Lovecrumbs are a fun and relaxed indie Edinburgh cafe and lifestyle store, renowned for their selection of baked goods from sister bakery Nice Times Bakery, serving locally roasted Machina Coffee. We chatted to owner Hollie about the business, how they've grown over the years, and why they chose to work with us for their coffee offering.
Hey Hollie, how’s 2022 treating you so far?
Hello Anna, much better than 2021 so far! I moved to the seaside, business is picking up after the usual January lull, we have a couple of new team members and have some really fun things coming out of the bakery. Things are feeling good!Tell us about the inspiration behind Lovecrumbs and what people can expect when they walk in the door?
Lovecrumbs was set up as a place for people to come to have a nice time - whether that was to celebrate a birthday, have a first date, meet up with pals, have a quiet treat to yourself or come to one of our varied events. The furniture and crockery are mismatched, salvaged and vintage, we have amassed a collection of plants from various people and odd bits and pieces customers have brought in for us - we want to feel like a comfortable and homely place to hang out. All of our team have big, individual personalities, we really want customers to feel welcome and part of our community. We take pride in baking and sourcing really delicious and high quality food and drinks and love supporting and working with other local and independent businesses.
Lovecrumbs has been running since 2012 and remains as popular as ever, can you share with us a little bit about your background in food and drink & how you came to open your cafe and baking empire!
I love eating and drinking, hanging out in cafes and bars and getting to know the people who run them so that’s where it all started. I worked for 2 family run food and drink businesses during and after college - Demijohn on Victoria St and Coco Chocolate in Bruntsfield (both closed now). I loved learning about the products and telling our customers all about them, I loved getting to know the regulars and the sense of community that came with that. lovecrumbs came about after I got home from living in Australia for a bit (working at Coco Chocolate in Sydney). A friend of mine is an amazing baker so we decided to open our own place - she did all the baking, I ran the coffee side of things and together we figured out how to run a business. It was all very much a learn as you go experience. We split our business partnership a few years ago and Nice Times Bakery was set up as our new baking HQ for lovecrumbs, it also has its own product range, does wholesale to other cafes, home deliveries, wedding cakes and we are on Deliveroo.
Right, decision time - what are your current favourite Lovecrumbs/Nice Times bake that you’ve currently got on the menu right now?
The dark chocolate, sea salt and rye cookies are a big favourite of mine. If I am out on deliveries you can guarantee I’ll have one for breakfast. I also love the savoury things which are starting to come out of the bakery - sausage rolls in particular.
As one of Edinburgh’s most popular cafes and hang-out spots, how have you evolved the business over the last few years to cope during the pandemic?
It has been a rollercoaster. I’ve felt like we’ve had to respond and adapt really quickly at every twist and turn in the guidance, ramping up home deliveries during lockdown, creating a hatch through a window at Nice Times and turning West Port into a grocer when sitting in wasn’t allowed. We were producing a really limited menu to make life more manageable for the bakers and to keep wastage to a minimum. We played around with shifts and team bubbles as well as the layouts of the cafes to try and keep staff safe. It really took a toll on everyones energy levels so we have spent the past year trying to sustainably recover from it
What would you say has been your biggest learning from running a hospitality-based business during the COVID crisis?
I’ve always worked with really amazing people but have never been great at delegating. Half way into the pandemic I got to a point where I was so burnt out I had to let go of feeling like I needed to have a really tight grip on every aspect of the businesses, which has been quite transformative for me personally. It also means all the amazing people in the business have more autonomy and creativity and they are really thriving - they know they have my full support but I’m butting in less so (hopefully) everyone is happy with this set up. The support we have had from our customers has also been really overwhelming. A lot of people got really arsey, snappy and impatient with us but the vast majority have been incredibly patient, generous and supportive. At times it was really hard to stay motivated but the response of the customers is proof that people really do appreciate the little place we fill in their lives
What is your approach to coffee and why did you decide to select Machina as your coffee partner?
I am not a baker so coffee was always the thing I was interested in bringing to the business. Sourcing great coffees from great roasters like Machina is a really fun part of the job. We want to work with roasters who take great care in sourcing their beans and have great passion and skill when it comes to roasting. We also love the technical support Machina offer - if we have a problem with any of our coffees or pieces of equipment someone is on it to help out.
The coffee scene is sometimes associated with being a bit exclusive and snobby - we are so against that, we want everyone to feel welcome and have a really good cup of coffee without feeling intimidated
How do you tend to drink your coffee and are there particular Machina roasts standing out for you at the moment?
I am a black coffee drinker, preferably filter or espresso. I’m working through a bag of Finca Los Alpes at home at the moment
Finally, anything exciting you can share with us about what’s coming up from Lovecrumbs & Nice Times Bakery in the future….?
Before lockdown I had loads of grand plans but for now we are focussing on a sustainable and gentle recovery after a couple of hard years. Many of the team have been on the full ride though lockdown so we are taking things easy, starting to reintroduce events at West Port - like our lovecrumbs Readings poetry nights - and slowly developing the menu. The bakery are taking on new wholesale customers and we’re really enjoying planning for things like Valentines day and Easter. We are growing our range of retail products so you will be seeing a few jars of nice things joining our chai syrup and hot chocolate on the retail shelves soon.
Visit Lovecrumbs at 155 West Port, Edinburgh EH3 9DP