Steam Yard

"Steam YARD coffee co, stay in/take away, FOOD: PASTRIES & DOUGHNUTS"Nothing beats a local recommendation, so when Morrell, head barista at Sheffield’s Tamper, said I should try Steam Yard, literally just down the street from Tamper’s Westfield Terrace branch, I was very tempted. Then I got an e-mail from the owner, Nick, saying I should pop by and that decided it. I mean, it would be rude not to, wouldn’t it?

Steam Yard is located in Aberdeen Court, just off Sheffield’s Division Street, and might be the perfect location for a coffee shop. Aberdeen Court is a fairly small space, lined by two-storey brick-built buildings on three sides, which Steam Yard shares with an alternative clothing store (Rocky Horror) and a tattoo parlour. It’s that kind of place.

You enter Aberdeen Court via a pair of steel gates, tattoo parlour to the right and Rocky Horror on the left. Steam Yard itself occupies the ground floor at the back of the court, with a generous array of outdoor seating, screened off from the rest of the courtyard by a large planter.

As well as a lovely setting, Steam Yard is serious about its coffee, with a house-blend from Yorkshire roasting power-house, Grumpy Mule, and regularly-rotating guests occupying the second grinder.

July 2015: Steam Yard has switched its house-blend to Square Mile.

You can read more of my thoughts after the gallery.

  • Steam Yard, in the back of Aberdeen Court on Sheffield's Division Street.
  • If you're worried it might get lost back there, an A-board on the pavement shows the way.
  • If that fails, there's always this one, hung on the gates.
  • Stepping inside, you need to make your way right to the back of Aberdeen Court.
  • However, when you get there, there's no doubting that you've arrived at the right place.
  • The outside seating, an interesting mix of stools, benches and tables, is lovely and sheltered.
  • Going inside, the counter is immediately to your right, the bright red La Marzocco to the fore.
  • The view looking back to the door along the long part of the 'L'.
  • I wondered if someone had left their helmets by the window, but it's part of the bike theme.
  • The view from the bottom of the 'L', with the main seating to the left and the counter in the top of the 'L' to the right.
  • This four-person table sits in glorious isolation between the counter and the bench.
  • Talkling of which... Check out how low those lights are!
  • One of the offending light-fittings!
  • I liked the armchairs in the corner.
  • Looking into the bottom of the 'L' where the bench continues on the right.
  • There were several leather jackets hanging on the walls, along with other bike-related bits.
  • Coffee, tea and relish (!) for sale next to the door by the counter.
  • Steam Yard also does a good line in food, displayed here at the end of the counter.
  • There are doughnuts, pastries and, at the bottom, savouries too.
  • Some of the vegetarian savoury options...
  • ... and some of the (very popular) meaty ones. Interesting combinations.
  • There are also some Italian snacks by the till...
  • ... and crips, chocolate bars and bananas as well.
  • Two plated-up doughnuts, ready to go. Sadly neither was for me.
  • If you don't fancy tea or coffee, there's a decent selection of soft drinks too.
  • Talking of tea and coffee, here's the menu.
  • The food menu is concise and to the point. And look! Toast!
  • Right, down to business: the two grinders and espresso machine, water-station in between.
  • The grinders clearly display their contents, complete with tasting notes and packaging.
  • The house espresso is the Widescreen blend from nearby Grumpy Mule in Holmfirth...
  • ... while the guest is all the way from Nude Espresso in London.
  • You can see Steam Yard's serious about the coffee from the recipes chalked up under the tea.
  • My espresso, the Widescreen from Grumpy Mule.
  • Here it surveys the room.
  • I then tried it as a flat white, where it really came into its own.
  • Finally, to soak up all that caffeine, an excellent three-cheese toastie, plus chutney.
Photo Carousel by v4.6

Steam Yard saw the light of day in January 2014 when owner Nick opted for somewhere with a roof, where he could keep his espresso machine warm overnight. For the previous 18 months, he’d had a Piaggio Ape down by the station, but was tired of waking up at five on a winter’s morning only to find his espresso machine frozen solid. Again. When the back of Aberdeen Court became free, he realised it’d make the perfect café and he’s not wrong!

Steam Yard occupies an L-shaped space running the full-width of the court, the bottom of the L extending a little way up the left-hand side. The outdoor seating is as good as you’ll get, sheltered and set back from the busy street, but not so overshadowed that it doesn’t catch the sun.

Inside, it’s just as good. You can enter at either end of the L. Taking the more conventional one that’s straight ahead of you, in the right-hand corner of Aberdeen Court, you find the door’s actually to your left, pitching you into the top of the L, counter to your right, two two-person tables opposite it by the window, overlooking the court. Beyond the counter, there’s a four-person table and, beyond that, a very comfortable padded bench runs the length of the far wall. This has four, two-person tables in front of it and, in the far right-hand corner, a lovely pair of armchairs, next to a shelf full of interesting bits and pieces.

To the left, through a rectangular opening, the bench continues into bottom-part of the L, with another four tables. Opposite them, next to another window overlooking the court, is a two-person table, adjacent to the second door, which leads to the outside seating.

This preponderance of windows makes Steam Yard a very bright place, helped by a generous supply of lights. These included a row of extremely low-hanging light-shades over the tables at the back which someone considerably shorter than me could bang their head on. As it was, I walloped them every time I got up!

Making a change from the coffee-and-bicycles theme that’s prevalent these days, Steam Yard is coffee-and-motorbikes, motorbikes being another of Nick’s passions. There’s classic 1950s rock ‘n’ roll thrown in for good measure.

Steam Yard uses Grumpy Mule’s widescreen blend on espresso (although since my visit, it has switched to Square Mile), with regularly-rotating guests (a blend from Nude Espresso during my visit). Being a fan of Grumpy Mule, I had an espresso, which was not quite as smooth as some I’ve tried. It had quite a few sour notes, although not in a bad way, just not quite to my tastes. It was also quite a long shot, which I’d become used to in Sheffield and a welcome change from London’s penchant for shorter, ristretto-like shots. I also tried it as a flat white, where it went really well with milk, combining for a real bite, and tasting a lot darker than it did on its own, a great contrast to the sweet flat whites that I’m used it.

To soak up all the caffeine, I paired the flat white with an excellent three-cheese toastie, with apple and ale chutney. This was lovely, with a real sharp tang too it. I was tempted by the delicious-looking doughnuts, but feared the sugar-rush would do me in!

Monday 09:30 – 16:30 Roaster Square Mile + Guests (espresso only)
Tuesday 09:30 – 16:30 Seating Tables, Tables outside
Wednesday 09:30 – 16:30 Food Breakfast, Lunch, Cake
Thursday 09:30 – 16:30 Service Order at Counter
Friday 09:30 – 16:30 Cards Mastercard, Visa
Saturday 09:30 – 16:30 Wifi Free (with code)
Sunday 10:00 – 16:00 Power Limited
Chain No Visits 9th February 2015

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3 thoughts on “Steam Yard

  1. Shame this didn’t make it into the Caffeine article about Sheffield. Steam Yard and Upshot are so far ahead of Tamper, which owing to the money behind its “look” nearly always gets more mentions than its coffee at least deserves. Ozone’s beans are average at best compared to the beans that are carefully selected by Upshot and Steam Yard (no selecting going on at Tamper, in comparison). We’re lucky in Sheffers to have the lovely Sellars Wheel cafe (tho Westfield Terrace usually have higher standard of brewing), but for coffee, the two more independent shops are far ahead, in my opinion. Breakfast at Upshot (especially monthly brunch) is better than Tamper again, owing to the care taken over ingredients. Best bacon butty in Sheff by miles!

    • Hi Raj,

      I think you’re being a little harsh on Ozone & Tamper, but ultimately it comes down to personal taste/preference. Certainly there’s an advantage in the freedom to choose that the likes of Upshot and Steamyard have, which comes from not being tied to a single roaster.

      I also think that you’re comparing apples with oranges when it comes to breakfast. I missed Upshot’s brunch, but Neal did me a one-off poached eggs on toast which was outstanding. I’ve heard nothing but good things about the Upshot brunches, but again, the freedom that comes from only doing it once a month compared to Tamper doing it every day makes it hard to compare the two.

      Upshot, Tamper and Marmadukes will all be featuring in the Coffee Spot in the coming months.


  2. Pingback: 2015 Awards – Best Outdoor Seating | Brian's Coffee Spot

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