Cafephilia

A black circle, with a clear dining room chair in the centre. "Cafephilia" is written at the top of the circle and "Moseley" is written at the bottom.Back in 2013, while the likes of 6/8 Kafé and the original Yorks Bakery Cafe were ploughing a relatively lonely furrow in the centre of Birmingham, out in Moseley, a short bus ride south of the city centre, Cafephilia first opened its doors. Very much a neighbourhood place, Cafephilia is rooted in the local community, providing good coffee, tea and food well into the evening. It’s a cosy place, with a sun-drenched front, particularly in the afternoon, and a more restrained seating area at the back, with subdued lighting and a very comfortable sofa. Like Thursday’s Coffee Spot, Forloren Espresso, Cafephilia is another L-shaped café.

The coffee is from Staffordshire’s finest, Has Bean, while the tea comes Joe’s Tea in London. Cafephilia’s uses the ubiquitous Jailbreak blend, with a fairly standard, espresso-based menu. Those looking for piccolos and pour-overs will be disappointed. There’s bread, from the local No. Thirteen Craft Bakers, which is available to buy and which also forms the basis of Cafephilia’s food menu. This includes toast, toast with various toppings, croissants and an extensive range of sandwiches, available on a choice of bread: white, focaccia and panini, and which can be had as is or toasted.

You can read more of my thoughts after the gallery.

  • Birmingham's Cafephilia, on the corner of Alcester Road & Woodbridge Road in Moseley...
  • ... and seen here looking across the busy Alcester Road.
  • There are tables outside on the pavement, although the road is very busy.
  • One of the outside tables, as seen from inside.
  • A solitary table to the left of the door completes the set.
  • Stepping inside, Cafephilia is L-shaped. The counter's ahead of you in the top part of the L...
  • ... while to your right, there is seating in the windows which line the bottom of the L.
  • A padded bench runs along the wall facing the windows...
  • ... while opposite that, there's a pair of comfortable armchairs...
  • ... followed by another pair of comfortable armchairs.
  • The bottom of the L ends with a curved window on the corner of Woodbridge Road.
  • The recessed double doors aren't quite in the corner of the L...
  • ... leaving room for this cosy little corner, tucked away to the left. It's popular though!
  • The cosy corner in a quiet moment.
  • There are more seats opposite the counter...
  • ... and then a cosy section, right at the back, at the top of the L. This is the natural light level.
  • This table is at the back on the left...
  • .. while this one is against the wall to the right.
  • Finally, there's this sofa, tucked away behind the counter.
  • The view back down towards the door.
  • Although it's bright at the front, there are plenty of lights at the back, including these...
  • ... and these.
  • Cafephilia stays open late into the evening, so there are lights at the front as well.
  • The west-facing windows catch  the afternoon sun, so often the blinds come down...
  • ... which provides plenty of opporutnity for reflections.
  • Last one.
  • There are also lots of desktop lamps. These line the top of the bench opposite the windows.
  • These lovely contraptions are actually for sale...
  • ... from a company called Jam Jar Lights.
  • Interesting lampshade...
  • There is also plenty of artwork on the walls...
  • ... which I believe is all for sale.
  • Regular readers will know that I like cafes with flowers on the tables.
  • I do like Cafephilia's logo, seen here on the glass to the right of the entrance.
  • This is Cafephilia's customer book swap area. I wonder how long that Dan Brown's been there?
  • Next to the books is this old GPO record player.
  • To business. This is the view of the counter from the cosy area at the back...
  • ... while this is the view that greets you as you enter.
  • Naturally the cakes are to the fore...
  • ... while there's also bread for sale.
  • The menus are on the wall behind the counter, food first...
  • ... then cakes, sweet things and cold drinks...
  • ... followed by the coffee and tea menu.
  • My flat white in the making...
  • ... and here in the cup.
  • I also had a toasted panini for lunch...
  • ... and, before I left, another flat white.
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Cafephilia sits on the busy Alcester Road, which runs south from Birmingham city centre to Moseley, occupying a prime spot on the corner with Woodbridge Road. The building housing Cafephilia is fairly iconic, with a semi-circular turret on the corner, Cafephilia sitting under the tower and stretching away along Alcester Road. This gives it a small south-facing (Woodbridge Road) and long west-facing (Alcester Road) façade which means it catches plenty of sun, the entire shop front effectively being one large window, punctuated by a recessed doorway to the left. There are tables outside on the pavement, but the busy road makes these less attractive, while you can sit inside and people watch just as well through the floor-to-ceiling windows.

Inside, Cafephilia is unexpectedly L-shaped, the bottom part of the L running along Alcester Road, with the top running back from the door on the left-hand side. This leads into a long, windowless corridor, which is in stark contrast to the sunlight front. On the plus side, this gives Cafephilia an abundance of seating options.

If you crave natural light, sit at the front, where a pair of two-person tables with comfortable chairs line the window. Be warned though: these can get very hot in the sun, although there are blinds which can be pulled all the way down if required, plus a generous awning. In my half hour there, I melted! In contrast, a red-leather upholstered bench runs along the back wall of the bottom part of the L, where it is far enough back to catch the shade. A pair of four-person tables, separated by a solitary two-person one, line the bench.

The recessed doorway, again, almost all glass, leaves just enough space to the left for a wonderfully cosy corner, occupied by a high, two-person round table in the window, perhaps the best seat in the house. Beyond that, the counter runs along the left-hand wall. Two three-person tables are against the right-hand wall opposite the counter. At the back, beyond the counter, a small step leads up to the top of the L. There are a couple of small tables here on the right, while on the left, there’s a large sofa, back to the counter, facing a large, square four-person table.

To say it’s gloomy back here would be to do it a disservice: subdued would be a better description of the lighting, giving it a cosy atmosphere that would have been very cosy had I been there on a winter’s day. Overall, it’s a lively space, full of the hum of conversation competing with the background music.

The counter has the cake first, Cafephilia providing a wide selection of goodies with which to tempt you. Next comes the till, then, at the far end, there’s the espresso machine, business end facing the door, so you can watch the coffee being made while you order. The menus are handily placed on the wall behind the counter.

I had my usual flat white, finding the Jailbreak blend to be naturally sweet. While it went well with the milk, it didn’t really cut through in the way that a bolder blend might have. I was there for lunch and went for the “Leighton”, a very tasty hummus and roasted red pepper sandwich which I had as a toasted panini.

138 ALCESTER ROAD • BIRMINGHAM • B13 8EE
www.facebook.com/cafephiliamoseley +44 (0) 0121 449 8949
Monday 08:30 – 20:00 Roaster Has Bean (espresso only)
Tuesday 08:30 – 20:00 Seating Tables, Comfy Chairs, Tables (outside)
Wednesday 08:30 – 20:00 Food Breakfast, Lunch, Cake
Thursday 08:30 – 20:00 Service Order at Counter
Friday 08:30 – 20:00 Cards Amex, Mastercard, Visa
Saturday 09:00 – 18:00 Wifi Free (with code)
Sunday 10:00 – 18:00 Power Yes
Chain No Visits 17th June 2016

Liked this? Then don’t forget to check out the Coffee Spot Guide to Birmingham for more great Coffee Spots.


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