CoffeeBeer >> Double Shot Buzz >> Smith Street
Before I head off to American in a couple of weeks for another short visit, I decided to check out a place I’d spotted while having a pint at the new Crow Inn. I’ve had Smith Street coffee before, specifically at the now-defunct Holt and at the Motore coffee van, but I hadn’t realised that they had their own cafe in town. Inspired by co-owner Trevor Neville’s trip to Australia, Smith Street Coffee Roasters started life in 2014 at the Holt, and just this year the roastery moved to Scotland Street where they opened an attached cafe as well.
The cafe is located in the Hide, which is extremely hard to miss as the entire building is bright yellow -- unless you happen to suffer from tritanomaly or tritanopia, in which case it’s either pink, violet, or light grey. I walked down here from Broad Lane, winding down Solly Street past big blocks of four-storey flats, admiring the drying laundry draped like a parade of flags across many of the balconies. The displays of giant indecipherable t-shirts, monocolour vests, and brightly coloured socks shouted out student domiciles, and one balcony with the beautifully patterned wrappings definitely suggested someone with an elegant style, possibly African or Asian. As I snaked around to Scotland Street, not sure if I was walking in the right direction, I recognised the vintage clothing shop and, taking a slight bend, was loudly assailed by the canary yellow building that is The Hide.
As I crossed the road my nose was seduced by the wonderful perfume of roasting coffee beans. The cafe features two rooms, the one on the right furnished with wooden tables lining the window and a Giesen coffee roaster surrounded by burlap sacks of presumably green coffee beans; and one wall is an eight-step mural explaining coffee from seed to espresso. The room to the right has three small tables, a window counter and stools, some cutlery, a countertop water dispenser, and a toaster. There is also a small counter featuring the coffee machines and some sweet treats.
I ordered a double macchiato which was served by a very pleasant young woman in a beautiful green rounded macchiato cup properly served with a demitasse spoon. (I mean the macchiato was served in the beautiful green rounded cup, not the pleasant young woman -- although there's a idea for a future quirky cafe.) On the side counter there was a yellow cup that looked like it would fit a cappuccino, a red cup for a latte, and a blue cup for perhaps an Americano. This kind of colour-coding appealed to me, especially inside such a yellow building.
I took a seat at a little table near the window that featured a perfect view of the excellent Crow Inn just up the hill across the road, with an etching of a crow dominating one of the windows. And the crow image was framed in perfect symmetry by the succulent plants on the cafe window counter. What an idyllic location this was. Did I really have to go to work?
My macchiato was pleasant, slightly bitter with just the right amount of milk foam. I would have preferred it with a bit more robustness, but perhaps that was just down to the particular roast they were using, as they sell bags of several different roasts. The cafe offers sandwiches as well, made with bread from Box Bakery, and granola and porridge - - and toast, obviously.
And the wonderful smell? I forgot to mention that between the two rooms is a door that leads down a step into the dark roasting room. A sign above the door says Mind Your Step. Is that a warning to newcomers who haven't encountered the step? Or is it a general warning about not stumblingly succumbing to the sirenic lure of the roasting aroma?
Speaking of the colour yellow, seductive smells, and not wanting to go to work naturally leads me to a recent Facebook posting session about a friend’s job interviews:I am having a difficult time answering the strengths and weaknesses questions at job interviews, at least the weaknesses part. Do you think any of these might work? Or if you have any to suggest, I am open to all ideas.