Bean & Leaf Coffee House

The Bean & Leaf Coffee House logo from the A-board in Hertford Street.When contemplating my recent trip to Coventry, the one place that everyone recommended was Bean & Leaf, located in the heart of the city’s pedestrianised shopping centre on Hertford Street. A fairly small spot in an interestingly-shaped space with high ceilings and a quiet, cosy basement (which more than doubles the available seating), Bean & Leaf has plenty of charm. You can also sit outside, where there are a couple of tables and a pair of benches.

Since it opened in 2017, Bean & Leaf has established quite a reputation, serving some excellent coffee from roasters from around the country. There’s a house espresso (currently from Manchester newcomer, Blossom Coffee Roasters) and a guest roaster (currently Bath’s Colonna Coffee), which changes every month, supplying a second option on espresso/batch brew and a single-origin on pour-over.

Although it sees itself as primarily a coffee shop, Bean & Leaf (as the name might suggest) takes its tea just as seriously, with a wide range of loose-leaf tea from Bath’s Teahouse Emporium, served in pots with coloured egg-timers so that you know when your particular brew is done. All of this is backed up by a range of sandwiches and tempting cakes.

You can read more of my thoughts after the gallery.

  • The classical columns of Coventry's magnificent Natwest building is home to...
  • ... Bean & Leaf Coffee House. But where exactly is it?
  • Coming from the south, it's off to the right, in the far corner...
  • ... where this handy A-board helps you not miss it.
  • Coming the other way, you are on the lookout for this broad passageway.
  • Again, a helpful sign points in the right direction.
  • Behold, the might arch and metal doors of Natwest (the table belongs to Bean & Leaf).
  • If only those were the doors to Bean & Leaf though! Instead, it's just off to the left...
  • ... where you'll find this neat little table.
  • This is the view coming the other from the other side, where you step between two pillars.
  • As well as tables in front of each pillar, there's this little bench behind the right-hand pillar.
  • A hint of what's to come inside...
  • ... and the promise of more seating. Which is good, since...
  • ... looking in through the window, Bean & Leaf seems fairly small!
  • Inside, and here's the bar that we saw through the window. There's a table behind it...
  • ... and then more seating to the left. This little nook is formed by the window and the...
  • ... wall, which don't quite manage to meet before they reach the back of the pillar.
  • The only other seating is this pair of two-person tables against the left-hand wall...
  • ... after which we reach the back of Bean & Leaf.
  • The busy counter area is in this (much bigger) nook on the left...
  • ... while on the right, an arrow points to the promised extra seating.
  • Let's go down. The stairs run down the back wall, then double back on themselves.
  • The view from the foot of the stairs. Two square, four-person tables are on the left.
  • The second of the tables in more detail.
  • On the right, a wooden bench with three two-person tables runs along the wall.
  • Finally, in a shallow nook in the front wall, there's a pair of armchairs.
  • Time to go back upstairs. Check out the tiles! These continue...
  • ... around the corner (you don't really notice them on the way down).
  • And here we are, back at the top.
  • Although upstairs is small, it has wonderfully high ceilings. And plenty of plants.
  • Neat bookshelf. Check it out the next time you visit. It might have a new addition.
  • Some of the artwork from the interior...
  • ... along with some of the artwork outside (from the rear of the pillar).
  • Meanwhile, in the basement, do check out the toilet, for some fabulous wallpaper...
  • ... and neat mosaic-style floor tiling.
  • Space is at a premium in Bean & Leaf, so the retail shelves are on the wall on the stairs.
  • Okay. To business. You order at the counter...
  • ... which is a busy little spot.
  • The staff aren't silly though: they've made sure they have the best light bulbs in the shop!
  • Marshmallows!
  • To your left and along the wall to your left are the cakes and other sweet things...
  • ... of which this is just a small sample. I was there mid-afternoon and the staff had...
  • ... already restocked twice. And all the sanwiches were gone by mid-morning!
  • The drinks menu is on the back wall...
  • ... while off to the right are the details of the guest espresso and pour-over.
  • My eye was drawn to the bottom, where it said 'coffee flight', so I ordered one.
  • This is the guest espresso as batch brew filter, macchiato and espresso.
  • My macchiato had staying power, keeping the latte art to the bottom of the glass.
  • During my visit, Colonna Coffee was the guest roaster, but the house roaster is Blossom.
  • Before I left, the staff wanted me to try the Blossom espresso, so they made me a shot.
  • I'll leave you with my bonus coffee, beautifully presented on a tray like my coffee flight.
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Bean & Leaf is tucked away in the north-eastern corner of Coventry’s pedestrianised Hertford Street (itself more of a triangular open space than a street). Approaching from the south, look for the classic columns of the Natwest building in the far, right-hand corner. Alternatively, from the north, a useful sign on Broadgate points down the left-hand passage into Hertford Street, Bean & Leaf immediately to your left as you enter the square (triangle).

Bean & Leaf occupies a small ground floor unit to the left of the soaring, central arch of the magnificent Natwest Building, a pre-war Coventry survivor that was built in 1930. Bean & Leaf is bounded by a pair of pillars, but is set back from the street/square/triangle, forming a sheltered passageway.

There are two outside tables, one in front of each pillar, while you’ll find a short bench against the back of the right-hand pillar. This faces the front of Bean & Leaf, the majority of which is occupied by a single picture window on the right. To the left of that is the door, at about 45° to the window (which itself is almost, but not quite perpendicular to Bean & Leaf’s right-hand wall). Finally, there’s another narrow window to the left of the door which is almost (but not quite) parallel to the left-hand wall and which ends against the back of the left-hand pillar.

This forms a shallow, rounded passage in front of Bean & Leaf, which provides considerable shelter both for the bench and a low, round table with a pair of stools that stands opposite it in front of the window. It also creates an interesting interior, starting to the left of the door, where the sloping window forms a little nook behind you as you enter. This is probably the best seat in the house, occupied by a broad, padded bench seat with lots of cushions, plus a small round table. Beyond this, a pair of square tables, each with two stools, occupy the left-hand wall. To the right is a cramped four-person window-bar, with a conventional two-person table behind that, which is pretty much it for the upstairs seating. The counter is in a deep recess at the back on the left, while on the right, behind the table, stairs lead along the back wall to the basement, doubling back on themselves as they go.

Although smaller than upstairs, the basement has more seating. Two four-person square tables occupy the space on the left, while on the right, three smaller, two-person tables line a wooden bench against the wall. Finally, in a small nook in the front wall, opposite the stairs, a pair of armchairs, each at 45° to the wall, share a coffee table. If anything, the basement feels more spacious and relaxed than upstairs.

I’d decided to have a pour-over, but then saw the option of a guest espresso flight and immediately changed my mind. The current guest espresso is a washed coffee from the Women’s Peace Sopacdi in the Democratic Republic of Congo, roasted by Colonna Coffee. The flight comes as an espresso, macchiato and batch brew, plus a bottle of still/sparkling water.

I started with the filter, a lovely, smooth brew. Traditionally, you’re supposed to have the macchiato next, but I went for the espresso, which was much sharper, with a real acidic kick to it. The contrast between filter and espresso (considering it’s the same coffee) is quite stark. The contrast continued with the macchiato, the milk really taming the espresso, although the same underlying flavours are there. Returning to the last of filter, I could detect the same underlying flavours, only much more diluted.

The last few sips of each brought out some more fruity notes, with the macchiato impressively holding its latte art to the bottom of the glass. Of the three, it was my favourite, the espresso still retaining its punch, but softened by the milk, which added a sweetness that complemented the coffee’s underlying flavours.

Before I left, the staff made me a shot of the Blossom Espresso (the house espresso). A much more rounded shot compared to the guest, it had a deep, rich flavour, with classic caramel/chocolate notes.

December 2021: Bean & Leaf Coffee House was a runner-up for the 2021 Coffee Spot with the Best Basement Award.

Monday 08:30 – 17:00 Roaster Blossom + Guest (espresso + filter)
Tuesday 08:30 – 17:00 Seating Tables, Window Bar, Armchairs; Tables (outside)
Wednesday 08:30 – 17:00 Food Sandwiches, Cake
Thursday 08:30 – 17:00 Service Order at Counter
Friday 08:30 – 17:00 Payment Cards Only
Saturday 10:00 – 17:00 Wifi Free (with code)
Sunday CLOSED Power Yes
Chain No Visits 10th July 2021

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2 thoughts on “Bean & Leaf Coffee House

  1. Pingback: 2021 Awards – Coffee Spot with the Best Basement | Brian's Coffee Spot

  2. Pingback: 2021 Awards – Best Espresso | Brian's Coffee Spot

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