Pink Lane Coffee is, appropriately enough, on Pink Lane, handily located just across the road from Newcastle’s Central Station. Unfortunately, I was coming from the other direction and almost missed it. From the outside, it looks unpromising, tucked away on the ground floor of the Pink Lane Business Centre. If I’m honest, it doesn’t look much like a coffee shop, with the door set back from the lane, a rather unpromising, cramped little place. However, a bit like the Tardis, it’s a lot bigger on the inside. And much nicer.
When you do venture across the threshold, you’ll find a wonderful coffee shop, with something for everyone. The beans were from London’s Union Hand-Roasted and Bath’s Round Hill and the resulting coffee is lovely (although Pink Lane now roasts in-house under its Colour Coffee Company brand). As a place to sit and drink it, Pink Lane stands comparison to anywhere I’ve been. There’s a bench outside, while inside you’ll find comfy sofas, stools at the counter, intimate nooks, plus the usual mix of small and big tables. Throw in a generous supply of power outlets and free wifi and you have somewhere I could happily spend an entire day… In fact, it was so welcoming that I had to throw myself out!
You can read more of my thoughts after the gallery.
Although it’s only been open about a year, Pink Lane Coffee is already a legend in the Newcastle Coffee scene, being one of two places (the other is Flat Caps Coffee) that everyone said that I had to visit on my recent trip. It seems to have a little bit of everything, providing coffee good and varied enough to satisfy the most ardent third-wave aficionado, while retaining the sort of laid-back, stay-all-day atmosphere that can sometimes be misplaced when the focus is so firmly on the coffee.
I had hoped to book-end my trip to Newcastle with a pair of visits to Pink Lane: the plan being to start there on my arrival on Friday evening and end up there before catching my train back to Guildford 25 hours later on Saturday. While the first part of the plan worked to perfection, the second part was a monumental fail. I arrived at 5.15, in good time for my train at 6.30, only to find that Pink Lane closes at five on a Saturday. A fair-minded reader might say that, as an experienced coffee-drinker and seasoned café-visitor, I would have had the forethought to have checked the opening times before planning my itinerary so carefully. Sadly not.
As a result, I didn’t get to sample as much of Pink Lane’s fine coffee as I’d hoped, having to make do with the very distinctive espresso that I was served on Friday night. It was a little too fruity for my tastes, but well-made and well-presented in a wide white cup with a big handle which makes holding the cup very easy. Although I’m a fan of the classic tulip cup, sometimes the handles are so dainty that it makes holding the cup a tad difficult.
I was also fortunate to try the cold brew which the barista, Chris, produced, as if in a prohibition-era speakeasy, from a bottle kept out of sight under the counter. It’s fair to say that had I not known what it was, I’d have been hard-pressed to say that it was coffee. It certainly tastes very different, and, being cold, does not flag up anything in my brain saying “coffee”. It was also (fortunately) nothing like iced coffee. I quite liked it and may try more of it as the summer goes on. One word of warning though: by volume, cold-brew packs about four times the caffeine as an espresso, so be careful how you go!
In layout, Pink Lane Coffee reminded me of a bigger version of Store Street Espresso, with sofas at the front, counter on the left, more seating opposite in the shape of a garden bench, then the bulk of the seating beyond that. Right at the back there was also a small coffee roaster although, as far as I know, Pink Lane doesn’t roast any of its own beans.
To give you an idea of how welcoming Pink Lane Coffee is, I arrived at 5.30 on Friday and ended up chatting to Barista Chris until well past six o’clock, Pink Lane’s closing time. In fact, Chris was so happy to talk coffee all evening long that I had to throw myself out in the end!
|1 PINK LANE • NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE • NE1 5DW|
|www.pinklanecoffee.co.uk||+44 (0) 7841383085|
|Monday||07:30 – 18:00||Roaster||Colour Coffee Company (espresso + filter)|
|Tuesday||07:30 – 18:00||Seating||Tables, Bench, Bar, Sofas, Bench (outside)|
|Wednesday||07:30 – 18:00||Food||Sandwiches, Cake|
|Thursday||07:30 – 18:00||Service||Order at Counter|
|Friday||07:30 – 18:00||Cards||Visa, Mastercard (£0.30 charge under £5)|
|Saturday||09:00 – 17:00||Wifi||Free (with code)|
|Sunday||10:00 – 16:00||Power||Yes|
|Chain||No||Visits||19th April 2013|
If you liked this Coffee Spot, check out the rest of Newcastle’s speciality coffee scene with the Coffee Spot Guide to Newcastle & Gateshead.
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