A guide to Manchester’s coffee scene

Coffee is one thing but then there’s Manchester: the other love of my life. Ever since moving to Manchester five years ago, I have been in love with the city, its people and its atmosphere. And guys, Manchester’s coffee scene is top-notch. Yes, there are 18 Starbucks branches in the city centre alone but I’m talking independent coffee shops. As a student, I spent a lot of time in coffee shops trying to finish essays and portfolios. Now I’m self-employed and not that much has changed.

This guide is perfect for those who are visiting Manchester for the day and are looking for a good place to grab breakfast, lunch or a coffee. But it’s also a great place to start when living in Manchester and looking for places to work, study or simply to find new hidden gems to visit.

Ezra & Gil Ezra & Gil

Let’s start this list with one of my all-time favourite places in the Northern Quarter: Ezra & Gil. Te number of hours I’ve spent here with my laptop, sipping away at a second or third Americano is crazy. Teir website says Ezra & Gil is a “true neigh- bourhood hang-out”and I couldn’t agree more. Teir friendly atmosphere, great cof- fees and probably the best breakfast in Manchester all add to this being the first cafe to be featured in my guide. Te cafe is dog-friendly, has vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options and a wide variety of teas and coffees. Alongside the food and drinks, Ezra & Gil also sells coffee beans, reusable cups, metal straws and other merchandise. 20 Hilton St, Manchester, M1 1FR

The Foundation Coffee House

Another Northern Quarter-based inde- pendent cafe where I have spent (and con- tinue to spend) many hours is Te Foundation Coffee House. Not only is it a perfect place to work or study, but they also serve a great breakfast, brunch and lunch – making Foundation Coffee a per- fect place to meet up with a friend as well as get some stuff done. It’s one of the cof- fee shops I always take people to when I’m showing them around Manchester because I feel like it captures the atmosphere of the Northern Quarter really well. It’s quirky, a bit industrial and creative. But apart from a great cup of coffee, Foundation Coffee in the Northern Quarter also holds great events. On Monday evening, you can find a weekly yoga class here and they hold a movie a movie night every Sunday, too. Alongside the exhibitions that can be

8 FOCUS The Magazine January/February 2020

found inside the cafe, I love the little coffee merchandise they offer – literally everything a coffee lover could want in their house (I still need that coffee tea towel!). Sevendale House, Lever St, M1 1JB

Idle Hands

Coffee and pies in a ‘cool classroom’ vibe, with plants and huge windows to let in tons of natural light, Idle Hands is an- other must-visit speciality coffee shop in the Northern Quarter of Manchester. One thing I love about their coffees is that there is always a choice between different roasts. And they change constantly. Keep an eye out on their social media to see which ones they have in store now – it’s always fun to try different beans and roasts. Ten there is breakfast, lunch, cakes and pies – which adds perfectly to a cup of freshly brewed coffee. Idle Hands also specialises in coffee training, which I think is super cool. If I didn’t have barista experience, it would be something I’d be interested in. Even now, I think there is a lot I can still learn about coffee – and Idle Hands seem to stay on top of the best ways in the industry. 35 Dale St, Manchester, M1 2HF

Just Between Friends Coffee

In 2018, Just Between Friends Coffee joined Manchester’s coffee scene. Located right next to one of my favourite Manchester-based flower shops – Northern Flower – this independent cof- fee shop sits just off the main street in the Northern Quarter. Alongside a few awe- some brunch/lunch items on their menu,

they serve really good coffee. Keep an eye out on their Instagram, where they share some guest filter coffees from different roasters all across the world. Alongside coffee and lunch, they also sell coffee beans, reusable coffee cups and ethical jewellery made by Big Metal London. Teir coffee is usually served in cups from Kaffee Form, a company that makes cups and saucers from recycled coffee grounds. You can also buy the cups from Just Between Friends. When at this independ- ent coffee shop, check out the area in the back. Tere, you will find a little place to sit outside – a bit more peace and quiet, plus fairy lights! 56 Tib St, Manchester, M4 1LG


With three shops across Manchester, this Icelandic-inspired independent coffee shop is definitely popular with the locals. Te artisan coffee shop is another perfect spot to sit down with your laptop and get some work done while sipping away on some of the tastiest coffees in Manchester. TAKK knows their coffees. Teir house roast is a single-origin coffee from Finca Miravalle in El Salvador and they feature some of the best guest roasts from all across Europe. I love that you can try dif- ferent types of coffee and the baristas are always more than happy to teach you something about the guest roast. Of course, you can also get some on-point breakfast and lunch at TAKK (in the Northern Quarter cafe only). Tey also offer vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free op- tions. 6 Tariff St, M1 2FF / Hatch, Oxford Rd, Manchester M1 7ED

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