Java Roastery, one of the stalwarts of Birmingham’s speciality coffee scene, opened its doors as Java Lounge in Moseley Village in 2005. 10 years passed before a second Java Lounge opened in a prime city-centre location on Colmore Row, quickly followed by two more in 2017, located on business parks in Solihull and Coventry Airport. Sadly, I was late to the game, only really getting to know Java Lounge (as was) when I met the owner, Akram, at 2018’s Birmingham Coffee Festival before playing a belated visit to Colmore Row in 2019, just before the rebranding to Java Lounge.
The original Java Roastery occupies a pair of units on the west side of Alcester Road, set back from the traffic. There’s plenty of room on the pavement for a large, outdoor seating area, while inside, even accounting for COVID-19 precautions, there’s plenty of seating. Even better is the cosy basement, about half the size of the upstairs, full of tables and sofas. The coffee is all roasted in-house with two seasonal blends and decaf on a standard espresso-based menu, plus there’s batch brew filter. If you’re hungry, Java Roastery has a simple, all-day breakfast menu, grab-and-go sandwiches and plenty of cake.
You can read more of my thoughts after the gallery.
I visited last week when, rather than slogging around the M6/M40 or M5/M42 during Friday afternoon rush hour, I cut through the suburbs, with the aim of waiting out the traffic by visiting Java Roastery instead. While I wouldn’t necessarily recommend driving through suburban Birmingham (it’s no quicker than going via the motorways), swapping stationary traffic for coffee and a seat in Java Lounge was definitely the right decision! If you are coming by car, there’s plenty of parking nearby, while Alcester Road/Moseley is well served by buses from the centre.
Java Roastery occupies a pair of wide, knocked-through units on the western side of Alcester Road, so it catches the morning sun. Set a long way back from the busy road, the pavement is wide enough to accommodate a generous outdoor seating area, segregated from the passing pedestrians by waist-high barriers. There are two rows of three-/four-person square tables, one along the front of Java Roastery and the other just behind the barriers.
The broad front of Java Roastery is almost all windows, the door in the middle of the right-hand unit, reached via a wide gap in the tables. This means that one table in each row is to your right, with the remaining four to the left. As wide as the double-unit is, inside it goes even further back, resulting in a large, single space, with the counter set back on the right and the bulk of the seating on the left.
Java Roastery has retained the vestiges of the party wall, with a pillar towards the back and a low, waist-high wall at the front. This has three square, two-person tables running along a bench on its right-hand side, the only seating on this side of Java Roastery (although I suspect that there was more before COVID-19 struck).
Meanwhile, on the other side of the wall, are two round, two-person tables with chairs. There’s a gap between the end of the wall and the pillar, enabling you to move between the halves of Java Roastery, while the space beyond the pillar is occupied by a four-person table (which Akram was using as an office during my visit!).
A row of four booths runs down the middle of the left-hand side, pairs of back-to-back sofa seats separated by coffee tables. Meanwhile, in response to COVID-19, each pair has a tall Perspex barrier rising up between them. Beyond these, at the back, is another four-person table, while a padded bench runs along the left-hand wall with five two-person tables. Finally, in the back left-hand corner, three armchairs cluster around an old fireplace.
All-in-all, it’s a bright, welcoming, open space, but there’s more. Right at the back, an open stairwell descends towards the front of Java Roastery where an open door leads to a cosy basement under the right-hand unit. A complete contrast to the space above, it’s the perfect subterranean hideaway.
Looking towards the front, there’s a two-person table immediately to the left, followed by a pair of large sofas across an equally large table, before you reach a solitary round, one-person table in the front corner. Meanwhile, on the right, two pairs of armchairs face each other across a narrow coffee table, followed by another two-person table before, at the far end, a long, four-person table runs across the front of the basement.
Returning upstairs, you order at the till, halfway down the left-hand side of the counter, before returning to the short section at the front to collect your coffee. I decided to limit myself to an espresso, made by default with the Siena blend (the Rilio is the default for milk-based drinks, but you can ask for either). A classic espresso, roasted quite dark for speciality circles, it’s very nicely done, producing a rich and smooth shot with classic, old-school notes. I paired it with a honeycomb tiffin which was crunchy and sweet, the perfect foil for the espresso.
December 2021: Java Roastery, Moseley Village has won the 2021 Coffee Spot with the Best Basement Award.
|115-117 ALCESTER ROAD • MOSELEY • BIRMINGHAM • B13 8DD|
|https://javaroastery.co.uk||+44 (0) 7494 791127|
|Monday||07:30 – 21:00||Roaster||Java Roastery (espresso + batch brew)|
|Tuesday||07:30 – 21:00||Seating||Tables, Sofas, Armchairs; Tables (outside)|
|Wednesday||07:30 – 21:00||Food||Breakfast, Sandwiches, Cake|
|Thursday||07:30 – 21:00||Service||Counter|
|Friday||07:30 – 21:00||Payment||Cards + Cash|
|Saturday||09:00 – 21:00||Wifi||Free (with code)|
|Sunday||09:00 – 21:00||Power||Yes|
|Chain||Local||Visits||13th August 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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