Last week, I went on a quick tour of Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter, starting with Hatch @ Hazel & Haydn. From there, it was on to Espresso Quarter, the latest addition to the Espresso Station family, which includes two station coffee shops (Dorridge and Moor Street), plus Espresso Barn and Espresso Farm.
In a display of impressively bad timing, Espresso Quarter opened in March 2020, just six days before the first round of COVID-19 restrictions came into force. Despite this rocky start, Espresso Quarter has made it through the pandemic thus far, and is now welcoming customers back, with its combination of a simple, tasty food offering and a bespoke seasonal espresso blend from local roasters, Monsoon Estates Coffee Company.
Espresso Quarter is on the northern side of Warstone Lane, between the Brookfields Cemetery and the iconic Chamberlain Clock. Fittingly, it occupies an old jeweller’s shop, complete with the safe still built into the wall, where the stock was kept overnight. It’s a pretty small spot, with a couple of tables outside on the pavement and limited interior seating. The simple all-day brunch menu goes well with the concise espresso-based menu, while there’s also hot chocolate and a range of tea.
You can read more of my thoughts after the gallery.
Espresso Quarter occupies a modest spot on the north side of Warstone Lane. The front is all glass, consisting of two tall, metal-framed floor-to-ceiling windows, to the right of which is the door. Like the windows, this is metal-framed and has identical dimensions. You can sit outside at a pair of two-person tables, although you’ll need to go inside to order.
Espresso Quarter is bigger than the Espresso Station at Moor Street Station, although not by much. It has a simple layout, with a three-person bar occupying the windows to the left of the door. Directly ahead of you, at the back of Espresso Quarter, is the counter, with the espresso machine (a Victoria Arduino White Eagle) behind it on the right, while there’s an open kitchen behind the counter on the left.
The only other seating is a four-person rectangular table on the left, which stands against the door to the safe, the current COVID-19 restrictions not allowing for anything else. That said, there’s not much more space for any additional seating: during its heyday, in the six days before the first COVID-19 restrictions came into force, there was only room for one further four-person table.
These days you’ll find the second table (without any seats) directly in front of the counter, where it serves the dual purpose of holding the retail bags of Monsoon Estates coffee and ensuring that when you go to order, you keep the requisite distance from the barista, who stands behind the counter. You’ll find the cakes and pastries in a glass display case on the right, with the menu on the wall to the right of that. Finally, there’s a chiller cabinet to your right as you enter, occupying the space between the door and menu.
I hadn’t originally intended to have anything to eat at Espresso Quarter (I was planning to save myself for a visit to Saint Kitchen) but then I saw the menu and changed my mind. When I’d visited Espresso Farm in April, I’d wanted to try the halloumi brioche, but Espresso Farm was out of halloumi that day, so I had to “settle” for the (excellent) avocado toast. Glancing to my right, the first thing I saw on the menu was the halloumi brioche, so that made up my mind.
It turned out that this was the perfect light lunch, a toasted brioche bun with a single slice of fried halloumi between the two halves. This was smeared with just the right amount of chilli jam, not so much that my lips went numb and I couldn’t taste my coffee, but enough to give a little kick (you can also order it without chilli jam). Talking of coffee, I paired my halloumi brioche with an espresso. This was pulled a little longer than I’m used to, but was none the worse for it, a strong, full-bodied, well-rounded shot that is sure to be a crowd-pleaser which I know, from my Espresso Farm visit, goes just as well in milk.
December 2021: Espresso Quarter was a runner-up for the 2021 Smallest Coffee Spot Award.
|166B WARSTONE LANE • BIRMINGHAM • B18 6NN|
|www.espressostation.co.uk||+44 (0) 121 439 9199|
|Monday||07:00 – 17:00||Roaster||Monsoon Estates (espresso only)|
|Tuesday||07:00 – 17:00||Seating||Table, Window Bar; Tables (outside)|
|Wednesday||07:00 – 17:00||Food||Breakfast, Lunch, Cake|
|Thursday||07:00 – 17:00||Service||Order at Counter|
|Friday||07:00 – 17:00||Payment||Card Only|
|Saturday||08:00 – 17:00||Wifi||Free (with code)|
|Sunday||09:00 – 16:00||Power||Yes|
|Chain||Local||Visits||2nd July 2021|
Liked this? Then take a look at the rest of Birmingham’s speciality coffee scene with the Coffee Spot Guide to Birmingham.
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