Chester’s Bean & Cole has been on my radar since it opened in June 2018, but circumstances have always conspired against me. Until now, that is. Occupying a fairly small ground floor shop in a lovely old building on the semi-pedestrianised Frodsham Street, Bean & Cole is part of Chester’s growing speciality coffee scene, which has seen a flurry of openings in the last couple of years.
Bean & Cole serves Has Bean, with the ubiquitous Jailbreak Blend on espresso, where it’s joined by a guest. There are several filter options, including an Aeropress or V60 for one and a Chemex for two. The guest espresso and filter options are drawn from a wide variety of roasters and change every few weeks. There’s also a small selection of loose-leaf tea, a concise brunch menu with the likes of granola and various things on toast, plus a small range of cakes.
June 2020: Bean & Cole now uses Assembly for its main espresso, rather than Has Bean.
You can read more of my thoughts after the gallery.
Bean & Cole is on Frodsham Street, a few minutes’ walk from the new bus station as you head towards the town centre. Until I visited, I hadn’t fully appreciated just how close it is to the bus station, but that said, my mental map of Chester was largely fixed during visits as a child over 40 years ago. Since then, much (including the location of the bus station!) has changed.
Bean & Cole has a simple façade, with a central glass door flanked by two tall windows, making the front almost entirely glass. Inside, it’s around three times as long as it is wide, and almost as tall. The counter occupies the back right-hand corner, matching the long-and-thin theme. The shorter side faces forwards, holding the cakes and till, while the twin Mythos One grinders and two-group Victoria Arduino White Eagle espresso machine (confusingly in black) are on the long side, followed by the pour-over station, complete with its own EK43 grinder.
The seating is arranged in the remaining L-shaped space. There’s a solitary eight-person communal table on the left, while on the right, a bench runs along the wall between counter and window with four square, two-person tables. The final seating is at the back on the left, opposite the counter, where you’ll find three high, four-person tables perpendicular to the wall.
The décor holds no great surprises, but is beautifully done, with exposed brick walls to the right and back, while the left-hand wall is plastered. Wooden floorboards go with the wooden furniture, the look completed by bare light bulbs and industrial light fittings above the counter.
I was there for lunch, my eye initially drawn to the avocado on toast. However, the barista drew my attention to the specials menu, with its homemade hummus toast, and my decision was made. This was excellent, a generous spread of hummus on a single, large slice of granary toast. I paired this with a flat white, Has Bean’s Jailbreak blend, like the décor, holding no surprises, and going extremely well with the milk.
The guest espresso, a naturally-processed Finca Licho from Costa Rica, was also from Has Bean, although this is a rarity (for example, the next guest in the rotation was from Belfast’s Bailies Coffee Roasters). In the early days of the Coffee Spot, I was a little wary of Has Bean, with its sometimes funky flavours, but I’ve long since lost my fear, so I tried the guest as a straight espresso. This was simply gorgeous, a rich, syrupy mouthfeel, giving way to a well-rounded, well-balanced, complex espresso. I was never going to get the tasting notes of cherry liquor, lycee and sultana, but I loved it nonetheless.
June 2020: Bean & Cole reopened for takeaway service, with seating following in July. You can see what I made of it when I visited at the start of August. The other change of note is that Assembly is now gracing the main hopper, with regular guests in the second grinder.
September 2021: Check out the latest (joint) venture from Bean & Cole, the Kookaburra Bakehouse, a neat little coffee shop with a wholesale bakery upstairs where Jess (who bakes all Bean & Cole’s cakes) works her magic.
|41 FRODSHAM STREET • CHESTER • CH1 3JJ|
|www.facebook.com/beanandcolecoffee||+44 (0) 1244 639060|
|Monday||08:30 – 17:00||Roaster||Assembly + Guests (espresso + filter)|
|Tuesday||08:30 – 17:00||Seating||Tables|
|Wednesday||08:30 – 17:00||Food||Breakfast, Lunch, Cake|
|Thursday||08:30 – 17:00||Service||Order at Counter|
|Friday||08:30 – 17:00||Payment||Cards + Cash|
|Saturday||09:00 – 18:00||Wifi||Free (with code)|
|Sunday||10:00 – 16:00||Power||Yes|
|Chain||No||Visits||25th July 2019, 7th August 2020|
If you enjoyed this Coffee Spot, then take a look at the rest of Chester’s speciality coffee scene with the Coffee Spot Guide to Chester.
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