In the spotlight
PUBLISHED: 10:08 21 March 2009 | UPDATED: 14:12 05 October 2010
Gwilym Davies, who runs a coffee cart at Columbia Road Market every Sunday, has just been voted the best coffee maker in the UK. We decided to find out what makes him tick. Where are you from? I was born and brought up in Leeds. I live on a house boat
Gwilym Davies, who runs a coffee cart at Columbia Road Market every Sunday, has just been voted the best coffee maker in the UK. We decided to find out what makes him tick.
Where are you from?
I was born and brought up in Leeds. I live on a house boat on the River Lee, by Leaway (Leyton), with my partner Susy and my four-year-old son Percy.
Before that our houseboat was moored at Limehouse.
I worked in a café in New Zealand eleven years ago and when I came back I moved out to Reading where I set up a community business café. It was part of a homeless charity and we trained their tenants in the café.
Later I moved up to London - I always end up in London.
What do you like about the East End?
I like the waterways that run through it like the Lea navigation system. I also like the Thames by Limehouse and the Regents Canal down by the side of Victoria Park.
I love the close community I live in by the river.
I also like the diversity and the food that's available. I meet a diverse range of people when working on my coffee cart at Columbia Road Market.
You can get coffee and food that is of just as good a quality as in a posh area. Winning the Barista UK Championship just goes to show that. - I enjoy the East End, I don't hang out West.
What don't you like about the East End?
I would like more green spaces, but that's London I guess.
I don't like the gentrification which pushes out small traders like me. We get marginalised when the rents go up and pushed out by big restaurants and estate agents.
I used to set up my cart in places like Limehouse but that area is completely off-limits now.
I used to go to Spitalfields Market to get my vegetables but the man I got them from is no longer there after the changes.
It's good when an area gets cleaned up but not when it makes it less diverse.
Where do you go if you are out up East?
I wonder down Brick Lane to Spitalfields and from there down to the River Thames and catch one of the ferries from London Bridge over to Greenwich.
Or I might sit down for a coffee at A Taste of Bitter Love on Hackney Road - one of my favourite cafes at the moment.
I also like The Pavilion Cafe, set by the lake in Victoria Park.
What do you do to relax?
I take my canal boat for a spin up the River Lea or down to Limehouse.
What are you doing this weekend?
Sunday I'll be working and Saturday I'll be preparing for setting up my cart at Columbia Road Flower Market.