Given my well-known aversion to all things paper when it comes to coffee cups, calling your coffee shop “Papercup” is not perhaps the best tactic to win me over… However, the only paper cups I saw were neatly stacked by the till, exclusively for takeaway customers, which was a relief. Other than slight misgivings over the name, I loved everything about Papercup. It’s a tiny place that packs in an impressive amount on Glasgow’s Great Western Road. Seating maybe 16 people at most, with maybe four more outside, Papercup offers a varied brunch menu, excellent cake and superb coffee. There’s even table service!
Papercup has the usual espresso-based offerings, with house blend and decaf, plus three single-origin beans, each paired to a specific preparation method (V60, Clever Dripper and Aeropress). There’s even cold brew! Best of all, the beans are all roasted right there in the back of the store.
Normally my timing is terrible since I rarely visit café/roasters when the roaster’s in operation (see, for example, TAP and House of Coffee) but in the case of Papercup, my luck was in! It was glorious to see the beans, freshly roasted, pouring into the cooling pan!
May 2018: Papercup now has a dedicated roastery just a short stroll away from the cafe. I’m hoping I can pay it a visit one day!
You can read more of my thoughts after the gallery.
Long and thin, Papercup has a slightly thrown-together look, the counter made of what appears to be two recycled kitchen cabinets. This takes up most of the left-hand side of the shop, with the first cabinet facing the window to the left of the door as you come in. This holds espresso machine and grinders, while the second cabinet is perpendicular to it, pretty much in the room’s centre, holding till, filter rack for V60 & Aeropress, and cake. Behind that is the boiler and grinder for the filter coffee (plus the Clever Dripper), with the food preparation area beyond that towards the back of the store.
There’s not much seating: a couple of tables do battle with the heavy traffic outside on the Great Western Road, while inside there’s a padded bench seat in the window with two small, round tables and a pair of stools. On the right, opposite the second counter, is the bulk of the seating: another padded bench with four square tables, each one with its own stool.
Beyond this point, the store narrows dramatically with just enough room for one further square table and a pair of stools opposite the dishwasher. Then comes the highlight: a 3kg Topper roaster tucked away at the back of the store where all the coffee is roasted.
Papercup has an unfinished look: the bare, concrete floor has traces of red paint, while the wall is plastered and patched behind the counter (although it’s neatly tiled in black around the food and coffee preparation areas). Otherwise it’s whitewashed walls and ceiling, with what looks to be original coving and an amazing central rose. For such a long, thin store, it’s very bright inside, with the generous windows supplemented by lots of lights.
The service is excellent, with a bottle of water automatically arriving at your table. I was there for lunch, opting for the Tuscan Bean Soup. After a long discussion with the barista, we selected the Costa Rican (Vista La Valle) which was prepared through the Clever Dripper. I was tempted by the Ethiopian Idido through the Aeropress, but we concluded that it would probably be too delicate to go with my lunch. The Costa Rican was described as having more body and a more robust flavour, with the Guatemalan (Pensativo) through the V60 somewhere in between.
The Costa Rican was pretty much as advertised: strong, smooth and with lots of body. I didn’t get the chocolate notes that the barista mentioned in her description, but then I rarely do. The soup was excellent; thick and hearty, just what I needed to soak up all the caffeine that I’d had (and was going to have) that day.
I know shouldn’t be swayed by such small things, but I did like the wooden platter my soup bowl came on and the delightful blue cup that came with my jug of coffee.
I finished things off with a chat with Graeme as he sat at the back of the store, roasting away. He made me an excellent long black decaf. This was superb, very bright for a decaf, and, other than lack of buzz, I wouldn’t have known it was decaf from the taste. As a parting gift, I was given a bag of freshly-roasted El Salvador decaf from Graeme.
|603 GREAT WESTERN ROAD • GLASGOW • G12 8HX|
|Monday||08:30 – 18:00||Roaster||Papercup (espresso + filter)|
|Tuesday||08:30 – 18:00||Seating||Tables, Window Bench|
|Wednesday||08:30 – 18:00||Food||Brunch (09:00 – 16:00), Cake|
|Thursday||08:30 – 18:00||Service||Table|
|Friday||08:30 – 18:00||Payment||Cash Only|
|Saturday||09:00 – 17:30||Wifi||Free (with login)|
|Sunday||09:00 – 17:30||Power||No|
|Chain||Local||Visits||24th April 2014|
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