Stir Coffee Brixton

A lovely decaf Brazilian Cortado in a blue espresso cup at Stir Coffee BrixtonStir Coffee Brixton is a relative newcomer to the area, having only opened at the start of the year. I first became aware of it when I ran into one of the owners at Rag & Bone Coffee (he lived across the road at the time) when I was struck by his enthusiasm and dedication. Fast forward six months, and I finally found myself in Brixton for the Volcano Coffee Works/Assembly launch, so I made a point of taking the 15 minute walk south along Brixton Hill (surely the world’s flattest hill) to Stir.

Stir isn’t quite a multi-roaster, but it mixes up its coffee on a regular basis. There’s a house-blend on espresso from Mission Coffee Works, plus a second espresso from Assembly, which is joined by a decaf on the third grinder. There are also two or three choices on filter, through either the Aeropress or V60, while if you ask nicely, there’s also the Chemex, even though it’s not on the menu. All the coffee choices, except the house-blend, change regularly. There’s also loose-leaf tea, beer (bottles or cans) and various soft drinks, plus a small, but excellent range of food, including a decent selection of cake.

You can read more of my thoughts after the gallery.

  • Stir Coffee Brixton, looking a picture on the corner of Arodene Road on Brixton Hill.
  • It really is a very beautiful building.
  • To the left of the door are two communal tables with benches in the front windows...
  • ... while to the right of the door is this window-bar.
  • The view from the window bar.
  • Nice flowers on the window-bar.
  • One of the three tables outside on the pavement on Arodene Road.
  • The counter is on the left-hand side, past the tables.
  • Stir is a wedge-shape which narrows slightly towards the back...
  • .. where a glass partition leads to more seating.
  • There's also a bench against the wall opposite the end of the counter.
  • In the cosy, windowless room at the back, there are three tables down the left-hand side.
  • It's all exposed brick back here, aside from the sliding wooden door to the toilet.
  • I loved the stained glass in the partition.
  • It's all windows at the front, while at the back and over the counter are plenty of lights.
  • Obligatory light-fitting shot.
  • Stir used to be an antiques shop until the start of this year.
  • There's a generously-stocked bookshelf on the right-hand wall past the windows.
  • Down to business. The counter is on the left, espresso machine to the fore...
  • ... and food to the right. There's savoury on the top...
  • ... and cakes on the bottom.
  • Beyond the counter on the left are various soft (and hard) drinks: Stir just got its licence!
  • The menu is written on the wall behind the counter: black to the left, white to the right.
  • The heart of the coffee operation: a red two-group La Marzocco, with its three grinders.
  • There's also tea and various pour-over options: V60, Aeropress and Chemex.
  • I started with a decaf cortado in an espresso cup.
  • It's worth a second look. The spoon's pretty good too!
  • This was to go with my lunch, a lovely, toasted empanadas.
  • I followed this with a V60 of a honey-processed El Salvadorian coffee which looked like wine...
  • ... which I paired with a Scandi-style cinnamon bun.
  • I'll leave you with a last look at my lovely filter coffee, still looking like red wine!
Photo Carousel by v4.6

Stir Coffee occupies a lovely south-facing spot on the corner of Brixton Hill/Arodene Road. A narrow, slightly tapering wedge, the long side faces south on Arodene Road, while the narrow side, consisting of three almost floor-to-ceiling windows, looks west onto the busy Brixton Hill. The door is right on the corner, with two long, communal tables with benches in the windows to the left, while there’s a four-seat window-bar to the right. This overlooks three tables on the pavement on the comparatively quiet Arodene Road.

The counter’s set back on the left, starting just as Stir begins to narrow. The espresso machine faces the tables/windows to the front, while the counter’s long side, with till, cakes and food, faces Arodene Road. There are retail shelves on the wall before the counter, holding beans and coffee-making kit, while beyond the counter is a chiller cabinet, with shelves above for the various soft drinks and bottled/canned beer (Stir recently got its licence).

There’s a large space at the back which Stir has sensibly resisted filling. There’s a bench on the right-hand wall opposite the counter, but that’s about it. Beyond this, Stir further narrows, a glass partition delineating a small, cosy, windowless seating area, all exposed brick, with three four-person tables on the left and a mirror propped up at the back.

Although the only windows are at the front, the south/west aspect makes it really bright when the sun is out. The high, white ceilings and uncluttered layout add to the sense of space and light, while the back provides a more subdued, cosy environment if you want it.

I got chatting with Sam, one of the owners, who was supposed to be helping me narrow down my choice of coffee. It’s refreshing to find a barista who is knowledgeable and enthusiastic about his coffee, but at the same time honest about its shortcomings. The guest espresso, was, for example, a little too bright for Sam’s tastes, but provided a real contrast to the house-blend. Meanwhile, of the filter options, while all were good, one wasn’t the best he’d had from that roaster and the other was roasted a little too dark to get the best out of the coffee.

In the end, this left me wanting to try all of them, but instead, with the visit to the Volcano/Assembly launch hanging over me, I decided to have the decaf (a single-origin Brazilian from Mission Coffee Works which Sam rated highly) as a cortado to go with my lunch, followed by a V60 of a honey-processed coffee from El Salvador roasted by Assembly (the other two choices were both Kenyans).

My lunch was a lovely vegetarian empanadas, toasted with a side salad. The pastry was excellent, rich and flaky, while the filling was extremely tasty. My cortado was also excellent, the coffee’s natural sweetness going well with the milk, while some fruity notes came strongly through. It was also commendably small, arriving in an espresso cup.

My V60 was made with the continuous-pouring technique and was served in a carafe with a glass on the side. Looking like red wine in the carafe, it had an almost wine-like quality on the first sip. Very rich, fruity and well-balanced, it is one of those where you never quite recapture that first mouthful, leaving you chasing the taste to the bottom of the cup. Or, in this case, glass.

I paired it with a cinnamon bun which also arrived warm. More Scandinavian in inspiration than American, it had a rich, chewy dough that was sprinkled with cinnamon sugar and wasn’t at all sticky.

111 BRIXTON HILL • LONDON • SW2 1AA +44 (0) 208 333 1203
Monday 07:00 – 19:00 Roaster Mission Coffee Works + Assembly (espresso + filter)
Tuesday 07:00 – 19:00 Seating Tables, Window Bar, Tables (outside)
Wednesday 07:00 – 19:00 Food Breakfast, Lunch, Cake
Thursday 07:00 – 19:00 Service Order at Counter
Friday 07:00 – 19:00 Cards Mastercard, Visa, Amex
Saturday 08:00 – 19:00 Wifi Free (with code)
Sunday 08:00 – 19:00 Power Limited
Chain No Visits 11th November 2016

If you liked this post, please let me know by clicking the “Like” button. If you have a WordPress account and you don’t mind everyone knowing that you liked this post, you can use the “Like this” button right at the bottom instead. [bawlu_buttons]
Don’t forget that you can share this post with your friends using the buttons below.

2 thoughts on “Stir Coffee Brixton

  1. Pingback: Federation Coffee | Brian's Coffee Spot

  2. Pingback: Balance | Brian's Coffee Spot

Please let me know what you think. Guidelines for comments are in the "Posts" drop-down menu.