Heart & Graft Coffee Shop

Part of the upstairs seating at the Heart & Graft Coffee Shop in Salford.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, in a row arches under the railway in Salford.
  • And here it is, the front nearly all glass.
  • Inside, the counter's on the left. You may notice a purple colour scheme by the way...
  • Opposite the counter is the retail area, stairs leading upwards behind that.
  • There's also a display table, although that might be a temporary feature.
  • At the back, on the right, is the only downstairs seating, a six-person table.
  • There is, however, more seating upstairs.
  • Neat armchair, if you don't mind people constantly going past.
  • There's plenty of seating in the sunlight upstairs.
  • These two large tables are on the right-hand side, with a four-person table at the back...
  • ... followed by this larger table with benches in the middle.
  • Right at the front is this small, round three-person table.
  • There's more seating on the other side, including a sofa right at the front...
  • ... and this gazebo-like structure behind it.
  • The view from the front.
  • The large table in the middle looks like a repurposed games table.
  • Right at the back is a small educational area...
  • ... which forms part of the courses that Heart & Graft hold upstairs.
  • There are lots of plants around, particularly upstairs...
  • ... where the plants break up the space.
  • The high, curved ceiling (the underside of the arch) gives an immense sense of space.
  • As well as plants, there are colouring books upstairs.
  • Time to go back downstairs.
  • The view of the counter from halfway down the stairs.
  • There are more plants downstairs, including these coffee plants (there are more upstairs).
  • There is a projection screen on the back wall which will show a live feed from the roastery.
  • This is a better picture of the stream (currently a You Tube video).
  • This is Sean, by the way, who popped in. He's in the video and does have other hoodies!
  • Talking about the roastery, there's a neat sign on the back wall.
  • Although it's quite sunny, there are plenty of lights, particularly downstairs.
  • Naturally I was captivated.
  • Obligatory light bulb shot.
  • More light bulbs and the retail section by the stairs.
  • There's the usual coffee-related kit...
  • ... along with multiple retail bags of coffee.
  • Down to business. Here's Josh by the purple La Marazooco Strada espresso machine.
  • A simple menu is chalked on the wall behind the counter.
  • As well as espresso, there's a wide selection batch brew.
  • As well as the Barnraiser blend, there are usually four-single origins available.
  • At Josh's suggestion, I tried a sample of each one.
  • If you're hungry, there's a selection of cake available at the front of the counter...
  • ... while at the back, there's perhaps the best thing of all: unlimited DIY toast!
  • There's a choice of three: sourdough, multi-grain sourdough & multi-grain wholemeal.
  • Grab a slice (or two, or three, or four) and pop it in the toaster.
  • There's butter, naturally, as well as jam, lemon curd, marmalade and marmite.
  • A small sample of the multiple slices of toast I had at Heart & Graft.
  • Time for presents: a bag of coffee from Single O in Tokyo, plus a copy of my book.
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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.

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)
Sunday CLOSED Power Limited
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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2 thoughts on “Heart & Graft Coffee Shop

  1. Pingback: 2019 Awards – Happiest Staff | Brian's Coffee Spot

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