North Wales, particularly Snowdonia, is blessed with many things, including outstanding scenery. However, great coffee has been rather thin on the ground, although in recent years, things have been improving rapidly, led in part by local roasters such as Llandudno’s Heartland Coffee Roasters and Poblado Coffi, roasting in Snowdonia itself, who both feature in today’s Coffee Spot, Caffi Caban.
Rather embarrassingly for me, Caffi Caban has only recently come to my attention, despite having opened in 2009! It’s an amazing spot, occupying the rear half of the Brynrefail Enterprise Workshops in Snowdonia. The large, curved interior, which has the majority of the tables next to the windows, overlooks an even larger outside seating area, where multi-level wooden terraces descend to a grassy expanse.
Turning to coffee, Poblado Coffi provides a house blend and decaf, while the guest espresso, which changes every week or two, is usually from Heartland or Poblado. All the shots are ground on Victoria Arduino Mythos grinders and pulled on a Black Eagle. If you don’t fancy coffee, there’s tea, beer, cider and wine, plus a selection of Welsh gin and spirits. Finally, Caffi Caban has separate breakfast and lunch menus, plus plenty of cake, all baked onsite.
You can read more of my thoughts after the gallery.
Caffi Caban is in the village of Brynrefail at the northern end of Llyn Padarn, just off the A4244, which itself is off the A4086, the main road through the Llanberis Pass. Accessed via the narrow road through the village, it’s well signposted from the A4244 and has plenty of parking (I counted three parking areas, one to the right at the lower level and two to the left at the top).
Your first task is to find the entrance, which is at the back of the upper level of the Brynrefail Enterprise Workshops building. Initially, you reach the front door, where arrows on the pavement take you around the side of the building and down a narrow, open passageway to Caffi Caban. The door’s straight ahead, with the upper level of the decking off to the left. Although you can go straight onto the decking, a sign asks you to enter via the Caffi Caban, where someone will show you to a table.
The interior is lovely, with the counter ahead of you to the right, the seating ahead on the left, and a large set of retail shelves, stacked with bags of coffee from Poblado Coffi and Heartland Coffee Roasters, behind you on the right. The seating area curves around to the right, forming a quarter circle, with eight round tables of various sizes lining the windows which run all the way around on the left. Alternative, there’s an eight-person rectangular table tucked away past the counter on the right, the only one not in a window.
As lovely as the interior was, it was empty when Amanda and I visited on a warm, sunny September afternoon, with everyone out on the terraced decking, where we joined them. You really are spoilt for choice out here. The top level stretches out ahead of you, with four round tables seating either six or eight, plus a four-person picnic table at the back. Behind the last table, a flight of stairs leads down to the grassy expanse at the bottom, level with the lower floor of the building. On the way, it passes a second level of decking, with two more four-person picnic tables.
The grassy expanse is home to several mature pines which rise high above the decking, providing plenty of shade. A handful of picnic tables are scattered amongst the tree trunks, but best of all are the four open-fronted cabins, each of which has its own name. There’s one at the back of the upper level decking, a second on the lower level and two more down with the picnic tables at the bottom. They provide further shade and, if required, protection from the rain, housing either a round six-person table or a four-person picnic table.
We were there for a late lunch, with Amanda selecting the cauliflower mac ‘n’ Stilton cheese (plus chips) from the specials board, while I had a classic, pitta and hummus with a side salad. Both our meals were delicious, and we particularly loved the chips, which, coated in Caffi Caban’s own seasoning, were delightfully crunchy.
We paired our food with a pair of flat whites, one with the house blend (Poblado Coffi) and the other with the guest espresso (the Brazil Caparao Lot #11, an anaerobic natural from Heartland Coffee Roasters). Amanda tasted notes of grapefruit and milk chocolate in the house blend, while, in comparison, she found the guest espresso milder and not to her taste. In complete contrast, I loved it, finding it rich and well-rounded, while also liking the house blend, which was slightly sweeter and smoother.
|BRYNREFAIL • CAERNARFON • LL55 3NR|
|http://www.caban-cyf.org||+44 (0) 1286 685500|
|Monday||09:00 – 16:00||Roaster||Poblado Coffi + Heartland (espresso only)|
|Tuesday||09:00 – 16:00||Seating||Tables; Tables, Cabins (outside)|
|Wednesday||09:00 – 16:00||Food||Breakfast, Lunch, Cake|
|Thursday||09:00 – 16:00||Service||Table|
|Friday||09:00 – 16:00||Payment||Card Only|
|Saturday||09:00 – 16:00||Wifi||Free|
|Sunday||09:00 – 16:00||Power||Yes|
|Chain||No||Visits||5th September 2021|
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