Cheltenham does not immediately spring to mind when thinking of top-quality coffee. However, that perception is slowly changing down in Montpellier, a short stroll southwest of the town centre. First there was the short-lived No.5 The Brew Rooms and now there is Coffee & Co which, since November 2012, has been steadily establishing itself as the place to go for great coffee.
Set in an old town house, which has since been converted into offices, Coffee & Co has taken over the lower two floors and set about creating a wonderful place to sit and drink coffee. The closest in feel I can think of is the upstairs lounge of the Boston Tea Party on Bristol’s Park Street back in the day when you really could sit there all day nursing a single cup of coffee. Coffee & Co is more formal, with tables predominating over sofas, but it still manages to create that feel of relaxing in someone’s home rather than sitting in a coffee shop.
None of this would matter if the coffee wasn’t up to much, but fortunately Coffee & Co has paired with London roasters, Union, to provide first-class coffee to match the first-class surroundings.
May 2015: I’ve heard that Coffee & Co has been turned into an Italian Restaurant, which is a shame since it was a lovely space to drink coffee.
You can read more of my thoughts after the gallery.
Occupying a spot on the south side of the busy roundabout connecting Montpellier Walk, Montpellier Terrace and Lansdown Road, Coffee & Co is not somewhere you would accidentally come across if you weren’t looking for it. It doesn’t help that the normally reliable Google Maps puts it on the other side of the roundabout on Lansdown Road. It was also equally hard to find online.
[Note to Coffee Shop owners: calling yourself Coffee & Co (or similar) does not make you stand out to your search engine of choice. Unless your potential customer knows exactly what to search for, the most likely outcome will end with a muttered “no, I do not mean #*$$£& Starbucks Coffee!”]
All of this is a roundabout way of saying that Coffee & Co is worth the effort it took to find it in both real and virtual worlds. It’s one of the nicest spots to drink coffee that I’ve come across for a long time. I bypassed the outside seating, which although very nice, suffers from the constant traffic rushing by a few steps away. Instead I stepped inside, where it felt as if I’d gone into someone’s home.
Partly this is because it was a house before it became offices and then, accidentally, a coffee shop. One of the owners, Jack, explained that he was looking for an office, but the landlord would only let the whole building. So Jack went for it and opened Coffee & Co on the lower two floors. As you do.
Rather disconcertingly, you come into Coffee & Co by way of the hall. There’s an open door to your left and stairs straight ahead. The temptation to explore was almost overwhelming, but I was good and went into the main room. Anyone familiar with the typical British house layout of the early 20th century will immediately feel at home. The front room and sitting room (at least, that’s what they were called in the house I grew up in; parlour and living room would do just as well) have been knocked into one, with the counter at the back of the sitting room, and tables in the front room.
The decor is wooden floorboards and plain white walls, with lovely wooden tables. The best seat (downstairs) is in front of the window, but the best feature is the amazing fireplace, complete with old-fashioned stove, and the awesome clock above it. If tables aren’t your thing, there are two stools at little bars either side of the fireplace.
If you thought that was good, upstairs is even nicer. The stairs double back on themselves (just like a miniature Park Street) before carrying on to the offices above, which includes Jack’s. Upstairs, the layout is the same, minus the counter of course, which has been replaced by more seating. It’s even brighter and my only complaint is that the two equally impressive fireplaces have been boarded up.
The coffee matches the excellent surroundings. Jack explained that he went with Union Hand Roasted Coffee, largely because of its commitment to supplying everything from beans through the machinery to on-going staff training. I had a very fine espresso and was tempted by the fine range of cakes. I dithered, but went with the staff’s recommendation, an awesome chocolate & toffee pastry.
|7 MONTPELLIER TERRACE • CHELTENHAM • GL50 1US|
|www.coffeeandco.co.uk||+44 (0) 1242 285965|
|Monday||07:00 – 18:00||Seating||Tables, Sofas (upstairs), Tables outside|
|Tuesday||07:00 – 18:00||Food||Sandwiches, Cake|
|Wednesday||07:00 – 18:00||Service||Order at Counter|
|Thursday||07:00 – 18:00||Cards||Mastercard, Visa (£5 minimum)|
|Friday||07:00 – 18:00||Wifi||No|
|Saturday||07:00 – 18:00||Power||Limited|
|Sunday||07:00 – 18:00||Mobile||3G/Voice|
|Chain||No||Visits||30th April 2013|
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