The best coffee shops, like caffeine itself, should be mildly addictive. For our daily cup we’re looking for consistency, passion, friendly service and… a certain edge. All of our favourite hang-outs have that niche factor by the bucket-load, now all we need is a Ziferblat and a cat cafe.
Any list like this is always going to be subjective though, so we actually hope you disagree with us – that means you’re using a great café too. A city can never have too much good coffee or friendly debate, so let’s keep it lively and local. Brew anyone?
Faculty Coffee 14 Piccadilly Arcade, Birmingham B2 4HD
The godfather of the city’s coffee drinking glitterati. Turning caffeine consumption into a scientifically precise art form, the baristas should be wearing lab coats really. It certainly feels like you are a student in the classroom-style interior watching the exact chemical magic unfolding as your brew of choice is produced. Should tea be your thing then you will love the pizazz that goes into getting leaf to cup, your nan would approve. The Faculty has a small cosy feel which adds to the charm and authenticity. As far removed from the cloying atmosphere of coffee sludge chains as it is possible to get. Grab a cookie and a seat (bench) and wallow happily in the coffee sorcery of Birmingham’s finest. facultycoffee
6/8 Kafe 6/8 Temple Row, Birmingham B2 5HG
The multi-award winning 6/8 is a coffee lover’s paradise. As if all your caffeine-related boxes have been ticked by the great coffee bean in the sky. Wonderfully chilled atmosphere, knowledgeable baristas fortified with patience and good advice and a stunning selection of black liquid joy brewed to your exact requirements. There’s a wide selection of food available, but our favourite is the sour dough toast. If you truly worship at the coffee altar, 6/8 coffee courses offer the ultimate connoisseur’s appreciation of the bean. For a long lazy appreciation, sneak downstairs, maybe take an iced mocha and kick back to your heart’s content. sixeightkafe
Quarter Horse Cafe and Roastery 88-90 Bristol Street, Birmingham B5 7AH
Probably the closest thing you’ll get to a ‘bespoke’ coffee experience in the city, the interior is as spartan and spic and span as a Japanese style magazine with the main focus most definitely the big brew itself, it’s not just a coffee shop people, it’s an award-winning ‘roastery’. A massive selection of raw beans to roast freshly and even the milk options deserve a menu of their own. They also do popular barista courses to help you make sense of all this choice. The large space and slightly off-kilter off-the-highstreet location make it an ideal choice for a quieter cuppa/work spot and the food, as well as the coffee, is superb. Keep your eye out for visiting pop-ups like the exquisite Japanese Kinome Kitchen (see our full preview here). Added niche points for making the phrase ‘wake up and smell the coffee’, almost literal.
Yorks Bakery Cafe 29/30 Stephenson St, Birmingham B2 4BH
The spacious Yorks is hipster heaven with its faux artisan decor and nodding beards but don’t let that put you off. It’s a lively and energetic city centre spot right next to New Street Station, if they could charge for people watching they’d make a fortune. Sitting in the window watching the world swarm by whilst slowly sipping a mocha is one of our greatest pleasures and the bakery bit isn’t kidding – artisan pastries and bread galore. There’s a wide range of coffee beans available or you could just take advantage of the endless refills of a simple black coffee. Free live music, including jazz, every Monday evening. Be warned though due to its location/lively vibe it can be pretty bustling. Yorks at Ikon Gallery is set to open later this month. yorksbakerycafe
Tilt City Arcade, Union St, Birmingham B2 4TX
Industrial strength beer, wicked grade coffee, cake and chock full of the coolest pinball machines, we must be in Tilt. What a venue. A cute playground hidden in plain sight in one of Birmingham’s busiest shopping arcades. Tilt serves great quality coffee sourced from the best beans available. ‘Has Bean Coffee’ is a particular favourite of ours. If you prefer your beverage to pack an alcoholic punch the array of beers and ales available is frankly astonishing, friendly staff are always willing to give samples, but be careful as some of the beers are intimidatingly strong. Make sure you take a pocketful of pound coins to master the silver ball. Our favourite machine is Ghostbusters but there’s another 13 to master. If your pinball wizardry is at a Tommy level of expertise you can even join a pinball league. Great fun. tiltbrum
Boo Boo Coffee 27 Lordswood Rd, Harborne, Birmingham B17 9RP
Nestling nicely just away from Harborne High Street and its proliferation of chains is the splendidly named Boo Boo Coffee. Just saying its name out loud gives us a thrill. A lovely community feel with long wooden tables and benches and possibly the cutest little kid’s play area in Birmingham. Friendly staff will guide you through a suitably wide range of the delicious dark stuff and service is quick and smart. The fresh smoothies are great and they also serve some delicious food. Licensed for relaxed late night beverage or two, look out for the Boorrito club nights; DJs ’til late, a burrito and a drink for £10. Next event is Fri 10 Feb. Boo-Boo-Coffee-Harborne
Lewis’s Deli and Eatery 11 St Mary’s Row, Birmingham B13 8HW
Big name coffee chains can’t touch this. Well before Costa staked a claim to one of Birmingham’s brightest independent high streets, those in the know have been basking in the brilliance and chowing down on Lewis’s glorious cuisine since it opened in 2012. A bruncher’s paradise with some of the finest breakfasts available in the city, this is slow food at its best. The pancakes are irresistibly lush with a huge range of fillings available but it’s not all about the batter and the full veggie breakfasts are truly where it’s at – people apparently travel across the city for this gourmet feast. All of this can be washed down with superior coffee or tea. And just when you thought it couldn’t get any better, watch out for Lewis’s sumptuous Lebanese ‘Gemmayzeh’ nights. Lewiss
Damascena Coffee House 133 Alcester Rd, Moseley, Birmingham B13 8JP
The most captivating cafe in Moseley, official. A beautifully appointed establishment with a predominantly Syrian theme that serves a host of imaginative dishes alongside some of the best black stuff you will taste in the city. The authentic Turkish coffee rocks our socks and we’d happily be attached to it via a drip. Almost always full to bursting by lunchtime, it’s no surprise that a city centre branch is set to open any minute. Read more about our love affair with all things Damascenian here.
Gorilla Coffee Cafe 1A/1B Drayton Road, Kings Heath, Birmingham B14 7LP
New kid on the block, Gorilla Coffee really do offer something unique in the shape of a hip cycling theme, but it’s far from style over cup content. Snuggled neatly away from the relentless bedlam of Kings Heath High Street, it really is a lovely little sanctuary. A bright and breezy interior filled discreetly with cycling memorabilia, oh and a full size bike on the wall, we love its community ethos and on-yer-bike enthusiasm. High quality coffee, liscensed, a small range of well-selected fresh food, super-friendly service and a really inclusive vibe (the kid’s corner is cute too). Cyclists take note; they offer a bicycle repair service and organise cycling-themed events, but best of all they will be screening major cycling events on a big screen. Time to get the Chopper out of the garage. gorillacoffee
Edwardian Tea Rooms Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery, Chamberlain Square, Birmingham B3 3DH
Cuddly, kind, erudite and genteel, we have whiled away many a happy hour in the sufficiently upholstered lap of this granddaddy of Birmingham tearooms. While it might not be all about the cutting edge of coffee or artisan food, its welcoming embrace, quiet, cultured surrounds and ambience of grandeur puts it up there with the best for us. Our choice for a quiet contemplative arty cuppa and about as far removed from the high street as possible, it also has a naughtier nighttime edge on occasion with various booze-infused nocturnal adventures in art. edwardian-tearooms
Published on: Sat 15 Apr 2017