OUR STORY

The first Department of Coffee and Social Affairs opened in London’s iconic Leather Lane Market in late 2010. It was the culmination of 18 months work spent searching for the perfect shop and perfecting our craft. As we grew, we quickly understood that whilst a good shop and quality coffee were crucial, the key ingredient to success was our people. The enthusiasm, knowledge and professionalism each member of our staff brings, help define and differentiate us in a rapidly growing market, as more people understand the pleasure derived from a ‘proper’ cup of coffee, rather than, well, that other stuff.

We are a growing business with locations across Central London and the UK. Our ambition has been to bring Department of Coffee and Social Affairs to more people every day. We want to continue to expand, not only providing London with a quality coffee experience but also other cities across the UK.

Each of our shops has its own personality. Our philosophy is that no two shops should ever look alike, but we believe that whenever you come to any Department of Coffee and Social Affairs coffee shop, the ‘constants’ will be great coffee and great people.

Prof. Stefan Allesch-Taylor CBE, is a London-based financier, entrepreneur, charity chairman and philanthropist, with over 25 years’ experience of business startups, turnarounds and public companies. He has served on Boards in Europe and the USA as CEO, Chairman or Senior Non-Executive Director on both public and private companies.  Stefan is currently the Deputy Chairman of Action Hotels PLC; Co-founder and Supervisory Board Member of asset manager Global Evolution A/S and a Non-Executive Director of private equity firm Clearbrook Partners LLP. Stefan is authorized and regulated by the United Kingdom Financial Conduct Authority; he is regulated by the Danish Financial Services Authority; and is also approved as a ‘controller’ of a German deposit-taking bank by the Bundesbank, BaFin and Germany’s Deposit Protection Fund. Stefan is the Chairman and Founder of award-winning Department of Coffee and Social Affairs, a fast growing independent specialty coffee business in the United Kingdom. He currently oversees companies operating in 6 different sectors in 15 countries. Stefan is the Founder and Chairman of South African registered The Afri-CAN Charity, operating in Malawi and South Africa providing employment and training to the most disadvantaged in those communities, through the creation of social ventures. The Afri-CAN Charity also builds ECD pre-school nurseries and provides over 350,000 Free School Breakfasts annually for the most vulnerable children in the townships of South Africa, over 2,000 pre-school children attend these nurseries. Stefan is the Co-founder and Deputy Chairman of the London Rough Sleepers Committee (‘CLRSC’), providing support for the homeless in Central London. Stefan is the Chairman of Pump Aid, an award-winning UK based charity providing over 10% of the national rural water supplies for both Zimbabwe and Malawi combined with over 9,500 community partners serving over 1.35 million people.  Stefan is the Chairman of UK charity Team Up, Team Up trains volunteer undergraduate students to tutor disadvantaged children in private lessons in attaining essential GSCE’s. To date over 5,000 children in London have benefitted from the program. In 2016 he was appointed the first Professor in the Practice of Entrepreneurship at The Entrepreneurship Institute, King’s College, London.  Stefan was appointed a Commander of the Order of The British Empire (‘CBE’) in the 2014 Queen’s New Year’s Honours List.

Prof. Stefan Allesch-Taylor CBE, is a London-based financier, entrepreneur, charity chairman and philanthropist, with over 25 years’ experience of business startups, turnarounds and public companies. He has served on Boards in Europe and the USA as CEO, Chairman or Senior Non-Executive Director on both public and private companies. 

Stefan is currently the Deputy Chairman of Action Hotels PLC; Co-founder and Supervisory Board Member of asset manager Global Evolution A/S and a Non-Executive Director of private equity firm Clearbrook Partners LLP. Stefan is authorized and regulated by the United Kingdom Financial Conduct Authority; he is regulated by the Danish Financial Services Authority; and is also approved as a ‘controller’ of a German deposit-taking bank by the Bundesbank, BaFin and Germany’s Deposit Protection Fund. Stefan is the Chairman and Founder of award-winning Department of Coffee and Social Affairs, a fast growing independent specialty coffee business in the United Kingdom. He currently oversees companies operating in 6 different sectors in 15 countries.

Stefan is the Founder and Chairman of South African registered The Afri-CAN Charity, operating in Malawi and South Africa providing employment and training to the most disadvantaged in those communities, through the creation of social ventures. The Afri-CAN Charity also builds ECD pre-school nurseries and provides over 350,000 Free School Breakfasts annually for the most vulnerable children in the townships of South Africa, over 2,000 pre-school children attend these nurseries.

Stefan is the Co-founder and Deputy Chairman of the London Rough Sleepers Committee (‘CLRSC’), providing support for the homeless in Central London.

Stefan is the Chairman of Pump Aid, an award-winning UK based charity providing over 10% of the national rural water supplies for both Zimbabwe and Malawi combined with over 9,500 community partners serving over 1.35 million people. 

Stefan is the Chairman of UK charity Team Up, Team Up trains volunteer undergraduate students to tutor disadvantaged children in private lessons in attaining essential GSCE’s. To date over 5,000 children in London have benefitted from the program.

In 2016 he was appointed the first Professor in the Practice of Entrepreneurship at The Entrepreneurship Institute, King’s College, London. 

Stefan was appointed a Commander of the Order of The British Empire (‘CBE’) in the 2014 Queen’s New Year’s Honours List.

Prof. Stefan Allesch-Taylor CBE, Chairman

Michael Chuter is a Fellow of both the Institute of Chartered Accountants and the Institute of Internal Auditors, with board level experience across the public, private and third sectors. He qualified in 1973, while working at a precursor to Chantry Vellacott, and his formative career was spent among some of the biggest names in the UK commercial sector; including Midland Bank, BAT, Wiggins Teape, Gillette, Spillers and Hertz. In 1979 he moved into retail by joining ARCADIA (then known as the Burton Group), where his first three years were spent working in the office of the Group’s then flamboyant Chairman (Ralph Halpern). He ghost-wrote the Chairman’s reports, he prepared papers for the Board and he accompanied the Chairman to meetings with brokers and stakeholders in the City. In 1982 he moved into Evans, one of the Group’s major subsidiaries with 247 outlets and 2,400 staff, initially as Financial Controller, then Finance Director and finally Merchandising Director. There his many achievements included overseeing Evans’ launch into Spain and developing a stock size allocation system that reduced end-of- season markdowns by more than a third. In 1993 he joined a Chinese entrepreneur and, as the sole finance and legal member of a four-person team, brought an Asian retail brand to Europe, creating trading companies in the UK, France, Germany and Spain and opening 174 outlets in 14 different countries. Subsequently; he created an international holding structure, reducing EU withholding taxes, eliminating an unnecessary layer of European management and saving £500k in annual overheads.  In 2003 he took his retail and commercial acumen into the not for profit sector; first as Head of Finance and Enterprise at the Foyer Federation, then as Director of Finance and Resources at the National Children’s Bureau and then to Pump Aid, where he is presently Chief Executive. He joined Pump Aid in 2014 at a point of significant challenge and, under his leadership, the charity has doubled its annual income, moved from deficit into surplus, raised more than £500k from funders entirely new to the organisation and developed a forward strategy that will secure its future for many years ahead.

Michael Chuter is a Fellow of both the Institute of Chartered Accountants and the Institute of Internal Auditors, with board level experience across the public, private and third sectors.

He qualified in 1973, while working at a precursor to Chantry Vellacott, and his formative career was spent among some of the biggest names in the UK commercial sector; including Midland Bank, BAT, Wiggins Teape, Gillette, Spillers and Hertz.

In 1979 he moved into retail by joining ARCADIA (then known as the Burton Group), where his first three years were spent working in the office of the Group’s then flamboyant Chairman (Ralph Halpern). He ghost-wrote the Chairman’s reports, he prepared papers for the Board and he accompanied the Chairman to meetings with brokers and stakeholders in the City.

In 1982 he moved into Evans, one of the Group’s major subsidiaries with 247 outlets and 2,400 staff, initially as Financial Controller, then Finance Director and finally Merchandising Director. There his many achievements included overseeing Evans’ launch into Spain and developing a stock size allocation system that reduced end-of- season markdowns by more than a third.

In 1993 he joined a Chinese entrepreneur and, as the sole finance and legal member of a four-person team, brought an Asian retail brand to Europe, creating trading companies in the UK, France, Germany and Spain and opening 174 outlets in 14 different countries. Subsequently; he created an international holding structure, reducing EU withholding taxes, eliminating an unnecessary layer of European management and saving £500k in annual overheads. 

In 2003 he took his retail and commercial acumen into the not for profit sector; first as Head of Finance and Enterprise at the Foyer Federation, then as Director of Finance and Resources at the National Children’s Bureau and then to Pump Aid, where he is presently Chief Executive. He joined Pump Aid in 2014 at a point of significant challenge and, under his leadership, the charity has doubled its annual income, moved from deficit into surplus, raised more than £500k from funders entirely new to the organisation and developed a forward strategy that will secure its future for many years ahead.

Michael Chuter, Senior Non-Executive Director

Matthew Gill has been an executive director and an investor of a number of organisations, both public and private over the last 15 years in the United States and United Kingdom. He has worked principally in corporate start-ups and turnarounds as a strategic advisor in a variety of sectors, including property, technology, food retail and financial services, helping to arrange finance when necessary. Matthew is a Trustee of Team Up a social venture charity that trains university students to tutor children from low income backgrounds. He is a founding member of the Central London Rough Sleepers Committee, providing free meals and support for the homeless in Central London and serving 10,000 meals since its inception in 2008. He serves as a Director of Pump Aid, an award winning UK charity that has provided clean water to over 1.35 million people in the poorest communities in rural Malawi and Zimbabwe. He is also a Director of The Afri-CAN Charity, an organisation that focuses on training, permanent employment and providing free school breakfasts in South Africa and Malawi, through the creation of cafes.

Matthew Gill has been an executive director and an investor of a number of organisations, both public and private over the last 15 years in the United States and United Kingdom. He has worked principally in corporate start-ups and turnarounds as a strategic advisor in a variety of sectors, including property, technology, food retail and financial services, helping to arrange finance when necessary. Matthew is a Trustee of Team Up a social venture charity that trains university students to tutor children from low income backgrounds. He is a founding member of the Central London Rough Sleepers Committee, providing free meals and support for the homeless in Central London and serving 10,000 meals since its inception in 2008. He serves as a Director of Pump Aid, an award winning UK charity that has provided clean water to over 1.35 million people in the poorest communities in rural Malawi and Zimbabwe. He is also a Director of The Afri-CAN Charity, an organisation that focuses on training, permanent employment and providing free school breakfasts in South Africa and Malawi, through the creation of cafes.

Matthew Gill, Deputy Chairman

Ashley Lopez BA, MA, MSc, studied in her native Chicago and latterly in London. She is a Partner in and currently serves as the Chief Executive Officer of Department of Coffee & Social Affairs, a fast growing independent coffee company based in Central London. Ashley is a Founding Member of the Central London Rough Sleepers Committee (‘CLRSC’). The CLRSC provides meals and services to the homeless and rough sleepers in Central London and has served 10,000 meals since it’s inception. She is also the Non-Executive Chairman of The Goldfinger Factory, a London based social enterprise that is an up-cycling production and learning hub for the training, support and inspiration of London’s most disadvantaged residents to create desirable furnishings and fits-outs for London’s trendsetters with a social conscience. Ashley joined in June 2015, the Board of Business for Social Progress, a new forum established by UCL’s Institute for Global Prosperity, where business leaders discuss how to implement the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals in today’s business world. In January 2016 Ashley was appointed a Trustee of the award winning water charity Pump Aid that provides over 1.35 million of the poorest people in Sub Sahara Africa with clean water. Ashley holds a BA in Law from Winona State University, an MSc in Law & Finance from Queen Mary University, London and a MA in Management from the University of Westminster, London.

Ashley Lopez BA, MA, MSc, studied in her native Chicago and latterly in London. She is a Partner in and currently serves as the Chief Executive Officer of Department of Coffee & Social Affairs, a fast growing independent coffee company based in Central London. Ashley is a Founding Member of the Central London Rough Sleepers Committee (‘CLRSC’). The CLRSC provides meals and services to the homeless and rough sleepers in Central London and has served 10,000 meals since it’s inception. She is also the Non-Executive Chairman of The Goldfinger Factory, a London based social enterprise that is an up-cycling production and learning hub for the training, support and inspiration of London’s most disadvantaged residents to create desirable furnishings and fits-outs for London’s trendsetters with a social conscience. Ashley joined in June 2015, the Board of Business for Social Progress, a new forum established by UCL’s Institute for Global Prosperity, where business leaders discuss how to implement the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals in today’s business world. In January 2016 Ashley was appointed a Trustee of the award winning water charity Pump Aid that provides over 1.35 million of the poorest people in Sub Sahara Africa with clean water. Ashley holds a BA in Law from Winona State University, an MSc in Law & Finance from Queen Mary University, London and a MA in Management from the University of Westminster, London.

Ashley Lopez, Chief Executive Officer

James is from Sheffield and went on to study in Leeds and Glasgow. James joined Department of Coffee and Social Affairs in June 2012, overseeing operations and logistics. He was appointed to the Board of Directors in October 2013 and took over as Chief Operating Officer in January 2015. Before working for Department, James spent 12 years as a youth worker working with disenfranchised teenagers in various places throughout the UK and occasionally teaching them how to play piano and guitar. He has recently grown out of wanting to be a rock star, but in his attempts to do this he has played piano, keyboard, bass and guitar in a number of bands in venues ranging from the Millennium Stadium to street corners in small Russian cities.

James is from Sheffield and went on to study in Leeds and Glasgow. James joined Department of Coffee and Social Affairs in June 2012, overseeing operations and logistics. He was appointed to the Board of Directors in October 2013 and took over as Chief Operating Officer in January 2015.


Before working for Department, James spent 12 years as a youth worker working with disenfranchised teenagers in various places throughout the UK and occasionally teaching them how to play piano and guitar. He has recently grown out of wanting to be a rock star, but in his attempts to do this he has played piano, keyboard, bass and guitar in a number of bands in venues ranging from the Millennium Stadium to street corners in small Russian cities.

James Grinnell, Operations Director

Kazi has over 20 years’ experience of working in Private Equity, Asset Management and banking having worked for Clearbrook Capital Partners, Wachovia Bank and Investec Bank. Most recently he acted as CFO/COO, for 5 years, for Clearbrook’s financial services investment company in Luxembourg. Kazi qualified as an ACA at Arthur Andersen and has a First Class BA Hons in Law and Accounting.

Kazi has over 20 years’ experience of working in Private Equity, Asset Management and banking having worked for Clearbrook Capital Partners, Wachovia Bank and Investec Bank. Most recently he acted as CFO/COO, for 5 years, for Clearbrook’s financial services investment company in Luxembourg. Kazi qualified as an ACA at Arthur Andersen and has a First Class BA Hons in Law and Accounting.

Kazi Shahid, Finance Director

Maryam Mazraei is a graduate from University of Kent Business School and has over 5 years of experience in branding, design and marketing. Previously having her own startup and web agency, she has long admired and respected the Department of Coffee and Social Affairs brand and ethos. She is also the Communications Director for The Afri-CAN Charity where she works closely with Ashley Lopez and other team members to communicate and spread awareness of the charity.

Maryam Mazraei is a graduate from University of Kent Business School and has over 5 years of experience in branding, design and marketing. Previously having her own startup and web agency, she has long admired and respected the Department of Coffee and Social Affairs brand and ethos. She is also the Communications Director for The Afri-CAN Charity where she works closely with Ashley Lopez and other team members to communicate and spread awareness of the charity.

Maryam A-Mazraei, Head of Marketing

Originally from Kenya, having moved to the Uk in the 80’s. My career began as a management accountant in the NHS before I found the path into the hospitality industry, by opening and running my own business in Berkshire. This progressed into the corporate hospitality world with £3.2 billion turnover with several well known brands under their umbrella such as BK, Costa, Rittazza, Harry Ramsden and travel Lodge. In Grand Metropolitan, Diageo and Compass group my roles ranged from operations management, new store and  new business development. Historically my success is driven from strategy of succession from within through coaching and building strong loyalty. Moving to board level in 2006 as director with Bagel Factory and Esquires Coffee (Cooks Global Foods). Strengthening companies portfolio, financially by managing change culture through business partners internal and external done simply by empowering, motivating, rewarding and providing resources in delivering success.

Originally from Kenya, having moved to the Uk in the 80’s. My career began as a management accountant in the NHS before I found the path into the hospitality industry, by opening and running my own business in Berkshire. This progressed into the corporate hospitality world with £3.2 billion turnover with several well known brands under their umbrella such as BK, Costa, Rittazza, Harry Ramsden and travel Lodge. In Grand Metropolitan, Diageo and Compass group my roles ranged from operations management, new store and  new business development. Historically my success is driven from strategy of succession from within through coaching and building strong loyalty.

Moving to board level in 2006 as director with Bagel Factory and Esquires Coffee (Cooks Global Foods). Strengthening companies portfolio, financially by managing change culture through business partners internal and external done simply by empowering, motivating, rewarding and providing resources in delivering success.

Nadeem Ashraf, Head of Retail Operations

Poppy grew up in Portsmouth. She graduated from the University of Loughborough with a BSc in Information Technology Management for Business. She joined Department of Coffee and Social Affairs in 2014 working in online retail operations and customer relations, in January 2015 she was appointed Head of Human Resources and now oversees the groups HR structure. Poppy is a volunteer for the Central London Rough Sleepers Committee (CLRSC) meals where she regularly works with the homeless and vulnerable in Central London.

Poppy grew up in Portsmouth. She graduated from the University of Loughborough with a BSc in Information Technology Management for Business. She joined Department of Coffee and Social Affairs in 2014 working in online retail operations and customer relations, in January 2015 she was appointed Head of Human Resources and now oversees the groups HR structure. Poppy is a volunteer for the Central London Rough Sleepers Committee (CLRSC) meals where she regularly works with the homeless and vulnerable in Central London.

Poppy Bruffell, Head of HR

Mark grew up in Dublin Ireland, graduating from Dundalk IT with a degree in Multimedia and Communications Technologies. Leaving Ireland in 2009 Mark ended up working for a Hen and Stag Company in Brighton organising weekends across the UK and Europe.  After leaving Brighton in 2012 Mark moved to London, got bitten by the coffee bug and began to learn the art of coffee making upon joining Department of Coffee and Social Affairs as a Barista in 2013. Since then he has managed both Piccadilly and St. Martins Court Yard branches, brining him to his current position. 

Mark grew up in Dublin Ireland, graduating from Dundalk IT with a degree in Multimedia and Communications Technologies. Leaving Ireland in 2009 Mark ended up working for a Hen and Stag Company in Brighton organising weekends across the UK and Europe. 

After leaving Brighton in 2012 Mark moved to London, got bitten by the coffee bug and began to learn the art of coffee making upon joining Department of Coffee and Social Affairs as a Barista in 2013. Since then he has managed both Piccadilly and St. Martins Court Yard branches, brining him to his current position. 

Mark Jordan, Training / Barista Development

Rick Tipton, hails from the quietude of the West Midlands countryside. His first cup of coffee was from a vending machine at a mechanics, as a young boy. At that very moment, he knew he had his work cut out for him. After establishing a passion for food early on, during years spent growing up in Spain, Rick found his love for speciality coffee living in the South Island of New Zealand, where he managed an award-winning restaurant in the lakeside town of Wanaka. Upon returning to the Northern Hemisphere, he furthered his experience in hospitality, working on superyachts around the Mediterranean, before moving to London to pursue a career in coffee, starting as a barista at Department of Coffee and Social Affairs several years ago. He also has a dog, called Rufio.

Rick Tipton, hails from the quietude of the West Midlands countryside. His first cup of coffee was from a vending machine at a mechanics, as a young boy. At that very moment, he knew he had his work cut out for him.

After establishing a passion for food early on, during years spent growing up in Spain, Rick found his love for speciality coffee living in the South Island of New Zealand, where he managed an award-winning restaurant in the lakeside town of Wanaka.

Upon returning to the Northern Hemisphere, he furthered his experience in hospitality, working on superyachts around the Mediterranean, before moving to London to pursue a career in coffee, starting as a barista at Department of Coffee and Social Affairs several years ago.

He also has a dog, called Rufio.

Rick Tipton, Roastery Operations Manager

Originally from Zimbabwe, Dumo moved to London at the age of 9. When not behind the roaster or in the cupping lab Dumo is either on the basketball court, drumming, wearing a bowtie, drinking some kind of beverage (preferably something cheeky), cooking, or trying to be creative. Dumo first joined Department of Coffee back in August 2012, working as a barista. Fast forward to present day and he now oversees The Roastery Department.

Originally from Zimbabwe, Dumo moved to London at the age of 9. When not behind the roaster or in the cupping lab Dumo is either on the basketball court, drumming, wearing a bowtie, drinking some kind of beverage (preferably something cheeky), cooking, or trying to be creative. Dumo first joined Department of Coffee back in August 2012, working as a barista. Fast forward to present day and he now oversees The Roastery Department.

Dumo Mathema, Head Roaster

Sharni grew up on the Gold Coast in Australia where she studied and was first exposed to the coffee industry. It was here that she undertook her first coffee job and began her passion for hospitality and customer service. She made the move to London from her home city in 2013 where she spent 4 months travelling Europe and North Africa. Sharni joined Department of Coffee & Social Affairs in November 2013 where she started as a wait staff and quickly progressed to shop manager of Department of Coffee and Social Affairs – Carnaby. Sharni is now the Sales and Product Development Manager where she oversees and manages the food across the organisation.

Sharni grew up on the Gold Coast in Australia where she studied and was first exposed to the coffee industry. It was here that she undertook her first coffee job and began her passion for hospitality and customer service. She made the move to London from her home city in 2013 where she spent 4 months travelling Europe and North Africa. Sharni joined Department of Coffee & Social Affairs in November 2013 where she started as a wait staff and quickly progressed to shop manager of Department of Coffee and Social Affairs – Carnaby. Sharni is now the Sales and Product Development Manager where she oversees and manages the food across the organisation.


Sharni Ruming, Sales & Product Development Manager