Coffee shop chains are strange things. Sometimes places expand quickly, adding shop after shop, building a strong brand name. Other times, a second branch is only added after long, careful consideration. And sometimes, that second branch is so far removed in look and feel from the original that, until the barista tells you about the connection, you are completely clueless.
So it is with Mother Espresso, the Liverpool outpost of Manchester’s finest, North Tea Power, which opened a mere eight years after its parent and is about as different as can be in terms of look and feel. In my defence, as soon as the barista told me, I remembered, having read about the opening at the end of 2017 on social media, but by the time I came to visit, I’d completely forgotten about the connection, the name “Mother Espresso” not exactly screaming “North Tea Power” at me.
Like its parent, Mother Espresso does many things, excelling at them all, from coffee through tea, craft beer, wine and cocktails to an impressive food menu. The coffee is from Has Bean, with a pair of single-origins on espresso (for milk and black drinks respectively), while there’s also pour-over and batch-brew.
You can read more of my thoughts after the gallery.
In many ways, I was pleased that I missed the North Tea Power connection, allowing me to judge Mother Espresso for what it is, not in comparison to the homely, welcoming, wood-lined nest of loveliness that exists over in Manchester.
Mother Espresso is on Wood Street, one over from Bold Street, home of old hands, Bold Street Coffee, and newcomers Ropes & Twines. It’s located on the ground floor of the Tea Factory, a co-working space run by Urban Splash in a converted tea warehouse, acting as both the in-house café for the various offices on the floors above and as a coffee shop in its own right, with a standalone main entrance on Wood Street. In that respect it reminded me a lot of the likes of Grindsmith Deansgate.
Mother Espresso occupies a large, high-ceilinged, rectangular concrete shell, with whitewashed walls and ceiling, complete with exposed air-conditioning pipes for that modern, industrial look. The front is almost all glass, with windows stretching the full width and about two-thirds height, making it a relatively bright spot. The central double-doors are flanked by windows, each with a two-person window-bar. To the right, there’s a separate door for the Tea Factory, a long, shallow ramp giving access to the offices at the back. A steel mesh, which acts as the right-hand wall, separates Mother Espresso from the ramp.
The interior layout is simple. The seating is in the front part of Mother Espresso, with the counter on a raised platform, maybe a metre high, right at the back, accessed by a flight of steps on the right. There’s a long, eight-person table in the centre, with four well-spaced seats on either side. Eight two-person tables line a wooden bench along the left-hand wall, with a further three along the back, with the counter behind/above. This is somewhere that’s set up for remote working by the way, with power at every seat and free Wifi. While I was there, out of a total of ten customers, five were using laptops, while there was also a business meeting going on.
Alternatively, you can sit on one of two bar stools up by the counter, looking out over the whole of Mother Espresso. The counter is at the back of the raised platform, cakes to the right, with the Black Eagle espresso machine and its twin Mythos One grinders on the left. Finally, against the left-hand wall, there’s the pour-over station.
The coffee is from Has Bean, with t two single-origins on espresso, another on pour-over and a fourth on batch-brew. During my visit, there was a Teodocio Mamani from Bolivia for milk-based drinks and a Kiriga Estate from Kenya for espresso/Americano. Mother Espresso has dispensed with drink names, going with sizes (4oz, 6oz, 8oz). If you don’t want coffee, there’s loose-leaf tea, seven craft beers, three cocktails and red/white wine.
I ordered a 6oz with milk (aka flat white), which was lovely, rich and creamy, the coffee strong enough to come through the milk, but blending with rather than fighting against it. I went back for pour-over, a washed Indonesian from Frinsa Estate, served in the conical flask with a lovely cup on the side, which gets bonus points for its massive handle. The coffee was a little fruity and grew on me as it cooled, not what I was expecting from an Indonesian coffee.
The extensive breakfast/brunch menu includes plenty of vegetarian/vegan options. I forewent my usual Eggs Florentine for a very fine vegetarian breakfast with fried egg, baked beans, hash brown, veggie sausage, loads of mushroom, half an avocado and sourdough toast.
|82 WOOD STREET • LIVERPOOL • L1 4DQ|
|Monday||08:00 – 19:00||Roaster||Has Bean (espresso + filter)|
|Tuesday||08:00 – 19:00||Seating||Tables, Window Bars|
|Wednesday||08:00 – 19:00||Food||Breakfast, Lunch, Sandwiches, Cake|
|Thursday||08:00 – 22:00||Service||Order at Counter|
|Friday||08:00 – 22:00||Cards||Amex, Mastercard, Visa|
|Saturday||09:00 – 19:00||Wifi||Free (with code)|
|Sunday||10:00 – 18:00||Power||Yes|
|Chain||Regional||Visits||31st July 2018|
Liked this? Then don’t forget to check out the Coffee Spot Guide to Liverpool for more great Coffee Spots.
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