Meet Fred and Em – aka We Are Here Coffee

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You mean you haven’t yet tried E10’s essential new coffee cart on your daily commute? Here’s what to expect

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Fred and Em:
Fred and Em: ‘What can I say, I’ve always wanted to stand beside the A12 in the British winter.’ Photo: Miranda Eason
If the good folk of Leyton have been looking a little more perky of late, new resident Fred is probably to blame. If you’re thinking, “Who the heck is Fred?” right now, well, Fred is a tricked-out-tuk-tuk-turned-commuter coffee cart who’s come all the way from India to east London. Along with his owner Emily Herriott, he can be found between 7am and 10am alongside Eagle Minicabs on the approach to Leyton station serving up excellent Allpress coffee. I grabbed Fred and Em for a chat and a cappuccino. To be honest Em did most of the talking.

How long have you lived in Leyton?
I moved to Leyton from Brixton in 2013. Truth is, I’d never heard or visited Leyton until I came to view my first (and last) place (shhh, don’t judge). I’ve been a south London girl my whole life but had been working and playing in east London for years; I had to make the jump. I did and I love it. Leyton’s got this little underdog character, the locals root for it in a weird sort of way and it’s home to some darn lovely people (who I now have the pleasure to chat to most mornings).

Why a coffee cart?
What can I say, I’ve always wanted to stand beside the A12 in the British winter(!) I kid of course. I’ve wanted to own a coffee shop for a long old time, and secretly set up alerts for commercial property but nothing came up. Last September I decided enough was enough, Leyton needs its coffee and I need to give this a crack. My local councillor was a huge help in getting the council on board, but they were a little stumped as I’m the only solo street trader in Waltham Forest (they’re used to working on the markets) but that seemed to help in the excitement and support I received. As with all start-ups, there were bumps on the way, which meant that it took a year before we started serving.

Everything you need to know. Photo: ME
Everything you need to know. Photo: ME
Tell us about Fred!
Yes, Fred. What a guy. Named after my grandad and my brother’s favourite teddy bear (sorry bro), he’s come all the way from India by boat. I changed the course of his destiny as a tuk tuk taxi. I hope he likes it here. Is it weird that I’m talking about him as a person? Probably. He was kitted out by some guys in Devon who specialise in tuk tuk conversions, coffee being one of the more straight forward customisations. Learning to drive him was…interesting. Thankfully I seem to have got the hang of it now, cruising round the mean streets of Leyton/Asda car park, at 15mph, causing tailbacks and pulling a few accidental wheelies. If you see me about, give us a wave and I’ll give you a toot.

Enough about Fred, tell us about the beans.
I met up with AllPress, they loved the idea and I could tell it was the start of something good. They’re pretty techy about their gear, building and designing their own hot air roaster, that sort of thing, and their coffee is pretty damn delicious too, picking only the top 10% of beans from South America and Africa. Coffee carts have a rep for selling pretty standard coffee but I love the dark stuff so I wasn’t having any of that. Good beans were the priority, well that and making Fred look dead fancy. As far as kit goes, AllPress kindly leant me one of their Mazzer grinders and Fred has a duel fuel Fracino machine fitted. These little guys are pretty hardy, they survive the outdoors and are the only machines powered on both gas and electric, perfect for the mobile market.

What’s the damage?
All coffees are served as doubles; the Central Line commute demands it. Prices range from £1.60 for an espresso, £2 for an Americano, £2.20 for your milk-based coffee beverages. I’ve got some loyalty cards too if you like collecting stamps and getting free stuff.

A witty sign always helps. Photo: ME
A witty sign always helps. Photo: ME
Any plans to expand your hours or sell food to go alongside the coffee?
No food as yet, but I’d love to (I get hungry). I spoke with Leytonstone’s wonderful Wild Goose Bakery right at the start, I’d love to stock their pastry bits but I’ve got to figure out where to display them. Space is tight! I have just enough power to last 7am to 1pm at the moment but on and up, absolutely. We’ll be vacating our spot at some point in December or January and moving to the bus stop side of the road whilst Mini-Holland rebuild the bike shed. Next year I hope to be involved in local events, food fests, and other bits of fun.

Anything else Leytonstoner readers NTK about We Are Here Coffee?
Yes, hi! Admin/update bits really. On the last Friday of every month, we give half of our profits to charity. So if you don’t get to splash out on a coffee treat too often, pop by then (October will be going towards Missing People). I can’t have a morning without music, so if you’d like to make me a playlist (not in a creepy way) please do and I’ll get it on. If you’re an Instagram fan, I give out free coffees for good pics and I’m also known for giving out free coffees in exchange for good facts. What else? Erm, well we offer skinnies, soys, teas, herbals and hungover hugs (there have been a few). Come say hi, Fred and I will make everything better.

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We Are Here Coffee can be found outside Eagle Minicabs alongside High Road Leyton on the approach to Leyton tube station from 7am – 10am, Monday to Friday. Keep up with Fred and Em at @weareherecoffee on all social media channels

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  • simonlrowson

    Estates_10 weareherecoffee think you’ll find their in Leyton – being a local agent I’d thought you’d know the difference 😉