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.
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.
|57 BRIDGE STREET • CHESTER • CH1 1NG|
|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.