I’ve long been a fan of Heart & Graft, and its co-owner, James, having first met in 2013 at Coffee Fix in Gatley on the outskirts of Manchester. Back then James was running his first roastery, The Coffee Circle, while also working as a barista at Coffee Fix. However, by the time the first Manchester Coffee Festival (then known as Cup North) came around in 2014, James was installed in a new roastery in Artwork, the venue for the original Cup North. By then, the Coffee Circle had morphed into Heart & Graft and soon after, James teamed up with Sean, the two of them taking Heart & Graft from strength to strength.
Sadly I never managed to visit the original roastery, which closed down at the end of the summer, moving to a new space in Newton Heath. At the same time, Heart & Graft had the opportunity for a coffee shop under a railway arch in Salford, a few minutes’ walk from the original roastery, the shop opening in early October. Naturally, when I was back in Manchester at the start of the month for this year’s Manchester Coffee Festival, I couldn’t miss the opportunity to call in.
You can read more of my thoughts after the gallery.
The Heart & Graft Coffee Shop isn’t that easy to find, tucked away under a railway arch near Salford Central station. Although the address is Yorkshire Street, the only access I could find was from Chapel Street. Head under the railway along Quay Street, where, immediately to your right, five arches face a car park to the south. Heart & Graft occupies the central one, its front almost all glass: a long, low rectangle on the ground floor; a broad, high arch above.
You can sit outside at the solitary long bench/table, but alternatively head inside where you’ll find a single, rectangular space, the counter occupying the entire left-hand side, with stairs on the right, beside which there’s a set of retail shelves and a display table. There’s not much seating down here, just a large, six-person communal table on the right at the back.
There’s more seating upstairs which is, frankly, gorgeous: an amazing light-filled space, particularly when the sun is shining. The stairs deposit you at the back on the right, where you’ll find some information boards about Heart & Graft’s various educational programmes and courses. The upstairs stretches from the back wall to the front window, while what could have been a plain, single space is cleverly broken up into multiple spaces.
There’s a four-person table at the back on the right, next to the stairs, followed by a larger table with benches on all four sides, while right at the front is a small, round table with three chairs. Meanwhile, on the other side, at the front, a sofa stands against the wall, followed by a gazebo-like structure which forms its own, semi-enclosed seating area, a pair of armchairs at the front facing a small, two-seater wicker sofa at the back.
My attempts to sneak in unnoticed were foiled by the staff. Although James and Sean were at the roastery, both baristas, Ashleigh and Josh, recognised me from social media. Other than the gorgeous space and friendly staff, the main draw is the coffee. Heart & Graft has the ubiquitous Barnraiser seasonal blend on espresso, plus five options on batch brew: Barnraiser, plus four single-origins, representing a range of contrasting flavours. That said, if you ask nicely, you can have any of the single-origins as an espresso.
I said I didn’t know what I wanted, so Josh suggested I try samples of all four batch-brews, which come with interesting names such as Crazyhorse (from the DRC) and Loveshack (Costa Rica). During my visit Chateau 77 (Uganda) and Mystere et Prestige (Sumatra) weren’t on, but there was a nameless Ethiopian which was probably the pick of the bunch, very tea-like and delicate. In contrast, the Barnraiser is a solid, all-round, well-balanced coffee, probably the darkest of the lot, but that’s not much saying much since they are all medium to light roasts.
Loveshack meanwhile, was a nice, well-rounded fruity coffee, while Crazyhorse was another lighter, naturally-processed coffee. All four were excellent, and all offered very different taste profiles, which, sadly, my vocabulary and palate aren’t really up to describing.
Heart & Graft has a selection of cakes and, perhaps, best of all, DIY unlimited toast. There’s a choice of sourdough, multi-grain sourdough and multi-grain wholemeal, all from Martin’s Bakery, which occupies the same building as the roastery in Newton Heath. Naturally I tried all three, all were excellent, but the multi-grain sourdough was my favourite. I went back for seconds, but was gently told that “unlimited” wasn’t quite true: once I’d eaten all three loaves, that was that, so I decided to stop (after my third round).
December 2018: Heart & Graft Coffee Shop has won the 2018 Happiest Staff Award.
|70 YORKSHIRE STREET • SALFORD • M3 5EG|
|Monday||07:30 – 16:00||Roaster||Heart & Graft (espresso + batch brew)|
|Tuesday||07:30 – 16:00||Seating||Tables, Sofas, Table (outside)|
|Wednesday||07:30 – 16:00||Food||Unlimited Toast, Cakes|
|Thursday||07:30 – 16:00||Service||Order at Counter|
|Friday||07:30 – 16:00||Cards||Amex, Mastercard, Visa|
|Saturday||09:30 – 17:00||Wifi||Free (with code)|
|Chain||No||Visits||2nd November 2018|
If you enjoyed this Coffee Spot, then take a look at the rest of Salford’s speciality coffee scene with the Coffee Spot Guide to Manchester & Salford.
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