintage fashion entrepreneur Luke Tanner, who is starting the business, was inspired to simplify his menu after he experienced how other countries enjoyed their brews.

He said: “Most places like their coffee strong. We sell double espresso shot 8oz flat whites and americanos as well as help-yourself filter coffee. If you want a tepid to mildly warm pint of coffee-flavoured milkshake there’s a million Costas in town.

“Too much choice equals queueing and eye-rolling, and that’s what we’re trying to avoid.”

Luke Tanner is the owner of Hip Cat Coffee
Luke Tanner is the owner of Hip Cat Coffee

Adopting a no-frills approach, it is hoped, will allow people to appreciate the quality of the coffee they offer. Staff have been trained by Sam Telford of neighbours Ouseburn Coffee Company to ensure that all servers know how to serve good quality coffee, quickly.

Hip Cat’s menu is simple but it also strives to be as inclusive as possible. Soya milk will is available at no extra cost. All snacks are vegan-friendly, though it is promised that these will please ‘even a sceptical carnivore’.

“No-one would know that they were vegan,” he continues. Designed to be accessible to as many as possible, he is more concerned with no-one having to worry about ingredients rather than forcing people into particular dietary habits.

Mr Tanner’s current position as the owner of Thrifty Beatnik, the UK’s largest online vintage menswear retailer, shows through. Rails hang either side of the bar adorned with high quality retro picks for customers to peruse whilst they wait, including shirts and blouses, berets and tweed jackets.

The opening of Hip Cat Coffee is just one of the new ventures that he has under way. As well as shifting his Ouseburn vintage outlet ‘Small Change’ to premises in Heaton, he is also investigating setting up an online store for women and acquiring new premises in Newcastle City Centre.


David Whetstone
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Graeme Whitfield
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