Published on March 5, 2014 | by Lucy Mercer


“Pay-Per-Minute” Café Comes To East London

London plays host to hundreds of coffee shops, but have you ever heard of one charging people by the minute, rather than per drink or biscuit? Now, East London boasts Britain’s first ever café of this nature – Ziferblat.

The idea has travelled from Russia, where 10 other cafés lie (the original sits in Moscow). Ivan Mitin, Founder and CEO of Ziferblat, said he chose London because it’s a challenging city, and succeeding here would mean it works everywhere.

“I love English culture – it’s the second culture that I was observing whilst being a kid. While I was growing up I read a lot of English writers. I really loved it and it’s such a pleasure for me to do something in a country with such an amazing history” – Ivan Mitin, Founder and CEO of Ziferblat

He went on to say that Ziferblat gives people a place which they can “co-own”, so there’s a wider sense of community in the cafe.

The café itself is like an apartment, so people feel it’s a lot more homely than your standard café. I spoke to a student in the café called Ricky, who told me he liked it because it’s like a home with strangers, but they’re like family.

However, there could be an underlying question of whether people feel pressured by the time, constantly looking at their watch to see how much they’re spending. And how much cheaper does it actually work out?

I spoke to a couple of customers about this, one of which said it definitely worked out cheaper, the other believing it to work out around the same price as a normal café. They also praised it for just being simple – no complicated orders for triple shot expresso Macchiato would ever be uttered there.

The customers are happy so far, but it’ll be interesting to see if other cafés adopt the idea as the New Year rolls on. For all we know, the Macchiato may not continue to prevail as this new idea takes the biscuit.

Take a look at their website here.

And listen to LCC’s radio piece on the café below.

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