200 Degrees, Leeds

An Indonesian single-origin espresso in a classic black cup, served at 200 Degrees in Leeds.Nottingham-based café/roaster, 200 Degrees, opened its first café just four years ago, since when it’s been rapidly spreading west and south, with branches in Birmingham, Leicester and as far afield as Cardiff, plus there’s a second Nottingham outlet. However, in December 2016, 200 Degrees struck out northward to open its first Yorkshire branch in Leeds.

It’s not fair to say that if you’re seen one 200 Degrees, you’ve seen them all. However, there is a very definite 200 Degrees look, layout and feel, so if you’ve been to one, then the other branches will hold few surprises, although each has its own quirks. In the case of the Leeds branch, all the usual features are there, including a barista school upstairs. While it most closely resembles the Leicester branch, with outside seating and a second seating area at the back, it lacks Leicester’s soaring mezzanine area.

The coffee follows the same tried-and-trusted formula, with the house espresso blend, Brazilian Love Affair, joined by the interestingly-named Mellowship Slinky Decaf and a single-origin guest espresso, plus another single-origin on filter, all roasted in-house. There’s cold-brew on tap, plus the usual food options, including breakfast and lunch sandwiches, salads and bucket-loads of cake.

You can read more of my thoughts after the gallery.

  • Bond Street, Leeds, and something that's becoming a familiar sight around the country.
  • It's another branch of Nottingham-based roaster/coffee shop chain, 200 Degrees.
  • There's the usual outside seating. Stepping inside, the counter is off to the right...
  • ... with seating on the other side, a familiar layout if you've been to the other branches.
  • Of course, every branch is subtly different. Here there's a solitary window table...
  • ... with more tables arranged along the left-hand wall...
  • ... where you'll find the familiar 'Hand Made in England' statement.
  • I like how the 'Hand Made in England' sign has been tweaked for the local audience.
  • A view of the seating as seen from the end of the counter.
  • At the back is where you'll find another 200 Degrees staple, the neon fireplace.
  • However, that's not all. Beyond the counter, a corridor leads further back...
  • ... with a long bar on the left-hand side, complete with high-backed, padded chairs.
  • Another view of the corrdor, this time with the counter off to the other side.
  • The corridor leads to another spacious seating area at the back.
  • It's up a couple of steps, with a table off to the left...
  • ... and two more off to the right.
  • There are plenty more tables along the walls...
  • And yet more in the middle, leading to...
  • ... a magnificent padded bench (another 200 Degrees staple) along the back wall.
  • A view from the back, looking all the way to the (distant) front of 200 Degrees.
  • Halfway back, there's one more thing. Off to the left, a sign points intriguingly upwards.
  • The stairs lead up to both the Barista School and toilets, but, sadly, no additional seating.
  • Details of the courses are posted on a blackboard by the window at the front.
  • Returning to the bottom of the stairs, the corridor leads back to the front.
  • However, while we're here, let's take a look at the lights in the back room...
  • ... which are, in typical 200 Degrees tradition, quite awesome.
  • There are lights with shades...
  • ... and more brazen naked ones in cages.
  • There are also clusters of light fittings. This one is above the neon fireplace...
  • ... while this pair of beauties illuminate the corridor.
  • As you can probably guess, I was captivated by these.
  • They provide endless opportunities for photographs.
  • Well, almost endless. This is the last one.
  • While we're still in the corridor, these illuminated the bar on the left-hand wall.
  • Up front and there are yet more (different) light-fittings...
  • ... with these hanging over the seating on the left-hand side...
  • ... while over the counter you'll find a row of these.
  • To business. The long counter starts with some retail bags, followed by cold drinks...
  • ... and continuing with sandwiches (all eaten by the time I arrived) and cakes.
  • Fortunately all the cakes hadn't gone. There were still plenty of slices left...
  • ... as well as a host of muffins.
  • Next comes the coffee part of the operation, with three options on espresso.
  • There's the Brazilian Love Affair house-blend, Mellowship Slinky Decaf and a single-origin.
  • The beans are also for sale, albeit with a different single-origin.
  • Finally, there's the till, between the coffee and cake, with the menu on the back wall.
  • Talking of which, there's also a Chinese version of the menu! Impressive.
  • I'd not had the 200 Degrees Indonesian single-origin espresso before, so decided to try it.
  • It looked, and tasted, pretty good.
  • I paired this with a blueberry cheesecake muffin, which was as lovely as it sounded.
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200 Degrees is located on Bond Street, a pedestrianised thoroughfare in the heart of Leeds’ compact city centre, a five-minute walk from the likes of Laynes Espresso, Mrs Atha’s, La Bottega Milanese and Kapow Coffee. It’s slightly unusual since it’s the first 200 Degrees that doesn’t occupy an iconic building. Instead it’s inside a rather sparse white box under a 1970’s car park which makes the transformation even more impressive. I was actually invited to visit the site during fit-out in 2016, but sadly couldn’t make it (I was travelling around the world at the time).

From the street, the Leeds branch looks much like Birmingham, Leicester or Cardiff, with its own outside seating area, a handful of tables on either side of the door, which is in the centre, windows to either side. However, in the case of Leeds, the front runs at an angle of 30⁰ to the main body of the shop, which is not as wide as most, but, in true 200 Degrees fashion, goes a long way back.

The counter is on the right (another 200 Degrees tradition), starting at the window and running the full length of the front part of the building. Meanwhile, there are two rows of tables on the left, which give way to a communal table and, opposite the back of the counter, a cosy corner with a pair of armchairs and the obligatory neon fireplace. The space narrows after the counter, effectively becoming a long corridor leading to the back, making room for the staircase on the left (leading up to the Barista School and the toilets) and a kitchen area on the right (beyond the counter).

There’s a narrow six-person bar with comfortable high chairs on left of the corridor, while at the back, beyond the start of the stairs, things open out again, with a large, slightly-raised seating area which runs the full width of the back of the store, forming a rough square. There’s no natural light back here (indeed, the only natural light comes from the windows at the front), so instead there are plenty of light fittings, another 200 Degrees speciality.

The seating area is separated off by railings, with access via two steps in middle. There’s a table to the left of the stairs, and two more to the right, then a cluster of four four-person tables in the middle, with more against either wall. Finally, a long, padded bench (every 200 Degrees has one) runs along the back wall, with a row of tables in front of it.

I’ve tried the house-blend and decaf before, plus several of the single-origin espressos and filters. However, the Indonesian Lake Takengon single-origin espresso was new to me, so I decided to try it. Previous Indonesian coffee that I’ve had has tended to be heavy, with quite a dark taste and full body. In contrast, the Lake Takengon, while still possessing plenty of body, was surprisingly sweet and well-balanced, continuing a run of interesting single-origin espressos that 200 Degrees have had over the last year or so.

I paired this with the blueberry cheesecake muffin, an intriguing combination which lived up to its promise. It consisted of a lovely, moist sponge, packed with blueberries and chunks of creamy cheesecake mix, the perfect accompaniment to my espresso.

You can also see what I made of all the 200 Degrees branches that I’ve visited.

https://200degs.com +44 (0) 113 345 1441
Monday 07:00 – 20:30 Roaster 200 Degrees (espresso + filter)
Tuesday 07:00 – 20:30 Seating Tables, Comfy Chairs, Bar, Tables (outside)
Wednesday 07:00 – 20:30 Food Breakfast, Lunch
Thursday 07:00 – 20:30 Service Order at Counter
Friday 07:00 – 20:30 Cards Mastercard, Visa
Saturday 08:00 – 19:30 Wifi Free
Sunday 09:00 – 18:00 Power Yes
Chain Regional Visits 28th August 2017

Liked this? Then take a look at the rest of Leeds’s speciality coffee scene with the Coffee Spot Guide to Leeds.

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6 thoughts on “200 Degrees, Leeds

  1. Pingback: 200 Degrees, Cardiff | Brian's Coffee Spot

  2. Pingback: 200 Degrees, Leicester | Brian's Coffee Spot

  3. I always find depressing, creation of a chain.

    I like the quirkiness of indie coffee shops, each different.

    Though a lot of small chains are better than a handful of large chains blighting our town centres […].

    Better still, people once they have learnt the skills, leave and establish their own coffee shop, and the independents support and cooperative with each other, as is often the case.

    Putting iconic buildings to good use is to be praised.

    A couple of years ago in conversation with senior person at English Heritage he said the best protection for any listed building was to put to use, and what better use than a speciality coffee shop?

    Synchronicty: Earlier in the week on the day posted, I tried 200 degrees coffee. OK, but not great. Pleasant aroma, but too many mistakes in the brewing, too hot, cup size too large, coffee not freshly ground. Though to be fair, not a skilled barista, and was not doing the coffee justice.

    Brazilian Love Affair. Strange I thought, espresso blend from Brazil, one country, though as Stephen Leighton quotes in Coffeeograpgy, there is an awful lot of coffee in Brazil. On closer inspection, Brazil (unknown), Colombian (Arabica), Vietnamese (Robusta).

    What self-respecting roastery uses Robusta? […]

    I would position 200 degrees somewhere between catering supply and speciality coffee.

    I would question who supply coffee to. If they are not skilled enough, it does not do your reputation a lot of good.

    I would hasten to add, have never visited one of their coffee shops or their roastery, which may revise my thinking if I did.

    To put in context. Far better than signature blend from Perky Blenders which is not good, but not in the same league as Red Brick from Square Mile or the espresso blend from Hasbean.

    [Note that this comment has been edited to remove external links and potentially defamatory statements as per Coffee Spot guidelines]

  4. i decided to try 200 Degrees Nottingham Station.

    Look and feel very different to the one in Leeds.

    The other difference, a wider choice of coffee beans to buy. Maybe because local to the roastery. Or maybe my imagination.

    Coffee was better, than I had tried earlier in the week. What a difference a barista makes. Though they did add chocolate.

    Why Robusta?

    They were as perplexed as I.

    [Note that this comment has been edited to remove external links as per Coffee Spot guidelines]

    • Hi Keith,

      I disagree on the question of look and feel. Superficially, they are different because the branch by Nottingham station has many more windows and hence is a lot brighter, particularly at the back. It’s also a different shape. However, it has all the same elements and the same basic layout as all the other 200 Degree branches so, to me at least, looks and feels very similar.

      I do agree with you when it comes to the range of coffee on sale. There tends to be a wider selection in the two Nottingham branches (although this observation is based a very small number of visits). Like you, I am unsure why there is a Robusta component to the main blend, but it seems to work for 200 Degrees.


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