Tradewind Espresso

a line-drawing of an old-fashioned ship, slung under a large, Victorian balloon.I’d heard quite a lot of good things about Tradewind Espresso, both on twitter and on my previous visit to Bristol in September last year, when it had only just opened. Sadly there wasn’t time to visit, so on my next trip, I ensured that I’d set aside a chunk of my schedule to take the train out to Clifton Down and to allow for the short climb up the Whiteladies Road.

What I hadn’t appreciated is that Tradewind Espresso was opened by local roasters, Roasted Rituals, which is making a name for itself in and around Bristol, supplying the likes of The Crazy Fox and Playground Coffee. Like Tradewind, I’d also heard good things about Roasted Rituals, which only increased my curiosity.

I needn’t have worried. Everything I’d been told about Tradewind and Roasted Rituals was true, and then some. Tradewind occupies a beautiful location, with a gorgeous interior, table service, a great food menu (all cooked downstairs in the kitchen), lots of lovely cakes and a limited selection of beer/wine. As well as Roasted Rituals’ Highground seasonal blend and a single-origin on espresso, there’s a selection of single-origins through the V60, plus the option of a four-cup cafetiere.

You can read more of my thoughts after the gallery.

  • Tradewind Espresso, near the top of Bristol's Whiteladies Road.
  • There's a helpful sign hanging outside to encourage you from a distance...
  • ... and a very elegant A-board for when you get closer.
  • This is the view you get if you're heading up hill...
  • ... while this is what you get coming down the hill. Looks cosy, doesn't it?
  • If you need any further encouragement, there's plenty more by the door.
  • The view from just inside the door...
  • ... and the view looking back towards the door.
  • This lovely window-bar is a good place for people-watching.
  • The first of two tables on the right-hand side.
  • Opposite them is this six-person table against the left-hand wall...
  • ... beyond which is a row of three low tables.
  • This is the final one of the row and mine for the duration of my stay.
  • Right at the back, double glass doors lead out to...
  • ... the enclosed patio. This is the view looking right from the door...
  • ... and this is the view looking back again.
  • I loved the decor in Tradewind Espresso. Simple, yet elegant.
  • The coloured glass in the window was particularly effective.
  • Of course, I also liked the lights.
  • There were plenty more of these.
  • Last of the bare-bulbs, I promise.
  • Meanwhile, these beauties hang over the counter.
  • Tradewind Espresso offers full table service. There are menus to the right by the door...
  • ... or they will be brought to your table by the staff. Along with a bottle of water & a glass.
  • There's the food menu, with breakfast and all-day brunch...
  • ... and the drinks menu as well.
  • Soup of the day is written up on a paper roll at the counter.
  • Talking of which, here it is, at the back on the right.
  • The only real reason to come up here is to cast your eye over the selection of cake.
  • And what a selection there is!
  • There's cake...
  • ... and friands...
  • ... while these are actually savoury!
  • There's tea and wine and other goodies on shelves behind the counter...
  • ... and lots of coffee as well!
  • The coffee is the only other reason for coming up to the counter.
  • There are details of the Highground seasonal espresso blend on one grinder...
  • ... and the single-origin, which changes at least once a week, on the other.
  • Let's see what the espresso machine can do, shall we?
  • This looks great, but it's not for me.
  • Instead, this is mine, the single-origin espresso, a Guatemala Huehuetenango.
  • So good it deserves another look.
  • What's that I spy? A rack of V60s...
  • ... and an EK-43 and water boiler. Time for some filter coffee I think.
  • Step one, grind the beans. In this case, Tradewind uses just 12g.
  • My choice, by the way, a single-origin Rwanda.
  • Next, the kettle is filled up...
  • ... and the filter paper rinsed.
  • Refill the kettle...
  • ... then comes the first pour, 30ml, which is left to bloom for 30 seconds.
  • The second pour adds another 100ml...
  • ... then that gets topped up to 200ml. Note that this recipe was specific for the Rwandan!
  • While we wait for the coffee to finish filtering, the serving jug is also warmed up.
  • Almost done now.
  • The barista checks her work (the coffee had only been cupped the day before).
  • It gets the thumbs up and the coffee is poured from carafe to jug.
  • I don't know why, but the simple act of pouring coffee fascinates me.
  • Almost done.
  • My coffee, served with a cup on the side, which is how it should be.
  • And here it is, in the cup.
  • Finally, I had the most amazing French toast for lunch!
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Tradewind Espresso occupies a beautiful spot near the top of Bristol’s Whiteladies Road. Decked out in wood (wooden counter, wooden cladding on one of the walls, painted wooden floorboards and wooden furniture), with whitewashed walls and ceiling, it’s striking in its simplicity. The front window runs the full width of the shop, with the (glass) door is inset on the right.  Running from the ceiling to within half a metre of the floor, it floods the front with light, particularly in the morning when it catches the sun. Inside, there are plenty of bare light-bulbs, one per table, plus a line in the window, with more (in metal shades) over the counter. These are supplemented by numerous spotlights, while, right at the back, up two steps, glass double doors lead to a lovely, enclosed patio, ensuring that the back also has some natural light.

The seating’s equally simple. A three-person window-bar runs half-way along the window from the left-hand wall. A short, padded bench runs halfway along the right-hand wall, with a pair of square tables, each with two low barstools. This is followed by the L-shaped counter, cake and till facing the windows, espresso machine/grinders facing the left-hand wall, EK-43 and boiler for filter coffee/tea against the back wall. There’s more seating along the left-hand side, beginning with a single, high six-person table. This is followed by another padded bench opposite the counter with three square tables, again with pairs of low barstools.

If you want to sit outside, there’s a bench on the busy Whiteladies Road and the enclosed patio at the back. It doesn’t catch the sun, but there’s a large umbrella to shelter under when it rains. Running the width of the store and about half as deep, it’s decked out in wood. There’s a bench-seat at either end, a three-person table to the right of the doors and two more against the back wall.

On arrival, a grabbed a table, but before I could approach the counter, a glass and a bottle of water had arrived, along with the menus, an approach which I heartily approve of. The only real need to go to the counter is for information (coffee options or cake selection) or to pay.

Rather than operating under the same name, Tradewind and Roasted Rituals describe themselves as sister companies, similar to, for example, Newcastle’s Ouseburn Coffee Company, with its café Harvest Canteen. Just as Harvest hangs it hat on its food as much as its coffee, so does Tradewind, offering breakfast and all-day brunch. Of course, I had to try something and selected the French toast, which came topped with caramelised apples, a huge dollop of mascarpone and a generous portion of blackberry jam. I’m not used to having this much on my French toast, but I wholeheartedly approve!

I also had to try the coffee. The single-origin espresso was a Guatemala Huehuetenango, although it changes every week. The barista recommended I tried it as an espresso, since he feared it would get lost in milk. Having tried it, I think that the recommendation is spot on. On its own, it was really smooth, well-balanced, delicate and fruity. I rounded things off with a very smooth and delicate Rwandan single-origin through the V60, another well-balanced, fruity coffee, improving as it cooled.

118 WHITELADIES ROAD • BRISTOL • BS8 2RP
http://tradewindespresso.com +44 (0) 117 974 3477
Monday 08:00 – 17:00 Roaster Roasted Rituals (espresso + filter)
Tuesday 08:00 – 17:00 Seating Tables, Tables (outside, back), Bench (outside, front)
Wednesday 08:00 – 17:00 Food Breakfast, Lunch, Cake
Thursday 08:00 – 17:00 Service Table
Friday 08:00 – 17:00 Cards Mastercard, Visa
Saturday 09:00 – 17:00 Wifi No
Sunday 09:00 – 16:00 Power No
Chain No Visits 15th January 2016

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