Canterbury is blessed with several café/roasters, including roaster-turned-coffee-shop, Garage Coffee, and coffee-shop-turned-roaster, Lost Sheep Coffee. However, the original is the Micro Roastery, tucked away down a quiet side street in the heart of the historic city centre. Originally the roasting was done at the back of the shop, but in 2015, production moved to a dedicated facility, where the 5kg Probat roaster turns out an impressive array of blends and single-origins, all of which are available in the coffee shop.
The narrow storefront on St Margaret’s Street hides an impressively large space, occupying two of the three storeys of an old town house (a barbers sublets the top floor), complete with a sheltered outdoor seating area in the garden at the back. When it comes to coffee, there’s a seasonal espresso blend, with two roasts, one light, one dark, along with a decaf option. Numerous single-origins are available through the Aeropress or four/eight cup cafetieres, while the filter of the day is brewed each morning/afternoon on a Moccamaster. Meanwhile, the cold-brew is freshly made each night.
If you’re hungry, there’s a variety of savoury options, including sourdough focaccias and pastry puffs, plus veggie/meat sausage rolls, along with the usual cakes.
You can read more of my thoughts after the gallery.
The Micro Roastery’s long and thin, with a very narrow store front consisting of a single, glass door, flanked by two tall, thin windows. This leads into an equally narrow space, the counter on the left leaving just enough space to squeeze by on the right, where the wall is lined with bins of coffee.
Probably the original hallway to the house, an opening in the back wall leads past the stairs on the left and two four-person tables on the right to a spacious seating area at the rear of the building. There’s a two-person table on the left, then a four-person table by an old fireplace followed by a bench at the back, with a coffee table and a two-person table at the back. The right-hand side, where the roaster used to be, is now used for storage.
A door in the middle of the back wall leads to a narrow corridor giving access to the cosy garden. There’s a table on the left, and another on the right, while at the back, on the right, wooden benches run around three sides of a pair of tables. It’s very secluded back here, the ideal spot when the weather’s good.
The alternative is to head upstairs where there are two rooms off a small landing, one to the front, the other at the back. The front room’s been turned into a cosy seating space, with a pair of large sofas by the window at the front, facing each other across a coffee table. There’s also a sofa against the wall to the left of the door and a pair of armchairs to the right. While I was there, the back room was a bare, bright space in the process of being turned into another seating area overlooking the garden at the back.
Upstairs is fairly bright, but downstairs, while there’s natural light both front and back, would be quite dark save for numerous light-fittings. The house has wonderfully high ceilings, giving it a great sense of space, while the décor and furniture can best be described as eclectic. Downstairs, various works of art line the walls, all of which are for sale and by the artist Laura Mars.
The Micro Roastery has an impressive array of single-origins for sale, which you can buy as whole beans or have ground on demand. While I was there, there were at least ten on offer. If it’s quiet, and you ask nicely, the baristas will let you try any of them as an espresso. The seasonal house-blend, which while I was there consisted of 40% Peruvian beans, with 30% each from Tanzania and Papua New Guinea, is unusual in that it is offered with two roast profiles, one light and one dark.
The Micro Roastery does a good job of keeping things local with cakes from a variety of sources, including the owner’s mum, who bakes the carrot cake and flapjacks, as well as Canterbury’s own Beardy Baker and Bruno’s Bakes from Rochester.
I went for a flat white made with the lighter of the house-blends, resulting a very rich and sweet drink, the coffee and milk going well together. I paired this with a slice of the banana and caramel cream cake, an excellent cake with a rich, creamy caramel filling.
|4 SAINT MARGARET’S STREET • CANTERBURY • CT1 2TP|
|www.microroastery.co.uk||+44 (0) 1227 634419|
|Monday||08:00 – 18:00||Roaster||Micro Roastery (espresso + filter)|
|Tuesday||08:00 – 18:00||Seating||Tables, Tables (outside)|
|Wednesday||08:00 – 18:00||Food||Cake, Sandwiches|
|Thursday||08:00 – 18:00||Service||Order at Counter|
|Friday||08:00 – 18:00||Cards||Mastercard, Visa|
|Saturday||09:00 – 18:00||Wifi||Free (with code)|
|Sunday||10:00 – 17:00||Power||Yes|
|Chain||No||Visits||2nd May 2017|
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