Steve and Danny opened Tina We Salute you in Dalston, using Alchemy coffee, in 2009. They wanted a space where amazing third-wave coffee and a great breakfast/brunch menu could be enjoyed in a creative and inspiring atmosphere. Years later, with partners Sharon and Fraser, they opened a second branch in the East Village, E20.
Tina We Salute You is the second feature in our linea classic highlight campaign, and we sat down with co-founder Steve at their original Dalston location to ask him about his linea classic experiences, how the East London coffee community has changed during the past decade, as well as finding out just who Tina is!
“Tina is one of a famous series of paintings by British artist J H Lynch. It is famous for being kitsch. We had a copy of a Tina print and wanted a cafe name that was ambiguous and did not reference coffee, cafe, tea etc. We were drunk and Tina We Salute You was the first name we thought of. The creative power of red wine!
We always wanted Tina’s to be a great cafe where customers could get consistently excellent coffee and food, but without to much fuss, back slapping and coffee talk. As much as we love drinking coffee, we don’t want to talk about it in any great length, if people want that, then there are many people who are far more knowledgeable about it than us! Tina’s soon became a great cafe for the East London creative community (and others) to hang out, work, relax and engage. It has also always been a gallery space with ever changing installations being drawn/painted directly onto the cafe walls.
When opening Tina’s ten years ago we were very much part of the first wave of excellent coffee shops/third wave coffee to appear in London. Great coffee was the exception rather than the rule. This has totally changed. The expectations of customers have greatly increased, and people are much more educated about coffee and food than ever. Central London and Hackney were certainly the driving forces in this, and continue to lead the way, however all other parts of London are catching up.
I used to live in Melbourne, which has a globally respected coffee scene. I always saw cafes using the linea classic, so for me it quickly came to symbolise quality coffee and all the things I wanted to bring back to London when I returned to start Tina’s. We’ve been using the linea classic since we opened Tina Dalston. It’s an amazing machine, and we have no intentions of using any other!”
This is the second post of a new weekly series where we’ll be highlighting notable linea classics throughout the UK and Ireland. Stay tuned for next week’s post!