The world of independent coffee shops in Kingston is growing. First Beanberry, now Department of Coffee and Social Affairs.
DCSA has around a dozen shops now across London and one coming in Bristol. They are an independent with a mission: to quote from their website:
members of our team are both board members and volunteers for a number of national and international charities. These include the award-winning UK Charity Pump Aid which provides safe clean water to over 1.35 million of the poorest people in Sub-Saharan Africa. We work on a number of joint awareness and marketing campaigns to raise awareness and funding for Pump Aid.
Kingston's branch of DCSA is in an ideal position between the Market Place and Clarence Street, not far from the river. The cafe itself is cosy, with wooden furniture, a busy counter with cakes and bags of coffee pods and coffee machines. Several options of coffee: I had Alchemist's Repose which was pleasant. There are small quiches and (large) sausage rolls, I would hope that they may branch out into sandwiches without going the whole sandwich-bar route. There are tables downstairs and also upstairs, accessed by a balustraded staircase. From the wooden plank-floored upstairs room - which has a space at the back that looks like it might be used for performances, readings etc. - you can get a view of the rooftops opposite, a memory of old Kingston, much of which is still there if you know how to look. At DCSA's website you can even subscribe to a coffee delivery service.
Then there are the coffee pods. These are environmentally-friendly replacements for the Nespresso pod. I don't have this delivery system as it locks you into a single supplier and is environmentally unsound - both of which arguments are undermined by DCSA's bags of pods on sale.
Sausage roll £4.80. I didn't have a slice of cake but they looked lovely!
Department of Coffee and Social Affairs
14 Thames Street
Kingston Upon Thames
Opening hours: Monday - Saturday: 8.30 - 18.00; Sunday: 09.30 – 17.30