Barista behind the counter in Baffle Haus Coffee Shop.

The top 10 most innovative and creative coffee shops in the UK

We know that amazing things happen in coffee shops. And they happen there every single day. With a leading panel of coffee industry experts – we’ve scoured the UK in pursuit of inspiring stories and creative innovations to celebrate the top 10 most innovative and creative coffee shops.  

With our elite judging panel (each a revered name in their own right), coffee shops around the UK were selected and scored on their interior design, operations and creativity, to narrow down a vast shortlist.

The top 10 most innovative coffee shops in the UK:

  1. Skinny Dip, Margate
  2. Qima, London
  3. Baffle Haus, Pontypool
  4. Batch Baby, London
  5. Effy Stores, Nottingham
  6. Formative, London
  7. Fika, Norwich
  8. Lowdown, Edinburgh
  9. Carbon Kopi, London
  10. Souli, London
Skinny Dip Margate Coffee Shop

NUMBER 1: Skinny Dip, Margate

Skinny Dip was established to create a community of like-minded passionate friends, who love the coffee, the food and the space. They are the only shop in the UK to buy coffee solely from female farmers and producers, helping to readdress the gender imbalance in the global coffee supply chain, but more importantly to provide a platform to showcase their creativity.

With a menu filled with a British twist on Mexican cuisine and a shop interior inspired by Wes Anderson, it’s clear to see why Skinny Dip was the judges’ favourite entry.

Paul Whitehead Business Account Manager at BRITA UK, “I rated Skinny Dip as the highest, as they are directly giving back to creative causes in their own neighbourhood.”

Outside of the Qima Coffee store

NUMBER 2: Qima Coffee, London

Qima Coffee serves to showcase and feature the most progressive concepts and ideas in specialty coffee, including living income coffee prices, single farmer traceability, innovative fermentations, coffee and dessert pairings, and much more.

The earthy tones of the coffee shop match the nature inspired operations within the shop. Many podcasts and food blogs have been born out of conversations at a shared table at Qima.

Emma Haines commented, “Their innovative approach and the narrative they are portraying is excellent.”

Customers in Baffle Haus coffee shop with motor bikes on the wall as decoration.

NUMBER 3: Baffle Haus, Pontypool

Baffle Haus is built to serve a community of coffee loving petrolheads. Their visitors see their mode of transport as an extension of themselves and use this as a way of expressing style and creativity.

Baffle Haus’ walls are emblazoned with a mural of their motto ‘Share the Ride’ and artwork from local artists. Alongside the everyday running of the shop for visitors and locals, Baffle Haus hosts bi-monthly themed evening events focused around vehicle genres, which are paired with food and live music.

Lois and Michela Wilson Founders of Saint Aymes, “A definite winner, very impressed!”

Paul Whitehead Business Account Manager at BRITA UK: “Baffle Haus couldn’t engage any more with their community. If you’re interested in motorbikes, it looks like a weekend pilgrimage!”

Lois and Michela Saint Aymes coffee shop owners.

Behind the award – how the winners were chosen

The distinct look, feel and sounds of coffee shops are proven to get the creative juices flowing. Throughout history, they’ve been a hotbed for innovation and continue to provide a productive working environment to this day.

We know that creativity and innovation look different for everyone, which is why we’ve scoured the length and breadth of the nation to find the perfect hotspots for creativity.

We’ve worked with an expert panel of judges to find and score the most innovative coffee shops across the UK.

Ben Lewis – UK Latte Art Championship Finalist 2018, 2019, 2020

Emma Haines – Director at Caffeina

Lois and Michela Wilson – Founders of Saint Aymes 

Paul Whitehead – Business Account Manager at BRITA UK

Peter Dore-Smith – Founder and Director at Kaffeine

Grounds of innovation plaque

Grounds of Innovation Prizes

These 10 creative businesses have been awarded with the very first Grounds of Innovation plaques as well as BRITA’s PURITY C iQ: the world’s first data-driven intelligent filtration system.

A game changer for the industry, the smart professional water filter system delivers the perfect cup, every time. Seven years in the making, its set to revolutionise the way coffee professionals change filters.