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.
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|
|www.beanandbud.co.uk||+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)|
|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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