Bean & Bud

The Bean & Bud logo: a coffee bean flanked by two tea buds, with the motto "Bean & Bud Real Coffee & Fine Tea since 2010"Harrogate’s finest is Bean & Bud, although from the looks of it, Hoxton North could give it a run for its money, if only it wasn’t shut on Mondays (guess who came to visit Harrogate on a Monday?). A few minutes’ walk north of the train station on Commercial Street, Bean & Bud can best be described as bright and bold, the majority of the interior painted a bright red, in contrast to, rather than in sympathy with, the lovely wooden counter and flooring. What isn’t red is white, including the (fairly low) ceiling.

However, the draw of Bean & Bud is the outstanding tea and coffee. While I can’t speak to the tea, Fancy a Cuppa rates it, which is good enough for me. The coffee rotates on a regular basis, changing both beans and roasters with frightening speed. Don’t come back expecting the same cup of coffee you had last week!

The coffee is available as espresso (with varying quantities of milk) or filter (V60, Aeropress or Chemex). The week’s beans are up on the board, the idea being that you have a discussion with the barista about which bean you want and then how to take it.

September 2015: I’m delighted that Bean & Bud was short-listed for this year’s Lunch Business Awards Best Tea Experience.

You can read more of my thoughts after the gallery.

  • Bean & Bud on Commercial Street in Harrogate
  • Two of the four outside tables, as seen from the front window.
  • Stepping inside, Ruth seems pleased to see me. Not so sure about Hayden though!
  • The front of Bean & Bud, as seen from the counter.
  • You can sit in the window if you want to...
  • ... or on either of these tables if you like.
  • There's also a bar opposite the counter...
  • ... where you can sit on a stool and read Caffeine Magazine.
  • There's coffee for sale...
  • ... and Keep Cups. And tea!
  • So that's what one of those tea-pot/cafetiere things is called!
  • The rest of the seating is at the back...
  • There's a choice of two large round tables...
  • ... or you can sit on one of the padded benches.
  • Here's the other side.
  • If you missed Caffeine Magazine on the way through, it's also in the rack at the back.
  • Back at the counter, you are greeted by sandwiches and cake.
  • The cake (and pastries) are on the right...
  • ... while the sandwiches are on the left.
  • Be quick though, they'll soon be gone!
  • There is, however, an emergency cake supply by the till.
  • The business (coffee) end of the counter.
  • The filter rack, with the three brew methods: Aeropress, V60 & (small) Chemex.
  • A behind-the-scenes look at the La Marzocco Strada.
  • The Bean & Bud team hard at work (from left to right: Ruth, Lenka & Hayden).
  • The menu boards behind the counter are pretty comprehensive.
  • There's hot chocolate and loose-leaf tea...
  • ... more tea and different ways to have your espresso...
  • A choice of two beans (both from Caravan during my visit)...
  • ... and three filter (slow brew) methods.
  • There are more suggestions on the wall...
  • ... and helpful instructions/hints on each table.
  • In case you were wondering, there's a lot of tea!
  • I put Hayden to work making my Chemex...
  • What I hadn't realised with the Chemex is you have to make your own filter papers...
  • ... well, fold them into shape, anyway.
  • Hayden makes the perfect cone...
  • ... which fits perfectly into the neck of the Chemex.
  • Next, rinse the filter paper...
  • ... which has the added bonus of warming the Chemex.
  • The beans are weighed, then ground on demand.
  • Into the filter paper they go!
  • The first pour...
  • ... and then leave to bloom.
  • The second pour...
  • Pouring techniques vary...
  • Some fill the filter up all the way...
  • ... others prefer a continuous, steady pour.
  • Hayden, as you can see, tops the Chemex up with a series of short pours.
  • The correct amount of water added, it's just a matter of a short wait...
  • The end result.
  • I really should have left it in the carafe for longer, but I was impatient.
  • My fat rascal, showing off its crumb structure...
  • ... and here half-buttered.
  • Normally I don't order mineral water, but when in Harrogate...
  • I finished things off with the Yirgacheffe as an espresso.
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On the (relatively) quiet Commercial Street (ironically one of the less commercial streets in Harrogate), you’ll find Bean & Bud, an outpost of coffee (and tea) heaven away from the ubiquitous chains and that tourist magnet, Betty’s Café Tea Rooms. Four tables occupy the pavement, separated from passing pedestrians by barriers carrying the famous Bean & Bud logo.

Bean & Bud is long and thin with a small seating area at the front: an L-shaped bar around window and right-hand wall, with two small tables on the left. The counter runs lengthways on the right, cake cabinet to the fore, with a small space on the left, which is also where you order. There’s a small bar opposite the grinders, then, widening slightly beyond the counter, comes the remaining seating. There’s a round table on either side, each with three chairs, followed by padded benches running along the left- and right-hand walls, each with three small tables.

On reaching the counter, I entered into a negotiation with Hayden (who, along with Ruth, owns Bean & Bud). After a rocky start, when he suggested I might like some tea (in fairness, I’d yet to introduce myself, but even so!) we settled on the Nicaraguan Las Minas (one of two beans from London’s Caravan). The alternative was a Dumerso Yirgacheffe which I’d have loved, but, once it was established I wanted filter, Hayden recommended the Nicaraguan via the Chemex: I’ve long since learnt not to argue with my barista (unless he recommends tea!).

I first saw this approach of promoting bean over preparation method in the likes of Full Court Press and Colonna & Small’s, although Bean & Bud doesn’t take it to the logical extreme of, say, 3FE, where the menu only lists the beans. Here, at least, you get a (extremely comprehensive) list of ways of taking your espresso or filter coffee.

My coffee arrived in a glass carafe (with tight-fitting lid) and a bright red cup (matching the walls). Other colours are available, including pale yellow, light blue and white. The coffee was fantastic, with a rich mouth feel and complex flavours which my palette (and limited vocabulary) cannot do justice to. It improved as it cooled (as Hayden said it would) and I could have done with a third cup (or maybe I should have resisted drinking it for the first ten minutes!). It was very smooth, with no hint of bitterness, nor any sharpness or acidity.

I paired this with a fat rascal, a Yorkshire speciality (in this instance baked by Ruth) that is somewhere between rock-cake and fruit scone. Lovely and crumbly, it’s slightly sweeter than a scone. Mine was delightful with butter.

The couple next to me were, confusingly, reading Caffeine Magazine, but drinking tea. It did, however, enable me to observe Bean & Bud’s tea service, having thoughtlessly failed to bring a tea-drinking friend along with me. The tea, loose-leaf, naturally, comes in clear, cafetiere-like structure (the filter acting as tea-strainer rather than plunger) with an egg-timer so you know when it’s done. I was impressed.

I could go on, but suffice to say, I adored Bean & Bud. I was wonderfully-looked after and spent a happy two hours talking coffee, as well as running into Paul of Press Coffeehouse and soon-to-be employee Danny.

14 COMMERCIAL STREET • HARROGATE • HG1 1TY +44 (0) 1423 508200
Monday 08:00 – 17:00 Roaster Guests (espresso + filter)
Tuesday 08:00 – 17:00 Seating Tables, Bar, Tables (outside)
Wednesday 08:00 – 17:00 Food Sandwiches, Cake
Thursday 08:00 – 17:00 Service Order at Counter
Friday 08:00 – 17:00 Cards Mastercard, Visa
Saturday 08:00 – 17:00 Wifi Free (with code)
Sunday CLOSED Power Limited
Chain No Visits 23rd June 2014

You can see what fellow coffee bloggers, Bean There At, made of Bean & Bud when they visited at the end of 2015.

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