We’re excited to announce that we have opened the doors of our new venture, the e5 Roasthouse cafe and coffee roastery at Poplar Union.
Along with roasting coffee, we are making flatbreads, and serving breakfast, lunch, cakes and pastries. Our lunch options are inspired by flavours from the Mediterranean and Levant regions, and continue to be organic and sustainably sourced where possible.
The Roasthouse is collaborating with the Refugee Council to provide employment and training for refugees, and 30% of profits from e5 Roasthouse will support refugee organisations.
REFUGEE BAKING PROGRAMME
In 2015, 1.3 million civilians arrived in Europe to seek asylum, primarily from Syria, Iraq and Afganistan. This sparked a great deal of debate as countries in Europe struggled to know how to deal with the crisis, and were divided in terms of how to resettle the displaced people.
As widespread media reports covered the Syrian crisis, and as the situation in Calais worsened, everyone at the bakery became increasingly aware of wanting to help in small way. When the Refugee Council contacted us to ask if we would host the Just Bread training programme for refugees, we jumped at the chance to be involved. The first Just Bread class took place at in March 2015, in collaboration with the Refugee Council. The simple idea behind this programme is to help refugee or asylum seekers to integrate and grow in confidence, through the amazing power of food and sourdough bread.
Throughout the 10 week training programme, the group of trainees meet weekly to learn about sourdough bread, along with the different sections of the business; our baking team, our kitchen lunch service, the pastry section, coffee and barista skills, butter, jam making and flour milling.
Over the last few years we have run consecutive courses for groups of refugee women, and it’s fair to say it’s been a steep learning curve! The trainees have brought a wonderfully positive energy to the bakery. They are really curious, kind and open to our staff and to increasing their knowledge. It is also, for us, an extraordinary way of discovering new food cultures.
Not surprisingly many of the participants are in a vulnerable position. They are under a huge amount of stress in a new country that is not necessarily showing the warmest welcome, therefore we intend that these classes are providing a way for women to connect, as well as building confidence and skills for employment.
For each cohort of trainees, we have tried to ensure that there is some opportunity for employment after completing the course. For example for two summers we ran a pop up food stall at Secret Cinema, staffed by graduates from the program.
In September 2017, E5 opened a new café called E5 Roasthouse, situated in Poplar Union, a community arts centre. One of our aims for opening the new cafe is to provide employment for women who have taken part in the bread class training. At e5 Roasthouse, we are producing sourdough flatbreads. A trainee called Elsa is making about 200 flatbreads twice a week for our cafe and Gourmet Goat, a food stall in borough market. Elsa took part in our refugee program in 2016 as an Asylum seeker and after obtaining her refugee status, she is now employed at E5 Roasthouse. Fifi, Sana and Ramatulai, all from previous classes are also working here.
Address: 2 Cotall Street, Poplar. E14 6TL
Open daily from 9am – 5pm.