92 Degrees Coffee is one of several places to spring up in Liverpool in the last year or two. Whereas most coffee shops are started by people within the industry, 92 Degrees is the brainchild of five friends from the software business, united by a love of coffee/coffee shops. What’s more, while most start small and grow with small steps, 92 Degrees went all in, roasting its own beans onsite from the outset (the roaster, by the way, is Rob Leigh, author of From Lime Street to Yirgacheffe). You’ll be able to read more about the roasting side of things and the motivation behind 92 Degrees in the Meet the Roaster series.
92 Degrees occupies a large, bright, high-ceilinged space, the sort of coffee shop that you could easily lose yourself in for an afternoon. Meanwhile, the roaster turns out some very good single-origin coffee. There are two single-origins and a decaf on espresso, and a further five roasted for filter, all through the V60. All the beans are available for you to take home, along with a selection of coffee kit. If you’re hungry, there’s a good range of cake, toasted bagels and a small selection of sandwiches.
You can read more of my thoughts after the gallery.
92 Degrees Coffee (not to be confused with Nottingham’s 200 Degrees; that’s my job!) is at the top of Hardman Street, at the corner with Hope Street, a five-minute walk east of the venerable Bold Street Coffee. 92 Degrees occupies a spacious, high-ceilinged Art-Deco building dating from 1931, built as part of Liverpool’s School for the Blind. It had stood empty for 10 years before 92 Degrees opened in 2014.
There’s a single window looking out across Hope Street to the Liverpool Philharmonic, while on the Hardman Street side, four tall, wide windows punctuate the grey, stone walls. The door, with pleasing symmetry, is right in the middle, occupying the spot where a fifth window would be. Outside on the broad pavement, two tables sit to the left of the door, another to the right.
The entrance itself is more like an internal, square porch. Double doors open onto the street, with the door to the interior on the right. At first this seems strange, but it actually works remarkably well, directing you to the counter, which sits between the first and second windows on the right, running almost the full width of 92 Degrees. Behind this, but in plain view, is a large kitchen area, which is where 92 Degrees has chosen to place its 2.5 kg Diedrich coffee roaster.
The espresso machine is to the left of the counter, side-on so you can see the action. Meanwhile, there’s a rack of V60s to the right. In between, there’s the cake and then the till. There are bags of beans for sale in the window to the right and more kit and beans dotted around the place.
Standing at the counter, the seating is to the left/behind you, the entranceway effectively splitting 92 Degrees in two, which makes the area in front of the counter delightfully uncluttered. Turning around, there’s a bench against the right-hand wall, which can be useful if you’re waiting for takeout. Beyond this, opposite the entranceway, is a long, 12-person communal table. Next is a cluster of three sumptuous red-leather armchairs surrounding a coffee table, while a pair of matching three-seater sofas share their own coffee table right at the back. Three square four-person tables run down the centre of the room, while the window/wall along the Hardman Street side is occupied by a long window-bar.
I was there twice, once in the afternoon and again n the evening. During daylight hours, the large windows make it a very bright space, while in the evening, multiple lights make it a welcoming, cosy spot. The sense of space is helped by the high ceilings, white-painted walls and uncluttered layout.
Naturally I had to try the coffee, starting with a cortado on my first visit. This was made with the house espresso, a Mercedez from Brazil, a strong, dark coffee which goes well with milk, a pleasant change from the more typical sweet coffees I’m used to. On my return, at the end of a very long day, I tried the decaf as an espresso. This was really punchy, surprisingly fruity, and very impressive, proving (once again) that you can roast interesting decaf beans. I paired this with a toasted bagel to tide me over to dinner time. This was beautifully done, very tasty and wonderfully crunchy.
|24 HARDMAN STREET • LIVERPOOL • L1 9AX|
|www.92degreescoffee.com||+44 (0) 151 709 1145|
|Monday||07:45 – 19:00||Roaster||92 Degrees (espresso + filter)|
|Tuesday||07:45 – 19:00||Seating||Tables, Sofas, Window Bar, Tables (outside)|
|Wednesday||07:45 – 19:00||Food||Breakfast, Lunch, Sandwiches, Cake|
|Thursday||07:45 – 19:00||Service||Order at Counter|
|Friday||07:45 – 19:00||Cards||Mastercard, Visa|
|Saturday||10:00 – 19:00||Wifi||Free (with code)|
|Sunday||10:00 – 18:00||Power||Yes|
|Chain||No||Visits||14th, 16th December 2015|
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