With new speciality shops cropping up across the North and pioneer roasters flinging open their doors to coffee fans, there’s never been a better time for a caffeine-fuelled road trip
The city tour
Get your urban cafe fix with a coffee tour of Leeds, Manchester and Sheffield
Fresh from the train in Leeds, make tracks to the newly extended Laynes Espresso for a European tour of speciality roasters, or head south from the station to Out of the Woods for Dark Woods espresso and rustic fodder. Whichever direction you take next – dockside to The Grub and Grog Shop or into town for nitro thrills at Kapow Coffee – you’ll soon hit something specialist.
In Manchester, take in the coffee houses with a tram tour across the city, making stops at Grindsmith Espresso & Brewbar on Deansgate for filter gear geek-outs, and Federal Cafe & Bar on Nicholas Croft for an Antipodean brunch sesh. Or mosey over to the creative Northern Quarter for a swift espresso and cheese toastie at Takk.
Start your reccie ’round Sheffield with an Instagramable brekkie at Marmadukes Cafe Deli followed by a mid-morning speciality hit at Tamper – Westfield Terrace. Afternoon indulgences can be taken in the form of cascara tonics and peanut butter and jam doughnuts at Upshot on Glossop Road.
Packing essentials Without sounding like your mother, pack a sturdy pair of shoes. That step count will quickly rack up.
Fuel the journey Speciality doesn’t stop at 5pm. In Manchester, Pot Kettle Black’s badass brunch plates can be plundered ‘til 7pm, while authentic Italian lasagne and flat breads are available until close at La Bottega Milanese – Bond Court in Leeds. In Sheffield, head to Tamper – Sellers Wheel for Friday night thrills.
Ease 7/10. This will take a few days, but what a trip. We’d recommend taking the train as everywhere is within walking distance.
The lakes tour
Make like Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon and do your own version of The Trip – but with coffee and cheese toasties instead of Michelin starred fine dining
Start at the charming town of Kirkby Lonsdale and visit Anthony at Kircabi roastery. Don’t expect the usual industrial premises: this is a quaint little store in the centre of town where you can see roasting in action while grabbing a coffee to-go. Suitably buzzing, whizz through to Staveley where you’ll find More? The Artisan Bakery for slabs of traybake cake and stonking gourmet sausage rolls.
Just around the corner, Stephen at Mr Duffin’s Coffee is also great to visit; sit in the cafe while he cooks up coffee beans in front of you.
Packing essentials Travel The Trip style by Mini, with a simple overnight bag slung in the boot and a copy of the Indy Coffee Guide. Don’t forget to brush up on your Al Pacino impression beforehand.
Fuel the journey You’ll find a few good farm shops en route, so if you really can’t wait for your next chow down, grab some local goodies. Give the Kendal mint cake a miss though – a sugar hit of that proportion with your caffeine intake will tip you over the edge.
Ease 8/10. A bit of planning is required, plus a vehicle, and it would be a shame not to stay the night and do it at a leisurely pace.
North eastern tour
Take a caffeinated trip across the North’s eastern edge and discover incredible coffee and coastal seascapes
Kick off close to the Scottish border with a trip to Pilgrims Coffee on Holy Island for a cup of the tidal isle’s namesake brew. Heading south, make a pit-stop on the outskirts of Newcastle for fabulous filters at BLK Coffee in Heaton before brunching at Harvest’s Jesmond joint.
Continue skimming the coast to Bedford St Coffee in Middlesbrough – this is the original cafe from the guys at Rounton Coffee – then motor across country to sample the killer scones at Mint Hobo in Yarm.
Packing essentials A good road map, a couple of bottles of cold brew – Yorkshire’s Artemis is a great shout – for the journey and some factor 30 sun cream (hope springs eternal).
Fuel the journey Stock up on hearty slices of homemade cake at each stop to see you through to the next caffeine hit.
Ease 7/10. A little forward planning would be useful but hey, that’s what the SatNav is for.
Feature from The North and North Wales Independent Coffee Guide No 3 – buy your copy here.