Foundry Coffee

My lovely flat white made with the "Comfort" beans at Foundry Coffee Roasters in Sheffield.It’s been just over three years since I visited Foundry Coffee Roasters, who can claim to be Sheffield’s first speciality coffee roasters. Even then, chatting with Lee and Callum, the two driving forces behind Foundry, it was obvious that a café was on the roadmap, although it would be almost another two years before that particular dream became a reality and Foundry Coffee opened its doors on Bank Street in January 2017. Of course, it was then another year before I eventually dragged myself back to the city, paying Foundry a flying visit yesterday lunchtime.

As you would expect, the café is a showcase for Foundry’s coffee, although rather than bamboozle the customers with choice, there are just two options, called Comfort and Adventure, the former a more “conventional” coffee (a washed Guatemalan during my visit) and the latter a bit more far out (a washed Ethiopian). These are available as espresso or pour-over through the V60, with the particular beans changing every month or so, drawn from Foundry’s wider selection of single-origin beans. This is backed up by Kokoa Collection hot chocolate and tea from Birdhouse Tea Company. There’s also breakfast, lunch and a range of cake and sandwiches.

You can read more of my thoughts after the gallery.

  • On the corner of Bank Street and Scargill Croft stands the magnificent Wharncliffe House.
  • It has been converted into apartments, but the A-boards give the game away...
  • ... for the ground floor is also home to the Foundry Coffee Roasters cafe!
  • You enter through the magnificent hallway to the right...
  • ... which leads to this long hallway, seen here from the inside.
  • At the end of the hall, Foundty Coffee spreads out to either side.
  • To the right, at the front, there's a large seating area, with tables and a window-bar...
  • ... while to the left, you'll find the L-shaped counter.
  • There's more seating in here, which forms another L-shape, with tables along the wall...
  • ... and then a window-bar along the front
  • The window-bar with its three high stools in more detail.
  • Finally, there are two more stools perched at the end of the counter.
  • However, that's just the upstairs. Ahead and to the right as you enter is this...
  • ... a central, wooden stairwell which heads down, doubling back on itself.
  • Let's go down, shall we?
  • The stairs deposit you in a large, basement-like space with additional seating.
  • Off to the left of the stairs, you'll find this large space...
  • ... where these two tables take pride of place.
  • There's another space on the other side...
  • ... which gets some natural light from the half-windows down the side of the building.
  • While I was there, it wasn't set up for seating and felt like an art gallery.
  • The magnificent floor (which is upstairs too) is also worth checking out.
  • The stairs continue down (on the right) but it's staff-only, leading to a storage basement.
  • Instead we'll head back upstairs.
  • Foundry has lots of little sets of shelves. These are downstairs...
  • ... while these sit above the water station on the corner by the counter.
  • More retail shelves, where you'll find coffee beans, are at the other end of the counter.
  • You can also buy reuseable cups and grinders, which are neatly stacked on the counter.
  • Foundry has a couple of these magnificent lights...
  • ... although this picture gives a better idea of the colour.
  • Reflections upon reflections.
  • Down to business. You order at the counter, where you'll need to start at the back...
  • ... although this is the first part you come across on entering. You'll find the cake here...
  • ... along with the very simple coffee and other drinks menu on the back wall.
  • As well as coffee, there's also Kokoa Collection hot chocolate and Birdhouse Tea.
  • If you want food, you'll find the menus on the tables. Breakfast is served until 2 pm...
  • ... as is lunch, although that's only available from 11.30.
  • I decided that I wanted to try the espresso from the Londinium lever machine.
  • My flat white, with the Comfort beans, a washed Guatemalan.
  • Nice latte art from Callum.
  • I decided to be more adventurous and try the Adventure beans as a V60.
  • After rinsing the filter paper, Callum grinds the beans then puts them into the V60.
  • The scales are zeroed, the stopwatch reset and the kettle is all set to go.
  • Callum starts off with a short first pour to allow the coffee to bloom.
  • The beans, by the way, are a washed Ethiopian, which you can also have as an espresso.
  • Callum gives the coffee a good stir to help it bloom.
  • Next comes to the main pour.
  • Callum employs a single-pour technique, filling the V60 up to the top...
  • ... and then leaves it to filter through.
  • My coffee, served in the beaker, with a cup on the side.
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Foundry Coffee occupies the magnificent Wharncliffe House, a striking five-storey building on the corner of Bank Street/Scargill Croft. In the heart of the city centre, it’s just north of the Cathedral Quarter, in a distinctly business-orientated part of town (the clue is in the name “Bank Street”). Wharncliffe House was built in 1885 as the Earl of Wharncliffe’s town house and has been put to many uses over the next 130 years. Recently it was returned to residential use, but the ground floor was always earmarked for commercial purposes, Foundry securing the lease.

The entrance to the flat is down the steeply-sloping Scargill Croft, allowing Foundry to use the massive, arched main entrance to the house on Bank Street. This leads down a short hallway, through a pair of double doors, and down a longer hallway, depositing you towards the back of Foundry, which is effectively split in two by the hall. Off to the left, where you need to go to order, you’ll find the first of two rooms. This contains the counter, an L-shaped affair, which runs along the back wall and then down the left-hand side, past a row of windows overlooking Scargill Croft. This is mirrored by the seating, which also forms an L, a line of three two-person tables running along the right-hand wall and a three-person window-bar running along the front. Finally, if you like watching your coffee being made, there are a pair of stools at the (front) end of the counter, where you get a bird’s-eye view of the pour-over and, beyond that, the three-group Londinium lever espresso machine.

Alternatively, turn right at the end of the hallway and you’ll find yourself in a similar-sized room, dedicated entirely to seating. There’s a selection of four two-person tables (with chairs) and two four-person tables (with benches) plus, right at the front, another three-person window-bar. It’s not quite so bright in here, because the only windows are at the front, but it shares the same high ceilings and wonderful sense of space.

However, that’s not all. At the back, on the right-hand side, a set of wooden stairs leads downwards, doubling back on itself. This leads to a basement-like lower-ground floor, which contains the kitchen, where all the food is prepared, and additional seating. A large, open space, it’s also ideal for meetings, etc. While I was there, there was just a single seating area, effectively under the right-hand room upstairs, which had a four-person and a two-person table joined together to form one large, communal table. The left-hand side, directly under the counter, had been left open, which meant (to me at least) that it felt much more like a gallery.

Foundry does breakfast from 8 o’clock until 2 o’clock, with lunch joining in at 11.30. Sadly I’d already eaten, otherwise I’d have been tempted, particularly by the lunch menu, with its variety of interesting Indian-based items. Both menus are fairly short, and feature a strong set of vegetarian choices.

I did, however, have time for coffee, starting with a flat white using the Comfort beans, a washed caturra from Las Terrazaz in Guatemala. This was a lovely coffee, its rich caramel flavour perfectly complimenting the milk, from local dairy, Our Cow Molly. I followed that up with the Adventure beans, another washed coffee, this time an heirloom from the Biftu Gudina region of Ethiopia, which Callum recommended as a pour-over. This was perhaps less adventurous than I was expecting, the washing process producing a more balanced, subtle coffee that went down very nicely and provided an excellent contrast to the flat white.

WHARNCLIFFE HOUSE • 44 BANK STREET • SHEFFIELD • S1 2DS
https://foundrycoffeeroasters.com/
Monday 08:00 – 15:00 Roaster Foundry (espresso + filter)
Tuesday 08:00 – 15:00 Seating Tables, Window-bars, Counter
Wednesday 08:00 – 15:00 Food Breakfast, Lunch, Sandwiches. Cake
Thursday 08:00 – 15:00 Service Order at Counter
Friday 08:00 – 15:00 Cards Amex, Mastercard, Visa
Saturday 10:00 – 15:00 Wifi Free (with code)
Sunday CLOSED Power Yes
Chain No Visits 19th February 2018

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