When it comes to coffee, Manchester knows what’s going on. Like your coffee black? You’re in the right city. Like your coffee to be inspired by Scandinavia? You’re in the right city. Like your coffee with cointreau? Ditto. Manchester is the place to be when it comes to having a good cuppa, and with UK Coffee Week starting 16th April you don’t want to miss out on these coffee connoisseurs.
North Tea Power
Don’t be misled by the name. They do cracking coffee, too. North Tea Power has been serving up espresso-based coffees since 2010. Over the past eight years, they’ve been whipping up some of the smoothest cappuccinos around, currently featuring Deerhunter Espresso. If 100% Kenyan Othaya Chinga beans aren’t your thing, they have a selection of guest espressos in hand ready to craft the perfect coffee . If you’re into sipping a coffee whilst watching the cool kids of Manchester skate/walk/run past by, then this is the place for you.
Like North Tea Power, Takk is at the heart of Northern Quarter cool. Although it could be mistaken for an office staff room, Takk offers better cuppas than the staff canteen whilst also being a welcoming and calming place to work and meet others. Based on the owners’ travels around Iceland and Scandinavia, Takk embodies everything Icelandic in a small coffee shop. Takk host a range of single origin coffees on their brew bar which change every week, but the Nordic-style espresso is the thing you should be sipping on whilst cracking on with your work.
Richmond Tea Rooms
Despite being known for their range of wacky flavoured teas, Richmond Tea Rooms offer essential coffees that can be enjoyed in a memorable Alice in Wonderland setting. Unlike most independent coffee shops, it’s based in a Victorian Mill on Richmond Street in the Village. Be sure to check out their amazing cakes and fresh patisseries. What’s a coffee without a cake, after all?
Pot Kettle Black
Barton Arcade is well known for hosting some of Manchester’s best hidden haunts, and Pot Kettle Black is one of them. Dedicated to going that extra mile to craft the perfect coffee, PKB is a great place to head to at any time of day – before work, for a family outing, or just to relax in the magnificent surroundings it has to offer. Pot Kettle Black offers a wide range of coffees whether you want your traditional filter, an espresso over coconut water, or even a boozy coffee.
Nexus Art Cafe
Priding itself on togetherness and respect, Nexus Art Cafe is a feelgood caff on Dale Street that is the creative centre for some of Manchester’s best upcoming artists. Whilst hosting a range of events from spirituality sessions to pop-up art exhibitions, Nexus Art Cafe has a remarkable menu which features a coffee blend that is locally roasted and fairtrade. Nexus Art Cafe cares a lot about others, be it through their vegan-friendly coffees or the fact that it’s a not-for-profit cafe that’s a safe space for anyone who needs to unwind from the stress of modern day life.
Michaels Coffee House
Michaels Coffee House is run by cousins Thanasis and Andreas Michaels who have been serving Royal Exchange visitors for just under a year. Located in the antique Royal Exchange Arcade, Michaels Coffee House is proud to serve full-bodied coffee with a smile. A variety of crafted coffees are available, but the white chocolate mocha should be at the top of your tasting list.
Ancoats Coffee Co
Ancoats Coffee Co are playing the pivotal role of crafting coffee into the 21st century. It’s the place to head if you want some fine and sophisticated artisan coffee at a fraction of the price.
The Molly House
Over at The Molly House, it’s a non-stop party – and the party certainly doesn’t stop when it comes to coffee. The Molly House is recognised for its vintage shabby-chic appearance and huge range of booze. When it comes to Molly’s tea room, they serve up an array of boozy coffees (and normal artisan coffees) with beans from London-based coffee roasters, Square Mile. Fancy an amaretto, tia maria or cointreau coffee? Head to The Molly House.
Ancoats General Store
Serving up fresh beans from established local roasters Ancoats Coffee Co, the General Store is also home to the beetroot latte. Smooth, pink and nutritious, enjoy all the benefits of your caffeine hit without the risk of getting the jitters. With a relaxed coffee and bar area in the front of the shop offering the full barista experience alongside freshly baked goodies from local bakers, this is the only place you can do your weekly food shop and have a quality, sit-in coffee experience in one.
Idle Hands had a tough year last year. After months of painstaking planning and investment in a new permanent unit, founding couple Dave and Lucy Wolinski were told by their new landlord’s solicitors that their lease had been terminated, leaving them out on a limb with a baby on the way. Following a heart-warming blog post from the pair that went viral on social media, fellow independent food and drink traders pulled together fundraising efforts that have now led to a new home on Dale St. Whilst the fit-out offers up the same minimal and clean vibes we’ve come to expect, it’s less rough and ready and the new space feels more grown-up. Light and airy with an open hatch allowing you to peek into the kitchen, we think this will be a lovely cool spot to get some work done of an afternoon once the summer heat picks up.
This Tib Street doughnut shop is owned by Blawd bakery team Iwan Roberts and Lucy Jackson, who were working out of a basement kitchen in Common prior to the shop’s opening. As we all know, coffee and doughnuts go perfectly together and Iwan and Lucy’s coffee selection shows they respect this. With an eclectic range of doughnut flavours on offer, including a decent vegan selection, there’s a whole range of goodies to delve into. Doughnut highlights include the tiramisu and lemon meringue pie, but they’re not a one trick pony. Siop Shop also offer fantastic soups, sandwiches and other sweets treats for you to get stuck in to.
Just Between Friends
New kid on the block Just Between Friends has recently sprung up next to the Northern Flower Co on Tib Street and looks very cute, outside and in. True to its name, it’s intimate and cosy. The shop is pretty tiny, with a stripped-back coffee menu offering all the machine essentials. They also have a tasty selection of cold brews in their fridge, as well as some cute jewellery and branded totes available to take home with you.
If you’re after a mooch and don’t mind waiting for your coffee, Plant Noma is always worth a look in. This open design studio is located on the Green Quarter side of town just up from the Printworks and usually has a range of at least three flavourful filter coffees available to drink in or takeaway at any one time. Plant Noma also offers up a range of workshops and events that you can get involved in, from pottery to textile printing and yoga. There’s loads to be discovered if you hang around and chat for a little while.
Fig & Sparrow
Two-thirds coffee shop, one third hipster homeware store, Fig & Sparrow have perfected their cute and dainty offering to a tee. They are well known for their meticulous flat whites, but if you’re more into a pour over rest easy because they offer that too. Our favourite thing on the menu? Organic beans on Trove toast served with your own (optional) cheddar cheese wedge and a mini grater. So cute.
Lupo Caffe Italiano
Lupo used to be based on Chapel Street but has moved to the Boat Shed in Exchange Quay. This award-winning coffee shop has its own coffee plants growing on site and is deeply involved in the journey of their beans, all the way from roastery to cup. Pop in and enjoy a selection of Italian classics alongside some primo cakes and other sweet treats.
Everyone raves about Wolfhouse Coffee’s desserts so much they forget to talk about the coffee. Tucked into the back of Mackie Mayor, they keep a fresh range of beans on rotation as well as offering bags of beans ready to go for your coffee at home. Whilst the space itself is clean and fresh with lots of plants about, the rest of Mackie’s so pretty it’s generally pretty quiet in here – our tip to you next time you’re struggling to find a seat.
Another great Northern Quarter coffee house, Foundation have a lot of great coffee on offer but our stand-out favourite order here has to be the Vietnamese iced coffee. Made with a double shot of super-strong Vietnamese coffee and a splash of condensed milk, before being mixed into a large cup of iced water, it is (in our opinion) the perfect summer coffee.
Words: Biddy Harrison-Draper and Georgina Pellant.