I first came across Outpost Coffee Roasters when I visited Nottingham in the summer of 2015. Back then, Outpost was an up-and-coming roaster with a very impressive training room in the city centre. Fast forward exactly a year to the day, and I was back in Nottingham, this time with my Caffeine Magazine hat on. Amongst the crop of new coffee shops which had opened that summer was none other than Outpost Coffee, the roaster’s first coffee bar. And if the address seems familiar, so it should, since it’s almost directly under the training room!
Outpost Coffee isn’t huge, being about three times as wide as it is deep. There’s just enough space for a counter at the back and a line of four tables along the window, plus a two-person table against the left-hand wall. Being the coffee-bar arm of the roastery, there is, as you would expect, a considerable range of coffee on offer, including a single-origin on espresso, another on batch-brew through the ever-reliable Moccamaster and a third on Japanese ice brew. These are joined by four single-origins on the brew bar and a blend on cold-brew. There’s also cake and a small selection of food.
You can read more of my thoughts after the gallery.
Outpost Coffee sits on the quiet Stoney Street, just around the corner from that stalwart of Nottingham’s speciality coffee scene, Wired Café Bar. Although Outpost always planned to open a coffee shop, the timing and location were both somewhat unexpected, the lease on the shop below the training room suddenly coming available. Sensing an opportunity, Outpost moved in.
When I visited, a year to the day after visiting the roastery and training room, Outpost Coffee had been open for all of three weeks, but had already generated something of a following. A simple space, with three generous windows looking out onto the street and the door a little offset to the left, it’s easily the smallest of Nottingham’s growing band of speciality coffee shops.
On entering, the store stretches away to your right, with the windowsill converted into a long, padded seat, hosting four round tables. Other than a small, bespoke table projecting from the left-hand wall just by the door, they are the only seating. The counter occupies most the back wall, pretty much mirroring the tables/window at the front. This creates a certain sense of intimacy, where you have little choice but to interact with the barista. Unless, of course, said barista is hidden from view behind the espresso machine at the counter’s far end. If there was ever a coffee shop crying out for the sleek lines of a Modbar, this is it. However, this sense of intimacy didn’t stop a group of four from coming in and holding an impromptu business meeting during my visit! The coffice is alive and well!
The remainder of the space on the back wall is occupied by the door (which leads to a small kitchen) and a tall, refrigerated cabinet which holds the juices and Outpost’s modest range of breakfast and lunch items. These include toasted sandwiches, salads and various yoghurt pots, all made up fresh each morning, Where possible, Outpost uses local producers, including a local baker for all its bread. This stretches to the milk, which comes from The Duffield Diary from just over the border in Derbyshire.
The coffee offering, as you might expect from a roastery, is out of all proportion to the coffee bar’s small size. Predominantly using single-origins on both espresso and filter, Outpost rotates its coffees as and when new micro-lots come through the roastery. While I was there, an El Mirador from Colombia was on espresso, with a Rwandan on the batch-brew and a Kenyan on Japanese ice-brew. There are no fewer than four single-origins being offered on the brew bar (two Kenyans, a Colombian and a Rwandan during my visit) through the V60, Kalita Wave, Aeropress and Clever Dripper, the last one of these a particular favourite of one of the baristas, Harley.
I tried a split shot (espresso + piccolo) of the Colombian. This was a sweet, slightly acidic coffee which, as an espresso, mellowed as it cooled. In milk, it was even better, the coffee combining with the milk to produce a smooth brew with delightfully subtle undertones. I followed this up with the Rwandan batch-brew through the Moccamaster, which once again proved that batch-brew can be as good as hand-poured filter. This too was very smooth and subtle, as good as anything I’ve brewed for myself at home.
|4 STONEY STREET • NOTTINGHAM • NG1 1LG|
|www.outpostcoffeeroasters.co.uk||+44 (0) 115 837 0290|
|Monday||08:00 – 17:00||Roaster||Outpost (espresso + filter)|
|Tuesday||08:00 – 17:00||Seating||Tables|
|Wednesday||08:00 – 17:00||Food||Breakfast, Lunch, Cake|
|Thursday||08:00 – 17:00||Service||Order at Counter|
|Friday||08:00 – 17:00||Cards||Amex, Mastercard, Visa|
|Saturday||09:00 – 17:00||Wifi||Free (with code)|
|Sunday||10:00 – 16:00||Power||Yes|
|Chain||No||Visits||9th August 2016|
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