The LMDC Espresso Bar occupies the perfect spot for a coffee shop on Harrogate’s pedestrianised John Street. Nestled alongside numerous other bars, cafes and restaurants, LMDC doesn’t immediately stand out from the crowd, but it’s worth hunting down. There’s a pair of two-person tables outside on the pavement, one either side of the door, the whole area fenced off from the passing crowd. Stepping inside takes you into a small but lovely space, full of wooden furniture, with a stone-flagged floor and a low, wooden-beam ceiling, all of which adds to a cosy, welcoming atmosphere.
Talking of which, a warm welcome is assured from the owner, Leslie, and from Head Barista, Elliott. When it comes to coffee, LMDC Espresso serves Square Mile on espresso, using the ubiquitous Red Brick blend, while there’s a single-origin on offer through either V60 or Chemex, the options changing every couple of weeks. If you’re hungry, you can almost hear the counter groaning under the weight of the homemade cakes, while there are good breakfast and lunch options if you want something more savoury. These use locally-sourced ingredients wherever possible, prepared in the kitchen at the back, tucked away beyond the end of the counter.
Harrogate is a town with a compact centre, which is where you’ll find the likes of Bean & Bud, Baltzersens and Hoxton North, all within a five-minute walk of each other. The exception to this rule is Westmoreland Speciality Coffee, which is out in the sticks, on the very edge of Harrogate, a whole 10 minutes’ walk from the railway station and maybe 15 minutes from the far flung reaches of Hoxton North on the other side of town.
Set up in the summer of 2014 by the very lovely Jamie, it is an equally lovely place. It also wins Coffee Spot brownie points for being located on Westmoreland Road, on the corner with Mowbray Square. This isn’t its original location, by the way. Westmoreland was originally at No 8, a tiny spot just a few doors down Westmoreland Road, where it spent the first year of its life.
Serving an ever-changing choice of blends/single-origins (plus decaf) on espresso and pour-over from North Star, it’s very much a neighbourhood coffee shop, with a cast of loyal regulars. There’s loose-leaf tea or hot chocolate for the non-coffee drinkers. Meanwhile, if you’re hungry, there is a selection of sandwiches, cakes and pastries.
Hoxton North started life in October 2013 on Parliament Street in Harrogate. I did try to visit back in 2014, when I was in Harrogate to see the likes of Bean & Bud, but I foolishly came on a Monday and, back then, Parliament Street had Mondays off. By the time I returned to Harrogate at the end of last year, there were two Hoxton Norths with this, the second branch, having opened in October 2016, just around the corner on Royal Parade. For a while the two branches operated in tandem, but in March this year, the original on Parliament Street closed, leaving Royal Parade as Hoxton North’s sole outpost for now.
In comparison to Parliament Street, where the focus was firmly on the coffee, Royal Parade has spread its wings a little, offering extensive breakfast and brunch menus, plus wine and beer in the evenings. The two spaces are very different as well, Royal Parade offering a larger, bright, open space, lacking Parliament Street’s cosy little nooks and crannies. When it comes to the coffee, there’s a house-espresso blend (Resolute during my visit), with decaf on the second grinder (a San Fermin from Colombia), both from Cornwall’s Origin.
Baltzersens has been around since 2012, when it joined Harrogate pioneers, Bean & Bud, which is just five minutes’ walk away from Baltzersens’ town centre location on Oxford Street. A curious blend of Yorkshire and Scandinavia, Baltzersens is a café with an excellent all-day food offering and some great coffee. From the outside, it doesn’t look that big, but Baltzersens goes a long way back, before ending in a large room which opens off to the right. There’s also a generous amount of outdoor seating on the pedestrianised street.
When it opened, Baltzersens was known more for its food than for its coffee, but these days it stands comparison with the best of them. The food, which is Scandinavian-inspired, is still excellent, with breakfast served until noon, when lunch takes over. This is joined by a small all-day brunch selection and plenty of excellent-looking cakes. The coffee, meanwhile, is from North Star in Leeds, which supplies the seasonal house-blend, plus rotating guests on the second grinder, which change on a monthly basis. There is also a monthly filter option from another Leeds roaster, Maude Coffee.
Somewhere everyone had been telling me to go in York was Stanley & Ramona, slightly off the beaten track on Bishopthorpe Road, outside the city walls and a whole 15-minute walk from the city centre. Stanley & Ramona’s run by a lovely couple, disappointingly called Lee and Lucy, although they do redeem themselves by having alliterative names, which always gets bonus points.
Stanley & Ramona is a small spot, where the outside seating (four two-person tables) outnumbers the inside seating (benches along the window and by the counter). This makes for a very cosy atmosphere where you are somewhat obliged to talk with Lee & Lucy. Fortunately they are excellent company, although they did spend most of my visit insulting the other customers.
Somewhere along the line there is coffee, from Cornwall’s Origin on espresso and from various guests on filter through the Chemex. There’s also a decent breakfast/lunch menu.
Kiosk: Project Space is an interesting little spot on York’s Fossgate. A little way down from old hands Spring Espresso, it’s right next to the Merchant Adventurers’ Hall, so much so that when I first visited, I did a double-take, fearing that I had come to the wrong place before spotting it, tucked in to the right. Run by the wonderful Russ and Rebecca, who get bonus points for name alliteration, it is a hybrid: part gallery, part coffee shop and part kitchen, but 100% amazing.
The art/gallery comes in the shape of ceramics, textiles, fine art, jewellery and a whole lot more, all of which adorns the walls and shelves on both sides of Kiosk. While everything is for sale, it also acts as decoration, turning Kiosk into a wonderfully eclectic spot. The food appears from a tiny kitchen at the back, where impressive all-day breakfast and lunch options are turned out using a seasonal menu. The coffee, meanwhile, is from the wizards at Dark Woods, with a single-origin on espresso and another on filter through V60, Aeropress or Chemex (for two). The coffee is bought in 8 kg amounts and when it’s gone, another takes its place.
Brew & Brownie, on York’s Museum Street, is just over the river from the original Perky Peacock. It had just celebrated its first birthday when I visited York last summer. Unfortunately, I was there on a Monday, and Monday is the one day that it’s closed, so I missed out. This year, I made sure I went back on Sunday, partly because the coffee comes from Cumbria’s Carvetii, one of my favourite roasters, and partly because several people had independently raved about the American-style pancakes, and regular readers know what I think about pancakes!
As well as pancakes, Brew & Brownie offers comprehensive breakfast and lunch menus, plus sandwiches. Breakfast is served until 11.30, at which point lunch takes over until the end of the day. I arrived at 11.50, but fortunately, the aforementioned pancakes are available as a brunch option throughout the day. There’s also an extensive range of cakes, which, unsurprisingly, features a wide variety of brownies. Throughout, though, the emphasis is on locally-sourced, high-quality, seasonal produce.
As well as Carvetii’s house-blend espresso, Brew & Brownie offers an Aeropress option, with loose-leaf tea from Merseyside’s Brew Tea Co, plus hot chocolate and a range of soft drinks.
For once, I’ve done a chain in the correct order, having first visited the original Tamper Coffee on Westfield Terrace in Sheffield before venturing down the following day to Sellers Wheel on Arundel Street for breakfast. The contrast between the two in terms of size and scope could hardly be greater; Westfield Terrace is a small, cosy, neighbourhood coffee shop, while Sellers Wheel is much larger, with a strong focus on food, although still retaining Westfield Terrace’s intimacy and emphasis on great coffee.
For those who’ve visited Ozone’s roastery/café in London will be familiar with the concept. Meanwhile if you’ve been to Caravan King’s Cross, there’s a certain similarity in look and feel, although Sellers Wheel is much smaller; you could probably fit four of it into Caravan (eight if you stacked them vertically as well).
In some ways, Sellers Wheel (like Caravan) is two-shops-in-one. You enter into a small area, best described as a coffee lounge, and, if you just want coffee, you could always stay here since it makes a great option by itself. Sellers Wheel proper, though, which is where all the food is, is at the back, through a doorway to the left of the counter.
Marmadukes Café and Deli is tucked away opposite Sheffield’s Catholic Cathedral on Norfolk Row, a lovely, quiet street that makes sitting out in the sun almost compulsory. However, to do so would miss out on an even lovelier interior. Occupying all three floors of a rambling, old house, Marmadukes is a cosy, friendly spot that has something for everyone, each of its five distinct spaces offering something unique. Beware of the maze-like interior though; I went the wrong way at least three times!
The coffee’s pretty good too, with head-barista Alex determined to keep Marmadukes up there with the best in Sheffield and beyond. The mainstay is London’s Workshop, the Cult of Done seasonal espresso front-and-centre on Marmadukes’ new La Marzocco Linear PB. Recent investment in an EK-43 grinder has allowed Marmadukes’ guest roaster, which changes every month, to now be offered on both espresso and filter. During August, it’s Finchley’s Campbell & Syme. Before that it was local roaster, Worksop’s Sundlaug Coffee Co..
However, it’s not just the coffee. Marmadukes has always had excellent food, as good as anywhere in Sheffield, with dedicated breakfast, all-day brunch and lunch menus, plus a stupendous range of cakes, including the house-speciality, cheesecake.
As I have written elsewhere about Sheffield’s coffee scene, it very much grew up independently and spontaneously about three years ago. This holds true as much for its cafés as it does for its roasters, typified by the subject of today’s Meet The Roaster series, Foundry. Set up almost three years ago by founder, Lee, Foundry is content to do its own thing, in its own way and at its own pace.
Concentrating on roasting solely single origins and on selling primarily directly to the consumer through the internet, Foundry initially focused more on the filter market than espresso, which makes up the bulk of a typical roaster’s sales. Then again, there’s nothing typical about Foundry! Foundry diversified into espresso when the second member of the team, Callum, came on board.
These days, Foundry roasts five or six single-origin beans, looking to extract the flavours that Lee identifies in the green bean. The aim is to get the optimum roast profile and then work out what extraction method best suits it, with a focus on the clarity of the taste. You can find Foundry’s output on its website although the coffee’s also available in a limited number of coffee shops.