I first discovered Steampunk as a roaster when I visited Machina Espresso in Edinburgh in April 2014.
I tried the Tiger Stripes blend and was so impressed that I bought a bag to take home with me. Back then I only knew of Steampunk as a roaster and didn’t realise that it had recently opened The Warehouse, a large café in its home town of North Berwick, just along the coast from Edinburgh.
So, on my next trip to Edinburgh, I made a point of heading east to North Berwick. I’m pleased to report that I was as delighted by The Warehouse as I was by that first espresso that I had at Machina Espresso!
Spread over two floors of a lovely old building, which retains many of its original features, The Warehouse is an ideal space for a roaster-cum-café (I’ve covered the roasting side of Steampunk in a separate Saturday Supplement). There’s a large, exterior courtyard, which, on the sunny day I was there, saw good use, while downstairs you share space with both roastery and counter. Upstairs, there’s table service and a full food menu, which is all prepared in the kitchen in the corner.
November 2015: I ran into the Steampunk guys at Cup North, and discovered that Steampunk now only roasts single-origins.
You can read more of my thoughts after the gallery.
The Warehouse cuts an imposing figure in North Berwick, standing in glorious isolation opposite the ruined St Andrew Kirk. A large, two-storey, iron-framed brick building, it was originally a joiners workshop, and, slightly perversely, stands perpendicular to the street. Not far from the train station there’s also a car park adjoining it on the left-hand side. A wide, stone-flagged courtyard sits between The Warehouse and the street, while a driveway down the right-hand side gives access to the main doors.
A wooden bench is built into the stone wall that forms the left-hand edge of the courtyard, which has a scattering of tables and chairs. Along the driveway, there are two more small tables and a bench opposite the doors.
Double-doors open into the spacious downstairs, where you are greeted by the counter, a large, wooden affair, occupying a sizable space in front of you. To your left, a doorway leads to the stairs, while to your right there’s a small seating area, beyond which Steampunk’s Probat roaster lurks, surrounded by sacks of green beans. Although spread over two floors, the upper floor has something of a mezzanine effect, and directly above you, The Warehouse is open all the way to the rafters, which gives it a glorious sense of space, as well as making the two floors feel connected.
Just to the right of the door is a wonderful old iron stove, in full working order, flanked by a pair of armchairs and a table. Beyond is the remainder of the downstairs seating, a pair of large, round tables, although you can also perch on one of three stools at the end of the counter.
Upstairs has the bulk of the seating: you arrive in the far left-hand corner, two rows of tables stretching out ahead of you. Smaller, three-person tables line the back wall, while opposite them there’s an eclectic mix of larger tables. These line the railings that overlook the entrance. At the far end, on the right-hand side, is the kitchen, while immediately to your right is a large, three-person table. Beyond this, in the corner above the stairs, is another old stove with a cluster of six comfy chairs.
The décor is lovely, with exposed iron frames and rafters, wooden floorboards (upstairs) and a concrete floor (downstairs). The walls are a mix of bare- or painted-brick, while the left-hand wall is covered in patterned wallpaper. It’s full of fantastic, old, wooden furniture which gives it a great feel.
We had my friends’ dog with us, so sat downstairs (which, in fairness, was where all the cake was). Between us, we tried two types of brownie, lemon polenta cake and Welsh tea bread. I think I made the best choice, since my (chocolate) brownie was rich and gooey, a superb example of its ilk.
The Warehouse was serving the Velos blend, which I l had as an espresso and loved just as much as the Tiger Stripes I’d had at Machina Espresso. It was smooth, dark, but not at all bitter. In fact, for a relatively dark roast, it was surprisingly sweet. I also tried the Rocky II blend, a more typical third-wave offering. This, I must confess, was less to my taste, particularly after having the Velos blend, which could have been roasted for me!
|49A KIRK PORTS • NORTH BERWICK • EH39 4HL|
|www.steampunkcoffee.co.uk||+44 (0) 1620 893030|
|Monday||09:00 – 17:00||Roaster||Steampunk (espresso + filter)|
|Tuesday||09:00 – 17:00||Seating||Tables, Comfy Chairs, Counter, Tables (outside)|
|Wednesday||09:00 – 17:00||Food||Breakfast, Lunch, Cake|
|Thursday||09:00 – 17:00||Service||Order at Counter/Table (upstairs)|
|Friday||09:00 – 17:00||Cards||Mastercard, Visa|
|Saturday||09:00 – 17:00||Wifi||Free (with code)|
|Sunday||10:00 – 17:00||Power||Limited|
|Chain||No||Visits||30th November 2014|
For an alternative (and more up-to-date) view, see what fellow coffee blogger, The Pourover, made of Steampunk during a visit at the end of 2016 and what Scottish Coffee Lovers made of it during 2018.
If you’d like to know more about Catherine, Steampunk’s founder, then try this interview, part of an awesome series by Scotland Coffee Lovers on women in speciality coffee in Scotland.
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