Just to the south of Huddersfield’s bustling town centre and directly opposite Huddersfield University campus, is the Coffee Kabin, perched on the busy Queensgate, which serves as part of Huddersfield’s ring road. The name Coffee Kabin is, on the one hand, a bit of a misnomer, “cabin” conjuring in my mind a small spot akin to Manchester’s Caffeine & Co or, even more appropriately, Grindsmith.
Instead it’s a surprisingly big place, with a spacious upstairs seating area and a cosy downstairs, where seating shares space with the counter. On the other hand, “cabin” fits perfectly, bringing to mind an image of wooden floors and bare, stone walls, a look which the Coffee Kabin pulls off so well. And, to be fair, who said cabins have to be small?
On espresso, the house-blend is from local roasters Grumpy Mule, just down the road in Holmfirth, while there are guests on espresso and filter. To counter-balance Grumpy Mule’s proximity, the guests rotate regularly between London’s Workshop, Cornwall’s Origin and Berlin’s The Barn. There’s also a decent selection of loose-leaf tea, an array of cakes and (all-day) breakfast and lunch menus, plus award-winning hot chocolate from Kokoa Collection.
November 2017: these days, the Coffee Kabin goes by the name “Epicure Bar and Kitchen”. Simon is still at the helm, and still turning out superb coffee, but the focus is (even more) on the excellent food. Expect a full update as soon as I can get back to Huddersfield!
You can read more of my thoughts after the gallery.
From the outside, Huddersfield’s Coffee Kabin is not much to look at, largely because you’d have to stand in the middle of Queensgate to get a good view, at which point you’d be run over. Stepping inside, an airlock system more reminiscent of colder climates (although I suppose this is “up north”) leads you into the small, cosy downstairs. Solid stone walls give it warmth and character, although they don’t really lend themselves to windows, so natural light is at a premium. This is largely supplied by the single window at the front and, while I was there, the open door (which might explain the airlock; otherwise it would be both noisy and draughty). However, multiple white spots at the front keep it nice and the bright, while bare, glowing, golden bulbs at the back add to the warmth.
There are three square tables to your left as you come in, arrayed around the window and a water station on a barrel in the corner. Facing these is a three-seater red leather sofa, with a matching armchair on the other side of the room, which completes the downstairs seating. Behind the sofa comes the counter, a delightful, L-shaped wooden affair, cakes on the left, grinders and two-group La Marzocco Strada facing you. The food menus are on the wall to the left, appropriately enough behind the cake, while, on the back wall, behind the espresso machine, are the drinks and coffee menus.
Upstairs is accessed by a flight of stairs on the right-hand side. Here it’s even more spacious: thankfully the temptation to cram too much in has been resisted. It’s also bright, with two windows at the front. There’s a similar mix of tables and sofas, although the greater space leads to more variety. There are two two-person tables, one four-person one and a pair of long, communal tables with benches. The seating is rounded off by a pair of black two-seater sofas facing each other at the front, and an L-shaped configuration of another pair of sofas at the back.
Simon, the owner, realising that Huddersfield is not necessarily the natural home of speciality coffee, does a good job of explaining the options and engaging new customers about their choices. When I tentatively suggested black coffee, he offered me an Americano, but deftly steered me towards filter. The menu backs him up, listing espresso, followed by “with milk” options (from a 4oz piccolo through flat white, cappuccino and a 10oz latte; no buckets here) before tacking on “with water” at the bottom (6oz long black and 10oz Americano). Finally, the beans are prominently displayed (espresso on one side, filter on the other), complete with tasting notes.
I took Simon up on his offer and had an Aeropress of La Perla from Costa Rica, roasted by Origin (the guest espresso was also from Origin). It arrived beautifully presented on a wooden tray in a handleless glass carafe with a small tumbler by its side. It’s a very subtle coffee, smooth and sweet, with delicate fruity notes that my limited palate were just picking up. I also had a Bree, grape and cranberry sandwich on focaccia, toasted, of course. It was lovely, the melted Bree combining with the crunchiness of the toast, the cranberry adding just the right sweet notes.
Thanks, by the way, to Steve Edwards, for putting me onto the Coffee Kabin in the first place!
|37-39 QUEENSGATE • HUDDERSFIELD • HD1 2RD|
|www.thecoffeekabin.com||+44 (0) 7980 373699|
|Monday||08:00 – 17:00||Roasters||Grumpy Mule + Guests (espresso + filter)|
|Tuesday||08:00 – 17:00||Seating||Tables, Armchairs, Sofas|
|Wednesday||08:00 – 17:00||Food||Breakfast, Sandwiches, Soup, Cakes|
|Thursday||08:00 – 17:00||Service||Order at Counter|
|Friday||08:00 – 21:00||Cards||Mastercard, Visa|
|Saturday||09:00 – 21:00||Wifi||Free (with code)|
|Chain||No||Visits||31st October 2014|
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