Since I was last in Sheffield, the city’s speciality coffee scene has undergone quite an expansion. Amanda and I were driving past a couple of weeks ago, so we decided to call in and see what was going on. Sadly, we only had time to visit a single shop, choosing Whaletown Coffee Co, which opened at the start of last year, one of several places I’ve found through Instagram (and in particular Coffee Girl Needs).
Whaletown is in Crookes, in the hills to the west of the city centre, which made it relatively easy to get to as we were driving through. A simple, minimalist, Scandi-inspired place, Whaletown is a multi-roaster with a different roaster each month on espresso (two options) and filter (two or three options) although sometimes (as it was during our visit, when Quarter Horse Coffee Roasters was in the house) the same roaster appears on both.
Whaletown offers the usual espresso-based options, batch brew and pour-over (V60 or Chemex for two) as well as several specials. This is backed up by a small but tasty food offering based around sourdough bagels, rye bread, sausage/vegan rolls, granola (for breakfast) and cakes (for those with a sweet tooth).
You can read more of my thoughts after the gallery.
Whaletown Coffee Co. is in the middle of a long terrace on the west side of Crookes, near its northern (top) end. It has a simple, black-painted façade, with the door on the left and a large, rectangular window to the right, making the front almost all glass. If you want to sit outside by the busy road (complete with on-street parking right in front of the shop) then there’s a solitary bench and fold-up stool which can double as a coffee table.
Inside, Whaletown occupies a simple, rectangular space, with the counter at back on the left. The seating starts with a four-person window-bar to the right of the door, followed by a four-person sofa against the right-hand wall. This is made of four padded cubes, with cushions on top/against the wall (which provide the back of the sofa). There’s a low coffee table in front, with a further two cubes, each with a single cushion on top, opposite that.
The final seating on the right-hand side is a four/six-person picnic-style table with benches for seating. There’s more seating on the left, where two small, square, two-person tables project from the left-hand wall, each with a pair of low, square stools for seating. Beyond these, almost up to the counter, is a high, four-person table with tall stools for seating, and that’s it. The counter itself is slightly recessed with retail shelves to left and right, offering retail bags of coffee, coffee kit and other goodies.
Amanda and I arrived for a late lunch, although we completely missed the bagels and other options the first time around (the menus are on the tables). Instead I had a very fine vegan roll with extremely flaky pastry and pickle on the side. Amanda, in contrast, had a dark chocolate coconut flapjack (for lunch: I pass no further comment).
All the coffee was from Quarter Horse Coffee Roasters (a fairly unusual occurrence), with two blends (Dark Horse and Roan) on espresso and three single-origins on pour-over, one of which was also on batch brew). Amanda had a flat white, made with the Dark Horse blend, which she really enjoyed, the coffee coming strongly through milk, providing rich chocolate and nut notes. Meanwhile I had the batch brew, a washed coffee from the Kigeyo Washing Station in Rwanda, which was smooth and fruity.
It was then that we noticed the food menu, returning for the coffee culture rugbrød (Amanda) and a cream cheese and avocado bagel (me). The rugbrød consisted of a very thick slice of Danish rye bread, topped with smoked salmon, smashed avocado and cream cheese, which Amanda pronounced to be very tasty. My bagel just had cream cheese and avocado, a pairing I’ve not had before but which went extremely well together, while the bagel itself was excellent.
Finally, we had a pair of pour-overs, sampling the Finca La Esquinita (Nicaragua) and the Shakiso Wako #2 (Ethiopia). Both were excellent, although I preferred the rich smoothness of the Nicaraguan while Amanda favoured the Ethiopian’s floral, fruity notes. I didn’t get them at first, but they came through strongly as it cooled.
Before we left, we took the final plum and almond Danish pastry with us, enjoying it later that evening, which was an excellent way to round off the day!
|227 CROOKES • SHEFFIELD • S10 1TE|
|Monday||08:30 – 17:00||Roaster||Guests (espresso + filter)|
|Tuesday||08:30 – 17:00||Seating||Tables, Window-bar, Sofa; Bench (outside)|
|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 – 17:00||Wifi||Free (with code)|
|Sunday||10:00 – 16:00||Power||Yes|
|Chain||No||Visits||21st February 2020|
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