It’s ironic that I travel around the country, seeking out great coffee shops, but I can’t manage to visit one that’s practically on my doorstep. However, I have finally rectified this oversight with a long overdue visit to the award-winning Giro (or G!RO Cycles, to use its full name) in Esher.
Giro follows that by now well-established tradition of combining coffee and cycling, pioneered by the likes of Look Mum No Hands! and Zappi’s Bike Café. However, in the case of Giro, it feels to me more focused on the coffee than the cycles. There’s no workshop, for example, and the cycling gear is to be found at the back of the shop. Make no mistake though; Giro is as passionate about its cycling as it is about its coffee and regularly attracts crowds (swarms?) of cyclists, especially on its weekend organised cycle rides. There are also regular evening events.
Talking of coffee, Giro uses Beanberry Coffee, roasted in nearby Woking. Beanberry specialises in roasting organic coffee, with a number of single-origins and a bespoke espresso blend for Giro, while forging close links with the coffee farmers. Giro itself has four filter options (all V60) to go with the espresso.
You can read more of my thoughts after the gallery.
At the northern end of Esher’s High Street, Giro’s not far from Sandown racecourse, about a 20 minute walk from Esher station. Being a cycling café, there’s plenty of room to lock up your bike outside, with more space just inside the door. If you’re driving rather than cycling, there’s plenty of on-street parking, plus a handy carpark across the street.
If you fancy sitting by the busy road, there are a couple of tables outside on the pavement, one either side of the door. Giro is wide, with a low ceiling, but it goes a long way back. The entire storefront is glass, with a central glass door. Stepping inside, you’ll find two clusters of armchairs to the right, with bike stands to the left, complete with locks that you can use if you’ve left yours at home. There’s also a handy pump.
Beyond this is a high table with stools, a conventional table, a communal table with benches and a round, glass table that seats four. These are all opposite the counter, which occupies a chunk of the right-hand wall, espresso machine to the fore. This faces the window, which means that you can watch your espresso being made. There’s a filter rack, with four V60s on the front of the counter, followed by a very generous cake display, then the till at the far end. The menu boards are on the wall behind the counter, with selections of wine (six), craft beer (five) and eight loose-leaf teas, plus hot chocolate.
Beyond the counter, on the left, there are two three-seat sofas, while on the right is another communal table with benches. The store narrows here and there’s a small clothing rack before a flight of stairs leading up to a curious platform-like structure at the back. There’s a skylight here to supplement the natural light from the (now distant) windows at the front. Throughout, a generous provision of spotlights and light-bulbs make it a bright, warm space.
The platform at the back has more clothing, cycling gear and bikes, but there’s also a lovely sofa and two mis-matching armchairs arranged around a low coffee table, the ideal place to lounge an afternoon away. If, in all that lot, you can’t find seating to your liking, it probably means that someone got there before you!
Giro has four single-origin coffees on filter, all from Beanberry, one of which is decaf. Each has its own chalkboard, complete with origin, roast-profile and tasting notes. There’s also a standard espresso menu, with the constituent parts of Giro’s own espresso blend chalked up at the bottom.
All the options were tempting, but I selected the Costa Rican special reserve, which turned out to be a very deep coffee, with surprising amounts of body. Compared to the Grumpy Mule Costa Rican I’d been drinking that weekend, it was much darker and not as sweet, which just goes to show the variety of coffee a single country. As my coffee cooled, its fruitiness came to the fore and it smoothed out. It was still lovely at room temperature.
Since it was lunchtime, I had an avocado, egg, spinach and feta wrap, which was served warm and was very tasty, reminding me of the wraps at Beany Green (this, by the way, is high praise).
December 2015: Giro Cycles won the 2015 Best Neighbourhood Coffee Spot Award.
|2 HIGH STREET • ESHER • SURREY • KT10 9RT|
|www.girocycles.com||+44 (0) 1372 701701|
|Monday||07:00 – 19:00||Roaster||Beanberry (espresso + filter)|
|Tuesday||07:00 – 19:00||Seating||Tables, Sofas (Tables outside)|
|Wednesday||07:00 – 19:00||Food||Cake, Lunch|
|Thursday||07:00 – 19:00||Service||Order at Counter|
|Friday||07:00 – 19:00||Cards||Amex, Mastercard, Visa|
|Saturday||07:00 – 19:00||Wifi||Free (with code)|
|Sunday||07:00 – 17:00||Power||No|
|Chain||No||Visits||24th November 2015|
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