Idle Hands started as a long-term pop-up by Manchester’s Piccadilly Station. I had a hit-and-miss relationship with Idle Hands, constantly turning up when it was closed before finally visiting during last year’s Cup North. Idle Hands moved out earlier this year, finding a temporary home with barbers Mr Beardmore in the building on Dale Street that will become its permanent home. Eventually.
The building’s being redeveloped, and, in a tale of woe which you can read on Idle Hands’ website, the opening date has been pushed back and back. Originally scheduled to move in permanently by the end of October, this now looks like early next year. In the meantime, the developer has allowed Idle Hands to move into 32 Dale Street, in the space next door to its future permanent home of 34 Dale Street. It’s a bit makeshift, but at least Idle Hands is back and serving coffee!
July 2017: By now, Idle Hands should have been in its new, permanent home, but at the last moment, the landlord pulled the plug on the deal. It’s not clear what the long-term future is for Idle Hands, but the good news is that Dave and Lucy have picked themselves up and are now back serving coffee and pie every Friday, Saturday and Sunday at Grub in Manchester. You can see what I found when I visited in August.
You can see what I found after the gallery.
I arrived on Idle Hands’ very first day, Monday, 7th November, the day after the Manchester Coffee Festival, although, Dave and Lucy, the dynamic duo behind Idle Hands, had been told that they could open on the Friday before the festival. In typical Idle Hands fashion, this did not come to pass, once again due to circumstances beyond their control…
However, Idle Hands is now open, occupying a bare, but functional spot on Dale Street. The door is on the right and needs a bit of a push, opening into a short corridor with Idle Hands on the left. The simple layout has the counter at the back, a three-person window-bar in the front, and a row of four two-tables down the middle. The L-shaped counter has the espresso machine to the fore, with a small, narrow bar opposite it against the right-hand wall.
Idle Hands has always been about the coffee, using roasters from around the UK and across Europe, buying in a few bags at a time before moving on. These are also available to buy, but be quick: once they’re gone, they’re gone. There’s also food, although when I was there, it was just a selection of cake and some porridge. By the time you read this, there should be toasted sandwiches, with possible additions of home-made baked beans and avocado on toast.
Returning to the coffee, there are two main options on espresso, Idle Hands’ custom-modified La Marzocco GB5 making a welcome return. Currently there’s Nude Espresso’s East Blend and another from Copenhagen’s Coffee Collective, each on its own Mythos One grinder. A third option, from Munich’s Man vs Machine, is ground on one head (the right-hand one) on the two-headed EK43 grinder at the back.
The EK43’s left-hand head is dedicated to the filter side of the operation, with five options. Two are Guatemalans from Finland’s Good Life Coffee, one V60 and one Aeropress. There is also a Kenyan (V60) and a Yirgacheffe (which hasn’t been dialled in yet) from Coffee Collective and another Ethiopian from Man vs Machine. Finally, one of these will (hopefully by the end of the week) be available from the Fetco bulk-brewer for those who are in a hurry.
I started with porridge (it’s traditional) which was excellent: thick, creamy and extremely tasty. I followed this with Good Life’s El Potrero through the Aeropress. Served in a carafe with a wooden stopper and a cup on the side, it was superb: smooth, sweet and with great body. Only problem? There’s about 200g of it left: get in now while you can!
Idle Hands should be open until mid-January before moving next door, although past events suggest the date might slip…
December 2016: Idle Hands Pop-up has won the 2016 Most Passionate About Coffee Award.
|32 DALE STREET • MANCHESTER • M1 1FY|
|Monday||07:00 – 18:00||Roaster||Guests (espresso + filter)|
|Tuesday||07:00 – 18:00||Seating||Tables, Window-Bar, Bar|
|Wednesday||07:00 – 18:00||Food||Cake|
|Thursday||07:00 – 18:00||Service||Order at Counter|
|Friday||07:00 – 18:00||Cards||Amex, Mastercard, Visa|
|Saturday||09:00 – 17:00||Wifi||Free (with code)|
|Sunday||10:00 – 16:00||Power||Yes|
|Chain||No||Visits||7th November 2016|
If you enjoyed this Coffee Spot, then check out the rest of Manchester’s speciality coffee scene with the Coffee Spot Guide to Manchester.
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