There’s the budding actress wielding a takeaway cup with a lip-stained rim and the baristas phone number on the sleeve. Then you have the suitcase-sipper who views every cup of coffee as a mini holiday : there with their morning paper, hogging the chair with the best view that they might as well have put a towel on at 8.30 that morning. You’ve got the ex-presso’s – hit me now with your best shot! And the category I fit in to most often, those that enjoy their coffee with a side helping of chit-chat, preferably in a joint that cherishes their customers and takes pride in the finer details – like how good the cake is!
But whatever your order, a romano, a ristretto or an eggnog latte – we all love a good coffee shop! And, whats more, Nottingham is attracting top barista’s from the capital because of its affection for a steamy cup of brown stuff. Whereas once upon a time your only option for a brew would have been the Debenhams cafe, nowadays you are spoilt for choice and each place with its merits and USP’s. So, I will endeavour to help you with an insiders view on the best places to take your tea and coffee in this
foodie drinkie city of Nottingham. Here are my top five.
My Top Five
Edin’s Deli Cafe
15 Broad Street, Hockley, Nottingham.
Edin’s has the feel of a few old cafe’s I’ve visited in Portugal and this is primarily why it makes my list. An old Victorian building with wooden floors and a mismatch of furniture. It’s supposed to feel unassuming I guess and this in turn puts you at ease and has you feeling welcome. It’s cozy and eclectic and makes you want to linger. Melted candles in wine bottles and 1940’s style Mediterranean pictures and photo’s say this was the kind of place Audrey Hepburn would have taken her coffee in Roman Holiday. My favourite spot is by the window on a barstool – let the sun warm your cockles and watch a few Bohemians pass by, probably from one of the local independent businesses in this thriving Creative Quarter of Hockley.
They serve Julius Meinl coffee, an Austrian gourmet blend, and honestly – it’s one of my favourite shots in Nottingham. There’s a massive selection of cakes to accompany your hot drink, but again, they’re more of a Mediterranean choice; gateaux’s and flans – basically anything with a large helping of whipped cream. Simply put it makes me feel like I’m in some European city somewhere, on holiday, and that’s why I like it! Click here for more info.
Flying Horse Walk, Nottingham
There are two significant facts about 200 Degrees : The building that is home to this historical gem of a coffee shop is totally epic AND these particular heavenly beans are roasted by 200 Degrees themselves.
First off, Flying Horse Walk was originally a coaching inn from the 1600’s. Now a grade II listed building you get to appreciate some of Nottingham’s history from the beautiful facade out front and some quaint original features inside. Check out the stained glass, if you can distract your eye from the sweet stuff…
So, the beans. If beans had to sit an exam then 200 Degrees must be the hardest adjudicators in town. With firm pencilled ticks and a bit of lead dust for effect they’ve settled on a blend from 3 different countries and have their own formula for perfect roasting conditions. 200 Degrees sells its coffee to other establishments across the city but each place is visited occasionally to make sure they’re doing it right – I’m telling you these guys are the headmasters of Nottingham coffee. Or maybe more like the Bouncers of Nottingham coffee when you see the cafe’s muscle bound baristas. In a nutshell : old style historical architecture serving a much loved local blend by meaty baristas with beards. What’s not to like?
They also have another cafe near the train station on Carrington Street. Click here for more info.
16 Low Pavement
I love this place, but it’s only little and you can’t always get in. When the weather gets warmer there is additional seating outside. I mean, these guys also take their coffee seriously (the owner has worked in the family coffee shop business since he was a wee bairn) roasting in house too. However, it’s not just the coffee that draws me to this place :
Cartwheel Coffee attracts the cool people. I don’t know why it does and I don’t really care, but I love to pretend I’m cool too! People turn up in their cool shoes with their cool hairdo’s and cool friends and they just enjoy a coffee like it’s the most natural thing in the world. Well I suppose it is – but how do they do it looking so cool? I promise to spend more time here, learning their technique so as I can pass on all the intel to you guys.
USP number 2 : Have you seen their menu? Healthy food has never looked so good! Their Michelin trained chef endeavours to bring you tasty and nutritious breakfasts and salads that belong in Gillian McKeiths fridge but deserve a few seconds of fame on Instagram. And, both coffee and food are excellent value for money, quite surprisingly so for the actual quality you’re getting. I just hope you can find a seat! Click here for more info.
The Speciality Coffee Shop
50 Friar Lane
I LOVE this place! The cutest Italian couple, Lucy and Michelangelo, grace you with their authentic charm and welcome you wholeheartedly to their humble abode. They’re always ‘all smiles’ and clearly love what they do. Lucy takes care of the food herself and I really struggle to choose sweet over savoury here (which rarely happens) as the salads look so good and often have unusual twists. That said, their chocolate granola bar is worth a visit in itself.
Depending on the time of year, the coffee could be from anywhere in the world – they aim to bring variety, but always quality. And Michelangelo with his adorably crazy barnet, is ready to share his coffee enthusiasm with you if you show an interest in the bean. If ants went to dance classes then they would look like Lucy and Michelangelo, methodically working away together in perfect unison to a choreographed little routine of coffee-shop-efficiency, only stopping occasionally to argue on the dance track – she likes Jamiroquai, he likes Burt Bacharach.
These guys bring your coffee to you with real love. Click here for more info.
12 Victoria Street
Delilah’s may cost you more than a coffee once you’ve wrapped your corneas around the Aladdins cave of delicatessen delicacies. They’ve even created a mezzanine platform of lust – a balcony to sit upon whilst you sip your coffee and try to decide why you don’t need a jar of feta infused honey in your life. I have never left without a parcel of prettily packaged store cupboard goodie of some sort. It’s effectively a posh supermarket of the finest ingredients and if you take a seat at the downstairs square bar, you not only feel like your coffee is a midday cocktail, you also get to hear conversations between staff and patrons of plans for dinner party’s or kitchen experiments of exquisite proportions.
Appealing to my love of a good list, Delilah’s coffee menu has me rubbing my thighs. Boasting over 30 worldly varieties with a number AND star system so that you can choose your level of richness and strength. It’s not easy for me and one of these days you’ll find me swinging from the old Banking Hall’s rafters once an inability to choose has led to a 5 shot line up of steamy black liquor. Click here for more info.
Some other noteworthy places for a hot drink in Nottingham that didn’t make my top 5 but still deserve a mention are;
Thea Caffea, 14a Low Pavement for a great afternoon tea.
Wired, 42 Pelham Street for a great coffee served by slightly quirky baristas with spunk!
Ludorati, 72 Maid Marian Way if you like a game of Monopoly with your coffee.
Do you have a favourite? Did I miss anywhere? Drop me a line…
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If you’re looking for more top tips on Nottingham be sure to check out my other posts here.