Laynes Espresso, New Station Street

A unique take on the tasting note card from Laynes Espresso in Leeds: the Tasting Note Beer Mat.From its home on New Station Street, Laynes Espresso has long been at the forefront of speciality coffee in Leeds. Once-upon-time, there was just Laynes, then came Belgrave Hall, the (relatively short-lived) Sheaf Street Canteen and a pop-up at Leeds Dock, all of which have now closed as Laynes has consolidated, renewing its focus on the original Laynes in the process.

This used to be a small, cosy spot, with an equally cosy basement. However, Laynes underwent an expansion at the end of 2016, taking over the space to the right and knocking through both upstairs and down. The new Laynes is three times the size, transforming the upstairs into a bright, spacious coffee shop and kitchen, while the basement has lost its claustrophobic feel.

With the extra space comes an expanded menu and an increased focus on food. Building on the expertise gained first through weekend brunches at Belgrave and then Sheaf Street and various pop-ups, Laynes is as much, if not more, about food as it is about coffee. The result is an awesome all-day breakfast/brunch menu, heavy on vegetarian choices. The coffee, as ever, is from Square Mile, with Red Brick on espresso and a single-origin pour-over.

You can read more of my thoughts after the gallery.

  • Laynes Espresso, on New Station Street in Leeds, occupies two adjoining spaces.
  • The main door is on the left, which is where you have to go to order. This is also the original Laynes Espresso, which, until the start of 2017, only occupied this space.
  • The space is dominated by the counter, which occupies most of the left-hand wall...
  • ... although there is space for a window-bar, which runs the full width of the window.
  • The other side of Laynes is where all the seating is, with the party wall knocked through.
  • There's an open kitchen at the back of the space. You can also sit at the counter here.
  • However, that's not all. At the back on the left-hand side, stairs lead down..
  • ... doubling back on themselves as they lead you to...
  • ... an amazing basement with a gloriously-tiled floor.
  • The view from the bottom of the stairs. The basement isn't quite as big as upstairs...
  • ... but it's not far off. Here's a view when it's a bit emptier, early in the morning.
  • There's a four-person table to the left of the stairs...
  • ... and a six-person bar across the way against the front wall.
  • However, the best is yet to come, as the basement stretches off to your left...
  • ...matching the layout above. Once again, the party wall has been knocked through...
  • ... to make this magnificent second space, more than doubling the available seating.
  • The second part of the basement is dominated by this long communal table.
  • I like the exposed brick at the far end.
  • To your left, under where the kitchen is upstairs, is a row of two-person tables.
  • There are five in all, up against a padded bench that runs the width of the wall.
  • They can also be pushed together to form tables for four, which is what's happened here.
  • Finally, on the other side of the communal table is another bar, this time without seats.
  • The view looking back from the far end of the basement...
  • ... and here looking back into the first seating area.
  • Unlike upstairs, with its two front doors, there's only one way in/out of the basement...
  • ... and that's back up the stairs we came down.
  • The entrance to the stairs lines up nicely with the first of the front doors.
  • So, to business. You order at the large counter in the left-hand part of Laynes.
  • A range of cakes and pastries greet you as you enter, although there's a lot more to...
  • ... Laynes' food offering, as seen on the all-day brunch menu, which is found on the tables.
  • The coffee (& other drinks) menu, meanwhile, hangs on the back wall behind the counter.
  • The heart of the coffee operation is the Synesso espresso machine & its two grinders.
  • Meanwhile, in a niche in the back wall, is the pour-over area, complete with EK-43 grinder.
  • I started off with a flat white, made using Square Mile's ubiquitous Red Brick blend.
  • The latte art is worth a second look.
  • I went for brunch, selecting the awesome Laynes Breakfast, a fully vegetarian affair.
  • I was so impressed that I returned two days later (Bank Holiday Monday) for breakfast.
  • I had the Morel Mushroom Florentine, an interesting twist on Eggs Florentine.
  • I paired this with a V60 of the Janachute single-origin coffee.
  • This is served with some tasting notes in the shape of a beer-mat.
  • The tasting (and preparation) notes in detail. What a nice idea.
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Laynes Espresso is conveniently-located on New Station Street, just around the corner from Leeds station, making it a great first/last coffee stop of any visit. It cuts a pretty striking figure, two near-identical spaces side-by-side on the steeply sloping street. Each has two windows on the left and a glass door on the right, with a bright, red/orange façade. There are also four benches outside, one for each window.

You can use either of the two doors, but you need to go into the left-hand side, which used to be the original Laynes, to order at the large counter. This occupies the bulk of the left-hand wall, with a large, open space in front of it. You’ll find a window-bar to the left of the door, tucked in by the counter, but other than that, if you want seating, you need to head to the other side or pop down to the basement using the stairs at the back.

Upstairs, the right-hand side of Laynes is accessible through either its own front door, or via a small step down from the counter, through where the party wall used to be. There’s an identical window-bar to the left of the door, while dead ahead is a padded bench against the right-hand wall, lined with four two-person tables. The middle of the space is occupied by four two-person tables arranged in two rows of two. Finally, at the back, behind a counter that runs the full width of right-hand side, is an open kitchen which produces all the food. If you like watching chefs at work, you can perch here on a bar stool.

The basement is equally spacious, although it only has the one entrance, the stairs depositing you into the back left-hand corner. It mirrors the upstairs in that there are two spaces, joined by a knocked-through party wall, although the floor here is all on one level. From the stairs, there’s a four-person table to the left, against the back wall, while directly opposite is a six-person bar against the front wall. Moving through what was the party wall, a padded bench runs along the back wall, directly under the kitchen upstairs, with five two-person tables, although they can be pushed together to form four-person tables. Running parallel to this and dominating the space is a long, wide communal table which is ideal for groups.

The two spaces have very different characters, although both have beautiful, stone-flagged floors that I’d happily have taken with me and re-laid in my kitchen, particularly the one downstairs! Upstairs is filled with natural light and has the bustle of the counter on one side and the kitchen on the other. The basement, on the other hand, is much quieter and more relaxed, the ideal hideaway for you and your laptop (although the Wifi is off at weekends). While I preferred sitting upstairs in the original Laynes, in the new Laynes, I find myself gravitating to the basement.

Naturally, I had to try the all-day brunch menu. I was there twice, sampling the Laynes breakfast (sourdough toast, braised beans and a poached egg, with whole roast cherry tomatoes, shallots and a grilled Portobello mushroom) and then the Morel Mushroom Florentine, an interesting twist on Eggs Florentine.

When it came to coffee, I had a flat white on my first visit, followed by a V60 of the Janachute, a rich, juicy brew that provided a nice contrast to the flat white. For a full description of both my meals and the coffee, please see my Coffee Spot Update on Laynes.


October 2017: this is an updated version of the original post which was published in October 2014. You can see what has changed in my Coffee Spot Update.

16 NEW STATION STREET • LEEDS • LS1 5DL
www.laynesespresso.co.uk +44 (0) 7828 823189
Monday 07:00 – 19:00 Roaster Square Mile (espresso + filter)
Tuesday 07:00 – 19:00 Seating Tables, Bars; Benches (outside)
Wednesday 07:00 – 19:00 Food Breakfast, Lunch, Sandwiches, Cake
Thursday 07:00 – 19:00 Service Order at Counter
Friday 07:00 – 19:00 Cards Amex, Mastercard, Visa
Saturday 09:00 – 18:00 Wifi Free (with code)
Sunday 09:00 – 18:00 Power Yes
Chain No Visits Original: 19th/20th June 2014, 20th May 2016
Update: 26th/28th August 2017

You can find out what fellow coffee-bloggers Guila, Alison and finally, Bean There At, made of the original Laynes Espresso during various visits. Local blogger Georgia, has also written about Laynes Espresso and its new extension.

Liked this Coffee Spot? Then check out the rest of Leeds’ speciality coffee scene with the Coffee Spot Guide to Leeds.


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11 thoughts on “Laynes Espresso, New Station Street

  1. Greetings to a fellow toast-fiend! Toast: my ideal perfume. I cannot turn down a crust. Peanut butter (+black pepper) called to me though. But then, I spied the bostock and morning cakes straight away and was enthused in an instant. And then, the afternoon cakes…yeah, I like this one. Pretty little spot, too.

    Think I’d rather do brinner than breakfast, though…

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