Faculty is an old hand in Birmingham’s booming speciality coffee scene. Set up in early 2014 by the previous owners of Saint Caffe (now Saint Kitchen), it’s one of the city’s pioneers. Located at the southern end of the beautiful Piccadilly Arcade, it’s right outside the New Street entrance of Birmingham’s New Street Station, literally just around the corner from Yorks Café & Coffee Roasters and a few minutes’ walk from the likes of Tilt and 200 Degrees.
It’s so close to the station that you can rush out, get a takeaway coffee and be back in time to make your connection if you’re changing trains. I should know: I’ve done it often enough! However, it would be a shame if you couldn’t stay since it occupies a lovely space, sharing with Sixteen Kitchen, which serves breakfast, lunch and sandwiches on the left-hand side.
Faculty itself is a true multi-roaster, offering two options on espresso, two more on V60, plus a decaf option. If you don’t like the roaster/options, come back next week and the chances are they will have changed. There are cakes from Sixteen Kitchen, while you’re free to sit in either section and mix-and-match drinks and food.
You can read more of my thoughts after the gallery.
Faculty is located in Birmingham’s beautiful Piccadilly Arcade. Regular readers will know that I have a thing about arcades and this is another great example. If you are interested, check out my original write-up of Faculty from August 2014 for details of the arcade’s history.
Although they are separate businesses, Faculty and the neighbouring Sixteen Kitchen cooperate with each other. Faculty, on the right, and Sixteen Kitchen, on the left, share a common, central entrance. You welcome to order coffee in one, food in the other and then sit wherever you can. The bulk of the seating, however, is over in Faculty, where you’ll find the counter at the back, with the seating in two rows at the front. This first occupies the massive, floor-to-ceiling, wall-to-wall window, which lets in plenty of natural (albeit borrowed) light from the arcade. The second row runs between counter and window, a mix-and-match of two- and four-person tables/school desks, stools for seating. Alternatively, you can sit at the end of the counter on one of three stools, watching your coffee being made at the brew bar.
The décor is predominantly wood: wooden floorboards, wooden counter, wooden furniture. The walls and ceiling are whitewashed, except for the back wall, which is exposed brick. Two rows of bare bulbs, one above the counter, the other above the seating, supplement the light from the arcade.
Alternatively, head next door into Sixteen Kitchen. This can be busy at lunchtimes, but when the kitchen stops serving mid-afternoon, it becomes overflow seating for Faculty. The unit’s a mirror image of Faculty with the same all-encompassing window. However, the counter is now against the left-hand wall, with a limited amount of seating in front of it.
The two operate an excellent share-and-share-alike policy. You can order food in Sixteen Kitchen and sit in Faculty or order coffee in Faculty and sit in Sixteen Kitchen. Wherever you are, the staff will bring your order to you. Sixteen Kitchen serves breakfast until 11.30, with sandwiches and salads for lunch. There’s a choice of six sandwiches, two of which are vegetarian. I had a beautifully-toasted sandwich, the filling consisting nice, big chunks of mushroom, pepper and halloumi, offering contrasting tastes and textures.
Faculty’s coffee changes rapidly, the espresso altering every 10 days or so, the filter every few days! Several times the menu has been changed while I’ve been sitting there! You can also buy retail bags of whatever’s on, plus there’s always some Square Mile retail bags.
I’ve been a semi-regular visitor to Faculty since it opened, popping in whenever I can while changing trains at New Street Station, usually for a flat white to go, or for a pour-over if I have more time. I’ve also grabbed more than one sandwich and the occasional cake to take with me on the train.
Faculty regularly gets its coffee from some of the country’s best roasters, such as Bath’s Round Hill Roastery and Colonna Coffee, while also venturing further afield, to the like of Berlin’s The Barn. Some of the best coffee I’ve drunk has been at Faculty, often enjoyed while sitting at the brew-bar, and it’s never failed to delight me. For the specific details (which includes various sandwiches and some awesome cakes), please see my original write-up and my Coffee Spot Update.
July 2020: Faculty is up and running again after COVID-19, having used the enforced closure to install a new Modbar espresso system. You can see what I made of it when I visited at the end of August.
|14 PICCADILLY ARCADE • BIRMINGHAM • B2 4HD|
|Monday||08:00 – 18:00||Roaster||Guests (espresso + filter)|
|Tuesday||08:00 – 18:00||Seating||Tables|
|Wednesday||08:00 – 18:00||Food||Breakfast, Lunch, Sandwiches, Cake|
|Thursday||08:00 – 18:00||Service||Order at Counter|
|Friday||08:00 – 18:00||Payment||Cards + Cash|
|Saturday||09:30 – 18:00||Wifi||Free (with code)|
|Sunday||11:00 – 16:00||Power||No|
|Chain||No||Visits||Original: 6th August 2014
Update: 4th May 2016, 29th July 2016
If you enjoyed this Coffee Spot, then take a look at the rest of Birmingham’s speciality coffee scene with the Coffee Spot Guide to Birmingham.
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