We sat down with Effy owner Mitch Farr to discuss the aesthetics, spirit and essence behind good coffee and good business – Leftlion
But beyond aesthetics and customer experience, Mitch designed the business to suit employees as well, taking into account their expertise in everything — from planning and productivity to pay and personal job satisfaction. “I like to think about flow and efficiency,” he explains. “Instead of putting it on employees to be more efficient, there are fewer steps involved, making people work better without having to think about it.”
This thoughtful ethos is deeply rooted in the business, and is based on the simple (but still rare) premise that happy employees will stick around, expand their knowledge and develop a passion for the job. Paying a wage of over fifteen pounds an hour – higher than any other café in the UK – and providing a four-day working week as standard means that Effy employees have the time and energy to work on their creative sides, study, spend time with family, or Even just having space in their week to relax.
“I think my employees are invaluable and I don’t want them to ever think about struggling financially. I don’t make much more than them, but I feel good knowing that my employees and I have a pretty good work life, which resonates with our customer base and our products,” says Mitch. “As most people know, things in this country don’t really change, they just change. So, if we can bring about a change that works for everyone in the system, maybe we can inspire others to do the same.
But how can an independent café provide wages that allow employees to thrive rather than survive, we hear you ask? Well, it all comes down to what Mitch humbly refers to as “a little bit of science” – sprinkled with some good business acumen and a generous dose of generosity might we add.
“During lockdown, I bought a load of equipment and just went down the rabbit hole,” he explains. “I started experimenting with ratios of coffee and types of water, and I ended up developing a system where I would make a drink that tastes the same and dissolves the same amount of caffeine into your veins, with about fifty percent less product. This adds up, and soon I had some people on their paychecks. I distribute this to my employees.” And on the quality of coffee we use.
It’s clear that the drink is just as important to Mitch as the store, the employees and the customers. While he apologizes for being a coffee geek, it’s refreshing to hear someone talk about their product with such passion and knowledge. “The coffee we make will not taste like your preconceived coffee tastes, it is essentially the most randomly sourced and meticulously processed coffee we can get from the best roasters in the world. Sometimes weird is great and that’s what we offer, even if “It tasted like artificial grapes!” he explains.
With a selection of coffee-based events already happening at the new store, from coffee tastings to latte art demonstrations, there are plenty of things to look forward to as Ivy looks to the new year. The basement is being outfitted as an in-house bakery to serve up more of their delicious pastries and cakes, and Mitch is looking to eventually incorporate late-night slots and a wine list.
In the meantime, be sure to venture a little off the beaten track in Hockley to sample some of Nottingham’s best coffee from one of our most conscientious local companies.