Garage Coffee at Fruitworks

The Garage Coffee logo from the cafe inside the Fruitworks Coworking space in Canterbury.Just off Canterbury High Street, down a very unpromising lane (at least by the route I took, although there are far prettier approaches) is the latest addition to Canterbury’s speciality coffee scene, and a very welcome addition indeed, given the recent closure of nearby stalwart, Water Lane. There you will find, installed in the ground floor of the Fruitworks Coworking space, Garage Coffee.

Garage has been roasting coffee since 2015, disappointingly in a shipping container in nearby Hoath, rather than a garage, but Shipping Container Coffee didn’t have the same ring. Having built itself a dedicated local following, it moved into Fruitworks (at Fruitworks invitation) in April 2017. Occupying a large, open space of a size that most coffee shops can only dream of, Garage serves its house-blend and a single-origin on espresso, with another single-origin on pour-over through Aeropress, V60 or Chemex. Decaf is available on both espresso and pour-over.

There’s also tea from local suppliers, Debonair Tea Company, from nearby Hythe, plus a selection of very tempting cake. Unsurprisingly, all the coffee is for sale, along with coffee-making kit and a selection of tea, while you can also buy the beautiful cups that Garage serves its coffee in.

You can read more of my thoughts after the gallery.

  • Wandering down on Canterbury's magnificent High Street, an A-board catches the eye.
  • Interesting strategy. I wonder what the punch line is...?
  • This is Canterbury's magnificent High Street, by the way. Look at that building!
  • And this is the alley the sign is pointing down. Not very promising...
  • However, have faith, and you will find this at the corner at the end.
  • It's Fruitworks Coworking, also home to Garage Coffee. I like the helpful signs!
  • Neat logo too.
  • There's a small outside table at the back of the entrance, sheltered from the elements.
  • However, the sign directs you to the right.
  • Again, very helpful.
  • Through the door is a long hallway, another table to the left, window-bar to the right.
  • The corridor leads you into the main space. This is the view back towards the door.
  • And this is the start of the main space, which unfolds before you, counter to the left.
  • A view looking down the main space. It's incredibly open, with minimal seating.
  • There are just two two-person tables here, one in the middle, one to the right.
  • The view from the far side, looking back towards the counter/door.
  • The stairs at the front give access to Fruitworks, but it's off-limits to the public.
  • There's one more seat, a sofa by the window at the front, complete with coffee-table.
  • There's more seating at the back, past the two-seat table.
  • You enter by one of two arches. This one in the middle, by the counter...
  • ... or this one on the right.
  • There's no real difference though, since both lead into a single, large space at the back.
  • It's dominated by these long, communal tables.
  • They are set up for remote working: check out the power outlets in the middle.
  • There are two of them, one off to the left, behind where the counter is...
  • ... while the other is in the middle. However, there's more!
  • Off to the right is another sofa, this time with a large coffee table and two armchairs.
  • No windows back here, just borrowed light from the front, hence lots of light-fittings.
  • ... supplemented by plenty of spotlights.
  • The table decoration is minimal but effective.
  • There's also a set of retail shelves in the front against the right-hand wall.
  • There's coffee, coffee-kit and tea all for sale.
  • So, to business. The counter awaits you on the left as you enter...
  • ... although you need to come around to the front to order.
  • The menu is on the back wall, nice and clear.
  • Meanwhile the choice of beans on offer is written up at the other end of the counter...
  • ... although the bags themselves are displayed on the corner as you come in...
  • ... right next to the pour-over station. There's Aeropress, V60 and Chemex.
  • The tea choices are also neatly stacked up here, from local supplier, Debonair Tea.
  • There is also a tempting selection of cake.
  • The espresso machine is on a separate workspace at the back of the counter...
  • ... with its three grinders (house-blend, single-origin & decaf) each with its own recipie.
  • This means you can stand at the counter and watch your coffee being made.
  • I love watching espresso extract. In triplicate!
  • My flat white, made with the single-origin espresso, an Indonesian Wahana Longberry.
  • I also had a slice of the excellent coffee cake (a slice, I stress, not half the cake!).
  • I particularly love watching espresso extract into glass, even when it's out of focus!
  • This is the house-blend, which I tried on its own before I left.
  • One last look.
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Garage Coffee occupies the right-hand side of the ground floor of the Fruitworks Coworking space at the corner of Jewry and White Horse Lanes, the latter providing an easy, but rather unflattering, link to the High Street. The building’s a beautiful Victoria warehouse, a two-storey, brick-built affair, which Fruitworks has occupied since late 2015.

Approaching along White Horse Lane, Fruitworks/Garage is directly ahead of you, while if you come down Stour Street (a much prettier route), turn into the short Jewry Lane, where Fruitworks is on the right. Either way, entry is via what looks like an old loading dock in the building’s left-hand side. This provides what is now, in effect, a large, sheltered porch, housing a two-seater table at the back, sheltered from the elements, plus the door to Garage on the right.

This leads into an entrance corridor running along the front of the building, with another two-person table on the back wall to the left, plus a four-person window-bar to the right. However, the real surprise comes when you reach the end and step into Garage’s main space, which opens out ahead and to your left, running from the front of the building to the back. Split into two equally spacious parts, you’ll find the counter and limited seating at the front (plus stairs up the main coworking space on the first floor), and more seating at the back, which is open to the A-framed roof high above. There’s plenty of natural light at the front, via windows in the front wall (to your right as you enter), but the back, which is accessed via three arches in the party wall, has no windows, relying on borrowed light from the front and a generous array of light-fittings and spotlights.

The counter is to your left, occupying the space along the left-hand wall between one of the arches at the back and the corridor at the front. It’s a huge space, resulting in a very open, uncluttered counter. There’s not much seating in the front, just a sofa immediately to your right, tucked under the stairs by a window, and a pair of two-person tables. One is against the right-hand wall, next to the retail shelves, while the second is against the party wall at the back, between the middle and right-hand arches.

There’s more seating at the back, which extends off to the left, behind the counter, and also to the right. The space is dominated by two massive 10-person communal/working tables with generous power-strips in the centre, complete with USB charging points. There’s also a big sofa tucked away in right-hand corner opposite two arm chairs across a large, wooden coffee table.

I started off with the single-origin espresso, an Indonesia Wahana longberry, which my barista, Chase, who I’d previously met 18 months before at G!RO Cycles, recommended as a flat while. The coffee had the rich, dark taste I’d expect from an Indonesian and it went really well with the milk. I paired this with a slice of the coffee cake, made with Garage’s own coffee, a Honduras single-origin. Finally, I tried, at Chase’s suggestion, house-blend, Maypole, as an espresso. This is a mix of Mexican and Colombian beans and was a rich, smooth and well-balanced shot with lots of body, the perfect send-off.

FRUITWORKS • 1-2 JEWRY LANE • CANTERBURY • CT1 2NR
www.garageroasted.co.uk +44 (0) 1227 459177
Monday 08:00 – 17:00 Roaster Garage Coffee (espresso + filter)
Tuesday 08:00 – 17:00 Seating Tables, Sofas, Comfy Chairs
Wednesday 08:00 – 17:00 Food 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 (1 hour)
Sunday 10:00 – 17:00 Power Yes
Chain No Visits 2nd May 2017

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