I first came across Liverpool’s Neighbourhood Coffee, the subject of today’s Meet the Roaster feature, at last year’s Cup North. While Neighbourhood only started roasting in 2015, its founders, Ed and Chris, have plenty of coffee experience between them, having previously worked for green-bean importers and African coffee specialists, Schluter. Spotting a gap in the Liverpool market, they set out to establish Liverpool’s first speciality coffee roastery.
Working from a very modern set-up in a railway arch just north of the city centre, Neighbourhood roasts on a 15kg Giesen, a Dutch roaster which I see popping up more and more frequently in UK roasteries. Neighbourhood roasts a couple of espresso blends and has four to six single-origins. You can now enjoy Neighbourhood’s coffee in select cafes in the Liverpool area, and, increasingly around the country, plus via the on-line shop.
Like many small and start-up roasters, roasting is a small part of what Neighbourhood does. A large part of the business is building a market for speciality coffee, as well as providing training and support for existing and new customers. As much space in the arch is given over to the large training suite as it is to the roaster.
Given the somewhat trying day I’d had, there was something reassuring about stepping into Liverpool’s Bold Street Coffee. It’s not what I’d call relaxing (think loud and busy) or even particularly comfortable (think plastic chairs over sofas), but it was indisputably my kind of place. One end of the counter was buckling under the weight of the interesting cakes, the other held an Aeropress brew bar, while in the middle, the bright red La Marzocco made a certain statement…
There’s also something about the way that the staff carry themselves which makes a statement: we know coffee, we’re passionate about coffee. I could write an essay on what it is that distinguishes (at a glance) those staff who have this passion and knowledge from those who are merely competent but indifferent and still not capture it. However, whatever it is, the two guys in Bold Street had it.
If tea is more your thing, then you’re in luck, since Bold Street carries a range of Waterloo Teas. If you’re looking for something more substantial than cake, then your luck’s also in, since Bold Street has decent breakfast (until 12:00, 16:00 at weekends) and lunch (12:00 until 16:00) menus too.
May 2018: Some bad news and some good news. Bold Street Coffee was forced to leave its eponymous home in January, although there’s currently a pop-up at Santa Maluco on Castle Street. The good news, however, is that Bold Street Coffee has a chanced to get back to where it belongs, in its original home at 89 Bold Street, but this time in an expanded space! To do this, Bold Street Coffee needs to raise £30,000 through its Kickstarter campaign, which runs until 27th June. There are some awesome rewards, so get pledging now!