Jaunty Goat (Original)

The Jaunty Goat logo, painted on the wall to the left as you enter the store in Chester.Chester is somewhere which I frequently pass through on my way to/from my parents in North Wales, but I rarely find occasion/time to stop, partly because it’s so close to my parents, it doesn’t make sense to break my journey there. Anyway, that’s my excuse for taking so unreasonably long to visit Chester’s Jaunty Goat (plus there was a point at the start of last year when I thought it had closed; it was, in fact, merely relocating four doors further down Bridge Street).

This failure to visit is entirely my loss though, since the new Jaunty Goat is gorgeous. There’s Jaunty Goat’s own house-blend, plus decaf, on espresso, while on filter there are various guests from around the UK and beyond on V60, Aeropress and Chemex (for two). If you’re hungry, there’s a concise breakfast menu, plus sandwiches/soup for lunch, while copious quantities of cake are available throughout the day.

It’s also good that Chester has a second speciality coffee shop, with The Barista’s ploughing a lonely trough for quite a while. Then, of course, there was Moon Beer & Coffee (formerly Harvest Espresso), but this closed last summer, making Jaunty Goat’s successful reopening in July all the more important.

October 2020: I’ve updated my piece on Jaunty Goat. This is the original write-up, published in May 2016. For an up-to-date description, please see the updated post, while you can see what’s changed in my Coffee Spot Update.

You can read more of my thoughts after the gallery.

  • Wandering down Bridge Street in Chester towards the River Dee and this comes into view...
  • It's the new location for the Jaunty Goat (the old one was four doors up the street).
  • It's under one of Chester's famous Rows, half-timbered galleries of shops above the street.
  • Sound advice on the A-board.
  • On the outside, looking in.
  • A panoramic view from just inside the door...
  • ... and the view the other way, with the two window bars, one either side of the door.
  • You can sit on the right (of the door), tucked away past the retail shelves...
  • ... or you can sit on the other side. Both window-bars are gloriously isolated.
  • Alternatively, you can sit outside on one of the benches.
  • Another panoramic view from just to the right of the door, showing the seating.
  • There are these two lovely seats at the top of the counter, by the filter coffee/cake...
  • ... although the majority of the seating is along the right-hand wall.
  • There are these two-person tables with benches/stools.
  • One of the tables in detail.
  • Next comes this round table towards the end of the counter...
  • ... beyond which there are these lovely seats/tables.
  • On the right, these two gorgeous pews with mirrors above them.
  • The Jaunty Goat Through The Looking Glass, Part I.
  • The Jaunty Goat Through The Looking Glass, Part II.
  • This is what we've been looking at in the mirrors, two gorgeous, copper-topped tables.
  • I absolutely loved these tables (and the thoughtful hooks underneath for your coats).
  • So shiny! The wall's pretty impressive too. As are the lights!
  • Part of Chester's archeological heritage. Steps to nowhere...
  • The view from the back of Jaunty Goat...
  • Another view of the tables along the right-hand wall, this time seen from the back.
  • The company bike?
  • A not-so-jaunty goat!
  • These shelves are to your right as you come in.
  • You can buy Jaunty Goat's coffee...
  • ... or maybe a hamper is more to your tastes.
  • Jaunty Goat, by the way, has light bulbs.
  • Lots of light-bulbs...
  • ... some of which are stuck to the walls...
  • ... and some of which hang free.
  • There are also these amazing light-fittings over the copper-topped tables at the back.
  • Last one, I promise.
  • So, to business. The lovely counter dominates the left-hand side.
  • The menus are on the wall behind the counter.
  • There's food...
  • ...led by an impressive selection of cake right at the front of the counter.
  • There really is an awful lot of cake.
  • Red velvet cake, anyone?
  • Sadly I couldn't indulge myself, but the millionaire cheesecake looked awesome.
  • There are also sandwiches hidding underneath the cake (which is only right and proper)...
  • ... and soft drinks kept in an old sink.
  • Then comes the hot drinks...
  • The house-blend and decaf have their own grinders.
  • Barista hard at work!
  • My very lovely flat white. I love the cups, by the way.
  • Finally, the filter coffee.
  • Jaunty Goat doesn't do many pour-overs, but it has a dedicated filter station.
  • Don't let the bag from The Barn fool you though: my coffee was from La Cabra.
  • The other vital ingredient: hot water
  • The first pour, to let the coffee bloom...
  • ... then one continuous pour...
  • ... which keeps going until we're done.
  • And then serve. In a carafe. I approve.
  • My filter coffee, beautifully presented. Chester people, you need to order more of these!
  • Of course, I couldn't leave without having one of these.
  • My goat's cheese sandwich.
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Like The Barista’s, Jaunty Goat’s long, thin and partially underground, occupying a (slightly-below) street level unit underneath one of Chester’s famous Rows. These are continuous, half-timbered galleries, forming a row of shops above those at street level, accessible at regular intervals by steps up from the street. The Rows are unique to Chester, with some dating to 13th century.

Jaunty Goat probably doesn’t go back that far, having a more modern feel than The Barista’s, with white plastered walls and (an obviously modern) ceiling. However, towards the back, on the left, you get a feel for the original building. The wall’s been left bare, exposing large blocks of dressed stone, including the beginnings of a flight of steps, leading tantalisingly upwards, that could easily date to the Middle-ages.

The only natural light comes from windows running the width of the store at the front, the door recessed in the middle. There are benches outside, one for each window, or you could sit inside at one of two window-bars. A ramp leads down from the door, making the Jaunty Goat wheelchair-accessible throughout. The ramp also sections-off the two window-bars, making them lovely, isolated spaces, ideal for people-watching.

At the bottom of the ramp, the Jaunty Goat stretches out ahead of you, counter on the left. You can sit here, where you’ll find a small filter station in the corner. Meanwhile, the bulk of the counter runs down the long side of the store, cake first, followed by till, grinders and espresso machine.

There’s more seating on the right, opposite the counter. Starting with a long bench, lined with two-person wooden tables, the seating extends right to the back (and the Jaunty Goat goes a long way back). Next there’s a round, four-person table level with the end of the counter and then comes more seating. There’s plenty of space: from the back of the counter to the back wall is perhaps as long as the counter itself. To the right, a pair of mirrors hang on the wall, each with a wooden pew below, complete with a narrow, stainless-steel topped coffee table. Meanwhile, beyond the counter on the left, two high, narrow, delightful copper-topped, eight-person communal tables project from the wall, with bar-stools and hooks under the table-top for your coats. It could be quite dark back here, but plentiful lights give it a warm, welcoming feel.

I started off with an excellent flat white, made with the house-blend, roasted for Jaunty Goat by Peterborough’s Masteroast using a combination of five different beans. The coffee came strongly through the milk, itself rich and creamy. The coffee has fruity notes, which I sometimes find discordant with the sweetness of the milk, but in this case, the two were in harmony.

I followed this up with a V60 using a Colombian single-origin from Denmark’s La Cabra, a subtle, fruity, and well-balanced coffee. The Jaunty Goat gets a bag of beans in from whomever they fancy and then move on when it’s finished. Next up was a Ngunguru Kenyan from The Barn. The Jaunty Goat doesn’t do many pour-overs, but they’re slowing gaining traction in Chester.

Finally, I had a toasted goat’s cheese and beetroot sandwich. Well, I had to, didn’t I? The bread was really crunchy and beetroot/goat’s cheese is an amazing combination.

www.jauntygoat.co.uk +44 (0) 1244 421492
Monday 08:00 – 18:00 Roaster Jaunty Goat (espresso) + Guests (filter)
Tuesday 08:00 – 18:00 Seating Tables, Window-bars, Benches (outside)
Wednesday 08:00 – 18:00 Food Breakfast, Lunch, Cake, Sandwiches
Thursday 08:00 – 18:00 Service Order at Counter
Friday 08:00 – 18:00 Payment Cards + Cash
Saturday 08:00 – 18:00 Wifi Free (with code)
Sunday 10:00 – 18:00 Power Limited
Chain No Visits Original: 6th May 2016
Update: 11th September, 2nd October 2020

Liked this Coffee Spot? Then check out the rest of Chester’s speciality coffee scene with the Coffee Spot Guide to Chester.