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About Us

Why Black Robin?


Our little coffee shop was once a sweet shop and then in 2016 it became "Smell the Coffee" - providing St Ives locals with some of the best coffee beans from around the world and rich, strong Italian-style espresso-based drinks to go - it quickly became recognised as the best coffee in town and a firm favourite with coffee lovers. 

A website was added to share the quality beans and accessories with coffee aficionados across the UK.

In Summer 2018, the owner of Smell the Coffee announced that, due to competing responsibilities, the store would be closed by the coming Autumn, if new owners could not be found.

The shop was facing extinction.

St Ives local, Joel Crisp and his partner, NZ-born Alun Bain, were fans of the store and stepped up to save it and put their own stamp on it.  They wanted to continue on the tradition of supplying the world’s best beans, roasted by the best coffee roasters in the UK and use their years of business, retail and coffee experience to further improve the products on offer.

Part of this re-birth was to choose a new name and branding - something that celebrated the new owners love of nature and the environment, was a nod to Alun’s antipodean heritage and had a story that tied into the shop’s history.

Enter the Black Robin - once the most endangered bird in the world (just one female and 4 males in 1980) this little black bird is native to New Zealand and was facing extinction.  A huge effort by conservationists has brought the species back from the brink and today there are around 250 Black Robins and the population continues to grow.

Joel and Alun liked the story of this little bird and the parallels to the story of the coffee shop, so Black Robin Coffee was born!

Stay Awhile


Our alleyway location is right in the middle of the historical township of St Ives, in Cambridgeshire. We have cosy seating in our bay window and we have outdoor tables and chairs in the warmer months

More than Drinks


Although we offer a wide variety of hot drinks, we will also provide savoury and sweet food options and soon we'll be adding a range of chilled and iced drinks... watch this space!

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