Grasshopper Café

A blazing log in the wood-burning stove in the back room of Grasshopper Cafe in Hope.Two years ago, Grasshopper Café contacted me on twitter to say that it was opening in Hope, in the heart of the Peak District. I duly put a star on Google Maps to mark its location and then, if I’m honest, I rather forgot about it. Last Monday, planning my route back from Sheffield to my Dad’s in North Wales, I noticed the aforementioned star and thought I would drive through the Peak District and call in along the way…

From the outside, Grasshopper Café could be mistaken for a typical village tea room. However, anything more than a casual glance reveals that there’s a lot more to it than that, with the A-board and signs on the walls proudly proclaiming its speciality coffee heritage. The coffee in question comes from Smith Street Coffee Roasters from Sheffield, with its Dark Peak blend on espresso, Five Arches on decaf and a guest espresso on the third grinder.

If you don’t fancy coffee, there’s a range of interestingly-named teas from Birdhouse Tea Company (also from Sheffield), while if you are hungry, there are full breakfast and lunch menus, plus homemade cakes, all prepared in the small kitchen tucked away beside the counter.

You can read more of my thoughts after the gallery.

  • The Hope Valley, in the Peak District, seen from the west.
  • In the heart of the valley is the town of Hope, with this row of stone-built cottages...
  • ... home to the lovely Grasshopper Cafe, seen here from the other side.
  • One glance at the A-board dispels the notion that this is just your average tea-room.
  • The door is on the left, with a bay window on the right.
  • The view from inside the door, looking at the main seating area.
  • There's also a lovely bench seat in the bay window immediately to the right of the door.
  • Another view of the bench seat in the window, ideal for catching some winter sun.
  • There's six-seater communal table in the centre of the room, with a pair of benches...
  • ... beyond which, against the back wall, is this gorgeous bench seat with a pair of tables.
  • A view of the main seating area, as seen from the back of the room.
  • A wide corridor at the back on the left leads through to the back room...
  • ... where you'll find more seating off to the right.
  • There are two four-person tables with benches against the front wall...
  • ... with another four-person table under the window in the back wall.
  • The counter is against the left-hand wall in the back room, beyond which there's a door.
  • This leads to a large back yard, which can also be accessed down the side of Grasshopper.
  • The back yard was looking a bit bare while I was there in February!
  • The left-hand side of the yard backs onto the wall of the garage next door.
  • This is where you'll find the bicycle parking...
  • ... and beyond that, right at the back, is a pizza oven, currently operational on Fridays.
  • The view from the back yard...
  • I can imagine sitting out here in the summer, taking in the view.
  • Back inside, and there are lots of neat feature, such as this travel book shelf...
  • ... while in the back room, the window sill doubles as a cook book shelf. Nice typewriter.
  • There's a small (disused) fireplace in the front room...
  • ... which is decorated with lots of pictures and illuminated with rows of bare light bulbs.
  • Meanwhile, in the back room, there are some more traditional light-fttings.
  • Obligatory close-up shot.
  • Last one.
  • Also in the back room, there's a large fireplace, with a wood-burning stove.
  • This was going full blast when I was there in February.
  • A reflection of the stove in the Sanremo Espresso machine.
  • There's a small merchandising/retail selection in the back room...
  • ... while the menus are on the wall of the passage way connecting the two rooms.
  • There's a fairly standard espresso-based coffee menu...
  • ... with details of the house-blend, guest roaster and tea selection below.
  • There are also homemade cakes in the cabinet next to the espresso machine...
  • ... from which I selected a slice of the lemon and berry drizzle.
  • Talking of the espresso machine, here it is...
  • ... and here's my flat white, made with the Colombian decaf from roasters, Smith Street.
  • I'll leave you with the latte art...
  • ... which held its pattern all the way to the bottom of the cup.
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Grasshopper Café occupies the last of a line of old south-facing, stone cottages on the main road through the centre of town, an easy drive (and slightly more energetic cycle-ride) from both Manchester and Sheffield, with limited parking out front. Meanwhile, if you’re coming by train, Hope station is a 15-minute walk.

In many ways, Grasshopper is a typical walker’s café, where muddy boots, dogs and cyclists are all very welcome. It’s exactly the sort of place I’d look out for when I used to hike, but with speciality coffee. There’s a large bench outside, plus a couple of tables on the broad pavement, but the café itself looks fairly small, the door to the left and a large bay window on the right. Once again, though, looks can be deceptive.

The door leads to what must have been the cottage’s front room, a large, open, sunlit space, with a glorious stone-flagged floor and stone walls. The furniture, meanwhile, is all bespoke, made mostly of up-cycled wood. A bench-seat is built into the bay window while a large, communal table occupies the centre of the room. Against the back wall on the right, another built-in bench seat has two smaller tables.

Ahead of you, along the left-hand wall, it’s been left clear, so you can go straight to a short, wide corridor that connects the front and back rooms, down which you can already see the counter. You need to pop down here to order, where you’ll also find more seating. The counter occupies the left-hand wall, while off to the right, there are three four-person tables with benches for seating, two of which line the front wall. The third is against the back wall, on the right under the window, with the window sill doubling as a bookshelf. It shares the back wall with a small set of retail shelves, a chiller cabinet for the cold drinks and, on the left-hand side, a door leading to the spacious back yard. Finally, there’s a large open fireplace in the right-hand wall opposite the counter, with the wood-burning stove in the centre, logs stacked up either side of the chimney.

The back yard was looking a bit bare while I was there, but in the summer, it’s full of tables, while there’s plenty of cycle-parking, plus a pizza oven on a raised area at the back. This currently springs into life on a Friday night.

I’d not come across Grasshopper’s main roaster, Sheffield’s Smith Street Coffee Roasters, before, but since I’d already had quite a lot of coffee at Foundry Coffee, I had to settle for a flat white made with the Five Arches Colombian decaf. There was also a guest espresso from Manchester’s Heart & Graft. Sadly I’d also recently eaten, otherwise I’d have been very tempting by the smells of cooking wafting through from the kitchen to the left of the counter.

Fortunately, my decaf flat white was excellent, the milk and coffee going really well together, neither dominating. The milk was beautifully steamed, holding its pattern to the bottom of the cup. I paired this with a slice of the lemon and berry cake, which was just as good. A rich, moist cake, with a subtle lemon flavour and plenty of berries, it was the perfect afternoon pick-me-up.

18 CASTLETON ROAD • HOPE • S33 6RD +44 (0) 7976 067338
Monday 09:30 – 16:00 Roaster Smith Street + Guest (espresso only)
Tuesday 09:30 – 16:00 Seating Tables, Benches, Tables (outside)
Wednesday CLOSED Food Breakfast, Lunch, Cakes
Thursday CLOSED Service Order at Counter
Friday 09:30 – 16:00 Cards Amex, Mastercard, Visa
Saturday 09:30 – 16:00 Wifi Free (with code)
Sunday 09:30 – 16:00 Power Yes
Chain No Visits 19th February 2018

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