Grindsmith Media City

A beautiful Grindsmith glass, with a Nicaraguan single-origin filter coffee from North Star, served at Grindsmith Media City.Grindsmith has expanded rapidly since its successful Kickstarter launched the pod just three short years ago. The third of its (for now) four branches is in Media City, which opened six months ago, following on from the original Pod and Deansgate. Media City is the probably the most traditional coffee shop setting of all four (the Pod is, well, a Pod, while the other two, Deansgate and Cross Street share space with other organisations. Meanwhile, this one stands alone on a corner to the west of the new Media City development in Salford.

Grindsmith has always built its reputation on coffee excellence, but in Media City, it has added a large kitchen, enabling it to expand its food offering. There’s a full and impressive brunch menu, served until four o’clock, plus something entitled “food on the go”, including breakfast, lunch and sandwich options. Finally, there’s plenty of cake. The coffee offering is centred around the (white) Black Eagle espresso machine, with a single-origin from local roasters, Heart & Graft, on the main grinder and decaf on the second grinder. This is backed up with a single-origin on bulk-brew and another available through the Kalita Wave, both from guest roasters.

You can read more of my thoughts after the gallery.

  • Grindsmith's third branch is on this corner in Salford's Media City.
  • The downstairs, as seen from the window, looking towards the counter, door on the right...
  • ... and the view looking the other way.
  • Looking over the tables towards the window-bar at the front of Grindsmith.
  • There's a one-third length window-bar on the left-hand side.
  • There's more seating, with a mezzanine area above the counter, the stairs at the back.
  • Let's go up, shall we?
  • A panorama from the top of the stairs, mezzanine to the left, downstairs on the right.
  • Looking down on the main seating area from the top of the stairs...
  • ... and seen here from a more cental position.
  • The mezzanine level, seen from the top of the stairs. It's very uncluttered up here.
  • There are these two tables straight ahead...
  • ... seen here from a different angle.
  • There are only four more tables in the whole mezzanine area.
  • There are these two at the back...
  • ... and these two at the front...
  • ... which overlook the seating area down below.
  • You also get a great view of the counter area. Just don't drop anything!
  • An unusual view of the espresso machine.
  • The stairs, as seen from above.
  • Let's go down, shall we?
  • Back downstairs and Grindsmith might have the best window of any coffe shop I know.
  • The top half of the window in more detail. My photo really doesn't do it justice!
  • The lights, by the way, are pretty cool too.
  • One for the lightbulb enthusiasts.
  • The lights, as seen from above. Not often you see them from this angle!
  • To business and the strange, geometrically-shaped counter.
  • The view across the counter towards the espresso machine (left) and filter station (back).
  • One of Grindsmith's three (white) Black Eagles (only the Pod doesn't have one).
  • There are also two Mythos 1 grinders, one for the single-origin espresso & one for decaf.
  • As well as coffee, this Grindsmith has a well-stocked bar.
  • There is food in the shape of brunch until four o'clock...
  • ... and food on the go, including breakfast, lunch and sandwich options.
  • And, of course, there's pelnty of cake.
  • The drinks menu, including a concise coffee section and an even more concise not-coffee bit.
  • You can also buy coffee and coffee-related kit.
  • Some of the coffee, including filter options from North Star and Caravan.
  • My coffee, a North Star Nicaraguan pour-over through the Kalita Wave.
  • My coffee, in a very lovely Grindsmith glass...
  • ... and an accompanying slice of Bakewell Tart.
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Grindsmith’s Media City branch occupies a corner unit at the intersection of the inspirationally-named blue and red roads in Salford’s (now not so) new Media City development. A few minutes’ walk from the Media City tram stop, it’s a block northwest of the footbridge across the Manchester Ship Canal to the Granada Studios, which face-off against the BBC from the other side of the water.

It’s almost a cube, being slightly longer on one side than the other, and not quite as tall as either. Even so, it has wonderfully high ceilings, with enough space for a mezzanine level above the counter, the stairs running along the back wall. You enter opposite the stairs, at the right-hand end of the red street side, where you find the counter running along the right-hand wall, a spacious work area behind it and the kitchen behind that, visible thorough a hatch in the wall.

Being a corner unit, two of Grindsmith’s four sides are occupied by windows, tall enough to reach the level of the mezzanine. Ironically, the mezzanine, set back above the counter/kitchen, doesn’t have any windows, and therefore has the least natural light, a situation not helped by the black-painted walls and ceiling. On the other hand, Grindsmith makes the most of this, with subdued lighting giving it an atmospheric, moody feel. It’s uncluttered up here, with just six tables. Two are on the left, directly ahead of you at the stop of the stairs, two more are at the front, overlooking the counter, and the final two are against the back wall.

Downstairs, it is similarly uncluttered. There are two rows of three two-person tables which run up the middle of Grindsmith, perpendicular to the counter. A window-bar to the left of the door runs the full width of the front of Grindsmith, with a one third length window-bar on left, looking out in the direction of the canal. The counter, with its interesting geometric design, is a bright white, while the window-bars are wooden, the tables and floor a stone grey, and the walls and ceiling painted black. A splash of colour comes from a glorious stained glass window in the middle of the left-hand wall.

Grindsmith’s house-roaster is Heart & Graft. These days, Grindsmith only serves single-origins, with the espresso currently from the Democratic Republic of Congo. The filter options come from guest roasters, currently from London’s Caravan and LeedsNorth Star Micro Roasters. There’s usually at least one single-origin on pour-over, although if you ask nicely, the staff will make you any of the coffees on the retail shelf. The espresso is there until it’s gone, usually a month or two, at which point Grindsmith moves onto the next one. Meanwhile the filter options change ever every week or so.

I had a Nicaraguan single-origin from North Star as a pour-over, a smooth, well-rounded brew with a subtle flavour. It was served, as it should be, in a carafe with a small, and beautiful, Grindsmith-branded glass on the side. Alas, I was just too late for brunch, so I paired my coffee with an excellent Bakewell Tart (well, slice). With a lovely, moist sponge, there’s enough raspberry jam to give you the flavour without overwhelming you, plus a generous sprinkling of almonds. It disappeared very quickly.

Monday 07:30 – 18:00 Roaster Heart & Graft (espresso), Heart & Graft + Guests (filter)
Tuesday 07:30 – 18:00 Seating Tables, Window Bars, Tables (Mezzanine)
Wednesday 07:30 – 18:00 Food Brunch, Cake
Thursday 07:30 – 18:00 Service Order at Counter
Friday 07:30 – 18:00 Cards Mastercard, Visa
Saturday 07:30 – 18:00 Wifi Free
Sunday 09:00 – 17:00 Power Limited
Chain Local Visits 4th November 2016

Liked this Coffee Spot? Then take a look at the Coffee Spot Guide to Manchester for more great Manchester Coffee Spots.

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6 thoughts on “Grindsmith Media City

  1. Pingback: Grindsmith Deansgate | Brian's Coffee Spot

  2. Pingback: Grindsmith | Brian's Coffee Spot

  3. Pingback: Grindsmith Cross Street | Brian's Coffee Spot

  4. Visiting Grindsmith today and thought to look around for reviews first! Thanks for this, it was really informative. I couldn’t find a menu on their site anywhere

  5. Pingback: Grindsmith Deansgate | Brian's Coffee Spot

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