Lufkin Coffee

Detail from the top of the sign outside Lufkin Coffee.Cardiff’s speciality coffee scene has changed considerably since my last visit, not least with the arrival of Lufkin Coffee Roasters. Highly recommended by none other than Steve of Darkroom Espresso, Lufkin was naturally top of my list when it came to a return visit to the Welsh capital. Tucked away in the residential streets northwest of the city centre, it takes a little bit of finding, but you will be well rewarded. It’s also a great option if you are attending a cricket match at the nearby SWALEC stadium.

Lufkin opened its doors in September 2015, roasting all its coffee on a 1kg Topper, dedicated to serving pour-over. However, that quickly changed, and, with demand exceeding capacity, the Topper gave way to the 10kg Golden Roaster which you see behind the counter today. Lufkin also added espresso-based drinks to the menu.

Roasting once a week, Lufkin only roasts single-origins, mostly for use in-house, one on espresso and two or three roasted for filter, served using the Kalita Wave. The green beans are bought in small batches and once they’re gone, Lufkin moves onto the next one, although if a particular bean proves popular, it’s likely to make a return appearance.

You can read more of my thoughts after the gallery.

  • Walking the residential streets of Cardiff, west of the SWALEC stadium, you'll find this...
  • ... which points the way down here, a long passageway leading to Kings Road Yard.
  • Although it looks unpromising, this is what you're heading for, past the arch on the left.
  • Alternatively, there's this neat seating area outside on the right.
  • It's a lovely spot and was made for Lufkin by some design students as a project.
  • There's even a menu out here, although to order your coffee, you need to go inside.
  • You have a choice of two doors, although to order, you need the one on the left...
  • ... which leads through to the counter.
  • There's a little bit of seating here, in the shape of this window-bar, but it's not much.
  • Once you've ordered, you can head back outside or through this connecting door...
  • ... which leads you into the adjacent space, which has more seating.
  • When Lufkin opened, there was no connecting door, so the entrance was from the outside.
  • This is the view from just inside the (front) door.
  • There's plenty of seating in here, such as this two-person table to the right of the door.
  • Two narrow tables project out of the right-hand wall, each with a pair of low stools...
  • ... while there's another two-person table at the back...
  • ... which is by the mirrors, which do a wonderful job of adding a sense of space.
  • Finally there's another two-person table to the left of the connecting door.
  • There are some nice touches in here, such as this embedded set of book shelves.
  • Meanwhile the back of the connecting door has been pressed into use as a magazine rack.
  • Obligatory lighting shot.
  • Back in the main room, and the counter, plus the space behind it, dominates.
  • The menu (coffee on the left, toast on the right) is on the left-hand wall.
  • As well as toast, there's a small selection of cake on the counter-top.
  • Retail shelving is built into the front of the counter, selling ceramics and beans...
  • ... with all the coffee coming from this 10kg Golden Roaster behind the counter.
  • You can have pour-over if you like, from one of these Kalita Wave filters...
  • ... or something espresso-based from the La Marzocco behind them on the left-hand wall.
  • I decided to go the latter route with a flat white, served in a lovely, handless cup.
  • Nice latte art, although the coffee was very fresh (hence the bubbles).
  • I paired this with a fabulous chocolate/biscuit conncoction which was delicious.
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The hardest thing is to find Lufkin Coffee Roasters. In the network of residential streets to the northwest of the city centre and west of the SWALEC Stadium/Sophia Gardens, head for the convergence of Kings Road, Sneyd Street and Pontcanna Street. There, in a mix of housing, shops and restaurants, you will find Lufkin’s sign, sitting on the street, and pointing down a passageway towards Kings Road Yard. Follow this and all will be well.

Lufkin’s about halfway down on the left, with an outdoor seating area opposite it on the right. Carry on and you’ll reach Pipes Brewery, which occupies the yard proper at the end of the passageway. You only really need to go down here for the toilets, which are on the left-hand side, down a maze-like set of corridors.

Lufkin occupies two adjacent rooms in a low, single-storey building. Originally these weren’t connected, so you had to go outside to get between them. However, that was resolved with the addition of a connecting door, which arrived at the same time as the outdoor seating, built for Lufkin as a project by some design students. If you want to sit out here, there’s a raised platform with a bench running along the back, down the narrow right-hand side and halfway along the front. While the left-hand side’s open to the elements, the right-hand side, with the majority of the seating, is covered by a high, Perspex roof which provides some protection if it’s raining.

Opposite this is Lufkin proper, where you face a choice of two doors, the left-hand one taking you to the counter, where you order, and the right-hand one giving entrance to the second room, where there’s space for ten people Three two-person tables, one at the back, one in the large window to the right of the door and the third on the left-hand wall. Finally, two wooden shelf-tables, each with a pair of low stools, project from the right-hand wall.

To the left, it’s mostly glass, with a glass door on the right. There’s a two-person window-bar, along with a low bench against the left-hand wall, while the rear two-thirds is occupied by the counter, behind which is the roaster (right) and the kitchen area (back), the left-hand side given over to the espresso machine and grinder. Both spaces are bright and spacious, done out in light wooden and bright colours.

The only disappointment is that you can’t see the roaster in action. Lufkin used to close on Monday and Tuesday, so roasted then. However, with its growing popularity, it’s now open all week, and the roasting’s been moved to the evenings.

Although the coffee’s the main draw, Lufkin has a small range of toast-based breakfast/lunch items, served until two o’clock, and a similar-sized selection of cake. While I was there, Lufkin was just changing over its coffee, so I went for the Ethiopian espresso as a flat white, pairing it with a slice of the chocolate biscuit & fruit crunch tray bake, a mouthful in all senses of the word. However, it went very well with my flat white, chocolate being the perfect complement to the rich, creamy flat white, where the coffee’s fruity notes came strongly through the milk. I should sing the praises of the beautiful, handless pottery cup.

Monday 09:30 – 17:00 Roaster Lufkin (espresso + filter)
Tuesday 09:30 – 17:00 Seating Window-bar, Tables, Tables (outside)
Wednesday 09:30 – 17:00 Food Breakfast, Lunch, Cake
Thursday 09:30 – 17:00 Service Order at Counter
Friday 09:30 – 17:00 Cards Amex, Mastercard, Visa
Saturday 09:30 – 17:00 Wifi Free (with code)
Sunday 09:30 – 16:00 Power Yes
Chain No Visits 4th August 2017

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

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