The Steamie

Detail from the A-board outside The Steamie on Glasgow's Argyle Street on a sunny day in May. Reads: "The Steamie Coffee Co. Estd. 2014"The Steamie’s been on my list for a little while. On the eastern edge of Glasgow’s West End in Finniestan, it’s just along from The Cran’ (and pre-dates it by several years). So it made sense to call in for lunch on my one-day, post Glasgow Coffee Festival tour. That and I’d run into the owner, Stephen, at the festival the day before, where he’d extracted a promise that I’d pop by…

Stephen, by the way, has been nagging, I mean, politely requesting, that I visit The Steamie for a couple of years now. It turns out that my failure to do so was not down to slackness on my part. No, I was waiting for The Steamie to start roasting its own coffee, which it did at the end of January. Well, that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

As well as coffee and a range of loose-leaf teas, The Steamie has an excellent range of cake, plus an all-day breakfast/lunch menu, serving the likes of muesli and porridge, along with toast, three options for poached eggs (meat, fish, veggie) and another three for baked eggs skillet (two veggie, one meat). There’s also soup, plus sandwiches (eat in/takeaway).

You can read more of my thoughts after the gallery.

  • On Argyle Street, at the eastern end of Glasgow's West End, you'll find The Steamie.
  • Just in case it wasn't clear, the A-board tells it how it is with the minimum of fuss.
  • There's outside seating in the shape of this bench and its two tables on the busy street.
  • Alternatively, head inside for more seating. This is the view from about halfway back...
  • ... and this is the view looking the other way, back towards the front.
  • The Steamie's south-facing so catches the Glasgow sun. The Sunnie might be a better name!
  • These two tables take pride of place in the windows, but it can get really hot there.
  • Alternatively, there are a pair of tables along a bench on the right-hand wall...
  • ... and two more tables beyond the bookshelf at the back.
  • The kitchen is tucked away at the back on the left.
  • The well-stocked book shelves double as a water station & are half way down on the right.
  • Obligatory light-bulb shot (for those rare Glasgow days when the sun doesn't shine).
  • The Steamie roasts all its own coffee now and has an extensive selection for sale.
  • There's even (whisper it quietly) a wide selection of tea (stored over the La Marzocco sign).
  • So, to business. The Steamie has an open counter at the back of the shop on the left.
  • The coffee menu is at the front, along with a fridge and a workbench...
  • ... which is packed with cake!
  • There's all sorts, such as these loaves and, behind them, Tunnock's tea cakes & caramel logs!
  • Want something cold? There's Sandows Cold brew in the fridge, along with other soft drinks.
  • Don't fancy cake? The Steamie has breakfast/lunch options. The menus hang by the door.
  • The menu in detail.
  • The coffee part of the operation is towards the back of the counter...
  • ... where this two-group La Marzocco takes centre stage.
  • I love watching espresso extract...
  • ... particularly from bottomless portafilters.
  • However, I wanted a pour-over, which is made on this table at the back of the room.
  • At the barista's recommendation, I had the Kenyan Sumburu AA through the V60.
  • Served in a flask with a glass on the side, everything arrived on an oval tray.
  • My coffee in the glass.
  • I was also there for lunch, selecting the Finniestan.
  • Normally I have a side of toast, but soda scone was on the menu, so soda scone it was!
  • I'll leave you with the whole ensemble.
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On the north-side of Argyle Road, The Steamie’s narrow front is sandwiched into a long row of shops, door to the right, window on the left. There’s a bench out front with a couple of tables which catches the sun for most of the day. Inside, although it’s thin, The Steamie goes a long way back, the layout reminiscent of the original Artisan Roast on Edinburgh’s Broughton Street, particularly with its open counter on the left. This puts the coffee-making on full display, which I always enjoy, and leaves plenty of space for seating.

About four times as deep as it is wide, with a relatively low ceiling, The Steamie could be quite cramped, but the open-counter arrangement gives it a spacious feel. There’s a bench seat in the window, with a couple of tables immediately to the door’s left. This gets very hot when it’s sunny: during my visit, several people moved from there! The remaining seating’s along the right-hand wall: a bench with two small, round tables, followed by a bookcase and, finally, two larger tables, one square, one round.

The counter, which is opposite the seating, is a lovely affair. There’s an old work-bench, which holds the cakes, then comes the grinders and a two-group La Marzocco espresso machine. If you’re after pour-over, this is made on a little table against the back wall over the fridge. Everything is on display, except the kitchen, tucked away at the back on the left.

The décor matches the homely nature of the furnishings, with exposed brick at the back, wooden planking on the left and a painted wall on the right. There are stripped-back floorboards, which still bear traces of the red paint which once covered them, particularly at the edges.

Originally The Steamie used coffee from Artisan roast, but it’s now roasting on a Has Garanti HSG5 in a dedicated facility in Motherwell, with Luke, one of the baristas, doing the honours. There’s a seasonal espresso blend (Tenement), a decaf and eight single-origins. Naturally you can buy the beans to take home with you.

There’s a concise (and informative) espresso menu plus pour-over using V60, Chemex and Aeropress. Although there’s a recommended bean for each method, you can have any single-origin using any method (again, reminiscent of the original Artisan Roast). I asked for a recommendation and my barista, Amy, suggested the Kenyan Sumburu AA through the V60. Served in a flask with a glass on the side, I found it a little thin at first, but it really developed and matured as it cooled, bringing out rich, fruity flavours.

Stephen, the owner, had recommended the Finniestan when we’d met at the Glasgow Coffee Festival, so I’d come for lunch. Stephen and his wife make all the cakes and soup, while Stephen sometimes works in the kitchen, although that’s less frequent now the roasting has taken off. One thing to note is that the kitchen closes at three o’clock (four o’clock at weekends).

Stephen wasn’t there when I visited, but I had the Finniestan anyway. It consisted of a massive chunk of smoked salmon, piled up on a slice of toast with an egg on top. I also ordered a toasted soda scone, which was lovely, reminding me of how much I enjoy soda bread. Lunch fit for a king!

1024 ARGYLE STREET • GLASGOW • G3 8LX
www.thesteamie.co.uk +44 (0) 7821 544449
Monday 08:00 – 18:00 Roaster The Steamie (espresso + filter)
Tuesday 08:00 – 18:00 Seating Tables
Wednesday 08:00 – 18:00 Food Breakfast, Lunch, Sandwiches, Cake
Thursday 08:00 – 20:00 Service Table
Friday 08:00 – 18:00 Cards Cash Only
Saturday 09:00 – 18:00 Wifi No
Sunday 10:00 – 17:00 Power No
Chain No Visits 8th May 2017

Liked this Coffee Spot? Then check out the rest of Glasgow’s speciality coffee scene with the Coffee Spot Guide to Glasgow.


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