The Fields Beneath have really stirred up some conversation and served us with a huge dollop of change that hasn’t gone unnoticed. They’ve gone from the traditional Creamy cow’s milk Coffees to soy, almond, and my personal fave – Oat milk! They let the locals (and now the entire world) know that they were going vegan by putting a hard to ignore sign in the window of their coffee shop along with a urban A board smack bang outside the entrance with the word 'Vegans' written across it. The image of the window shop sign circulated social media by storm and caught everyone's attention! A coffee shop daring to take the plunge into the vegan world! Grow Up Vegan have spoken to the vegan embracing Baristas to get the inside story!
So how long had you been serving southerners and lucky non locals with your cups of coffee before transforming to an all vegan coffee shop?
We opened in October 2012, so a little under four and a half years.
Who was the first one on the team to be Vegan? Are they responsible for the brave change you made?
Gavin, who owns the business went vegan in January 2015, and Helena the shop manager followed soon after that. We’ve since hired Av, Kelly and Olivia, all vegans too. The others are certainly in the conversation, but not vegan (yet).
I would have loved to have been a fly on the wall when the conversation was being had about making the change to the business – how did it go?
We discussed it in the shop but it’s a big change and so much of our products had dairy in them, almost 70%! Gavin kept putting off the idea that we had no choice. The idea was floated with customers every so often, to test the reaction, but it was when he was making ham and cheese sandwiches in October and the thought of all the pigs he’d seen in footage online, both the slaughter houses and the ones of them playing with each other, came into his head, that he felt there was no more choice.
So a Pinnacle sandwich making moment he had! Who`s idea was it to put the ‘controversial’ and now fairly famous signs in the coffee shop window?
It was Gavin`s idea!
Have your regular non vegan customers stayed loyal to you?
Yes, most have stayed. We’ve lost a handful, some who don’t enjoy the other milks as much as cow’s milk. Most of these guys didn’t do the 30 for 30 promo where we offered 30 coffees for 30 quid.
Wow now that`s an offer worth taking up! Was you worried about how it could affect the shops foot flow or was you more concerned about your own footprint on the planet?
Of course, otherwise we would have done it sooner. We’ve had to work hard in getting our customers over to non-dairy in their coffees first too.
The vegan community are so welcoming to new vegans – how have you found joining the rest of us?
We love the community very much. We think there is work to be done on how veganism is communicated, and how we approach carnists with the conversation. We’re all in this together, as it’s their demand we need to focus our efforts on breaking, through awareness and compassion.
I couldn't agree more! If I was to walk in (definitely will be doing asap!) what wouldn’t I want to miss out on?
Our lunches are special – we’ve got a new burger every week, all made in house, and are wraps are beautiful. Filled with pickles, ferments, roasted veg and home made sauces. Mayo, chipotle, you name it, Av is creating some magic in our kitchen. And when’s the last time you ate a croissant? We’ve got those too!
What is your new signature coffee and cake?
Our go to milk for flat whites is Oatly’s Barista Edition oat milk. It’s amazing and we don’t think we would have been able to make this change without it. It’s the cheapest alt. milk too (that isn’t full of weird ingredients), and you can barely tell the difference between that and cow’s milk in it’s sweetness, texture and how it works with the espresso. We’ve recently had Kelly join who runs her bakery @Bake.It.Til.You.Make.It (insta) and she’s gone all fancy with us – grapefruit and rosemary is a current fave.
What do you have in store for the future? Any exclusives to tell our readers?
We shall continue to show how delicious, convenient and normal, veganism is. We also want to become a hub for activism. Not sure how yet, but in the mean-time come down for a coffee and share your ideas!
I will absolutely be taking a special trip to both indulge in your vegan treats and talk vegan topics with you all! See you soon!
The Fields Beneath are an amazing example of not only embracing veganism but being the change towards a vegan future, even if it quite literally is risky business! Show them your support by following them on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook ! They deserve all the encouragement they can get from us Vegans! Don't forget to subscribe to this blog for more exclusive interviews like this one, subscribe to the YouTube Channel, follow Grow Up Vegan on Instagram and Tweet me!