Upshot Espresso, on Sheffield’s Glossop Road, takes a little bit of finding. Just outside of the centre, near Sheffield University and the hospital, it’s an unprepossessing place, much like Manchester’s TAKK. From the street, a modest, red sign hangs above the door with the words “Upshot Espresso”, while “Independent Coffeehouse” is written in the window. Other than that, there is little in the plain exterior that hints at the delights that lie within.
Make no mistake though. While it’s exterior is not quite as modest as, say, Newcastle’s Flat Caps Coffee, Upshot is very much in the same league. Run by father and son, Neal and Sam, Upshot serves Square Mile’s Red Brick as the house espresso, with a veritable who’s who of British speciality coffee appearing as the regularly-rotating guest. If espresso’s not your thing, there’s also a guest Aeropress option, while Upshot takes as much care about its tea as it does about its coffee, with carefully-selected offerings from Canton Tea Co.
There is also food and cake, and while the menu/selection may be limited, all the food is freshly cooked on the premises and served with the same love and dedication as the coffee (and tea).
You can read more of my thoughts after the gallery.
Upshot Espresso’s interior matches it modest exterior. It’s a bright, simple space, a rectangle, with the door in the centre of the long side, windows to either side. The counter’s at the right-hand end, the bulk of the seating in front and to your left. Diagonally opposite, at the far end of the counter, two steps lead up to an opening in the back wall. While I was there, this led to kitchen and bathroom, but by the time you read this, Upshot will have opened a third area on the right, which will provide additional seating.
Back in the main room, there were window-bars to both left and right. However, as part of the remodelling that’s seen the back room opened up, there should now only be one window-bar, to the left as you enter, the one to the right having been replaced by a retail shelf.
The bulk of the seating is provided by five tables in the main area, the largest of which is a six-person table towards the left-hand wall. A padded bench runs along the back wall, with a four-person and a couple of two-person tables. Finally, a lone two-person table sits in the middle of the room opposite the door. A low bench with magazines sits in front of counter, providing some separation between the seating and the counter area itself.
The windows make it a very bright space, helped by a window at the back. I was there on a particularly sunny February day, when the interior was flooded with light. I also got a sneak preview of the back room, which although small, seemed cosy and bright. On Sam’s insistence, I’m not going to mention the ceiling…
Ceiling aside, the real draw with Upshot is the coffee. The centrepiece is a 1990s Faema E61, refurbished by Neal himself (a mechanic-turned-plumber before he was a coffee shop owner), which turns out shot after shot of the house-blend, Square Mile’s Red Brick. However, I was interested in the guest, which that very morning had changed from Workshop to a Kochere single-origin from Bath’s Round Hill Roastery.
I tried it in a flat white, where it showed that it went well with milk, producing a smooth drink, full of complex flavours. I followed that up with an espresso, which was surprisingly fruity, but with the same complex, almost smoky, flavour to it that I’d detected in the flat white. As an espresso, it was also quite long, Sam pulling his shots with a ratio of 40g of water out to 20g of coffee in.
Both the cake and breakfast menus offer limited choice, with the focus on quality, not quantity. I selected the simple option of toast for breakfast, the bread being provided by local baker, Alan, aka “The Bread Man”, who runs The Baker’s Art. He also provides all the cake, with the exception of the brownies, which are baked in-house.
Once a month, Upshot hosts a Saturday brunch, with a bespoke menu. I was there a week early for February’s brunch, but Neal took pity on me and made a one-off second breakfast of poached eggs on toast so that I could see what I was missing. Both sets of toast were amazing, while the eggs were done to perfection, with rich, creamy yolks.
December 2015: Upshot Espresso was a runner-up for the 2015 Coffee Spot Award for Happiest Staff.
|355 GLOSSOP ROAD • SHEFFIELD • S10 2HP|
|www.upshotespresso.co.uk||+44 (0) 114 278 0333|
|Monday||08:00 – 16:30||Roaster||Square Mile plus Guests (Espresso + Filter)|
|Tuesday||08:00 – 16:30||Seating||Tables, Window Bar|
|Wednesday||08:00 – 16:30||Food||Breakfast, Lunch, Cake|
|Thursday||08:00 – 16:30||Service||Order at Counter|
|Friday||08:00 – 16:30||Cards||Mastercard, Visa|
|Saturday||CLOSED||Wifi||Free (with code)|
|Chain||No||Visits||9th February 2015|
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