A couple of minutes’ walk apart on Newcastle’s St George’s Terrace, Harvest Canteen and Monday’s Coffee Spot, Café 1901, couldn’t be further apart in look and feel. Both, however, are outstanding. Both do great food: breakfast, lunch and a wide range of cake. Both also do great locally-roasted coffee. If pushed, I’d say Harvest does great coffee with food, 1901 doing great food with coffee. It’s more emphasis than any difference in substance though, Harvest projecting as a very modern coffee shop, 1901 as a cosy café.
Harvest Canteen is the coffee-shop offshoot of Newcastle roaster Ouseburn Coffee Co. (OCC), which roasts all the coffee. On espresso is the Foundry No 1 blend, with a single-origin (changing every two months) available as both espresso and filter (V60 or Aeropress).
However, as the “Canteen” element of the name suggests, from the day it opened in June 2014 it’s been about more than just coffee. Given the ridiculously small food preparation area (in reality a work surface behind the counter), the all-day breakfast/brunch menu is impressive. Based around poached eggs with various toppings, there are also pancakes, pastries, toast and granola. At lunchtime, these are joined by salads, soup, tortilla and wraps.
You can read more of my thoughts after the gallery.
Harvest Canteen makes no secret of its OCC affiliations: in all but name, it’s “OCC, the coffee shop”. OCC is well-known for its simple, striking black and white design, which carries through to Harvest’s décor, the only deviation coming from the (admittedly lovely) wooden furniture and counter. Harvest has a clean, uncluttered and very modern, stripped-back look. Even the baristas are on-trend: during my visit, one wore a checked shirt, another sported glasses and the third had a beany, with two out of the three sporting beards.
Harvest is set back slightly from the street, with two trestle-tables separated from the pavement by plant-filled wooden boxes. The store itself is long and thin, tall windows at the front running almost the full width from the glass door on the right-hand side. This, coupled with more natural light from the back and a predominantly white colour-scheme, make it a very bright space.
Inside, the layout’s simple. A broad corridor runs down the centre, seating on the right, counter on the left. There’s also a four-person table between the window and the counter. On the right, just beyond the door, are two four-person tables perpendicular to the wall, followed by two long, thin tables with wooden benches.
The counter has a classic stripped-back design, an open metal frame with a wooden top and various drawers. First comes the two-group La Marzocco, then the ubiquitous EK-43 which does all the grinding (the staff pre-weigh the day’s shots in the morning to speed up the process). There’s a small space where you can order, then a little filter-rack, urn for the soup, display case for the cakes, plus some bottles and glasses. Behind the counter are various work areas, including a preposterously small kitchen space, especially given the extensive menu!
Beyond the counter is a small, open space, which many would have crammed a two-person table into. Harvest, however, has wisely left it open, contributing to the sense of space. There’s also a retail shelf here, up against the wall, stacked with bags of OCC coffee.
At the back, through a large, semi-glazed doorway on the left, is another space. Quieter and more relaxed, there are three picnic tables on the right with a couple more traditional tables on the left. Right at the back, there’s a second counter/kitchen space, which is used for baking all the cakes and bread in the morning. However, Harvest’s thinking of moving all the food preparation back here.
I was drawn to the concise espresso-based menu, where the largest drink is a 7oz latte. The single-origin during my visit was a Kerala Organic from Indian. On the recommendation of the barista, who suggested it went best with milk, I had a flat white. Although it had a complex taste to it, it was still a very rich, smooth and well-balanced cup. The milk was also beautifully steamed, holding the pattern to the bottom of the cup.
Although the food looked amazing and the eggs, in particular, were very tempting, I’d already indulged at Café 1901 and was still feeling stuffed. I therefore reluctantly gave it a miss this time, settling instead for the most amazing chocolate twist. Pretty much the perfect example of its ilk, it consisted of incredibly rich pastry, generously stuffed with a half-melted chocolate-chip filling.
|91 ST GEORGE’S TERRACE • NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE • NE2 2DN|
|www.ouseburncoffee.co.uk||+44 (0) 7572 138729|
|Monday||08:00 – 18:00||Roaster||Ouseburn Coffee Co (espresso + filter)|
|Tuesday||08:00 – 18:00||Seating||Benches, Tables, Benches (outside)|
|Wednesday||08:00 – 18:00||Food||Breakfast, Lunch, Cake|
|Thursday||08:00 – 18:00||Service||Order at Counter|
|Friday||08:00 – 18:00||Cards||Amex, Mastercard, Visa|
|Saturday||08:00 – 18:00||Wifi||Free (with code)|
|Sunday||08:00 – 18:00||Power||Limited|
|Chain||No||Visits||22nd August 2015|
If you liked this Coffee Spot, check out the rest of Newcastle’s speciality coffee scene with the Coffee Spot Guide to Newcastle & Gateshead.
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