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.
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.
|31 BOND STREET • LEEDS • LS1 5BQ|
|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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