Harrogate is a town with a compact centre, which is where you’ll find the likes of Bean & Bud, Baltzersens and Hoxton North, all within a five-minute walk of each other. The exception to this rule is Westmoreland Speciality Coffee, which is out in the sticks, on the very edge of Harrogate, a whole 10 minutes’ walk from the railway station and maybe 15 minutes from the far flung reaches of Hoxton North on the other side of town.
Set up in the summer of 2014 by the very lovely Jamie, it is an equally lovely place. It also wins Coffee Spot brownie points for being located on Westmoreland Road, on the corner with Mowbray Square. This isn’t its original location, by the way. Westmoreland was originally at No 8, a tiny spot just a few doors down Westmoreland Road, where it spent the first year of its life.
Serving an ever-changing choice of blends/single-origins (plus decaf) on espresso and pour-over from North Star, it’s very much a neighbourhood coffee shop, with a cast of loyal regulars. There’s loose-leaf tea or hot chocolate for the non-coffee drinkers. Meanwhile, if you’re hungry, there is a selection of sandwiches, cakes and pastries.
You can read more of my thoughts after the gallery.
A large, rectangular space, about twice as long as it is wide, Westmoreland Speciality Coffee occupies a west-facing corner. The long side, the front, runs along Westmoreland Street, while the short side, to the right, runs down Mowbray Square. The exterior’s fitted out in grey-painted wood, with tall, narrow, thin-framed windows, topped by rounded arches. The door sits on the corner, at 45⁰ to both streets, with matching round-topped double doors set inside a rounded arch. Inside, the layout’s similarly clean and uncluttered, although the furniture is more eclectic, lacking the exterior’s unified theme. The windows have some beautiful, wooden, white-painted blinds, while the floor’s been stripped back to the bare floorboards.
Although bright, as a large, single space, it could be rather austere or characterless, but clever use of furniture means that it’s anything but. The counter’s opposite the doors, occupying maybe three-quarters of the back wall, while the rest of the space is given over to the seating. There’s a row of three tables, a mix of four- and three-seaters, in the windows on the right-hand side. Meanwhile, immediately to the left of the door, is a large, communal table with a mix of chairs and a bench.
A set of bookshelves cleverly divides the front of Westmoreland into two. The communal table is on one side, while on the far side, a pair of sofas face each other across a shared coffee table. There’s also a padded bench-seat on the window sill, making this by far the cosiest corner. The left-hand wall also has an upright piano and a clock which permanently says 5.35, about half-an-hour after Westmoreland’s closing time… I’m sure there’s a message in there somewhere!
Finally, there are four bar-stools at the far (left-hand) end of the counter where you can perch and chat with Jamie and the other baristas. Talking of the counter, the espresso machine takes pride of place in the centre. During my visit, at the end of December, this was an old La Spaziale, but with luck, there will be a shiny new La Marzocco Strada there by the time you read this, part of Westmoreland (and Jamie’s) dedication to continually improving the coffee.
Talking of which, all the coffee’s from Leeds’ North Star, Jamie knowing Krag and Holly, North Star’s owners, very well. They all share a common link in Ellis, who set up North Star with Krag, before leaving to go travelling. If you’re lucky, you might find Ellis behind the counter, pulling shots (I missed him by a day). The coffee changes on a weekly basis, with either a blend or single-origin on espresso and another on V60 pour-over, Westmoreland taking whatever North Star recommends. Meanwhile, North Star’s decaf is in the second grinder.
During my visit, the Czar blend was on pour-over and a single-origin from El Salvador had just gone into the hopper on espresso. Naturally I had to try that, receiving a lovely, well-balanced shot which was the perfect way to start my day.
|2 WESTMORELAND STREET • HARROGATE • HG1 5AT|
|www.facebook.com/westmorelandcoffee||+44 (0) 1423 562918|
|Monday||08:30 – 17:00||Roaster||North Star (espresso + filter)|
|Tuesday||08:30 – 17:00||Seating||Tables, Sofas, Counter|
|Wednesday||08:30 – 17:00||Food||Breakfast, Lunch, Sandwiches, Cake|
|Thursday||08:30 – 17:00||Service||Order at Counter|
|Friday||08:30 – 17:00||Cards||Amex, Mastercard, Visa|
|Saturday||09:00 – 17:00||Wifi||Free (with code)|
|Chain||No||Visits||5th December 2016|
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