Chester’s speciality coffee scene has been steadily growing over the last few years, particularly right in the city centre, along the twin axes of Bridge and Watergate Streets. Taking the second of these, Watergate Street has seen the likes of Chalk Coffee (2018) and Panna Chester (2019) opening in recent years, but predating them both, and somewhat unnoticed by me (my bad) is today’s Coffee Spot, The Flower Cup, which opened in 2016, putting it amongst Chester’s speciality coffee veterans.
Unusually for a city where coffee shops seem to specialise in the basement-like spaces under the Rows, The Flower Cup is on the upper floor on the south side of the street. A self-proclaimed “botanical coffee shop”, with a sister shop next door, The Violet Palm (a one-stop shop for houseplants), it’s true to the title, being festooned with flowers and plants. However, it’s a lot more than that, with coffee from Liverpool’s Neighbourhood Coffee on espresso and Clever Dripper, and an extensive, vegetarian- and vegan-friendly brunch menu of which it is rightly proud. It also has a lovely, warm, welcoming atmosphere, making it the sort of place where people linger for ages over their coffee or after their brunch.
July 2020: The Flower Cup reopened on 4th July and is providing an almost identical service, albeit with slightly reduced seating capacity. You can see what I made of it when I visited at the start of August.
You can read more of my thoughts after the gallery.
The Flower Cup is upstairs in the Rows, towards the western end of Watergate Street, on the same side Panna, and across and a little down from Chalk. You can access it from either direction along the upper level or there’s a short flight of steps from street level which lead you almost to the front door. Although the Rows are many hundreds of years old, this particular section (starting at The Flower Cup) looks as if it was rebuilt at some point in the 1960s.
Like all the other shops in the Rows, it’s set back from the street, the space at the front forming an elevated balcony above the street-level shop. There’s some makeshift seating here, with crates for tables and cushions to sit on. Alternatively, head inside, where The Flower Cup occupies a simple, rectangular space, with the counter at the back on the left, the remaining space given over to seating.
The door’s on the left, with an L-shaped high-backed bench-seat to the right. This runs beneath the full-width window at the front and a short way down the right-hand wall, with a four-person table by the door, a round, two/three-person table in the corner, and a third, square table along the right-hand side. This is followed by two high-backed basket-chairs flanking a low coffee table, beyond which the building widens slightly, creating space for an old dresser (acting as a retail counter), a pair of two-person tables, and, in the back, right-hand corner, a long, high, six-person communal table.
There’s more seating on the left, with a pair of two-person tables against the left-hand wall, followed by a narrow two-person bar with stools. Just as it does on the right, the building widens slightly, with space for two more two-person tables, tucked in before the counter. Finally, there’s another row of tables down the middle, a two-person square table at the front, and four-person one at the back and a long, six-person communal table in the middle.
The counter, occupies the back, left-hand corner. The cakes on the left, with the espresso machine and grinder on the right, although since The Flower Cup offers full table service, you have no reason to come up here except to pay before you leave. There are two retail shelves on the left where the shop widens, and an old dresser on the right, selling retail bags of coffee, Keep Cups and recipe books.
The Flower Cup is rightly proud of its extensive brunch menu, with includes a dedicated vegan selection and a wide variety of egg-based dishes, along with pancakes and a few more unusual dishes. I visited twice, having the Parsnip and Thyme soup the first time and the Hip Breakfast (without bacon) on my return.
My soup, which came with a generous slice of granary bread, was excellent, with parsnip making the perfect base. My Hip Breakfast consisted of single, long, thick slice of sourdough toast, topped with a poached egg, halloumi and half an avocado, with four juicy cherry tomatoes and a pot of beans on the side.
The Flower Cup serves a standard espresso-based menu using the house espresso blend, with the option of a daily pour-over, chosen from one of eight single-origins, all from Neighbourhood Coffee. On my first visit, I had a Clever Dripper of the Rwandan single-origin, served in a narrow-necked carafe with a cup on the side, all presented on a small, wooden tray. The coffee itself was excellent, a sweet, fruity cup that became sweeter and fruitier as it cooled. On my return, I had a lovely, smooth flat white, coffee and milk in perfect harmony.
December 2020: The Flower Cup has won the 2020 Best Flat White Award.
|61 WATERGATE STREET • CHESTER • CH1 2LE|
|http://flowercup.co.uk||+44 (0) 1244 639 634|
|Monday||09:00 – 17:00||Roaster||Neighbourhood Coffee (espresso + filter)|
|Tuesday||09:00 – 17:00||Seating||Tables, Bar, Comfy Chairs|
|Wednesday||09:00 – 17:00||Food||Breakfast, Lunch, Cake|
|Thursday||09:00 – 17:00||Service||Table|
|Friday||09:00 – 17:00||Payment||Cards + Cash|
|Saturday||09:00 – 17:00||Wifi||Free (with code)|
|Sunday||09:30 – 17:00||Power||Limited|
|Chain||No||Visits||27th December 2019, 4th February 2020|
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