Café 1901

A drawing on the wall of Cafe 1901Café 1901 is a wonderful spot inside Newcastle’s Jesmond Methodist Church. It’s a strange space, in that, just as you think you’ve discovered all there is to it, you realise that there’s more! Starting with the tables outside on the pavement, and finishing with the seating at the back by the counter, there are four distinct parts to Café 1901, each with its own specific charm.

However, Café 1901 is more than a lovely space. It serves excellent food, with full breakfast and lunch menus, plus a decent selection of cake. What’s more, the coffee is excellent too. With beans from the nearby Colour Coffee Company (the roasting offshoot of Pink Lane Coffee), there’s a concise espresso-based menu plus hand-poured filter through either V60 or Chemex.

However, where many would be satisfied with a single espresso blend throughout the year, Café 1901 regularly rotates its espresso, running a different single-origin or blend every couple of weeks. Another single-origin is available for the filter coffee, while there’s also decaf from Bristol’s Extract Coffee Roasters and tea from the local  Ringtons. Ever adventurous, Café 1901 was also serving a cold-brew (hot) chocolate from Kokoa Collection.

You can read more of my thoughts after the gallery.

  • Cafe 1901 in Jesmond Methodist Church. Regular readers know about the law re cars...
  • The entrance is on the right-hand end, flanked here by a pair of tables on the pavement.
  • The hanging baskets are a nice touch.
  • Cafe 1901 nails its colours firmly to the A-board, although it no longer serves Has Bean.
  • Stepping inside, you find yourself in this lovely entrance hall/lobby, table to the left.
  • If that's all there was to Cafe 1901, it'd be lovely, but there's more through the glass doors.
  • Quite a lot more, in fact!
  • One last look back at the entrance lobby before we go in.
  • The view from just inside the glass doors of the seating area. And wait, there's more! Over to the right, there's a counter and another seating area!
  • However, staying in the front part, this is the view looking towards the windows.
  • First up, on the left as you enter, a 4-person table with old cinema seats.
  • This is next to this old dresser, which holds the menus and some reading material.
  • Immediately after that, more seating; armchairs, sofas and a little round table.
  • The armchair looks comfortable, but has seen better days. Loving the coffee sack cushion.
  • And in complete contrast, there's this little fellow...
  • If it's comfort you're looking for, this pair of sofas in the window look ideal.
  • Beyond them, in the far corner, is what looks like an old church and some school desks.
  • This pair of armchairs are by a set of shelves which separate the front from the back...
  • ... talking of the back, it's dominated by this magnificent counter along one side.
  • The counter, seen head on.
  • Want to get up close & personal? Try one of these barber's chairs at the end of the counter.
  • Alternatively, there's another barber's chair at the far end, with its own table.
  • There's a large, communal table in the centre of the room...
  • ... beyond which is a baby grand piano. Naturally.
  • Opposite the counter are a pair of booths, each with four old cinema seats.
  • I ended up sitting in this one.
  • A view of the back part of Cafe 1901, looking towards the windows at the front.
  • The windows make it very bright, but in case it's gloomy outside, there are plenty of lights.
  • These hang above the counter, although there are also some small windows at the back.
  • Another view of the lights over the counter.
  • Close up.
  • Cafe 1901, betraying the religious origins of the building. Lighting by angle-poise.
  • In the front, there's this lovely drawing on the wall opposite the glass doors...
  • ... while this one sits on the wall above the glass doors.
  • There are lots of interesting bits and pieces about, including this set of shelves.
  • There are more on the bits and pieces on the windowsills.
  • It's a very eclectic mix.
  • On a more practical note, there are bottles of water right at the back.
  • Cafe 1901 has a wide and varied food menu, copies of which await you as you enter...
  • ... and they are also by the counter.
  • If you don't fancy something too substantial, there's plenty of cake.
  • However, I was there for breakfast, so naturally it was Eggs Florentine for me.
  • However, I also wanted some coffee...
  • A concise, but impressive menu. Coffee, loose-leaf tea and...
  • ... hot chocolate from Kokoa Collection.
  • The coffee, by the way, is from Newcastle's very own Colour Coffee Company.
  • Just in case you missed it...
  • I got my day underway with a flat white to go with my breakfast.
  • Afterwards I went back for a filter coffee (although it wasn't a Clever Dripper that day).
  • Time to dust off the filter rack and the trusty V60s.
  • The filter paper has been rinsed and beans have been ground...
  • ... and the water has been added. I blame Instagram for all these 'top-down' shots...
  • After letting it bloom, it's time to top the V60 up.
  • Now we just let it filter through...
  • Almost done.
  • And serve. Beautiful presentation.
  • And since everything else has been seen from above...
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From the street, the Jesmond Methodist Church and its Hall, cuts a very impressive figure. The church occupies the left-hand third of the building, the church hall taking up the remaining two-thirds. Café 1901’s entrance is at the far end, where there’s a small patio area on the pavement, a pair of four person tables flanking the door.

Stepping inside, you find yourself in small, pleasant, lobby area. “This looks nice and cosy,” you think, with its four-person table to the left of the door. Then you notice the big, glass double doors to your left, opening onto a large hall. There’s a four-person table, just inside the door, with reclaimed cinema seats. Beyond that are two of the most comfortable-looking sofas I’ve seen, plus some armchairs and a small, round table. Beyond them, there’s another row of tables and a further pair of armchairs. And that’s only the start of it!

The hall stretches away to the right, some cleverly-placed shelves splitting the space in two. The front, with the aforementioned sofas, occupies the space by the tall, narrow, frosted-glass windows. Beyond the shelves, you’ll find a beautiful, wooden counter on the right and yet more seating on the left. This includes a magnificent, eight-person wooden table in the middle of the room and two booths, each with a table and two pairs of old cinema seats. There’s also a baby grand piano in the corner on the left-hand side and another couple of two-person tables. Finally, a pair of reclaimed barber’s chairs occupy the far end of the counter, where you can watch your filter coffee being made.

The front of the hall’s gloriously bright, light flooding in through the tall windows. The back has mostly borrowed light, but is far from gloomy, an abundance of lights brightening the place up. There’s also natural light from a pair of windows behind the counter, where a door leads to the kitchen, Café 1901 cooking all the food to order.

The hall’s about as tall as it is wide, and maybe twice as long, the soaring ceiling only adding to the sense of size and space. Whitewashed walls at the front give way to bare stone at the back, while there are wooden herringbone floor-tiles throughout. With an emphasis on friendly, welcoming service, it’s the sort of place that appeals to a wide age range. There were families with babies on the morning I visited, and you could easily take your grandparents there for afternoon tea and not feel out of place.

I started my day with a flat white, my first taste of Colour Coffee. It was a comparatively strong, dark roast, but not unpleasantly so, and was without any hint of bitterness. Indeed, as a first coffee of the morning, it had the kick that I’m look for! The milk was beautifully steamed as well. I also had breakfast, which was, naturally, Eggs Florentine, with  a rich, creamy sauce and well-poached eggs. It came with a huge slab of toast and another on the side.

I got chatting with Debbie, who has been running Café 1901 since February. She insisted on making me a V60 of an Ethiopian from Colour and who was I to refuse? This had a lovely, fruity nature, becoming even fruiter as it cooled.

December 2015: Café 1901 was a runner-up for the 2015 Best Neighbourhood Coffee Spot Award.

ST GEORGE’S TERRACE • NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE • NE2 2DL
www.jmc-newcastle.org.uk +44 (0) 191 340 9774
Monday 10:00 – 18:00 Roaster Colour Coffee (espresso + filter)
Tuesday 10:00 – 18:00 Seating Tables, Sofas, Tables (outside)
Wednesday 10:00 – 18:00 Food Breakfast, Lunch, Cake
Thursday 10:00 – 18:00 Service Order at Counter
Friday 10:00 – 18:00 Cards Mastercard, Visa (£0.50 under £10)
Saturday 10:00 – 18:00 Wifi Free (with code)
Sunday 10:00 – 16:00 Power Limited
Chain No Visits 22nd August 2015

If you enjoyed this Coffee Spot, check out the rest of Newcastle and Gateshead’s speciality coffee scene with the Coffee Spot Guide to Newcastle & Gateshead.


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6 thoughts on “Café 1901

  1. Yeah, looks pretty good bread. Wonder where it’s from?
    As a note: I’d like to see more photos where menus/ food labels are legible.

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