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 three coffee shops (Espresso Barn, Espresso Farm and Espresso Quarter). 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.
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.
December 2019: Espresso Station, Moor Street Station has won the 2019 Best Coffee Spot near a Railway Station Award.
|BIRMINGHAM MOOR STREET STATION • MOOR ST • 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||Payment||Cards + Cash|
|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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