G!RO Cycles

Giro Cycles won the 2015 "Best Coffee Shop for Cyclists" at this year's 2015 UK Coffee Stop Awards.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.

  • Giro Cycles, on the High Street in Esher: coffee, cycle, culture. And a bike on the roof!!
  • Although it wasn't the day for it, there's plenty of outside seating, plus bike storage.
  • Giro is quite well-known in social media circles for its inspirational A-boards...
  • ... while the sign provides further confirmation that you've come to the correct place.
  • Stepping inside, these four comfy armchairs occupy the window to the right...
  • ... with these two even comfier ones behind them, tucked in before the counter.
  • Meanwhile, the window to the left is given over to bike storage space, very popular...
  • ... on the rainy day I was there. This is a rare low-occupancy moment.
  • Next to the bike racks is this long, communal table, which seemed popular with the cyclists.
  • A view of the seating on the left-hand side from just in front of the counter...
  • ... and a view of the counter itself on the right.
  • This communal table, complete with benches, is opposite the counter...
  • ... as is this round, four-seater.
  • Beyond the counter, there's more seating on the left and right...
  • ... starting with this lovely pair of sofas on the left...
  • ... while on the right, another communal table.
  • Giro keeps on going, with a small retail area and then a flight of steps.
  • As well as the rack of clothing, there are these shelves of cycling accessories...
  • ... and that rare thing these days, a rack of newspapers.
  • Looking back towards the front of Giro from the foot of the stairs.
  • At the top of the stairs, there's this retail area, with more clothing & bike frames on the wall.
  • There's more kit, clothing and a whole bike for sale at the back...
  • ... while you can also sit up here in either of the two armchairs or on the gorgeous sofa.
  • That's... well... interesting!
  • There are quite a lot of pictures on the exposed brick walls...
  • ... including these three opposite the counter.
  • This also has pride of place on the wall to the right as you come in. Quite right too!
  • As well as the light from the windows at the front, there's this skylight above the stairs.
  • The gear-wheel mobile hanging around the solitary light-bulb is also an interesting feature.
  • The rest of the lighting is more conventional and also very effective.
  • The counter is a rather dominant and impressive fixture on the right-hand side.
  • The breakfast menu is served all day (as it should be) and comes on its own clipboard...
  • ... as does the lunch menu.
  • Soup of the day.
  • I had a wrap. Not the most photogenic lunch, but certainly extremely tasty!
  • There was also a bountiful selection of cake which I was not in a position to sample... :-(
  • These fellows were lurking, slightly out of focus, on the top of the cabinet...
  • ... along with these pastries and their reflections.
  • Meanwhile, down below, and safely behind glass, are even more cakes!
  • Brownies, anyone?
  • The menus are chalked up on boards behind the counter.
  • From left to right, starting with the wine (choice of six)...
  • ... and continuing with the craft beer (choice of five).
  • Next come the smoothies and the cold drinks...
  • ... before we get onto the real stuff, starting with four choices of filter coffee.
  • And finally, the espresso menu...
  • ... with details of the coffee, roasted locally by Beanberry Coffee from Woking.
  • There are retail bags of Beanberry's coffee which you can take home with you...
  • ... and talking of locally produced, there's Kokoh Chocolate, made in the Surrey Hills.
  • The coffee-end of the counter is, of course, the first thing you come to.
  • The espresso looked interesting, but I was taken by the filter rack.
  • Step one, Jordan fills the kettle.
  • Step two, rinse the filter paper.
  • Step 3, add the ground coffee, and now we're ready to go!
  • First pour...
  • ... then let it bloom.
  • A series of top-ups follow...
  • ... almost done.
  • And there we have it!
  • My coffee, beautifully presented on a slate, cup on the side, just how I like it.
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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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