Espresso Station, Moor Street Station

A classic espresso, made with the Monsoon Estates' seasonal blend, and served in a classic cup at the Espresso Station in Moor Street Station, Birmingham.The Espresso Station has been around for a while, since I can remember it from the early days of the Coffee Spot. These days it’s grown to a sizeable operation, providing coffee around the West Midlands. There are to two outlets in stations (Dorridge and Moor Street), two in sports clubs (Aston Villa FC and Worcester Warriors Rugby) and two coffee shops (the Espresso Barn and Espresso Farm). Maybe one day we’ll see the Espresso Station at Edgbaston (hint, hint).

Today’s Coffee Spot is a two-for-the-price-of-one, with the Espresso Station at Birmingham’s Moor Street, where there’s a lovely station café on the main concourse and a smaller, mainly takeaway operation behind the ticket barriers by the platforms. Both serve a standard espresso-based menu using a seasonal espresso blend from nearby Monsoon Estates Coffee Company, along with limited breakfast and lunch menus, plus a selection of cakes, pastries and sandwiches.

Obviously, the café, with a small amount of indoor seating, plus some “outdoor” tables, sheltered under the soaring glass roof of the station concourse, is the more accessible of the two, since you don’t need to buy a train ticket to visit it, so that’s the focus of today’s Coffee Spot.

You can read more of my thoughts after the gallery.

  • Moor Street Station, on the corner of Moor Street and Queensway in Birmingham.
  • Sadly, with all the traffic and street furniture, this is the best view of the front I've got.
  • The entrance is at the right-hand end, under the canopy. Espresso Station is on the left...
  • ... but that door's out of use, so you need to go onto the glorious station concourse...
  • ... where you'll fnd the Espreso Station behind you to your left.
  • There are two outside seating areas on the concourse itself. This is the larger one...
  • ... while the one on the other side just has a single table.
  • To the door's left is a large, six-person communal table with stools...
  • ... and a second, smaller, round table at the front.
  • If you sit here, you get to watch the world go by...
  • ... or just admire the architecture. On the other side of the concourse, the old...
  • ... ticket inspector's office is now a flower stall, while the new ticket barriers are to its left.
  • Best of all, though, is the soaring roof...
  • ... which is all cast-iron girders and glass panels. It's magnificent!
  • You need to go inside to order.
  • The view from the tall, double doors.
  • To the left, the solitary seating area and the disused door...
  • ... while to the right is the counter...
  • ... and, dead ahead, the chiller cabinet, with the grab-and-go items.
  • A better view of the counter, where you order.
  • If you want to sit inside, this is the only seating, in the corner between the doors.
  • To business.
  • The menus hang above the counter...
  • ... while the cakes and pastries are right there in front of you.
  • More cake, this time, next to the till.
  • If you want something more savoury, there are plenty of options in the chiller cabinet.
  • However, I had come for coffee, and the Monsoon Estates' seasonal blend...
  • ... which I decided to have as an espresso.
  • And here it is, in a classic cup...
  • ... with a classic, thick, crema.
  • My espresso checks out the notice board...
  • ... while I tuck into my pain au chocolate, fresh from the oven!
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More Street Station is, by me at least, Birmingham’s forgotten station, since I to travel between London Euston and Birmingham New Street, which is slightly more convenient for my onward journeys to North Wales. I say slightly more convenient though, since Moor Street, nestled at the edge of Birmingham’s compact city centre, is under a 10-minute walk east of New Street. It’s also that much prettier than New Street (while Marylebone, in London, is almost much prettier than Euston), so maybe I should change my travel routines!

The station was first opened in 1909, although I believe that the current structure dates from 1914, a beautiful set of brick-built buildings with high, arched windows and a cast-iron canopy facing the busy Queensway. Inside, the concourse was redeveloped in 2010 and is one of the most beautiful I’ve seen.

It’s in this wonderful setting that the Espresso Station finds itself, immediately to your left as you enter the station under the cast-iron canopy. However, although there is a door here, in the side wall, it’s not in use and the main entrance is on the concourse itself, behind you on your left. Here you’ll find not one, but two coffee shops, with the larger Centenary Lounge immediately beyond the Espresso Station, occupying the remainder of the building that runs along the front of the concourse. And, of course, there’s the kiosk on the platform area, but that’s beyond the ticket barriers, which are in the far, left-hand corner, on the other side of the concourse, so it’s only of use if you are catching a train (or have arrived by train).

Returning to the café, most of the Espresso Station’s seating is outside, the seating area separated from the concourse by waist-high planters. There’s a single, low, two-person round table to the door’s right, while to its left, next to the wall, is a high six-person table with broad, wooden stools Finally, in front of that, there’s another low, round table, this time with three chairs. Sitting here combines the best of both worlds, since you feel as if you are outside, sheltered from the elements by the tall, ridged glass roof, supported by cast-iron girders, soaring high above the concourse.

Inside, the Espresso Station is effectively a cube with a wonderfully high ceiling, although not as high as the concourse! The L-shaped counter occupies the back, right-hand corner as you enter, with grab-and-go sandwiches at the back on the left, although its due a make-over. Immediately to your left, in the front corner, is the only seating, an L-shaped padded bench with a square table and two cube-shaped stools. The interior, by the way, with doors and windows on three sides of the four sides, is almost as bright as sitting outside on the concourse.

Unfortunately I wasn’t there for long, nor was I arriving/departing by train, so was only able to sample the delights of the station café, where I had the seasonal Monsoon Estate blend as an espresso. A rich, full-bodied coffee, it’s a little old school, with a touch of bitterness. A cut (well) above the average station coffee, I suspect it would go really well in milk. Best of all, though, was the pain au chocolate which I had fresh from the oven. It was delicious.

BIRMINGHAM MOOR STREET STATION • MOOR STREET • BIRMINGHAM • B4 7UL
www.espressostation.co.uk +44 (0) 121 665 6829
Monday 06:00 – 18:00 Roaster Monsoon Estates (espresso only)
Tuesday 06:00 – 18:00 Seating Table (inside); Tables (outside)
Wednesday 06:00 – 18:00 Food Breakfast, Lunch, Cake
Thursday 06:00 – 18:00 Service Counter
Friday 06:00 – 18:00 Cards Yes
Saturday 07:00 – 19:30 Wifi Free (with code)
Sunday 08:00 – 16:00 Power No
Chain Local Visits 22nd July 2019

Liked this? Then don’t forget to check out the Coffee Spot Guide to Birmingham for more great Coffee Spots.


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