200 Degrees, Cardiff

A decaf flat white at the Cardiff branch of 200 Degrees. The latte art pattern in the milk is still visible when half the coffee has been drunk.Nottingham-based café/roaster, 200 Degrees, opened its first café just three years ago. Then, last year, came a second Nottingham outlet, plus 200 Degrees Birmingham, the first outside Nottingham. However, 200 Degrees was only getting started. In the space of just five months, starting in December 2016, 200 Degrees opened in Leeds, then Leicester, followed in April by the subject of today’s Coffee Spot, Cardiff.

If you’re familiar with 200 Degrees, then the Cardiff branch holds few surprises. Occupying the Queen Street site of the short-lived Artigiano Espresso, 200 Degrees has followed its tried-and-trusted template to produce another lovely coffee shop. All the staples are here: a plush, well-appointed interior, plenty of wood and exposed brick, the usual neon fireplace, plus some amazing light-fittings. In addition, there’s a semi-sheltered seating area outside on the pavement. For those familiar with the old Artigiano, the mezzanine level has gone though.

The coffee holds no surprises either, with the house espresso blend, Brazilian Love Affair, joined by the interestingly-named Mellowship Slinky Decaf and a single-origin guest espresso, plus another single-origin on filter, all roasted in-house. There’s cold-brew on tap, plus the usual food options, including breakfast and lunch sandwiches, salads and bucket-loads of cake.

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200 Degrees, Leicester

The famous 200 Degrees neon fireplace, seen here in the back room of 200 Degrees Leicester200 Degrees, the Nottingham-based roaster, only opened its first café three years ago. Then, last year, came second Nottingham outlet, down by the station, plus, in the shape of the Birmingham 200 Degrees, its first coffee shop outside Nottingham. However, 200 Degrees was only getting started. In a flurry of activity, starting in December 2016, the Leeds branch opened, followed by Cardiff in April. And then there’s the subject of today’s Coffee Spot, the Leicester 200 Degrees, which opened a month before Cardiff.

If you’re familiar with 200 Degrees, then the Leicester branch will hold few surprises. Like those that have gone before it, 200 Degrees has taken an iconic building (in this case, a jewellers in an Art Deco building) and turned it into a lovely coffee shop. All the staples are there: a plush, well-appointed interior, plenty of wood and exposed brick, plus some amazing light-fittings.

The coffee also holds no surprises, with Brazilian Love Affair, the house espresso, joined by the interestingly-named Mellowship Slinky Decaf and a single-origin guest espresso, plus another single-origin on filter, all roasted in-house. There’s cold-brew on tap, plus the usual food options, including breakfast and lunch sandwiches, salads and bucket-loads of cake.

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200 Degrees, Carrington Street

A piccolo in a glass and on a green saucer, made with the guest espresso at 200 Degrees, Carrington Street.Once-upon-a-time, there was a roaster in Nottingham called 200 Degrees. Then, after a little while, there was a coffee shop. And, that, it seemed, was that. Until this summer, when suddenly up sprang two more coffee shops, one in Birmingham and this one, on Carrington Street, next to Nottingham Station. Now, in fairness to 200 Degrees, I’ve known about the second Nottingham branch ever since I visited the original in the city centre last summer. It’s just that, as is so often the case with coffee shops in older buildings, everything took that little bit longer and summer last year slipped into autumn, then winter, before turning into spring and finally, summer this year!

However, it was definitely worth the wait: the new 200 Degrees is quite stunning. All three coffee shops are elegant, but this one even more so. Plus, with its glass front and side windows overlooking the canal, it’s easily the brightest of the three. The usual 200 Degrees elements are all there: plentiful seating, house-blend, guest and decaf on espresso, with a single-origin filter and another on nitro-cold brew. This is all backed up with some excellent breakfast and lunchtime options, with cake throughout the day.

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200 Degrees, Birmingham

The number 200⁰ in a diamond outline over the word "COFFEE"200 Degrees, which started life as a roaster in Nottingham, before opening its first café two years ago, has now expanded into Birmingham, hot on the heels of its second Nottingham outlet. The Birmingham branch, which opened its doors in August, is very much in look and feel like the original in Flying Horse Walk in Nottingham. Both are long and thin, replete with wooden panelling and exposed brick, although the Birmingham branch has much higher ceilings and a simpler layout.

In keeping with the original, 200 Degrees is unashamedly aimed at the mass-market coffee drinker, with a plush, well-appointed interior that would put many coffee chains to shame. The house espresso, Brazilian Love Affair, has a touch of Robusta which might put some off, but it provides a strong, dark coffee that many in the mainstream will be familiar with. This is backed up by the interestingly-named Mellowship Slinky Decaf, while there’s always a single-origin guest espresso, plus another single-origin on filter which provide a path to speciality coffee for those who want to tread it. Finally, there’s cold-brew on tap, a good range of breakfast, lunch and sandwich options, plus cake, all enjoyed in very pleasant, relaxed surroundings.

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200 Degrees Coffee Roasters

The 200 Degrees Coffee LogoBefore there was ever 200 Degrees, the award-winning coffee shop in the centre of Nottingham, there was 200 Degrees Coffee Roasters, who first brought my attention to Nottingham as somewhere where you could get decent coffee.

200 Degrees grew out of Belle and Jerome, a well-known coffee shop in West Bridgford, just down from Trent Bridge cricket ground, and a desire of the owners, Rob and Tom, to roast their own coffee. The catalyst was third partner, Tim, who brought a passion for roasting, having caught the coffee-bug in New Zealand.

Called 200 Degrees after the temperature green beans are roasted at, 200 Degrees grew from fairly humble beginnings to become what is now a fairly major player in Nottingham’s growing speciality coffee scene. As well as supplying its own coffee shop, 200 Degrees also supplies a number of other local shops, roasting a couple of espresso blends, a filter blend and three or four single-origin filters.

As well as supplying coffee, plus the necessary kit to go with it, 200 Degrees is also expanding into training, both for its wholesale customers and for the general consumer, as seen in its training room at the 200 Degrees Coffee Shop.

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200 Degrees Coffee Shop

The award-winning 200 Degrees Coffee Shop in Nottingham, which won the Best Coffee Shop For Out Of Office Working at the 2015 Coffee Stop AwardsI came to Nottingham in 2013 for the Ashes Test Match at Trent Bridge. Back then, a search for good coffee in Nottingham drew a blank. Two years later, I returned, during which time Nottingham had reinvented itself. Leading the way, or so it seems to me, is 200 Degrees, first with its roastery, now with its awesome flagship award-winning café right in the city centre.

“Flagship” is a term that is often misused, but this is a real gem and could easily be a flagship for speciality coffee in Nottinghamshire and perhaps the East Midlands as a whole. Set in the gorgeous surroundings of the Old Flying Horse Inn, it reminds me of The Barista’s, Chester in setting, with its panelled wood and exposed brickwork in the long, low-ceilinged main room. You can also sit outside, where up-turned crates, masquerading as tables, flank either side of the door, watching the trams rumble by.

The coffee, naturally, is roasted in-house at the roastery down by the Trent. On espresso there’s house-blend, guest (blend or single-origin) and decaf, while one of two single-origins is on hand-pour (V60 or Aeropress). You can also buy all the beans to take home with you.

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