Greenhood Coffee House

A specially-commissioned piece of art for Greenhood Coffee House by the very talented Tim Shaw. A hooded archer kneeling on top of a hot water tap shoots arrows through suspended apples and into a target standing on an EK-43 grinder.Something very special is happening out in Beeston, just west of Nottingham. No, I don’t mean the new tram line, although that should be welcomed, particularly since it’ll be easier for visitors to get out to today’s Coffee Spot. Instead I’m referring to the Greenhood Coffee House, which opened at the start of July.

Much of Nottingham’s speciality coffee scene can trace its roots back to The Bean, a Beeston fixture of some renown just around the corner from Greenhood. In this respect, Greenhood’s no different, owner Rory having worked there for several years. However, Rory’s now struck out on his own, opening Greenhood, a speciality coffee shop which is proving as popular with the locals as it is with the connoisseur.

On espresso, there’s a bespoke house-blend from Has Bean on one grinder, while local roasters, Outpost Coffee Roasters, is a permanent fixture on another. There’s even a third dedicated grinder for decaf. These are joined by three filter options, available through Chemex, V60 or Aeropress. Here Has Bean is joined by local roasters such as Sundlaug Coffee Co. and some from further afield, including Berlin’s Five Elephant and Philadelphia’s ReAnimator! Loose-leaf tea is from Waterloo Tea amongst others.

You can read more of my thoughts after the gallery.

  • Greenhood Coffee House, on the corner of Acacia Walk. It's a lovely, sunny spot.
  • Nice logo!
  • The front of Greenhood. Such a bright, sunny space.
  • Sadly there's no outside seating, so this window-bar is the next best thing.
  • The rest of the downstairs seating.
  • The centre-piece is this large, six-person communal table.
  • Behind that, on the right-hand side, is this interesting high table...
  • ... and beyond that, this very comfortable-looking sofa.
  • A view of the seating in the front part of the store, looking towards the windows.
  • Beyond the sofa, a long, naarow corridor leads past the retail shelves to the counter.
  • The view back down the corridor from the counter.
  • The reason the corridor is so narrow is that it has to accomodate this staircase on the right.
  • Let's go up, shall we? Here's the view from the top of the stairs.
  • I think that the seating up here's even better than the downstairs.
  • I particularly like the front part, beyond the screen, which starts with this round table...
  • Then there's a wind chime, bookshelf and, in case the till breaks, a back-up abacus!
  • Carrying on around, these two comfy chairs have got a good spot by the window.
  • I love the plant in the corner.
  • Finally, there's this little window-bar.
  • There are more chairs hanging up on the wall, just in case you run out!
  • Some of the decoration on the walls is, shall we say, interesting :-)
  • Time to go back downstairs...
  • ... but not before admiring this sign.
  • Downstairs again, and the decoration's just as eclectic.
  • More plants!
  • And an impromptu paper rack!
  • More conventional shelves for yet more reading material.
  • There really in no escape from Caffeine Magazine!
  • This wonderful piece was commissioned from the very talented Tim Shaw.
  • This, I suspect, was not... :-)
  • More light bulbs...
  • Downstairs the lightbulbs are allowed to roam free...
  • ... while upstairs they are caged.
  • The retail shelves are packed with goodies, starting with Greenhood's green cups...
  • ... plus green cups of another sort, with the reuasble JOCO Cups.
  • There is also plenty of space given over to selling coffee beans.
  • Local roaster Sundlaug was well represented, but nearly sold out!
  • This was the last bag, along with a single-origin from Has Bean.
  • More Has Bean: the single-origin on filter, Dark Archer espresso blend & Quiver filter blend.
  • There's also coffee-making kit.
  • Anyway, to business: the counter, seen from halfway down the stairs.
  • There is a limited selection of cakes, and, at lunchtime, sandwiches.
  • The espresso machine is this lovely-looking Kees van der Westen Mirage. So shiny...
  • There's also filter coffee through V60, Aeropress or Chemex.
  • There are three dedicated espresso-grinders, while all the filter goes through the EK-43.
  • The selection of filter coffees available during my visit.
  • Starting with espresso... The Mirage, by the way, is being replaced with a lever version!
  • Dark Archer house-blend from Has Bean (top) & Outpost's Colombian single-origin (bottom).
  • The Dark Archer is recommended for milk-based drinks...
  • Rory is a dab hand at latte art...
  • I love watching the pattern develop...
  • ... although I wish I'd stood over to the right now!
  • The finished article.
  • Here's one Greenhood prepared earlier.
  • I wanted to try the filter too, so went for the Sundlaug Ethiopian.
  • There are three options for filter, including Aeropress and V60.
  • For V60, Greenhood employs a continuous pour method...
  • ... continually topping up until the correct amount of water has been poured in.
  • Almost there now...
  • ... and all we have to do is wait until it finishes filtering through.
  • The third option, by the way, is the Chemex, which is what I had :-)
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Greenhood Coffee House sits on Beeston’s pedestrianised High Road at the corner of Acacia Walk. Striking the right note from the outset, the large, clear windows which flank the door, also extend a long way down Acacia Walk, presenting a pleasingly clean, uncluttered interior. It has a strange layout though.

Greenhood presents a narrow store-front on the High Road, but extends a long way back along Acacia Walk, allowing it to have windows along much of its left-hand side. Long and thin, the seating occupies the bright, sunny space at the front, making best use of the windows. Immediately to the right of the door, which is in the middle of the short side, is a three-person window-bar, looking out onto the High Road. To the left, a pair of stools act as impromptu tables for local newspapers and magazines.

Next come the tables. To the left, there’s a two-person and four-person table, separated by a paint-splattered step-ladder, doubling as a magazine rack. On the right, there’s a low, six-person table and a high, three-person one. Finally, just as the store narrows, there’s a large, comfortable two-person sofa.

The counter, however, is missing. You’ll find it right at the back, past racks of beans and retail coffee kit, down a narrow corridor along the left-hand side. Occupying a square spot at the far end of the store, it looks like it’s been thrown together out of chipboard. The broad counter-front holds till, cake and filter kit, while espresso machine and an impressive four grinders are behind it against the right-hand wall.

The layout makes (more) sense when you turn around. Behind you, occupying the space to the corridor’s right, a flight of steps leads to a lovely upstairs space. Just as bright and airy as downstairs, it’s much quieter, with no stream of customers constantly coming and going. The kitchen occupies the space above the corridor, but it’s safely tucked away behind a closed door. The rest’s given over to seating, with tables to left and right, then, beyond a half-screen, more tables, including a lovely, five-person round table and small window-bar.

Another striking feature of Greenhood is that once you make it to the counter, there’s no menu. I first encountered this in La Colombe in Philadelphia. Owner Rory has several reasons for dispensing with the menu, not least because he changes coffee so often, he doesn’t want to have to keep re-writing it. However, the main reason’s the same as La Colombe’s: not providing a menu forces the customer to engage with the barista (and vice versa), giving an extra opportunity to talk about the coffee.

Greenhood’s house-blend is Dark Archer (40% Ethiopian natural, 20% Tanzanian natural, 40% Costa Rica Red Honey), which is used for milk drinks, while the guest, Outpost’s single-origin Colombian is offered as espresso. I tried them both as espresso, finding the Dark Archer to be very smooth and, especially on the first mouthful, sweet. It got sharper and fruiter with the second/third mouthfuls. In contrast, Outpost’s single-origin was a more complex cup, sharper and fruitier than the Dark Archer.

On filter, there’s Greenhood’s Quiver blend and a single-origin, both from Has Bean, plus a washed Ethiopian from Sundlaug Coffee Co.. I tried this through a Chemex, finding it a very clean, drinkable cup.

My hopes of sneaking into Greenhood unnoticed were scuppered when I ran into Rory the day before at Nottingham’s The Pudding Pantry. We’d both gone there for Sunday brunch (it being Rory’s one day off in the week) and he rumbled me when I was tweeting pictures of my pancakes…

In other news, Greenhood has won the 2015 Coffee Spot Special Award.

Monday 07:00 – 18:00 Roaster Has Bean + Guests (espresso + filter)
Tuesday 07:00 – 18:00 Seating Tables, Bar, Sofa
Wednesday 07:00 – 18:00 Food Sandwiches, Cake
Thursday 07:00 – 18:00 Service Order at Counter
Friday 07:00 – 18:00 Cards Amex, Mastercard, Visa
Saturday 07:00 – 18:00 Wifi Free (with code)
Sunday CLOSED Power Yes
Chain No Visits 10th August 2015

You can see what local coffee bloggers, Notts Coffee, made of Greenhood Coffee House, while there’s this view from local blogger, Helen.

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7 thoughts on “Greenhood Coffee House

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