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Edinburgh coffeehouse brews up success with screen-free nightclub vibe 

04/07/2023
BEATNIK in Edinburgh

BEATNIK – a speciality coffee shop in the heart of Edinburgh’s city centre – is going against the grain by encouraging its customers to ditch their tech, drop off the grid and soak up its electric atmosphere.

With high-energy baristas and booming hip-hop tunes, BEATNIK has the buzz of a late-night bar, with coffee and pastries on the menu in place of alcohol.

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The coffeehouse opened in November 2022, after co-founders Sarfraz Rathore and Jemma Craig spotted a gap in the market for a café that offered an escape from the digital distractions of modern life. The couple recently secured £50,000 funding from DSL Business Finance via the British Business Bank’s Start Up Loans programme to purchase state-of-the-art equipment and train their team of expert coffee roasters

BEATNIK has quickly garnered a dedicated following, with coffee enthusiasts from all over Europe travelling to Edinburgh to sample its premium coffee offering and use the space for events.

Taking inspiration from a 1950s cultural movement, Sarfraz and Jemma named the business after Beatniks, a term used to describe young people that were characterised by unconventional lifestyles, artistic expression and a rejection of societal norms. 

Over the summer, the owners have plans to use the space to host parties, Edinburgh Fringe events and Q&A sessions with some of the biggest names in the world of coffee. 

Sarfraz Rathore said: “We wanted to create a comfortable, energising space where people can unplug from their devices and be present in the moment – and we’re so lucky that our customers got that straight away. Now that we’ve mastered our coffee roaster rotation, in the next six months we’re looking to expand our food offering and, in the future, hopefully bring BEATNIK to more cities across the UK.

“The support we received through the Start Up Loans scheme was pivotal, and it was great that Iain from DSL knew the area well and was able to offer initial advice when we first took the plunge.”

The British Business Bank’s Start Up Loans programme has delivered more than 6,600 loans to new business owners in Scotland since 2012, including more than 800 loans worth over £9 million for entrepreneurs in the Scottish capital.

Louise McCoy, commercial managing director, British Business Bank, said: “We’re pleased to support an independent coffee shop that’s competing with the big chains and offering a break from the digital overload of modern life. New businesses bring a lot of value to local communities, and our Start Up Loans programme was established to support entrepreneurs like Sarfraz and Jemma with access to finance,”

Stuart Yuill, executive director at DSL Business Finance, added: “DSL Business Finance is delighted to have supported Sarfraz and Jemma in their journey with BEATNIK. Their vision to create a unique coffee shop that offers a digital detox and immersive experience is truly commendable. It’s inspiring to see BEATNIK attracting coffee enthusiasts from all over Europe and becoming a hub for events in Edinburgh. We look forward to continuing our support as they expand their food offering and potentially bring the BEATNIK experience to more cities across the UK.”

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