Until very recently, Portland Street was worryingly lacking in coffee. It was the street that time forgot. LEAF has opened since then but Portland Street is a long stretch so we could always do with more. So say hello to The Little Espresso Company, a pop-up launching at Manchester One today.
Starting in 2014 as event coffee caterers, they have travelled the UK and worked at some of the most prestigious events and music festivals in the country.
Sourcing locally is at the heart of the Little Espresso Company. “We’re really looking forward to being able to call Manchester One our home,” says Nathan Clays. “We’re really passionate about supporting local independent businesses and try our best to keep our food miles as low as possible.”
Good start. But what about the java?
“We’ll be serving Ancoats Coffee Company speciality coffee which is roasted less than a mile away, organic loose tea from Brew Tea Co and Kokoa Collection award-winning real hot chocolate.”
To complement the extensive hot drinks menu, they also have a range of cold drinks, fresh juices and iced coffee as well as freshly baked cakes from Silver Apples, a local supplier.
For those odd people who take milk in their coffee, they are sourcing their milk from Stephenson’s, a local dairy, who will be delivering fresh free range milk daily. All of the food packaging is fully compostable and they recycle their used coffee grounds in a composter.
If you come to town via Portland Street, you will see big chains claiming to serve ‘organic’ coffee – but in reality, this means sod all. Speciality coffee is defined and measurable. Ancoats Coffee Co has got it. Pret hasn’t.
“We are huge advocates of supporting local business. In my experience smaller and more independent businesses simply care more for their customers. Staff tend to know more about their products, go the extra mile to think about issues such as sustainability and their immediate environment, and a consequence of this more thoughtful approach inevitably leads to the quality taking the edge over mass produced items.
“I have never feared competition from chains as I simply don’t see their products as being that similar to mine. Obviously, you will always get some consumers who believe ‘coffee is simply coffee’, but my area of expertise and the passion I have for the quality of the coffee I sell will hopefully show any doubters that there are huge variations in this market.”
A permanent site is a long term goal for the business. Let’s see how they fit in on this busy commuter highway but, all being well, they look set to have a permanent home in the near future.
Little Espresso Company will be serving up caffeinated goodness at Manchester One on Portland Street Monday – Friday 7am until 2pm from 21 November 2016