Heartland Coffee Roasters is a pioneer of the North Wales speciality coffee scene, having moved to Llandudno in 2012. The roastery has its own Meet the Roaster feature, while today’s Coffee Spot focuses on the coffee bar within the roastery. I say “coffee bar” and not “coffee shop” because while there are many roastery/coffee shops, there are few coffee bars like the one in Heartland Coffee.
The idea is not to replicate the coffee shop experience, where Heartland would be in competition with its wholesale customers, such as Providero. Instead, the coffee bar provides a more interactive setting, one which can showcase the full range of Heartland’s output while allowing the customers to discover more about the coffee. In this respect, it reminded me of the Single O Tasting Bar in Tokyo, or the coffee bar at Fuglen Coffee Roasters, which has now sadly closed. Another example which springs to mind is 111 Roasting Works’ Tasting Room in Flagstaff, also sadly closed.
That said, you can always just pop in for a cup of coffee (or some tea) if you want, without having the full interactive experience, sitting at the counter, or upstairs in the mezzanine area overlooking the roastery.
Note that at the moment, the coffee bar is takeaway only, which I’ll describe, along with the full operation after the gallery.
The coffee bar opened in 2018, when Heartland moved from Unit 3, its original home in Cwrt Roger Mostyn, to the much bigger Unit 6. The additional space allowed Heartland to split the roastery into two, with the roasters/production area on the right and the coffee bar/ offices on the left, with a training room and mezzanine seating area above.
You enter via an unprepossessing door in the centre of the industrial unit, which leads to an open corridor, the roasters visible to your right, while the wall of the office is to your left. Keep going and, at the end of the corridor, the coffee bar opens out to your left, with the counter at the back. This is a thing of beauty, starting with a state-of-the-art Sanremo Opera 2.0 espresso machine on the right. The espresso choices are written up on the wall behind the machine, with (typically) three single-origins joining the Landmark and decaf blends. Meanwhile, for the technically-minded, the recipes for each is written up on the wall to the right.
Moving along, the rest of the counter is largely kept clear. This is where the magic happens, where, if you want, you can chat with the barista or watch a filter coffee being made. As well as batch brew, all of Heartland’s single-origins are available through the cafetiere, AeroPress, Chemex, V60 or Clever Dripper, the ultimate try-before-you-buy experience.
Having placed your order, you can, if you want, stay to drink your coffee at the counter, or head upstairs to the mezzanine level using the staircase which runs along the left-hand wall. This leads to the back of the mezzanine (directly above the counter), where Heartland has its training area, while the seating is at the front, where Heartland makes good use of upcycled materials, with pallets and crates reused as furniture, upholstered with coffee sacks. A pair of armchairs flank a coffee table in the window at the front, while another overlook the roastery. There’s also a large, communal table in the centre of the space.
Unfortunately, due to COVID-19, the coffee bar is only operating a takeaway service at the moment. Rather than chatting at the counter, you are asked to wait at the door, where you’ll find hand sanitiser and a card reader for payment, with a retail selection beyond that. The full range of coffee is still available to buy, but there’s only the one single-origin on espresso alongside the Landmark and decaf blends. Place your order and the staff will go away and make/collect it for you, bringing it to you at the door when it’s ready.
I was fortunate that Nathan and Huw, who was working as the barista the day that I visited, took pity on me, giving me the full coffee bar experience, starting with the Los Nogales, a naturally-processed single-origin that was on espresso. I’d already enjoyed it as an espresso at Caffeina Coffi in September, so this time I had it as a cortado, where the fruity nature of the coffee combined with the milk to produce a really interesting drink. I also tried the decaf espresso blend as an espresso, which is made with the same components as the Landmark blend. The result was a rich, dark, bold espresso, with a similar flavour profile to the Landmark.
In all, I spent a couple of hours at Heartland, thoroughly enjoying my time with Nathan and Huw. Although you can’t get the full coffee bar experience at the moment, the coffee is just as good, making a visit to the roastery a very rewarding experience nonetheless.
December 2021: Heartland Coffee Bar was a runner-up for the 2021 Brian’s Coffee Spot Special Award.
|UNIT 6 CWRT ROGER MOSTYN • BUILDER STREET • LLANDUDNO • LL30 1DS|
|www.heartland.coffee||+44 (0) 1492 878757|
|Monday||10:00 – 16:00||Roaster||Heartland (espresso + filter)|
|Tuesday||10:00 – 16:00||Seating||N/A|
|Wednesday||10:00 – 16:00||Food||N/A|
|Thursday||10:00 – 16:00||Service||Counter|
|Friday||10:00 – 16:00||Payment||Cards Only|
|Chain||No||Visits||1st November 2021|
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