In Manchester’s Northern Quarter, five minutes’ walk from Piccadilly Station, there is an unprepossessing street on which, about half way down, is an unprepossessing store front, part of a tall (four storey) terrace of solid, brick-built buildings. This in turn proclaims itself to be the home of TAKK, a relative newcomer to the Manchester coffee scene. Perhaps this is down to innate modesty (although given the A-boards, I doubt that) or maybe it’s a cunning ploy to lull you into a false sense of security, but the exterior really gives no clues as to the delights that await you when you step inside.
TAKK, which is “Thanks” or “Cheers” in Icelandic, is a friendly, welcoming place, its size concealed by what appears to be a relatively small store front (it’s got roughly the same floor area as Manchester’s North Tea Power). The coffee is excellent, with a bespoke house-blend from Bristol’s Clifton Coffee Roasters (NorthernProjekt) and regularly-rotating single-origins from various guests on filter, with Berlin legends The Barn as a mainstay. Add to that an increasing focus on food, with locally-sourced ingredients, regular specials and simple menus, part of TAKK’s push to be the place for breakfast, lunch and coffee.
You can read more of my thoughts after the gallery.
The narrow storefront on Tariff Street really doesn’t prepare you for what lies inside. There’s just the door, which is up three stone steps, and a pair of windows to its left with another to the right. It could be any building on any number of streets in Manchester, or many other northern cities for that matter.
However, there are clues if you look for them. First off are the wooden benches beneath the two left-most windows, bedecked with coffee sacks. Then there’s the coffee menu in the window to the right, listing the likes of piccolos, Aeropresses and V60s. And then there’s the A-board, modestly proclaiming “Single origin coffees from around the world”. Despite all this, I still did a double-take when I stepped inside.
TAKK’s a long store, but surprisingly wide, with a low ceiling adding to the sense of depth. The counter is immediately to your right as you come in, cakes to the fore. The espresso machine, grinders, V60s and Aeropresses are by the window, proudly proclaiming TAKK’s coffee credentials (although there are plans to set up a dedicated brew-bar), while a neat brick-arched niche in the wall holds jars of loose-leaf tea.
Next there’s a flight of stairs disappearing down into the kitchen. A small counter at the top holds retail bags from Berlin’s The Barn as well as various other roasters, with a selection of coffee equipment for sale. Finally, beyond the stairs, separated from the rest of the store by a pillar supporting the ceiling, is a 10-person communal table, and, against the back wall, a large bookshelf which acts as a library.
The rest of the seating is to your left as you come in. There’s a round, four-person table in front of the counter, and, beyond that, another communal table, this time for eight people. Against the left-hand wall is a long, hard wooden bench with seven recycled school desks, each with its own chair. Finally, the two windows behind you on your left each hold a two-person bar, ideal for perching and watching the world go by.
There’s not much natural light from the windows at the front, but a liberal sprinkling of light bulbs give it a cosy feel, which goes well with the wooden floor and bare brick walls to the left and right. There’s a laid back atmosphere, quiet rock and blues mingling with the gentle hum of conversation on the Monday morning I was there.
I tried NorthernProjekt, TAKK’s bespoke, seasonal espresso blend, as a flat white. This came in a glass and was one of the smaller flat whites I’ve had (a good thing in my book). NorthernProjekt goes well with milk: it’s not as sweet as some, with quite a dark undercurrent which I like. I paired this with a cinnamon Danish bun, which was spot on; not too sweet or sticky (as much as I love a sticky cinnamon bun, it makes a real mess of the keyboard when typing!). I also snuck away with an awesome mozzarella sandwich which was bursting with flavour.
I had hoped to try out the weekend brunch menu when I was back in November for Cup North, but various timing constraints meant I had to miss out on that pleasure. Oh well, there’s always next time!
|6 TARIFF STREET • MANCHESTER • M1 2FF|
|Monday||08:00 – 18:00||Roasters||Clifton Coffee Roasters (espresso) + Guests (filter)|
|Tuesday||08:00 – 18:00||Seating||Tables, Window Bar, Benches (outside)|
|Wednesday||08:00 – 18:00||Food||Breakfast, Lunch, Sandwiches, Cake|
|Thursday||08:00 – 18:00||Service||Order at counter|
|Friday||08:00 – 18:00||Payment||Cash + Cards|
|Saturday||10:00 – 18:00||Wifi||Free (with code)|
|Sunday||11:00 – 17:00||Power||Yes|
|Chain||No||Visits||11th August, 2nd November 2014|
If you enjoyed this Coffee Spot, check out the rest of Manchester’s speciality coffee scene with the Coffee Spot Guide to Manchester.
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All of the cakes look exceptionally commendable. But BUNS? Chelsea buns and personal stöllen? They win EVERY TIME.
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