I first visited Root Coffee back in 2016, when it was a relative newcomer to Liverpool’s speciality coffee scene, having opened right at the end of 2015. By the time of my return at the start of September, checking out how the city’s speciality coffee shops were coping during the COVID-19 pandemic, Root was an old hand, looking (and feeling) very similar to how it had over four years earlier.
Blessed with a large, bright interior and a generous outdoor seating area on the (already) pedestrianised western end of Seel Street, Root Coffee was ready-made to offer a COVID-safe environment with minimum change. The outdoor seating was reopened as soon as the restrictions were eased on 4th July, with the indoor seating quickly following.
These days, Root is almost back to normal, with slightly reduced opening hours (10:00 -17:00) and with the kitchen closing at three o’clock. The coffee is a good as I remember it, with a cast of three roasters gracing the various hoppers, although batch-brew is off the menu for the moment.
You can see what else has changed after the gallery.
Returning to Root Coffee, I had an immediate sense of familiarity, from the outside seating, with its five well-spaced tables separated from the street by low planters, to its tall, glass façade. Inside, the sense of familiarity grew, Root retaining the layout that’s served it so well since it opened.
The counter remains in its customary place against the back wall, facing you as you enter. Long and uncluttered, it runs nearly the full width of Root Coffee, giving way to the small kitchen on the right. This has been upgraded since my first visit, when it was screened off from the rest of the space. Now it has a proper wall and offers a predominantly toast-based brunch menu, along with pancakes and granola.
The seating is still split into two areas, with much of the original furniture. This was made by the owner, Dennis, using recycled pallets (bench seating and coffee tables) and naturally-weathered, reclaimed wood from the docks (wall cladding, counter and table-tops). There have been some changes though, with the small, cosy lounge area to the left having a single six-person table rather than the sofas and armchairs that I remember.
The majority of the seating is still to the right, led by the L-shaped, padded bench-seat, its back to you as you enter, plus the window-bar running the full length of the windows. However, the handful of tables that used to occupy the space in the middle have gone, replaced by a gorgeous, bespoke table from furniture maker, The Riven Oak. For now, this sits a maximum of six, no doubt a result of COVID-19 restrictions (which has also seen ta reduction in the number of seats at the window-bar). Finally, the padded bench which runs along the right-hand wall and part way along the kitchen wall is still there, albeit with slightly fewer tables (again, a COVID-19 precaution).
Turning to coffee, Root’s remained true to its multi-roaster ideals, championing some of the less well-known roasters, raising their brand awareness in Liverpool. These days, the rotation has largely settled down to three roasters, Hard Beans from Olope in Poland, West Sussex’s Craft House Coffee and, slightly closer to Liverpool, old friends Hundred House Coffee from Shropshire.
Root has two options on espresso, with a naturally-processed Brazilian from Hard Beans being the mainstay. While I was there, it was joined by another naturally-processed coffee, a Hutwe from the Democratic Republic of Congo, roasted by Craft House, while Hundred House was providing the pour-over option, a washed Ethiopian.
After a brief discussion with the barista, I selected the Hutwe, having been warned that it was quite different, which turned out to be an accurate description. I had it as an espresso, a fruity shot with an interesting kick to it. It’s probably not to everyone’s tastes, being unlike any espresso I’ve had this year, but that’s no bad thing, particularly if you are looking, like me, for some variety.
Even though Dennis wasn’t there when I visited, I was well-looked after by the friendly staff and it was like I hadn’t been away. I’ll try not to leave it four years next time!
|52 HANOVER STREET • LIVERPOOL • L1 4AF|
|www.facebook.com/rootcoffeeliv||+44 (0) 7500 040011|
|Monday||10:00 – 17:00||Roaster||Guests (espresso + filter)|
|Tuesday||10:00 – 17:00||Seating||Tables, Window-Bar, Tables outside|
|Wednesday||10:00 – 17:00||Food||Cake, Toast|
|Thursday||10:00 – 17:00||Service||Order at Counter|
|Friday||10:00 – 17:00||Payment||Cards + Cash|
|Saturday||10:00 – 17:00||Wifi||Free (with code)|
|Sunday||10:00 – 17:00||Power||Yes|
|Chain||No||Visits||Original: 6th May 2016
Update: 7th September 2020
Liked this Coffee Spot? Then check out the rest of Liverpool’s speciality coffee scene with the Coffee Spot Guide to Liverpool.
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