CoffeeBeer >> Double Shot Buzz >> Foundry

Back Buzz - April 23, 2017

pumping heartFoundry Coffee Roasters, Wharncliffe House, 44 Bank Street, Sheffield, South Yorkshire

I always get excited when I hear about a new serious coffee cafe opening in town. And when I heard that a local coffee roasting company had opened a cafe I got even more excited. So one morning last week I set aside enough time before work to go find it and try it out.

Foundry Coffee Roasters started as a family owned business set up in 2012 and based in Sheffield's green leafy neighbourhood of Nether Edge. A supplier of coffee and coffee brewing equipment and machinery, they have served their own coffee at festivals. Their new cafe is located in the streets behind the rear of Sheffield Cathedral in the Grade II listed Wharncliffe House, which was built around 1885 as a town house for the Earl of Wharncliffe. It later became offices and has recently gone through a major refurbishment.

As I neared the cafe I walked past the Job Centre where I watched as a man fell over and, discovering he was unable to get up, started yelling. I was concerned until I saw a younger man walk over casually, obviously either to help the man or to find out if he was just very drunk, which he could well have been. Meanwhile another man across the street was yelling angrily at someone sitting in a parked car. And this was all at 10:30 in the morning. Interestingly I was walking down Meeting House Lane, which was the location of a Quaker meeting house back in the 18th century. I suppose these days people meet in different sorts of ways... Safely inside the Foundry cafe on Bank Street I found a very clean and basic interior which gave the impression of being brand new. The young man at the counter was very friendly and earnest and seemed to appreciate all of my decisions, including what drink I wanted and which coffee I chose. Although there were several different drinks on the wall menu, including a couple I hadn't heard of, macchiato wasn't listed. The young man said the drink was programmed into their till, but they were still trying to figure out just what to feature on the main menu and what to get rid of. Basically they don't want to promise what they can't deliver at a high quality, which is completely honourable. I had a choice of Colombian or Ethiopian for my macchiato, and I definitely went for the Ethiopian.

I then took a seat in the other room at a table near the window. The barista served my drink in a pretty little proper macchiato cup, along with a glass of water, which I think is always a good touch. The macchiato had a nice crema topped with a heart-shaped rosette. The coffee was pleasant enough, strong with a surprising slightly acidic aftertaste. I must admit at £2.50 it was a bit pricey for me, but I suppose they're a new small venture so they have to recoup their costs.

As I sipped my coffee I looked around at the somewhat stark decor. On the walls are framed colour photos of viaducts which I assumed were not very far away, and there were two small potted plants on the window sill. Near me a young man was working on his laptop and an older couple were having breakfast, obviously the homemade granola and the sourdough toast -- or was she having the guacamole pomegranate toast? The menu features breakfasts served till 11:30 followed by lunch. The lunch menu offers salads, homemade Bengali soups including spicy tomato paneer, and toasted sandwiches, the most yummy-sounding to me being the Ultimate Cheese Toastie with three cheeses and baby spinach and served with Bengali tomato chutney. The artisan bread looks really good, and I forgot to ask if it was from Depot Bakery, which does specialise in sourdough bread. They also serve cakes from Sheffield's own Seven Hills Bakery and the Porter Brook Deli. And if you don't like your coffee, they have teas from the local Birdhouse Tea Company and hot chocolate from Kokoa Collection.

When I left I walked back up Meetinghouse Lane past the Job Centre. Nothing particularly entertaining was happening now, but the young man who had been talking to the fallen man was still there, and he asked me if I wanted a job. No thanks, I've got one, I replied with a smile, although I certainly wouldn't object to a more stimulating and better paying job, which I doubt I could find at a Job Centre. I suppose, as Foundry has only been open a short while, it will take some time before people who aren't looking for jobs realise the cafe is there.

Speaking of jobseekers and coffee makes me think of an e-mail conversation from last year with my Bay Area friend about something completely unrelated:

The other day I was helping a workmate with the final sale of her stereo amplifier on eBay. She was arranging the shipment of the item to the customer through DL Shipping Services and wanted to make sure they would ship an amplifier. The partial list of the items they will not ship included chainsaws, chocolate, Christmas crackers, counterfeit currency, dangerous goods, drugs (including prescription), engines, filth, fire extinguishers, fish (live or dead), guns hazardous goods, human flesh, human remains, infectious substances, kayaks, knives, and items identified as "unknown". At work I browsed through the tariff tables in our Import application and found that, except for the fish and human remains, there are many animal products she may be able to ship to the US. These include frozen, fresh, or chilled carcasses and half-carcasses of lamb, swine, bovines, sheep, veal, and bisons, and meat and edible offal of chickens, ducks, geese, turkeys and guinea fowls, salted, in brine, dried or smoked. Hmm, I wonder if she could replace the dead fish and the severed hand that she's stuffed inside the amplifier with half a pig carcass. But then she'd still have the dead fish and the severed hand to deal with, not to mention her large collection of chainsaws. I suppose buyers will simply have to come over and pick up those items.