COFFI

COFFI, on Pilgrim Street in Liverpool, occupying an old, two-storey brick-built coach house.COFFI is another recent addition to Liverpool’s speciality coffee scene which came highly recommended. Located on a cobbled street running parallel to Hope Street, there’s a lovely view of Liverpool’s Church of England Cathedral (not to be confused with Liverpool’s Roman Catholic Cathedral, which is at the other end of Hope Street). COFFI opened in the late spring of 2021 in a lovely old coach house, which provides a unique setting for the coffee shop. There’s limited seating inside at a long table, while there are four benches outside on the quiet street.

The real draw, however, is the coffee, with owners Nat + Mike, who cut their coffee teeth in Bucharest, selecting some outstanding beans from Europe’s best roasters, brewing from a concise espresso-based menu with batch-brew filter and pour-over options. Berlin’s Five Elephant and London’s Assembly were on the shelves when I visited, but these change every two to three weeks, so you’re going to need to hurry to catch them. Meanwhile, if you’re hungry, there’s a small selection of cakes available.

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Meet the Roaster: Adams + Russell

The two Toper coffee roasters at the back of Adams + Russell in Birkenhead.Today’s Meet the Roaster is Adams + Russell, a speciality coffee roaster and fixture of Birkenhead’s coffee scene ever since Mr Adams + Mr Russell first set up shop on an industrial estate near Birkenhead Central station in 1978. Although both founders have moved on, the company hasn’t gone very far in the intervening 44 years, the biggest change coming 10 years ago when expansion saw Adams + Russell relocate to its current home on the same industrial estate.

The same cannot be said for its coffee, though. While still best known in The Wirral and the northwest, Adams + Russell has an increasingly global reach, supplying customers as far afield as South Korea and Iceland’s Skool Beans. Adams + Russell’s philosophy has also come a long way since those early days, when dark-roast blends were its backbone. While the dark-roast blends remain, Adams + Russell has embraced speciality coffee and adopted the lighter roasts beloved of third-wave coffee aficionados to produce a truly impressive range of blends, single-origins and micro lots.

I’ve already written about the roastery’s small retail shop (where you can also buy a cup of coffee) so today’s post is all about the roastery itself.

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Press Bros. Coffee, Lark Lane

An espresso served in a classic black cup with the words "Press Bros. Coffee" on the front.Press Bros. Coffee was recommended by my old friends at Neighbourhood Coffee when I visited Liverpool two weeks ago. Founded by three brothers who, in 2018, bought a converted Piaggio coffee van, Press Bros. began life in the Baltic Market (where the Piaggio is still going strong). Three years later, in October 2021, Press Bros. opened its first bricks and mortar store on Lark Lane in Aigburgh, south of the city centre and a stone’s throw from Sefton Park.

Press Bros. has come a long way from the Piaggio van, with Lark Lane, the subject of today’s Coffee Spot, offering a lot more than coffee. There’s an all-day brunch menu, sandwiches and cakes, along with tea and a range of draught and canned beer, plus wine and cocktails. When it comes to coffee, Neighbourhood provides a bespoke house blend on espresso, where it’s joined by a guest espresso, which changes every month. There are also a couple of filter options, which are matched to a specific preparation method. For June, this was Neighbourhood’s Born Sipping, a naturally-processed coffee from smallholders in the Konga region of Ethiopia (AeroPress) and the Las Guerreras, a Mexican single-origin from Girls Who Grind (V60).

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Bloom Building and Coffee

An espresso, made with an Ethiopian Sidamo single-origin, roasted by Adams + Russell and served in a mauve cup at Bloom Building and Coffee.Monday’s Coffee Spot is Bloom Building and Coffee, a chance discovery made while researching my trip to The Wirral two weeks ago. On an industrial estate in Birkenhead, it’s an interesting place, combining café, bar and venue space with hosting the Open Door Charity, which supports the mental wellbeing of young people across Merseyside, funded, in part, by Bloom Building’s profits. It also offers hot desking space and meeting rooms.

Unsurprisingly, my focus is on Bloom Building and Coffee in its role as a café, where you have a choice of any of the building’s public spaces, including the terrace, main venue/bar and mezzanine, all housed in the brightly-coloured industrial unit that’s been Bloom Building’s home since it opened in 2019. The coffee is from local roasters, Adams + Russell, which has its roastery (and shop) a 20-minute walk away. You’ll find an Ethiopian Sidamo on espresso, along with a Costa Rica decaf, both served from a concise menu, along with tea, hot chocolate and a range of soft drinks. As befits a bar, there’s a wide selection of beer, cider, wine and spirits. If you’re hungry, you can choose from a small range of cakes, pastries and vegan sandwiches/wraps.

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Adams + Russell

The front of a bag of the Tierra Madre, a washed coffee from a Women’s Co-operative in Nicaragua, roasted for espresso by Adams + Russell in Birkenhead.Adams + Russell has been roasting coffee in Birkenhead for over 40 years, operating from a unit on the Argyle Industrial Estate, a few minutes’ walk from Birkenhead Central station, a familiar-enough home if you’ve visited as many coffee roasters as I have. You can read about Adams + Russell the roaster in its own Meet the Roaster feature, but today’s post is about the coffee shop attached to the roastery. This primarily acts as a retail outlet for Adams + Russell’s wide range of coffee, which is available in 250 g or 1 kg bags, filled (and, if necessary, ground) to order, so there’s no stale stock standing on the shelves.

There’s also plenty of coffee-making equipment, cups, etc, plus a wide selection of teas (loose leaf or tea bags). While not set up as a coffee bar, the staff will happily make you an espresso-based drink of your choice using whatever beans are in the hopper that day. Because of the nature of the operation, it’s disposable cups only, so don’t forget to bring your own.

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Blooming Skull Coffee

Enjoying a lovely flat white in my HuskeeCup, made with the Red Bank Penny Rock single-origin espresso while sitting outside Blooming Skull Coffee in Bebington.When asking about speciality coffee in The Wirral, the long peninsular that I can see from my bedroom window every morning which stops North Wales from bumping into Liverpool, one name that consistently comes up is Bebington’s Blooming Skull Coffee. So, when setting off on Monday for a day-trip to The Wirral, it was always going to be my first stop.

Describing itself as a coffee shop and general store, you could be forgiven, on first glance, of thinking that Blooming Skull Coffee’s a coffee shop and florist (it’s not). Blooming Skull is takeaway only (so don’t forget to bring your own cup), although there is a solitary bench outside on the busy Bebington Road. The Penny Rock seasonal single-origin from Red Bank is on espresso, where it’s joined by a guest roaster (Plot Roasting during my visit) on batch brew, plus a range of cakes baked on the premises.

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Tabernacl

A lovely flat white, made with the Blossom Espresso Blend, and served in a classic grey cup at Tabernacl in Wrexham.Tabernacl is the latest addition to Wrexham’s small speciality coffee scene, joining the well-established Bank Street Social, a short stroll away along Hope Street. Part of the Hope Street Church, Tabernacl occupies part of the ground floor of the iconic old Burton building at the southern end of Hope Street, on the corner with Town Hill. With floor-to-ceiling windows along two sides, the bright, sunny interior enjoys some lovely views of St Giles, Wrexham’s parish church.

Tabernacl opened April 2022, and, at the time of my visit (end of May), was slowly expanding its offering. All the coffee is from Manchester-based Blossom Coffee Roasters with Blossom’s seasonal blend on espresso, served from a concise menu. This is joined by either the blend or a single-origin on batch brew filter, along with tea from Good & Proper and cakes from old friends Cakesmiths. However, with the arrival of a second grinder, expect a guest espresso to appear on the menu in the next few weeks, while the kitchen should open in the near future, offering breakfasts and lunches.

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Betty Berkins

A commendably short cortado, served in a glass, and presented on a tray with a slice of orange and a glass of tap water.Betty Berkins has been on my radar since the summer of 2019, when it opened in the hills of Northeast Wales, overlooking the Dee Estuary. It’s an interesting location, just off the A55 North Wales Expressway, making it perfect for a break on your way into or out of North Wales, although both times I’ve visited, I’ve walked from my house in Holywell, following Wat’s Dyke Way for most of the way.

Occupying a large, single-storey farm building, which it shares a gift shop, Betty Berkins offers plenty of choice when it comes to seating. There’s a large, partially-covered outdoor seating area, with views across the Dee Estuary, more outdoor seating in front of Betty Berkins itself, plus plans for a terrace at the rear (with more excellent views). Heading inside, the spacious main room is supplemented by a function room at the back, plus there’s a dedicated space for visitors with dogs.

Betty Berkins offers separate breakfast, brunch and lunch menus, plus a wide array of cakes, all made on site, using local ingredients wherever possible. The coffee, meanwhile, is from old friends, Allpress, with a standard, espresso-based menu, backed up by a selection of tea and hot chocolate.

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Costigan’s Coffee

A lovely cortado in a glass, made with Neighbourhood Coffee's Espresso Yourself blend at Costigan's Coffee.Costigan’s Coffee is Rhyl’s first speciality coffee shop, part of Costigan’s Coworking space, conveniently located across the street from both the town’s bus and train stations (there’s plenty of parking nearby if you’re driving). It’s a joint venture between Town Square, the national coworking group behind Costigan’s, and none other than brothers Phil and Andy of Bank Street Social fame (Wrexham’s first speciality coffee and craft beer shop). As well as Costigan’s, the duo are also in charge of another Town Square Coffee shop in Barnstaple of all places (the first coffee shop to be opened by Zoom, according to Phil), with more on the cards.

Although part of Costigan’s Coworking space, Costigan’s Coffee has its own entrance from the street, effectively making it a standalone coffee shop (although you can also come in through the coworking space). The offering is, for now, being kept simple, with an espresso-based menu driven by the Espresso Yourself blend from Neighbourhood Coffee, along with its (I Can’t Get No) Caffeination decaf, backed up by a selection of tea from Brew Tea Co. If you’re hungry, there’s a simple toast-based breakfast menu, along with various toasties/toasted ciabattas for lunch, plus a range of cakes.

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Haus

The front of Haus, on Penrhyn Road in Colwyn Bay, with the door on the left and a solitary bench in front of the window on the right.Haus opened in 2018, bringing speciality coffee to the North Wales seaside town of Colwyn Bay for the first time. It’s been on my list ever since and while Amanda and I stopped by for lunch in September last year, I didn’t have the time for a full write up. However, I got my chance for a return visit exactly one week ago today when I hopped on a bus to Prestatyn before catching the train to Colwyn Bay, where Haus is a two-minute stroll from the station (and five minutes from the beach).

Offering full table service, Haus has a combined breakfast/brunch menu, backed up by daily lunch specials and a selection of sandwiches, all available until 14:30. There’s also plenty of cake (displayed on the counter at the back) for those with a sweet tooth. When it comes to coffee, Haus uses the ubiquitous Espresso Yourself blend from Liverpool’s Neighbourhood Coffee, with a standard espresso-based offering on its main menu. However, if you look closely, there’s a board on the wall at the back, offering batch brew and pour-over from a selection of Neighbourhood’s single-origin range, along with loose-leaf tea (Brew Tea Co) and hot chocolate (Harry’s Chocolate).

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