Kapow is intimate, genuine and fun, showcasing often local roasters and without snobbery, even if you order a decaf. Archive is an effortlessly hip space in former tv studios that has teas and hot chocolates as equally amazing as their coffees, plus cool adjoining exhibitions. Flamingos is a lovely LGBTQ+ friendly personable caff with a true social conscience. And The Vanguard is a plush cafe by day that quite literally turns into a swish bar in the night, becoming quite the spectacle.
One Leeds street, Great George, has oddly attracted what would initially seem to be too many new coffee shops, but each’s excellence means they complement rather than compete, and meet a demand to thrive. Stage Espresso and Brewbar was born out of a coffee obsession, and in a comforting grade II listed space, the focus is on the evolving brews of single origin from across South America and Africa for geeks to get stuck into. Episode One also puts the emphasis on the drink, looking for the finest and most interesting single origin flavours, and inviting us to try them in a Scandi style setting. Fettle spreads its net wider to deliver lattes of matcha, chai and turmeric, teas of black, herbal and Japanese, plus turn their elegant space into evening dining on a weekend. And The Union Coffee House turns the focus inward, on collaborations with great local independents and charities, whilst still serving top hot drinks.
Many of the above keep things local by using Leeds roasters for their far flung coffee beans. Until recently, this would have been an odd concept, but now Maude, Echelon and Shilloh are roasting up their magic beans in the city, and others are doing the same whilst inviting all in to their roasting houses. Wolfox brings organic goodness; Pump and Grind turn micro rawness into macro happiness; North Star supply far and wide, and their batch brew Americanos and much more can be sampled on site at their relaxed cool caf?; and the current trend for cold brew coffee started with a foot right here, with Yorkshire’s innovative Fitch Brew Co. helping Leeds get cold. But, as the above array of old and new show no signs of slowing down, this city covers all your cuppa needs; if you want your coffee hot, let Leeds be your coffee pot.