Tamper Coffee, Westfield Terrace

A decaf espresso in a classic, black cup (with white interior), served at Tamper's Westfield Terrace branch, Sheffield.The original Tamper Coffee, on Sheffield’s Westfield Terrace, opened three years ago, heralding, along with Upshot Espresso and Marmadukes the arrival of speciality coffee in the Steel City. There’s not much to Westfield Terrace and, while it’s bigger than it looks on the inside, that’s only because it looks really tiny from the street. However, don’t let that put you off. Powered by London-based, Kiwi-inspired roasters, Ozone, Tamper packs in the sort of coffee experience you’d expect at a much larger place.

There are two blends (a bespoke house-blend exclusive to Tamper, plus a guest) on espresso, along with decaf, and a choice of three single-origins. These are offered as an espresso, split shot (single-shot espresso plus piccolo) or hand-brewed filter, available through a variety of methods: V60, Aeropress or Syphon for one/two (as long as it’s not too busy).

If that wasn’t enough, there’s a decent selection of food as well. Although the menu’s necessarily limited (the kitchen, at the back of the store, is in keeping with rest of Tamper, ie, tiny!), it includes breakfast, various lunch options (sandwiches, pies and soup of the day) plus, at weekends, brunch through until three o’clock. And there’s cake too!

You can read more of my thoughts after the gallery.

  • Tamper, in the winter's sunlight on Sheffield's Westfield Terrace.
  • Stepping inside, you're greeted by this view: the espresso machine.
  • However, this is a more typical view since the spot at the front of the counter's very popular!
  • Immediately to your right is the window-bar, seen here in the morning sunshine.
  • A panoramic view from by the door...
  • ... and another from in front of the window-bar.
  • There's more seating opposite the counter, against the right-hand walll...
  • ... and yet more was created when the back wall was knocked through to the storeroom.
  • Now there's this padded bench with its four small tables.
  • The wall opposite has this lovely drawing above a stand-up bar used as a magazine shelf.
  • The view back to the front of Tamper.
  • Talking of lovely drawings, here's another one that graces Tamper's walls.
  • Tamper tote bags. I'm surprised that more coffee shops don't do merchandising.
  • The menu is on a blackboard on the walll opposite the counter...
  • ... while the beans on offer are on another (smaller) board, by the espresso machine.
  • Next to that are some suggestions... The split-shot sounds particularly tempting...
  • The beans, all of which are for sale, sit on top of the sandwich and cake selections.
  • Talking of cake, Tamper betrays its Kiwi origins with some Anzac biscuits.
  • The beans in more detail.
  • There's also plenty of loose-leaf tea to choose from, plus coffee kit for sale.
  • So, down to business. Despite the lack of space, Tamper still manages to offer pour-over...
  • ... using its EK-43, hidden away in the kitchen. All the single-origins go through it, including when they are being ground for espresso.
  • I went for an Aeropress of the Ethiopian, plus a lovely, chewey, chocolate cake.
  • I followed this up by putting Morrell to work on the espresso machine.
  • I was rather over-caffeinated at the time, so went for a decaf espresso.
  • I love watching the espresso extract.
  • My lovely decaf espresso in a classic, black cup.
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From the street, there’s not a lot to the original Tamper on Westfield Terrace, just a square, black-painted exterior, with a timber-framed glass door on the left, a half-height window taking up the rest of the store’s width. A solitary bench sits on the pavement beneath the window. Tamper, however, is a not somewhere which hides behind modest exteriors: the logo (Tamper Coffee Bar written in a white circle around a tamper) is painted on the window and the name, plus address, is emblazoned across the top of the store.

Stepping inside, you find yourself in a cosy little spot. A couple of paces ahead of you is the counter, which takes up most of the left-hand side of the store, espresso machine facing the door. You can sit here at one of three bar stools. Immediately to your right, a bar occupies the window, just wide enough this time for four bar stools. There’s more seating opposite the counter, a pair of two-person tables against the right-hand wall with a four-person table between them and the window-bar.

When it opened, that was all there was to Westfield Terrace. However, people kept coming, and sitting, and staying, so, along with the much larger Sellers Wheel, Westfield Terrace was extended, the back wall knocked through and the storeroom converted into additional seating.

Now Westfield Terrace extends beyond the counter, where the space is split into two, with seating on the right-hand side, and the small kitchen on the left. A long, padded bench runs along the right-hand wall, with four small, square tables. The left-hand wall which separates the kitchen from the seating area, has a narrow, stand-up bar.

Natural light comes from the window/door at the front, plus a smaller window right at the back. To stop it becoming too gloomy, there are plenty of lights, mostly bare bulbs hanging from the ceiling. The sense of brightness is aided by the décor, which is predominantly white, with white-painted walls and ceiling.

The real draw at Tamper, however, is the coffee. The options, along with tasting notes for the single-origins, are chalked up on a board next to the espresso machine. I was spoilt for choice, but wanted to try one of the single-origins. I was tempted by the excellent-value split shot, but decided to follow the recommendation of Morrell, Tamper’s head barista, who suggested the Ethiopian Adado as an Aeropress. This duly arrived in a chemistry-style glass beaker, plus a classic black cup, along with a card giving tasting notes and details of the coffee’s origin. It was a lovely, smooth cup which matured as it cooled.

The filter coffee is known, by the way, as soft-brew in Tamper-speak. This is the first time I’ve heard the phrase, which is meant to distinguish it from “hard brew” (ie espresso). It makes sense, since espresso is a much harsher extraction method in contrast with the subtlety you can get with a good filter method.

By now I was rather over-caffeinated, so I followed this up with an excellent decaf espresso. A test of a good decaf is whether it can stand up on its own as an espresso and this one passed the test with flying colours. I’d defy anyone to tell by taste along that this was a decaf.

http://tampercoffee.co.uk +44 (0) 114 327 1080
Monday 08:00 – 16:30 Roaster Ozone (espresso + filter)
Tuesday 08:00 – 16:30 Seating Tables, Counter, Bar, Bench (outside)
Wednesday 08:00 – 16:30 Food Breakfast, Lunch, Sandwiches, Cake
Thursday 08:00 – 16:30 Service Order at Counter
Friday 08:00 – 16:30 Cards Cash Only
Saturday 09:00 – 16:00 Wifi Free (with code)
Sunday 10:00 – 16:00 Power No
Chain Local Visits 7th February 2015

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