Fitzroy espresso and wine bar Napier Quarter is stirring things up this week with a decision to do away with takeaway coffee.
Co-owner Daniel Lewis hopes patrons will instead take the time to sit down and savour their espresso. He tells Broadsheet the move was initially for environmental reasons, citing our use of more than one billion single-use coffee cups every year – but soon realised that sitting in for a coffee has its benefits, too.
“We [want to] encourage it as a simple pleasure of one’s day, to be able to sit and have a moment,” Lewis says.
Mornings were also becoming increasingly crowded in Napier Quarter’s small dining space, and Lewis hopes minimising the number of people waiting around for coffee will make for a more relaxed experience for their regular crowd.
“We’re just trying to offer something as a small respite for our community,” he says.
The cafe has also lowered the price of its coffee – from $3 to $2 for an espresso and from $4 to $3.50 for a milkier brew – to encourage this.
But while Lewis says locals have been supportive of the decision – and so have a slew of new faces that have popped in to express their support – he also says there’s been backlash, with some people claiming the move is unfair to those with children or who may be too busy to linger in a cafe.
Lewis acknowledges his stance is easier to maintain at Napier Quarter’s backstreet Fitzroy location than it might be somewhere more hectic.
“When you’re in an environment like the city, where it’s busy and it’s bustling … that’s where I think Keepcups are fantastic.”
Lewis is happy if the decision starts a conversation and encourages people to think more consciously about what they can do to minimise waste.
“We’re not trying to be the crusader of [reducing] waste,” Lewis says. “But we have a responsibility in this takeaway culture … to actually stop and think about what it’s doing on a larger scale.”