We are Tom (Left) and Anthony (Right) of Good as Gold, a specialty coffee shop located in Brockley, London.
We had a concession at 9 Windmill Street, Fitzrovia, but unfortunately due to the pandemic, and the city turning into a ghost town we decided to move to our adopted neighbourhood – Brockley.
Here's a summary about both our previous experiences leading up to the beginning of Good as Gold:
I wanted to go travelling during my gap year, so I needed to fund it. After pasting my CV everywhere, the only place to offer me a job was a coffee shop chain (no not the chain that made frappuccinos famous). It was a city based chain, and luckily for me, they invested a lot of time and effort into training me up into an accomplished barista. It also introduced me to the ridiculous hours of the hospitality industry, or desensitised me to it at least. After returning back from travelling and starting uni, I needed to work part-time to help fund my education - again, a coffee shop gave me the opportunity. This time however, it was more of a cafe, and in the North (Newcastle), flat whites had not reached here yet…I remember one task I had, which was to introduce the fine folk of Sunderland’s Wilkinsons cafeteria to espresso coffee. They were used to something called “frothy coffee”. Powdered milk brought beyond boiling point using an archaic steam pipe, until it was like napalm, then poured over instant coffee, with sugar added to taste.
Who was I, a poncy Southerner to tell them how to drink coffee! Eh?! Character building definitely, rewarding it was not.
Moving back to London after gaining a degree in illustration, I had to move out, so again, needing money I pasted my CV everywhere, and again a coffee shop came to my aid. This was based on Upper Street in Islington. I spent 3 and a half years here, working my way up to Group Barista of the company, looking after the coffee quality and training for all staff. It's hard to say why I stayed in this industry, maybe it was the camaraderie, maybe the disillusionment of becoming an illustrator (mainly down to having to deal with clients), or the fact I couldn't sit down for more than an hour without being distracted. Through a contact during my time on Upper Street I decided I needed a change of scenery and moved into the world of speciality coffee. I helped open a shop in the London Bridge/Borough area, the first of many. I eventually stayed with them for over 4 years, again working my way up to Head of Coffee/Group Barista, where I would learn so much. I started to understand more about espresso machines and how to install and maintain them. This is also where I dove into the world of specialty coffee training - understanding the chemistry of brewing coffee and how to manipulate flavours. I would say it was the first time in my life that I understood how to “taste” coffee, as pretentious as that sounds. I had to fully understand it to be able to teach it, but this is something I really relished and took a lot of enjoyment from. It also gave me a massive insight into what it takes to open a coffee shop, what to do and what not to do. It was also where I met Tom.
Which brings me here, to Brockley, where Tom and I hope to bring all we have learnt along the way to create a unique and friendly space for everyone to enjoy.
Like Anthony, I also was fortunate enough to travel in my early 20’s, which forced me to find work.
I had worked in kitchens before then but nothing had really stuck, and like a lot of people, I wasn't sure what I wanted to do career wise.
Once in Australia I really found myself enjoying the whole coffee culture scene that they do so well. I threw myself in at the deep end and worked extremely hard to gain experience over two years. Coffee and food are very serious things over there and the quality and effort really shows.
This encouraged me to come home and try my hand at fine dining for a change at a number of different restaurants. Whilst it was a great learning curve, it wasn’t really my style. The hours were brutal and so were the chefs.
After taking away the good things from this, I decided to go for it and become a Head Chef. I brought all my cards to the table and it worked.
With that confidence and a move to London, this enabled me to step back and work my way up again. Working in some top kitchens under some amazing chefs like Tom Aikens and Tom Adams. Cooking over wood flames, smoking offal, burning veg on purpose but most importantly being shown how to butcher whole carcusses down and using every single part.
Eventually I found my feet at the coffee shop group Anthony worked for. It was a great experience over the 3 years, learning how to manage a big team and a growing company, but the time came to take the risk and start our own business. We spoke about it a lot before deciding to leave. It was a risk for us, but we had a lot of people around us to support us and we are really grateful for that.
We’ve both learnt a lot over the years in hospitality, and all that experience and those ideas come together to build what we have today.
With that said, we are super excited to get you down to Good as Gold II, and show off everything we have to offer and more.