If coffee is black gold, then there’s been a gold rush in the past decade, with specialty coffee merchants descending on Manchester.
Black Sheep Coffee is one such place and it’s coming to Manchester’s Piccadilly Place this Friday.
It was started by a group of coffee-loving friends from uni who decided they wanted to leave the herd behind and stay awake for the rest of their lives. So they set out to rid the world of boring, average-tasting coffee and committed to rethink long-established traditions and challenge the status quo.
If you’ve ever thought that your morning brew – the second most popular drink in the world, after water – was some sort of magical liquid from the heavens, you wouldn’t be too far off.
In addition to turning you from a pre-caffeine moody git into a semi-reasonable human being, the guys at Black Sheep say coffee has a heap of health benefits that will make you feel better about your addiction.
We popped in to see Tony Knauf and his team to talk cappuccinos, cold brews and all things Black Sheep.
As I sipped the beautifully made Black Hoof, a Black Sheep specialty made from coconut oil and cinnamon, the conversation quickly turned to bulletproof coffee.
Bulletproof is the art of adding butter to coffee and telling us that it’s good for you. The idea behind the drink is that the caffeine combines with the fats and slowly releases its effects into the body over a long period of time.
If you’ve ever given it a go you’ll know that, in reality, the drink is strong and covered in a thin film which coats your lips in grease. Nice. This film separates as you drink until you’re left with unattractive little drops of yellow oil.
Black Sheep isn’t that sort of coffee shop. There are no gimmicks and no paleo-friendly promises.
The Black Hoof we tried was rich and buttery and came with bags of flavour. As you order, you can choose the beans for your coffee – Robust Revival, Love Berries, Blue Volcano or Swiss Decaf. The team are also set to introduce 20g shots of protein to your coffee, starting in 2018. There’s an innovative art to the place and I liked it.
It’s clear that Tony Knauf knows his stuff. He talked us through the way in which Black Sheep coffee is responsibly sourced from farmers in places like Kenya and Uganda.
“I’m heading down to Uganda in February to meet our grower over there. He’s brilliant. He helps out in a local community centre and is the best of the best. Black Sheep compete on ethics and not just price.”
In terms of food, there’s everything from peanut butter waffles to New York salt beef bagels. It’s eclectic and fresh. You’ll be happy to know that if you take your coffee with an alcoholic edge, they also serve up coffee-inspired cocktails and local booze. Do I hear espresso martini?
For the real coffee connoisseurs there will be coffee workshops where you can learn the art of cupping, learn all about Aeropress and V60’s and perfect your hand at those oh-so-instagrammable florets.
This place will populate your feed with more than just latte art. The coffee hub boasts eye-pleasing design and perfectly tasteful decor, with fresh graffiti and a raw industrial charm.
With elegant staff who definitely know their cold brew from their cappuccino, this joint has created the perfect ambiance to enjoy with your double shot, whether it’s in a morning brew or an afternoon tipple.