The Hoarder

What are your names?
WH I’m William Hobbs. I’m Head of Coffee.
JL Jacky Luke, Chief Clown

Where is your cafe?
WH 16 Lillie Road. Opposite The Lillie Langtry pub. The plaque on the door is handmade. Jacob’s mum made it.

How long have you been on Lillie Road?
WH For a while. I used to work nearby at Over Under. I left because I wanted to focus more on coffee. I just couldn't be in the kitchen anymore. If you work in most places, you start out as a barista. Then if you've proven to be capable of cooking. They make you.

But I used to come to this shop long before I started working there. And historically, a long time ago when it was built, it was called Lockhart's Cocoa Room – a part of the Temperance Movement. They would usually open a cocoa room opposite to entice the workers to come and have cocoa rather than drink in the Lillie Langtry.

Are you a leading light of the temperance movement?
WH No, not at all. I drink far too much. The same can be said about anyone else who works in The Hoarder. Apart from Michael maybe. Jackie doesn't.

JL I had an argument with my father when I was 15, and he said in the old fashioned way, in order for my money to be worth it, you must become a lawyer or a doctor or an accountant. So I became an accountant.

You’ve got an unusual selection of booze…
WH We have soft drinks and different kinds of beer. Australian drinks. CBD in some of them. Peach ginger. We have kombucha which is actually live, you can see the fungus inside and because it's live we have to keep it in the fridge. Otherwise they will explode. And we have a huge number of different kinds of water.

What’s it like working here?
WH Working in The Hoarder is like working in a village pub. Because everyone knows each other. I live in Earl’s Court now and when I walk the ten minutes in the morning I have to say ‘hello’ to at least three people.

What sets your coffee apart?
We use a roastery called Origin. They are based in Cornwall. They obviously supply you coffee, but they also supply you with training, and maintenance of the machines, new equipment. It's meticulously crafted coffee so we don't change the coffee around that much. We have a loyal following of customers and they have a palette. People need to know what to expect.

We weigh every shot. Time everything properly. If a shot doesn't come out well, we will throw it away and explain to the customer why we’ve thrown it away. We also have a drink that's fetishized a lot. Most coffee shops don't do it. It's the Triple Flat White. It's three shots rather than two.

It’s a very eclectic coffee shop…
WH The original idea was to open as a mini-Wholefoods. Although it was appreciated a lot, it wasn't the ideal business model for the area. There is still a lot of stuff that sells really well, but coffee has become a thing.

We sell loads of candles, which doesn't really make that much sense. But there are a lot of birthdays. And a lot of mums. But this is the whole point. You don't just hoard beans. You hoard the most random stuff that can you find. It’s the idea of having a hoard.

JL And borrowing Janet Yellen's latest phrase ‘Friends-shoring’. Friend-shoring means that people in the community buy from the shop and the shop buys from the community. You buy from friends.

But we are very lucky because many of the people around this area have gone into enterprises. Somebody that you may have come across is called Dough Delicious. You find their cookies in Selfridges, Waitrose and in Marks and Spencer. It's a lady and she and her family live just around there. So we have these things from time to time because she brings in the cookies.

There are also two guys. They shared a flat just down the road from here. And they created canned cocktails called Moth. They no longer share that flat now. They've moved on. And of course, they are big now because they are in Waitrose. But we still stock Moth. So it’s basically if the community is doing something, come on, bring it in.

Just down the road we have someone who is working with Art Republic. So we have a Damien Hirst print hanging there. If you are an artist – we’ve got the studios being built on Empress Place that could be a ready-made supply of art – exhibit with us. I am very passionate about this.

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