Grab a free coffee in exchange for a poem in cafes around the world this week

Grab a free coffee in exchange for a poem in cafes around the world this week


Grab a free coffee in exchange for a poem in cafes around the world this week 1

If you fancy yourself as the next George The Poet or Carol Ann Duffy and have a penchant for caffeine, it’s time to put pen to paper.

To mark World Poetry Day on 21 March, a number of cafes in over 40 countries will be offering customers free coffee in return for a poem.

The Pay With A Poem project, which is in its sixth year, aims to celebrate writing in the digital age, inviting people to put aside their phones and express their feelings and ideas on paper.


A total of 15 coffee houses in London are taking part in the event, along with coffee roasters in the UK cities of Sheffield, Nottingham and Leicester.

To take part in the initiative, participants must be over the age of 18 and are instructed to write an original poem on a sheet of paper with the title “Pay with a Poem”.

They are also invited to take a photo of their poem on World Poetry Day with the hashtag #PayWithAPoem, followed by the name of the country they’re in, for example “#PayWithAPoemRomania”.

The project is the brainchild of coffee retailer Julius Meinl in association with singer-songwriter Tom Odell.

Close up of a woman writing her notebook in a cafe (Getty Images/iStockphoto)

“As anyone who follows me on Instagram will know, I am a real advocate of putting pen to paper,” Odell tells the Evening Standard.

“Whether I am at home, seeking inspiration over a morning coffee or travelling, I believe there is something very freeing in taking a moment out of the day to write.”

Last year, a report by charity National Literacy Trust (NLT) found that children who are less engaged with reading and writing are more likely to struggle with their mental health.

The survey of almost 50,000 children revealed that 40.3 per cent of children with above expected reading skills had high levels of mental wellbeing, compared to 13.1 per cent who had below expected reading skills.

Find out participating coffee venues near you here.

Participating cafes in London include:

  • Bush Theater, Shepherd’s Bush
  • Bite Café, Hammersmith
  • Beaufort House, Chelsea
  • Balans Soho Society, Clapham
  • Balans Soho Society, Soho
  • Balans Soho Society, Shepherds Bush
  • Balans Soho Society, Kensington
  • Balans Soho Society, 7 dials
  • Balans Soho Society, Stratford
  • Balans Soho Society, Soho Cafe
  • Forge & Co, Shoreditch
  • Goodenough College, Clerkenwell
  • Middleton Deli, Saint John’s
  • FreshCo, Croydon
  • Monalicious, Hackney

Check out our list of the best poetry books and favourite poems from The Independent’s contributors for inspiration.


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