So I’d heard a rumour that a new coffee place had opened in Reading, Berkshire. Perhaps not the biggest news for a town that boasts a ‘Coffee Corner’ (where ALL the chains are located and the indies too). However this was the first time that ‘street food’ had hit the mean streets of Reading. So on my next trip in to Reading’s town centre I decided to track down this new coffee start up.
Located between the back of John Lewis (locally referred to as ‘Heelas’) and an entrance to the Oracle shopping centre, next to the cookware store ‘Lakeland’, I found ‘Tamp Culture’. I saw a blue gazbo and two coffee drinkers sunning themselves before I spied the little white Tamp Culture cart.
I was pleased to see that Tamp had an espresso machine in their van, so often mobiles don’t, relying on filters and odd mobile faux espresso gadgets. From the menu I opted for a flat white which delivered a smooth and creamy, yet potent coffee. After my turn to lap up the coffee and the sun, I went in for a chat with the Tamp team.
Run by two brothers Tamp Culture is a new venture founded off the back of several years experience in the London food and coffee world. It was brother Marcus that I got to talk all things coffee, food businesses, street food and Reading with. A local lad Marcus was keen to bring his business back home. After working in a local independent coffee house Marcus decided to go it alone, to give him the opportunity to try out coffee his way, and he knows his stuff. After talking flavour profiles Marcus explained that the bean I had been drinking (Brasil, in general my fav) was roasted less than 5 days ago. In fact the brothers have a ‘5 day rule’; anything that is roasted but not used within 5 days is discarded. Something he thinks sets Tamp coffee apart from the chains who tend to roast in bulk and store at length.
I think it’s always great to see independents in amongst a sea of chains. However its always rough waters for small companies to navigate. High rents/pitch fees and generally high overheads, compared to the chains with their purchasing power, means indie’s coffee’s are more expensive. At 20-30p more per coffee is a hard sell to big brand loyal coffee drinkers.
Whilst Tamp has a good pitch with great footfall, its hard to overlook the weather of the Great British outdoors. A sunny coffee in May, maybe a bitter coffee to swallow come December. Last by no means least, British coffee culture is all about meeting friends and lingering over a Latte whilst sitting in a comfy sofa. Can Tamp tempt us Brits to be more like the Italian customer before me in the queue, who necked his espresso and left?
Everything said and done Tamp make GOOD coffee! I wish Tamp Culture the very best of luck and I hope to be back in the near future to try out the ‘Aeropress’ Brasil filter, a concept sold to me by Marcus and I await the proof of the coffee….
The Oracle shopping Centre,