York is part of the not-very-well-known Yorkshire Coffee Triangle, along with Harrogate (home of the inestimable Bean & Bud) and Leeds (which featured in my latest article for Caffeine Magazine). This lack of recognition is a shame, since the area contains one of the greatest concentrations of high-quality coffee shops outside of London. Spring Espresso, on York’s Fossgate, is right up there with the best of them.
Like the other mainstays of York’s independent coffee scene, The Perky Peacock and Harlequin/The Attic, Spring Espresso is very much a home-grown talent. Opening in the autumn of 2011 (although with roots going back to 2006), Spring Espresso is the creation of the lovely Steve and Tracey, both of whom I was fortune enough to meet when I visited one Sunday morning.
There are two main reasons for visiting Spring Espresso: the excellent coffee from London’s Square Mile and the warm welcome you get from Tracey and Steve. The food’s not bad either (okay, so that’s three). And the cakes are excellent (four). And I’ve been told the tea’s very good too (five). I think I’ll stop now…
You get the picture…
December 2016: There are now two Spring Espressos, with the second opening on Lendal. Expect a write-up in 2017, just as soon as I get back to York!
You can read more of my thoughts after the gallery.
Often I’ll describe a Coffee Spot in terms of its uncluttered layout, or spacious interior. However, neither of these apply to Spring Espresso. Not that this is a criticism: most of the Coffee Spots I visited in York occupy small premises and Spring Espresso has filled what space it has with some very comfortable seating. I just had that feeling of everyone being on top of each other.
Spring Espresso is on Fossgate, one of York’s original Roman streets, which runs down (and over) the River Ouse. From the outside, your eye is immediately caught by the impressive logo painted in the window, a winged espresso cup with twin mottos “Righteous & True Since 2006” and “Spin And Roll”.
Stepping inside, you are confronted with an interesting selection of seating. Immediately to your left is a four-person window bar, while ahead of you, four small tables nestle against the right-hand wall. The first two are semi-circular, glass-topped coffee tables, each with a pair of stools, while the others are higher, wooden tables that you can squeeze three or four people around.
At the back, on the left-hand side, is the counter, while the space between it and the window is occupied by a pair of coffee tables. The first, near the window, is a round, glass-topped affair, with a two-seat sofa and, against the left-hand wall, a pair of armchairs. The second, a rectangular, wooden affair, has a pair of two-seat sofas, one either side, one facing the window, the other the counter. Finally, up against the left-hand wall by the counter, is a narrow bar, which completes the seating.
The main reason for coming to Spring Espresso is the excellent coffee. Square Mile’s Red Brick seasonal blend is the mainstay, with a regularly-rotating guest espresso on the second grinder (I’d just missed a Nude Espresso bean, which was being replaced by another Square Mile). There’s also a decaf option, plus you can try the guest bean as a pour-over on the V60 if you fancy.
I started off with a flat white using the Red Brick blend. The coffee came through the milk well, resulting in a very smooth, sweet drink, which is what I’ve come to expect from the Red Brick blends over the last couple of years. I was sufficiently impressed to try it as an espresso and while it’s still not quite what I’m looking for in an espresso, it wasn’t nearly as sharp or bright as some shots of Red Brick that I’ve had in the past.
I was also tempted by the food, which included sandwiches and toasted Panini. However, it was a little early for lunch and the breakfast menu looked really good, with several varieties of toast. In the end I went for toasted crumpets, which I’ve not had in ages and which were delicious. I could just have easily have gone for one of the many excellent-looking home-made cakes though!
While I was there, I had the pleasure of meeting Mr Fancy a Cuppa himself, who is a big Spring Espresso fan. However, I think meeting me traumatised him somewhat: he was last seen in Transylvania, heading east, and vowing not to stop until he got to Australia. Silly man! As if he can get away from me that easily…
|45 FOSSGATE • YORK • YO1 9TF|
|www.springespresso.co.uk||+44 (0) 7779 294149|
|Monday||08:00 – 18:00||Roaster||Square Mile + Guests (espresso + filter)|
|Tuesday||08:00 – 18:00||Seating||Sofas, tables, bar|
|Wednesday||08:00 – 18:00||Food||Breakfast, lunch, sandwiches, cake|
|Thursday||08:00 – 18:00||Service||Order at Counter|
|Friday||08:00 – 18:00||Cards||Mastercard, Visa (£5 minimum)|
|Saturday||09:00 – 17:00||Wifi||No|
|Sunday||09:00 – 17:00||Power||No|
|Chain||Local||Visits||22nd June 2014, 23rd July 2015|
You can find out what some of my fellow coffee-bloggers made of Spring Espresso, starting with Guila in Mondomulia, followed by Diane in A Tale of Two Sittings and Alison in Black Coffee and Other Stories.
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