With new speciality shops cropping up across the North East and pioneer roasters opening their doors to coffee vans, there’s never been a better time for a caffeine-fuelled road trip. Kathryn Lewis, editor of The North & North Wales Independent Coffee Guide shares some of her top coffee spots
BEDFORD ST COFFEE, MIDDLESBROUGH
Laptop lingerers, coffee-lovers and shoppers find solace in this stylish space in the heart of Middlesbrough. Swing by for a swig of the good stuff and you won’t be disappointed by the choice on offer. An array of its own Rounton single origin espressos, alongside guest filters from European roasters White Label and Five Elephant, means there is always something gratifyingly good in the hopper. And you can be safe in the knowledge that every coffee bean originates from a sustainable source. rountoncoffee.co.uk
GREENSMITH & THACKWRAY, SCARBOROUGH
This former gentlemen’s outfitters with its original gold leaf lettering is steeped in history, but owners Jack and Josh have breathed new life into it, refashioning the space into a slick speciality shop. The result is a wealth of Instagram opportunities at every turn: from the pared-back industrial design to the uncluttered lunch menu of wholesome salads and handcrafted ciabattas, and a bevy of home-baked beauties on the counter.
FLAT CAPS COFFEE, NEWCASTLE
Whippets and cantankerous old men? Discard any negative associations; the flat cap is now the unofficial icon of award-winning coffee. Banker-turned-reigning Northern barista champ (of three years), Joe Meagher is legendary for his discipline, standards and skill. Coffee insiders visit for three brew methods and a seasonal menu of beans, so there’s something for every whim. And to complement the coffee alchemy, there are carefully-sourced teas from London’s Postcard. flatcapscoffee.com
PILGRIMS COFFEE HOUSE, HOLY ISLAND
Northumberland’s caffeine-hungry tourists will need to check the tide tables to ensure they don’t miss out on a freshly roasted brew from Holy Island’s Pilgrims Coffee House. After a roam around the square mile isle, a visit to the historic farmhouse is a must. In warmer months, you can savour a filtered single origin in the spacious walled garden, or on a chilly day cosy up with a flat white next to a roaring fire in one of the cafe’s many rooms. pilgrimscoffee.com
YAY COFFEE!, SCARBOROUGH
As the name of this compact little café suggests, Lottie and Rob McFarlane’s love for coffee (and life) is joyously exuberant. Their warm community spirit is embodied in the colourful Polaroids that adorn the walls, and the twinkling fairy lights draped around the communal happiness board – a collage of quotes, pictures and jokes. It’s no wonder the cafe is a hub for shoppers, coffee fiends and freelancers with laptops. yaycoffee.com
HATCH COFFEE, NEWCASTLE
Housed in a former parking attendant’s cabin on Ellison Place, Hatch Coffee may look small from the outside, but within its walls beats the heart of a fully operational speciality coffee bar. Head barista Mark Briston has travelled the globe to tune up his coffee skills, and it’s his mission to serve ‘stimulating, inspired and delightful’ coffee in every cup. Only the best ingredients will do: seasonal espresso from Newcastle roaster Pink Lane Coffee is complemented by organic milk from Darlington’s Acorn Dairy. hatchcoffee.com
BLK COFFEE, HEATON
Heaton’s caffeine hedonists needn’t splash out on pricey multi-roastery subscriptions, as the inventory of European roasters appearing on BLK’s board will rival the slickest of services. And whether you’re just getting into Five Elephant, exploring new avenues via April Coffee Roasters or are already a Workshop purist, owner Alison Bell and her brigade of baristas are equipped with the latest tasting notes and serve styles to best complement your pick from the guests. blkcoffee.co.uk
Harvest is the flagship store from Newcastle roasters Ouseburn Coffee Co. Its cool stripped-back wood and metal counter is a perfect match for the minimalistic black and white branding of OCC’s coffee. Here you’ll find OCC’s rich, fullbodied seasonal house espresso, alongside rotating single origins available as espresso, V60 and AeroPress. ouseburncoffee.co.uk
MINT HOBO, YARM
Yarm is now well and truly on the coffee map, thanks to the crew of caffeine fiends who tailor the Mint Hobo experience to each individual who comes through their door. Whether you’re seeking a morning jolt, a fruity pick-me-up or a delicate caffeine infusion, owner Steve Ashman and his team make it their mission to present you with the perfect cup. And with six single origins on the go, served as espresso or filtered through syphon, Chemec and AeroPress, there’s bound to be a bespoke coffee just for you. minthobo.co.uk
LANEWAY & CO, NEWCASTLE
Bliss is lifting the distinctive blue rim of a Laneway & Co coffee cup to your lips and enjoying consistently good espresso crafted from the likes of London’s AllPress or guest roasters Square Mile, Caravan and Origin. And with the additional options of V60 and AeroPress, this minimalistic-cafe, tucked away among the indie shops and eateries of Newcastle’s cobbled High Bridge, is clearly a class act. lanewaycoffee.co.uk
Find full write ups and more cracking Northern coffee shops and local roasters in The North & North Wales Independent Coffee Guide – get your hands on a copy at www.indycoffee.guide/shop.
Main image of Harvest, Jesmond.