Two years ago, Grasshopper Café contacted me on twitter to say that it was opening in Hope, in the heart of the Peak District. I duly put a star on Google Maps to mark its location and then, if I’m honest, I rather forgot about it. Last Monday, planning my route back from Sheffield to my Dad’s in North Wales, I noticed the aforementioned star and thought I would drive through the Peak District and call in along the way…
From the outside, Grasshopper Café could be mistaken for a typical village tea room. However, anything more than a casual glance reveals that there’s a lot more to it than that, with the A-board and signs on the walls proudly proclaiming its speciality coffee heritage. The coffee in question comes from Smith Street Coffee Roasters from Sheffield, with its Dark Peak blend on espresso, Five Arches on decaf and a guest espresso on the third grinder.
If you don’t fancy coffee, there’s a range of interestingly-named teas from Birdhouse Tea Company (also from Sheffield), while if you are hungry, there are full breakfast and lunch menus, plus homemade cakes, all prepared in the small kitchen tucked away beside the counter.
You can read more of my thoughts after the gallery.
Grasshopper Café occupies the last of a line of old south-facing, stone cottages on the main road through the centre of town, an easy drive (and slightly more energetic cycle-ride) from both Manchester and Sheffield, with limited parking out front. Meanwhile, if you’re coming by train, Hope station is a 15-minute walk.
In many ways, Grasshopper is a typical walker’s café, where muddy boots, dogs and cyclists are all very welcome. It’s exactly the sort of place I’d look out for when I used to hike, but with speciality coffee. There’s a large bench outside, plus a couple of tables on the broad pavement, but the café itself looks fairly small, the door to the left and a large bay window on the right. Once again, though, looks can be deceptive.
The door leads to what must have been the cottage’s front room, a large, open, sunlit space, with a glorious stone-flagged floor and stone walls. The furniture, meanwhile, is all bespoke, made mostly of up-cycled wood. A bench-seat is built into the bay window while a large, communal table occupies the centre of the room. Against the back wall on the right, another built-in bench seat has two smaller tables.
Ahead of you, along the left-hand wall, it’s been left clear, so you can go straight to a short, wide corridor that connects the front and back rooms, down which you can already see the counter. You need to pop down here to order, where you’ll also find more seating. The counter occupies the left-hand wall, while off to the right, there are three four-person tables with benches for seating, two of which line the front wall. The third is against the back wall, on the right under the window, with the window sill doubling as a bookshelf. It shares the back wall with a small set of retail shelves, a chiller cabinet for the cold drinks and, on the left-hand side, a door leading to the spacious back yard. Finally, there’s a large open fireplace in the right-hand wall opposite the counter, with the wood-burning stove in the centre, logs stacked up either side of the chimney.
The back yard was looking a bit bare while I was there, but in the summer, it’s full of tables, while there’s plenty of cycle-parking, plus a pizza oven on a raised area at the back. This currently springs into life on a Friday night.
I’d not come across Grasshopper’s main roaster, Sheffield’s Smith Street Coffee Roasters, before, but since I’d already had quite a lot of coffee at Foundry Coffee, I had to settle for a flat white made with the Five Arches Colombian decaf. There was also a guest espresso from Manchester’s Heart & Graft. Sadly I’d also recently eaten, otherwise I’d have been very tempting by the smells of cooking wafting through from the kitchen to the left of the counter.
Fortunately, my decaf flat white was excellent, the milk and coffee going really well together, neither dominating. The milk was beautifully steamed, holding its pattern to the bottom of the cup. I paired this with a slice of the lemon and berry cake, which was just as good. A rich, moist cake, with a subtle lemon flavour and plenty of berries, it was the perfect afternoon pick-me-up.
December 2018: Grasshopper Café was a runner-up for the 2018 Most Unlikely Place to Find a Coffee Spot Award.
|18 CASTLETON ROAD • HOPE • S33 6RD|
|https://twitter.com/hoppercafe||+44 (0) 7976 067338|
|Monday||09:30 – 16:00||Roaster||Smith Street + Guest (espresso only)|
|Tuesday||09:30 – 16:00||Seating||Tables, Benches, Tables (outside)|
|Wednesday||CLOSED||Food||Breakfast, Lunch, Cakes|
|Thursday||CLOSED||Service||Order at Counter|
|Friday||09:30 – 16:00||Cards||Amex, Mastercard, Visa|
|Saturday||09:30 – 16:00||Wifi||Free (with code)|
|Sunday||09:30 – 16:00||Power||Yes|
|Chain||No||Visits||19th February 2018|
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