CoffeeBeer >> Double Shot Buzz >> 1554

Back Buzz - April 15, 2018

I'm not a Christian, nor have I ever been in my life, but I've always liked interesting and impressive architecture and glasswork. As a result I've visited many cathedrals in the UK, Europe, and even Seattle. When I learned that a coffee cafe with decent coffee was hidden inside Sheffield's Gothic cathedral, I knew I'd have to go check it out.

Built in the early 12th century by William de Lovetot, the same person who built the original and now extinct Sheffield Castle, the Sheffield Cathedral is currently the oldest remaining building in the city. The Anglican Cathedral is one of two cathedrals in Sheffield, the other being the nearby Catholic Cathedral Church of St Marie, currently the oldest surviving building in Sheffield.

Named after the year in which Mary Tudor granted a royal charter that returned land and property seized by the crown back to Sheffield, 1554 is a modern independently-run cafe which serves breakfasts, lunches, and desserts. As I walked from the forecourt through the front doors of the Cathedral I passed through the gift shop and through the West End and Lantern Tower where I had a good view on my right through the Nave and the Chancel to the Sanctuary, with its impressive stained glass windows. There appeared to be a very small service going on, possibly a very private wedding. Bypassing the various chapels I headed straight ahead into the cafe. After ordering a double macchiato at the counter I sat at a little table on the side with a fine view of the two Victorian stained glass windows at the rear, both moved from other parts of the cathedral and installed when the modern extension was added. One of the windows apparently depicts "Christ and the Disciples in the cornfield on the Sabbath", and the four stone panels are from a tomb commissioned (and never used) by the Earl of Shrewsbury.

As I sat and pondered why Jesus and his buddies would be gathered in a cornfield on their day off work, I started to worry that my twenty allotted minutes I'd allowed before going to work would run out and I would have to glug my coffee in run. Fortunately my macchiato finally arrived, served in a curvy black espresso cup. It was pleasant enough, and the coffee, from the appropriately-named Heavenly Coffee Company of Sheffield, was more robust than you'd expect from angels and cherubs and whatnot. As I quickly drank my macchiato the rim of the cup's white interior suddenly revealed the statement "Sheffield Cathedral A Place for All People". And there were certainly a variety of people in the cafe: grey haired women, a middle-aged couple, two foreign students, and moi.

In the interest of modernity, 1554 offers free wifi and also a 10% discount for students. And it's open every day but Sunday, perhaps so that the staff can go play in the cornfields with Jesus and his friends.

Speaking of heavenly things reminds me of a recent email conversation with my Bay Area friend about immortal treats:

Did you ever eat these things? I’m not sure I ever bought any, but I’d eat them if a friend gave me some at a movie theater or if some ended up in my trick-or-treat bag. I suspect that even if this company dies (in business since 1847 – that’s 5 years before the start of the brewery that became Annheuser Busch), someone will take over production. Just like Twinkies, Neccos can never die.

For Candy Fans, the Only Thing Worse Than Necco Wafers Is No Necco Wafers I remember these weird little disks. They were sort of a purplish brown, and they tasted like some sort of ersatz chocolate. And when you bit into one you felt like you were eating a poker chip.

But when I was a girl I loved Sen-Sens and sugar wafers and Walnettos, and I ate my share of Hostess Twinkies when I was in grade school — and I'm still fascinated with the uniqueness (not understood by most Brits) of Oreos. I would hate to see any of these disappear from the 1950s-born American consciousness.

Is there a Save The Neccos petition I can sign?