Tincan Coffee Co started life with an old Citroën HY van. This turned into a fleet of vintage vans, serving coffee at events and festivals up and down the country. Then, almost a year ago to the day, Tincan went into bricks and mortar, opening this branch on Bristol’s North Street, confusingly on the south side of the city in Southville. Now there is a second branch in the city centre and rumours of more to come.
Tincan Coffee Co occupies a bright, south-facing spot, with seating outside on busy street and plenty more inside. There’s a window bar, booths and a neat alcove at the back. Coffee is from the local Clifton Coffee Roasters, with a bespoke seasonal house-blend and rotating single-origins on guest espresso and bulk-brew filter. Meanwhile there’s tea from Manchester’s Brew Tea Co and hot chocolate from old friends, Kokoa Collection.
If you’re hungry, Tincan has made the most of being indoors with a proper kitchen, serving an excellent brunch menu from eight in the morning (nine on Sunday) until three in the afternoon. This is backed up by a range of toasties and an impressive selection of cake which is available throughout the day.
You can read more of my thoughts after the gallery.
Before learning of Tincan Coffee Co, I’d never ventured into that strange (for me) land that is South Bristol, other than a brief foray to Beyond the Bean to judge the Barista Bursary. Ironically, it was my return late last year to judge the second Barista Bursary that took me past Tincan, which is perched on the corner of North Street and Exeter Road. Naturally I popped in for breakfast.
If you don’t turn up on a grey, cold December morning, the outside seating at Tincan’s not bad. There’s an enclosed area in front of the store on the busy North Street, with three two-person tables and one for four, while down the quieter Exeter Road on the left-hand side, a row of three two-person tables sits on the pavement.
Inside, the seating follows a similar pattern. The door is in the corner, cut off at 45⁰, so you come in facing the counter which is on the right-hand side. There are windows across the front and halfway down the left-hand side, Tincan being maybe twice as long as it is wide. A seven-seat bar occupies the front window, with proper (high) chairs, while the left-hand windows have three four-person booths. There’s also a small two-person table tucked away between bar and counter.
Beyond the counter, there’s a high four-person table on the right-hand side. Then the store narrows on the left to make space for the enclosed kitchen, leaving a windowless alcove at the back on the right. This has a further two four-person tables on the right and another two-person table on the left.
Despite the natural light from the multiple windows, Tincan has lots of lights, including three huge light-fittings above the counter, lights in the form of headlights from Citroën vans above the booths and multiple exposed bulbs at the back, where wood-clad walls add to the cosiness of the alcove. There are wooden floors throughout plus an exposed brick wall on the right, but otherwise bright, primary colours predominate.
The drinks menus are on diner-style display boards behind the counter, black on a white background, again adding to the brightness. Maybe it was just the grey day I was there, but it felt really welcoming. I decided to have a flat white with the seasonal house-blend, its rich flavour coming strongly through the milk and complementing its sweetness.
If you want something to eat, you’ll find brunch menus on all of the tables. These days, brunch is served from eight onwards, but on my first visit, it didn’t start until nine and, for once, I was early! Despite this, the kitchen was happy to make me anything from the brunch menu.
Normally I would have selected the poached eggs and crushed avocado, but for a change, I went for the baked egg, which I would typically have as a lunch option, rather confirming my logic in the process. My breakfast was excellent, the egg well-baked in a very spicy tomato sauce with peppers and lovely sourdough toast. However, it was far too spicy for my palette first thing in the morning. On the plus side, it was extremely filling.
I returned at the end of March, deciding to try the guest espresso, an Ethiopian which was well-rounded and very smooth, not at all what I was expecting! Tincan changes the guest espresso regularly, buying it in from Clifton and then moving on once it’s gone (usually every two weeks or so). There’s a similar policy with the bulk-brew filter, although interestingly, the two branches (North Street and Clare Street) have different single-origins from each other.
|234 NORTH STREET • BRISTOL • BS3 1JD|
|http://tincancoffee.co.uk||+44 (0) 117 963 3979|
|Monday||08:00 – 18:00||Roaster||Clifton Coffee (espresso + bulk-brew)|
|Tuesday||08:00 – 18:00||Seating||Tables, Window-bar, Tables (outside)|
|Wednesday||08:00 – 18:00||Food||Brunch, Sandwiches, Cake|
|Thursday||08:00 – 18:00||Service||Order at Counter|
|Friday||08:00 – 18:00||Cards||Amex, Mastercard, Visa|
|Saturday||08:00 – 18:00||Wifi||Free (with login)|
|Sunday||09:00 – 17:00||Power||Limited|
|Chain||Local||Visits||8th December 2016, 30th March 2017|
If you liked this Coffee Spot, then check out the rest of Bristol’s speciality coffee scene with the Coffee Spot Guide to Bristol.
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